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


Magazine and News is a place where, every day, we bring you not only what’s going on in the Napoleonic world and interviews with those leading Napoleonic history today, but we also offer you Napoleonic pastimes, entertainments, and even recipes. Enjoy!

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Musique et parole : An introduction to First Empire music
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Interviews with the historians, curators, collectors and enthusiasts of the Napoleonic world today. We frequently highlight interviews here. Click on a title to read an interview. You can select another interview via the scrollbar menu.

New :

Pierre Branda: "Joséphine, a poker player with an unreadable face" (January, 2016)

The historian Pierre Branda, who is also the Director of Collections at the Fondation Napoléon, has just written a biography of the most famous woman of the First Empire: Josephine (published by Perrin). The subtitle, "The Swan Paradox", sets the scene. The Swan Paradox refers to a perceived inability to imagine a black swan if all you know is white swans. As Branda explains in the forward [translated into English here] to this new biography “Josephine”, is frequently represented in history - and indeed in fiction - as a frivolous, extravagant woman who often deceived her husband, the equivalent of the white swan in the paradox, namely, the only Josephine we know. However, significant facets of the woman have been left in the shadows. This unimagined Josephine, the (much rarer) black swan, is what Branda sheds light on here. His biography therefore is refreshingly revisionist and rigorous in its analysis of the life of the power-wife who managed to weave her way through and surmount all the difficulties of four different regimes, to tame the “Eagle”, even in the stormiest moments, and was strong enough to preserve her own situation and that of her children, until her own death. (Interview by Marie de Bruchard, January 2016)

©Rebecca Young / Fondation Napoléon


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