posted March 5, 2007

Talk to Examine the Legend of Napoleon

Hope College graduate Julie Meyers will present the address "Deflating the Legend: Michelet's Portrayal of Napoleon" on Wednesday, March 14, at 4 p.m. in the Maas Center conference room.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Meyers is a 1999 graduate of Hope, where she majored in French and Spanish, and is currently a doctoral candidate in French language and literature at the University of Chicago. Her talk, which will be delivered in English, is being presented through the college's French Cultural Studies Colloquium.

According to Meyers, although Napoleon Bonaparte did not set foot in France after 1815, he was an omnipresent force in French culture and politics well into the 19th century.

"Alternately glorified and demonized, idealized and humanized, he inspired a plethora of representations in literature, art and politics," she notes in her description of her talk. "He was seen both as the savior and preserver of the Revolution and as the traitor of its most fundamental ideals. At the same time, some saw him as the fusion and incarnation of all the French people, while for others he was simply an opportunistic foreigner."

The presentation will include a brief biography of Napoleon and an overview of the legends that he has inspired, ending with French historian Jules Michelet's changing representations of him and his ultimate rejection of the very role of the "grand homme" (great man).

The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia at 11th Street.