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Napoleonic era in perception of modern France

Postnikova Alyona

The article is devoted to the modern French historiography of the Napoleonic era in the context of the concept of historical memory. Even though many new methodological works have appeared in European science in recent years, offering alternative options for reading historical memory, French historical science is far behind methodological innovations. Based on an analysis of the methodological and historical principles of French research, the author identified two main areas developing in relation to the history of memory of the Napoleonic era. Firstly, the study of the image of the emperor as an instrument for the formation of political symbolism and factors contributing to its actualization. Secondly, research into the problems of constructing a memory of tragedies as an element of national consolidation. At the same time, researchers noted that the images of defeats, thanks to regular actualization, turned out to be most memorable for the French than the victories of Napoleon. Within the framework of this direction, the author emphasized the monograph by J.M. Largeaud, dedicated to a detailed analysis of the specifics of the French memory of Waterloo. The author concluded that historians appeal to the tragic images of war is usually limited to the national framework. So, turning to ideas about wars, historians only fragmentally touched on the problems of Russian and British memory, once again demonstrating the exceptional concentration of French science on problems of a narrowly national nature. Finally, most of the work continues to focus on the concept of P. Nora, which, apparently, cannot be perceived today as a universal approach to the problems of historical memory.

Keywords: historical memory, French science, the image of Napoleon, traumatic past
Link: Postnikova A. Napoleonic era in perception of modern France // Annual of French Studies 2021: Epidemics in the history of France.М. P. 266-278.

The study is sponsored by the Russian Science Foundation, grant 20-18-00113.


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