Napoleonic Satires


URL: http://dl.lib.brown.edu/napoleon/about.html

"The Napoleonic satires housed in the Anne S. K. Brown Military collection of the John Hay Library represent several important gifts made to the library in the 20th century. In addition to the Napoleonic satires located in the military collection bequeathed by Ms. Brown, Paul Revere Bullard (Class of 1897) and William H. Hoffman contributed a variety of significant objects with a Napoleonic theme. In addition to print caricatures and satires, their donations include historical volumes, manuscripts, sculpture, and some paintings.

These gifts were presented by their donors to the John Hay Library in the hope that their collections would be accessible to members of the Brown academic community and to the community at large, for purposes of research and pleasure. In digitizing these images and making them available to the internet community, these prints are made being available to a wide audience for uses beyond traditional academic research. Perhaps neither the donors nor their families could have imagined their gifts could be made so publicly accessible. Considered with other forms of military memorabilia, satiric prints serve as a reminder that printed images were effectively used as a weapon of sorts. As such, satires made in Britain and continental Europe that depict Napoleon as a diminutive brat combat Napoleon's self-constructed imperial image as a powerful god-like ruler. Satires such as these participate in a broad conversation that spans genres to suggest that the official French images of Napoleon are no more authentic or permanent than the satiric image. To this day Napoleon's imperial image is popularly conflated with his satirical representation — namely his short stature, which is largely a satiric invention."

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