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Napoléon Bonaparte, ou trente ans de l'histoire de France

drame/play, pub:1831

A six-act drama about the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. Part of Théâtre complet.


Liens/Links
    Napoléon Bonaparte translated by Frank J. Morlock
    France's Greatest Adventure Writer Dramatizes the Life of Napoleon—The Long Hot Summer of 1830
    Vers en Napoléon Bonaparte


Oeuvres/Related Works
    Morlock, Frank J.: Napoleon Bonaparte - available to read online!


From Reviews (FJM) by Frank J. Morlock:
     There is a delightful story associated with this play. Harel was very insistent that Dumas write the play. Mlle. Georges who was Harel's wife or concubine, and herself a former mistress of Napoleon (she even volunteered to go into exile with him) told Dumas he could stay in her bedroom until the play was finished. Dumas replied, gallantly "The play will be finished in a week." Whereupon, Mlle. Georges pouted and said, "Why so fast?" (See France's Greatest Adventure Writer Dramatizes the Life of Napoleon—The Long Hot Summer of 1830 for more details.)

From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     A prose drama, or rather a spectacular panorama, in six acts and twenty-three tableaux.
     When first completed, this play contained 9,000 lines; lengthy as it still is, it has been much curtailed.
     There seems little doubt that this piece is to be credited to Dumas alone. De Mirecourt, and quoting him Quérard, mentions Cordellier-Delanoue, but there seems to be no reason for accepting this, and other bibliographers ignore it.
     It is very cleverly constructed. Dumas, rather unjustly, calls it only a work of the scissors, save for the character of the spy. This last, however, is less interesting than the amusing place-hunter Labredeche. There are seventy-six distinct roles, not quite all of whom have speaking parts.
     Already, in 1831, Napoleon was becoming a legend, and it is amazing how the Bourbons' inability to realise the changed times encouraged this; all parties, save only the pronounced Royalists, were full of enthusiasm for his memory and his empire ; at least he had made France the first nation in Europe, while now she was of the least consequence in councils of the nations. Thus there was a continual demand for Napoleonic plays. Dumas states that six had been performed, none too successfully, before his own. Harel urged its construction against its author's inclinations, and finally obtained it by virtually imprisoning Dumas in Mademoiselle Georges' rooms until it was produced. It was sumptuously mounted and proved a great success, mainly owing to the pains taken by Frédérick-Lemaitre to perfect his role as Napoleon.
     First performed on the 10th of January, 1831, at the Odéon Theatre.
     Original edition : Paris, Tournachon Molin, 1831, drab or grey cover, with a vignette of the Emperor on the reverse, pp. x. and 219. It was introduced by a lengthy preface, and bore a dedication, "À la Nation Française," while the following quotation from the "Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène" was used as epigraph: "D'Ici à cinquante ans, toute l'Europe sera républicaine ou cosaque.—Napoléon." (1)
     (1) "To the French Nation."—"In fifty years from this time, all Europe will be Republican or Cossack. Napoleon."
     This play was reprinted in the "Magasin Théâtral," Paris, Marchant, 1835, pp. 56, large 8vo. of two columns.
     In 1835 it was included in the collected plays, Vol. V., published by Charpentier.
     In the standard Calmann-Lévy editions it is found in Vol. I. of the 15 Vol. edition, and in Vol. II. of that in 25 Volumes.
     Some small differences in the arrangement of the various scenes will be noticed by comparing the original edition with the later reprints.

         References :—
     Dumas: "Mes Mémoires," Chapters CLXXIV. and CLXXV.
     Lemaitre (Frédérick): "Souvenirs," pp. 113-18.
     Quérard: "Supercheries Littéraires Dévoilées," Vol. I., Column 1058.
     Glinel: "Alexandre Dumas et Son Œuvre," pp. 277, 279-80, 282-83, 289-90.
     Lecomte: "Alexandre Dumas," pp. 32-33, 113, 187-88.


From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     Act I., Tab. I., Scene i.—-An eight-line stanza. This may be a popular song of the period ; it, or a portion of it, occurs in several of Dumas' other works.
     Act III., Tab. VI., Scene iii.—Lorrain's Song.—Six four-line stanzas, rhyming a, b, a, b, and followed by a refrain.

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