A FRAGMENT OF NAPOLEON'S FICTION NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Autograph working manuscript, an extract from the romantic novella Clisson et Eugenie, his autobiographical work of fiction, in French, beginning "...The freshness and the eyes of Amelie merited the attentions of Clisson...", n.p., [c.1795]

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Lot 9
A FRAGMENT OF NAPOLEON'S FICTION
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Autograph working manuscript, an extract from the romantic novella Clisson et Eugenie, his autobiographical work of fiction, in French, beginning "...The freshness and the eyes of Amelie merited the attentions of Clisson...", n.p., [c.1795]

£ 100,000 - 150,000
US$ 130,000 - 190,000
A FRAGMENT OF NAPOLEON'S FICTION
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Autograph working manuscript, an extract from the romantic novella Clisson et Eugenie, his autobiographical work of fiction, in French, beginning "...The freshness and the eyes of Amelie merited the attentions of Clisson...", with numerous amendments, 4 pages, written in seven narrow columns with corrections in the adjacent wide margin, ink blots (from Napoleon's pen?), some slight foxing, some wear to edges of first sheet, not affecting text, folio, bound with letters of authenticity from Leo Liepmannssohn, Noel Charavay and Martin Breslauer from 1910, crushed red morocco by Pomey, Imperial arms stamped in gilt on covers, green doublures tooled with Napoleonic devices, green watered silk liners, n.p., [c.1795]

Footnotes

  • 'THE FRESHNESS AND THE EYES OF AMELIE MERITED THE ATTENTIONS OF CLISSON': NAPOLEON AS NOVELIST - ONE OF ONLY FIVE KNOWN AUTOGRAPH FRAGMENTS OF HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL WORK OF FICTION.

    Clisson et Eugenie concerns the affairs of Clisson, a revolutionary war hero who meets and falls for Eugenie at a public bath. They marry and have several children, but soon he is called back to war. While he is away, Clisson is injured, and sends a friend to tell Eugenie of his fate. Unfortunately, the friend and Eugenie begin an affair, and soon after, the heartbroken Clisson engineers his death in battle.

    The present four pages hail from the earlier portion of the work, when Clisson first meets Amelie, Eugenie's sister, to whom he is initially attracted, and then Eugenie herself. Napoleon's resemblance to his hero Clisson is clear. Clisson is a brave young officer, devoted to glory, a self-described misanthrope of extreme talent. The episodes in this manuscript take the reader through his initial attraction to the vivacious Amelie, his antipathy turned to sudden love for Eugenie, which becomes all-encompassing to the exclusion of everything else, including his lust for glory on the battlefield. In part, translated: "It became a story of love, the most ardent and the most respectful that had steered the heart of any man. Eugenie, who had dedicated her heart to friendship, who thought herself indifferent to love, now felt all its fire. Clisson no longer complained, nor occupied himself with his men, evil or war. He lived only for Eugenie. / They met frequently. Their souls became one. They overcame all obstacles and were united forever....".

    Whilst Martin Breslauer in his accompanying letter dates the manuscript on the basis of the handwriting to between 1785 and 1789, judging by the narrative of the novel the general consensus amongst scholars is that Napoleon wrote Clisson et Eugenie, his only work of fiction, around 1795. It is widely believed to be a fictionalized account of his romance with Eugenie Desiree Clary, whose sister was married to his brother, begun in 1794. The pair were briefly engaged before Napoleon broke it off a year later to marry Josephine de Beauharnais in the Spring of 1796. Breslauer describes the provenance thus: '...The authenticity of the manuscript is without any doubt... Probably it is one of these manuscripts Napoleon presented to his uncle Cardinal Fesch. From this collection the famous Libri may have bought it and afterwards sold it to Lord Ashburnham. Some others of this dispersed collection are now at Florence...'

    Our piece comprises one of only five known fragments of the novella, the largest portion being held in the Polish National Archives. The complete work was published in French in 2007 and in English in 2009.
Contacts
A FRAGMENT OF NAPOLEON'S FICTION NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Autograph working manuscript, an extract from the romantic novella Clisson et Eugenie, his autobiographical work of fiction, in French, beginning "...The freshness and the eyes of Amelie merited the attentions of Clisson...", n.p., [c.1795]
A FRAGMENT OF NAPOLEON'S FICTION NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Autograph working manuscript, an extract from the romantic novella Clisson et Eugenie, his autobiographical work of fiction, in French, beginning "...The freshness and the eyes of Amelie merited the attentions of Clisson...", n.p., [c.1795]
A FRAGMENT OF NAPOLEON'S FICTION NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Autograph working manuscript, an extract from the romantic novella Clisson et Eugenie, his autobiographical work of fiction, in French, beginning "...The freshness and the eyes of Amelie merited the attentions of Clisson...", n.p., [c.1795]
A FRAGMENT OF NAPOLEON'S FICTION NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Autograph working manuscript, an extract from the romantic novella Clisson et Eugenie, his autobiographical work of fiction, in French, beginning "...The freshness and the eyes of Amelie merited the attentions of Clisson...", n.p., [c.1795]
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