Napoleon’s Letter To Las Cases

Oh how the Brits love to poke fun at Napoleon! Two hundred years has not dampened their joy in pinching his cheeks.

Via The Guardian:

Last month, one of just a handful of letters written by Napoleon in the language of his arch-enemies and sent to De las Cases for comment was sold at auction for $400,000, more than five times its anticipated price.

The one-page manuscript casts new light on Napoleon’s melancholy exile, which ended with his death, aged 51, in 1821. But it will also strike a chord with any teacher tasked with correcting students’ writing.

De las Cases recorded his time as imperial language teacher in his memoir and he says that Napoleon’s writing practice, often composed, like this letter, during sleepless nights, was returned corrected without delay.

But where did De las Cases start? The 125 word text presents numerous language errors from grammar mistakes to lexis transferred from French.

It opens: “Count Las Case. It is two o’clock after midnight. I have enow [sic] sleep, I go then finish the night into cause with you…” “Cause” has been borrowed from the French word causer meaning to chat.


The actual text of the letter reads:

Count Lascases
it is two o’clock after midnight, j have enow sleep j go then finish the night into to cause with you… he shall land above seven day a ship from Europa that we shall give account from anything who this shall have been even to day of first january thousand eight hundred sixteen. you shall have for this ocurens a letter from lady Lascases that shall you learn what himself could carry well if she had coceive the your
but j tire myself and you shall have of the ade at conceive any … upon this j intercede god etc etc
Longwood this nine march thousand eight hundred and sixteen after the nativity of our saviour

Now, here’s man in his early 50s, recently Emperor of The French, master of his domain, military genius, sponsor of the Code Napoleon – who has been imprisoned on a dank island in the middle of nowhere, removed from his land, his people, his family, his friends – and yet who has the presence of mind to try to learn, not just a new language, but the language of his enemies and wardens!

How many people in their 50s try to learn a new language?

Instead of poking fun at his attempts to learn English, we should be saluting his boldness. As ever, Napoleon refused to sit still, even when his lucky star had finally deserted him.

Show some respect!

Napoleon’s personality stirs interest even after his death

“Coming as a bombshell was another suggestion by historian Bruno Roy-Henry that Napoleon’s ashes had never reached France in 1840 and that someone else was buried in his tomb. According to this version, the emperor’s remains were hidden by the English back in the 19th century, with their whereabouts still unknown.”


Napoleon’s personality stirs interest even after his death: Voice of Russia.

The $198,000 Gold and Ivory Napoleon Statue



New Orleans-based antique, fine art and jewellery dealer Rau Antiques are offering a custom made sculpture of Napoleon Bonaparte with a price tag of $198,000.

Created by the famous French artist Jean- Léon Gérôme in 1897, the neoclassical sculpture depicts the legendary French military leader on a horse during his attempt to gain control of Egypt in 1798.

Created using “chryselephantine”, an ancient style of creating statues, the art workpiece has a wooden inner core and is overlaid with gold and ivory. The latter material was used for Napolean’s face in order to create a more realistic textured look.

Measuring around 16 and a half inches high, the statue was originally exhibited at the famous Paris Salon art exhibition in 1897, and subsequently bought by the French government for the Galerie du Luxembourg in Paris.

Gérôme’s mastering of ancient Roman and Greek sculpting styles ensured his works are some of the most revered examples of the 19th century neo-classical revival. He died in 1904.

The British Are Good For Something! (Finally!)

I know, I know… the British gave us many good things in the past… like slavery and pollution and the invasions of Australia, North America, India, Africa, etc. But what have they done for us lately?

This – The British Library iPad App!

The British Library released more than 1,000 rare books in the form of a single app for the iPad last week. The titles of the books are searchable, but the individual items are viewed as high-resolution scans. The works are drawn from the library’s 19th-century collection and load individually from the network when you touch one to read it.

I just downloaded this wonderful copy of “The Memorable Battle Of Waterloo” by Christopher Kelly Esq. from 1817. Check out the first couple of pages as an example of how high res the scans are!

Cameron Coming To America!

