A Napoleonic Love Story

Even Insubordinate Rulers Get Angsty About Love. Napoleon Bonaparte’s romantic novella, Clisson and Eugenie, which he wrote after a failed relationship with a woman named Desiree, will be translated into English in October and published by London-based publisher Gallic.

The Guardian calls his novella “an early precursor of chick-lit.” Oh God, could Napoleon really be partially responsible not only for the Civil Code and his own personalized brand of warfare, but also for such cultural frontispieces as The Devil Wears Prada and Nicholas Sparks?

The British paper, which additionally cites an excerpt of the forthcoming translation, quotes Jane Aitken, the director of Gallic, declaring Napoleon “an accomplished writer of fiction.” “We in Britain think of him as a military man,” states Aitken, “but here we see the romantic side to him.”

A quick Google search identifies Napoleon scholar Steven Englund, in his biography Napoleon: A Political Life calling the ruler’s creation “a nine-page biblically simple, romantic fantasy….It is best seen as a transparent expression of his own ideals and hopes about love and about himself in love.” Hitler had syphilis. Napolean, a broken heart.