An international scholarly online history journal on First and Second Empire subjects: articles, bibliographies, book reviews, in english and in french

Publication of the General Correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte


The size of the corpus, the semantic wealth of its content, the number of people cited – often not well known – and Napoleon’s own at times sibylline allusions can rapidly transform any reading of his Correspondence into a real treasure hunt.

From the moment the letters are delivered, to the moment the editor of the volume supervises the manuscript as a whole, a labour of annotation is underway. Consciously unobtrusive, it highlights what is essential for an initial understanding of the published text, proper names and recalled episodes, without going into the detail of facts and people. The annotator’s role is therefore to weave links between material recounted in different missives but which in reality relate to the same event: establishing a system of cross-references enables the reader to comprehend a fact in all its guises. The aim is also to bring to the fore all those components which might permit a better comprehension of the life of the letter: its history; the annotations of the Historical Commission of the Second Empire are thus often reproduced, as they are useful for understanding the selection made when not publishing a letter or when omitting significant passages.

38 people have already taken part in this project to annotate the Correspondence. Former scholarship holders of the Fondation Napoléon, of universities, and historians take charge of between 100 and 300 letters, which they enrich thanks to their knowledge, their practical experience of research tools, and their critical examination.

For further information please contact:
François Houdecek, publishing manager of the Correspondence, (houdecek(at)
or Elodie Lerner (lerner(at)
Telephone: + 33 (0) 156 43 46 07.



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