Hey folks, just a note to let you know that Chrissy and I will be in the US of A from July 20 until Aug 11. We’ll mostly be in Las Vegas, Southern Utah and then perhaps NY or Seattle. If any of you would like to catch up for a single malt, a cigar and a chat about the Emperor, then let me know! I’d love to meet some of you!

Rare Book Set On Egypt Crowns Christie’s Sale In Paris

Via Luxist:

It was one of the most ambitious projects the world had ever seen. After taking command of the Egyptian campaign around the turn of the 19th century, Napoleon gathered a staff of France’s top scientists, artists, explorers and others to undertake a concept like no other, a complete and comprehensive survey of the country’s monuments, plants, animals and more. The result was the Description de l’Egypte, a multi-volume set which began in 1803 but wasn’t completed until 1830.

Christie’s has announced the sale of the Michel Wittock Collection, Part IV, which will be held in Paris on May 11 which will include an exceptional copy of the Description de l’Egypte, bound by Jean-Joseph Tessier in polished and richly decorated calfskin. The 23 volumes in their original mahogany display case are expected to sell for €500,000 to €700,000. This is the first edition of the publication and is printed on woven paper with handcolored ornithological plates. The final work included more than 900 engraved plates. This copy was bound by the Parisian binder Jean-Joseph Tessier using tools specifically cut for the project. This particular copy belonged to Jean-Joseph Courvoisier (1775-1835) who was appointed the minister of justice in 1829 and received this set as a gift commemorating that occasion.

Napoleon Exhibition Coming To Melbourne in 2012

I’m a bit slow off the mark with this news – amazed it didn’t come up in my feeds – but a big thanks to listener Ken Richards who posted the new to our comments section:

Napoleon heads for Melbourne – 2012
Raymond Gill – The Age
September 23, 2010 – 3:00AM

THE competition among state governments to stage ”exclusive” blockbusters during the winter months is hotting up.

The Victorian Arts Minister Peter Batchelor has claimed the NSW and Queensland governments have ”plagiarised’ the success of the annual Winter Masterpiece series at the National Gallery of Victoria so yesterday he announced not one but two blockbusters heading for Melbourne.

”Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery,” Mr Batchelor said at the NGV yesterday as he announced the NGV will present in 2012 Napoleon: Revolution to Empire, which presents French art, design, furniture, court costumes, and armour from the 1770s to the 1820s, with most of the 200 works borrowed from the Fondation Napoleon in Paris.

The 2011 Melbourne Winter Masterpiece Vienna: Art and Design, featuring major works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele from the Belvedere Palace and Wien Museum in Vienna, was first reported by The Age in June.

The show of 240 works celebrates Vienna as a centre of art and design at the turn of last century and its inclusion of a dozen glittering Klimts includes four of his most famous female portraits, including one of his lover, Emilie Floge.

Both shows are exclusive to Melbourne and funded by the Victorian Major Events Company, which is charged with finding events that will bring tourists to Melbourne.

Mr Batchelor said the twin announcement was not part of a defensive strategy to shore up the city’s position as a magnet for cultural tourism. ”We are leading the way anyway,” Mr Batchelor said.

”This forward notice of themes allows other artistic bodies and restaurants for example to plan complementary events,” he said. Since the Winter Masterpiece Series began in 2004, the shows have attracted a total of 2.4 million people adding an estimated $138 to the state economy, he said.

This story was found at:

Napoleon’s Penis

It may be distasteful, but I just read this story in Time about the fate of Napoleon’s penis and thought it worth sharing here. According to Time:

People have been fixated on Napoleon’s penis since Napoleon’s doctor allegedly cut it off during his autopsy in 1821 and gave it to a priest in Corsica. The penis, which was not properly preserved, has been compared over the years to a piece of leather, a shriveled eel and to beef jerky. In 1927 when it went on display in Manhattan, TIME weighed in, comparing it to a “maltreated strip of buckskin shoelace.” It’s enough to give anyone a complex! In 1977, a urologist living in New Jersey purchased the modern-day relic for $3,000 and stored it under his bed until he died 30 years later. His daughter inherited Napoleon’s penis and has fielded at least one $100,000 offer.

Read more:,28804,1988719_1988728_1988695,00.html#ixzz0pTG4ZUA5

You have to ask yourself…. WHY???

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