Napoleon: For and Against

By Pieter Geyl; Olive Renier | Go to book overview

THREE ACADEMICIENS

I shall now, after the five universitaires deal with three académiciens. The example of Anatole France has already proved that one can belong to the Academy without rating Napoleon particularly high. About Hanotaux, the third of the trio now under survey, it will soon be noticed that his admiration is by no means unmixed. To be sure, he strikes a different note from that of the universitaires, and one seems to feel that he has been in closer communion with Vandal and Sorel than they. Nevertheless the true outlook of the Académie will be found rather in Bainville, and especially in Madelin, and I have therefore deemed it appropriate to deviate here from the chronological order and to deal with the work of Hanotaux after that of the other two. My last author, George Lefebvre, an unmistakable universitaire, but who has absorbed much of the other conception, fits in too well with Hanotaux for me to part them from one another.


CHAPTER VI
JACQUES BAINVILLE

THE AUTHOR AND THE 'ACTION FRANÇAISE'

BAINVILLE'S Napoléon of 1931 is probably the most read biography of Napoleon in our time. If only for a moment, the book confronts us with a difficulty which we have usually been spared. Ought we to classify the author as for or against? I have already mentioned him in passing, among the admirers who achieved access to the Académie, but when one reads in his conclusion that 'apart from glory, apart from art' it would probably have been better if Napoleon had never lived,1 one would be inclined to assume that we are dealing with one of the critics. The book, however, constantly strikes another note. By whatever point among those which usually give rise to disapproval we test it -- the wars, centralization, terroristic methods, lack of spiritual freedom, the attempt to subject the Church -- we shall meet either with apology

____________________
1
p. 581.

-376-

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Napoleon: For and Against
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface - To the First Dutch Edition 7
  • Part One - The Antithesis at the Beginning 13
  • Chapter I - Chateaubriand 17
  • Chapter II - Madame de Staël 19
  • Chapter III - The Napoleonic Legend 23
  • Part Two - The First Chroniclers 33
  • Chapter I - M. Mignet 35
  • Chapter II - Baron Bignon 37
  • Chapter III - Armand Lefebvre 45
  • Chapter IV - Adolphe Thiers 53
  • Part Three - Reaction against the Legend 69
  • Chapter I - Jules Barni 73
  • Chapter II - Edgar Quinet 77
  • Chapter III - Pierre Lanfrey 86
  • Chapter IV - Comte D'Haussonville 106
  • Chapter V - Hippolyte Taine 133
  • Part Four - Admirers 149
  • Chapter I - Prince Napoleon 156
  • Chapter II - Henry Houssaye 160
  • Chapter III - Arthur - LéVy Polemic against Taine 169
  • Chapter IV - FréDéric Masson 177
  • Chapter V - Count Albert Vandal 230
  • Part Five - The Problem of Foreign Policy 233
  • Chapter I - Old Acquaintances 235
  • Chapter II - Emile Bourgeois 241
  • Chapter III - Two More Old Acquaintances 250
  • Chapter IV - Albert Sorel 254
  • Chapter V - Edouard Driault 308
  • Part Six - The Antithesis at the End 349
  • Chapter 1 356
  • Chapter II - A. L. Guérard 362
  • Chapter Ill - G. Pariset 364
  • Chapter IV - Jules Isaac 371
  • Chapter V - Charles Seignobos 373
  • Chapter VI - Jacques Bainville 376
  • Chapter VII - Louis Madelin 390
  • Chapter VIII - Gabriel Hanotaux 403
  • Chapter IX - Georges Lefebvre 446
  • Chronological Table 451
  • Index 465
  • Index of Authors 475
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