The Economy of Glory: From Ancien Régime France to the Fall of Napoleon

The Economy of Glory: From Ancien Régime France to the Fall of Napoleon

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From the outset of Napoleon’s career, the charismatic Corsican was compared to mythic heroes of antiquity like Achilles, and even today he remains the apotheosis of French glory, a value deeply embedded in the country’s history. From this angle, the Napoleonic era can be viewed as the final chapter in the battle of the Ancients and Moderns. In this book, Robert Morrissey presents a literary and cultural history of glory and its development in France and explores the “economy of glory” Napoleon sought to implement in an attempt to heal the divide between the Old Regime and the Revolution.   Examining how Napoleon saw glory as a means of escaping the impasse of Revolutionary ideas of radical egalitarianism, Morrissey illustrates the challenge the leader faced in reconciling the antagonistic values of virtue and self-interest, heroism and equality. He reveals that the economy of glory was both egalitarian, creating the possibility of an aristocracy based on merit rather than wealth, and traditional, being deeply embedded in the history of aristocratic chivalry and the monarchy—making it the heart of Napoleon’s politics of fusion. Going beyond Napoleon, Morrissey considers how figures of French romanticism such as Chateaubriand, Balzac, and Hugo constantly reevaluated this legacy of glory and its consequences for modernity. Available for the first time in English, The Economy of Glory is a sophisticated and beautifully written addition to French history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226924595
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 12/16/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 248
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Robert Morrissey is the Benjamin Franklin Professor of French Literature in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago and executive director of the France Chicago Center. He lives in Chicago. Teresa Lavender Fagan is a freelance translator living in Chicago. She has translated numerous books for the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments (2010)
Translator’s Note
Introduction. At the Confluence of Reality and Myth
Beyond the Uniqueness of the Individual
Reconciling the Ancients and the Moderns
1. From Pagan Antiquity to Christian Thought
Between Dependence and Autonomy: From Homer’s Achilles to Aristotle’s Magnanimous Man
Between Cupiditas Gloriae and Republican Glory: Cicero and the Disconnect of Glory
The Courage of the Warrior and of the Christian: Saint Ambrose
The Romans on the Verge of Human Greatness: Saint Augustine
Between Glory and Vainglory: Saint Thomas Aquinas
2. Kings, Warriors, Poets: On the Cusp of Modernity
From Charlemagne to Saint Louis
Heroic Peoples: From the French to Cannibals
The Return of the Magnanimous
From the Brilliance of the Sun King to “Enlightened Self-Interest”: A World without Glory
From Amour-propre to Pure Love and Disinterestedness
3. Motivation and Leadership in the Enlightenment
Distinction and Emulation
The Power of Imagination and the Secular Marvelous
To Conquer and Enlighten
A “Mirror of the Prince” for Modernity
The Measure of a Man
4. An Economy of Glory
Ancients and Moderns: The Final Battle
The Marengo Moment
Turenne at the Temple de Mars
The Fête de la République of Year IX
Constructing the Self as a Self-Regulating Model
5. New Sensibility, New Knowledge, New Institutions
Madame de Staël and Girodet
Honor Rediscovered and Institutionalized
Moral Enrichment, Continual Growth
6. Toward a Poetics of Fusion: The Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène
A Successful Publication
The Amalgamated Voice of Las Cases/Napoleon
A Struggle to the Death for Recognition
Heroism in the Everyday
Napoleon Effects in Literature: A “Beautiful Modern Death”
Imagining an Incontestable Legitimation
The Ebbing of Glory
The Polyphony of Passeurs

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