With the brand new Ridley Scott movie “Napoleon,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, hitting theaters this week, Normal Bonaparte is having a cultural second.
One other one.
As historic figures go, Napoleon maintains a ubiquity 200 years after his loss of life that far exceeds influential contemporaries like James Madison, Emperor Kokaku or Czar Alexander I. That’s partly due to his historic significance and army feats. However possibly additionally it’s that hat. (One just sold for $2 million.)
Listed here are 10 extra methods to immerse your self in Napoleana earlier than, after or in lieu of seeing the movie.
1. Learn a biography
Napoleon has fascinated biographers for 2 centuries. Andrew Roberts’s “Napoleon: A Life” (2014) is a complete take a look at the rise and fall of a person who made it from Corsica to the Palace of Versailles to (practically) mastery of all of Europe.
In The New York Occasions Guide Assessment, Duncan Kelly called it “epically scaled” and stated, “Roberts brilliantly conveys the sheer power and presence of Napoleon the organizational and army whirlwind.” At 900-plus pages, it should admittedly take you longer to learn than watching the 157-minute movie.
2. Take heed to a podcast
On “Noble Blood,” the host Dana Schwartz takes a more in-depth take a look at royals of all stripes. One episode, “Dumas and Napoleon,” reveals an surprising hyperlink between Thomas-Alexandre Dumas (the daddy of the “Three Musketeers” writer Alexandre), a Creole common who served beneath, but in addition clashed with, Napoleon.
3. Go to a museum
The Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides in Paris has room after room of Napoleonic banners, uniforms and memorabilia, sufficient to overload essentially the most ardent fan.
Considerably extra ghoulishly, you possibly can see the mattress by which Napoleon died in exile on the island of St. Helena. After which there’s his horse, Vizir, and his canine, each stuffed and on show.
Afterward, head to Napoleon’s tomb beneath the Dôme des Invalides.
4. See a portray
Because you’re already in Paris to see that horse, stop by the Louvre for one in every of Jacques-Louis David’s masterworks: “Le Sacre de Napoléon” (1807).
At an enormous 33 by 20 ft, and filled with historic characters, the portray depicts the second in 1804 when Napoleon, within the presence of the Pope, topped himself emperor at Notre Dame.
5. Learn a novel
In Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece “Conflict and Peace,” Napoleon not solely preoccupies the minds of the Russian characters as his Grande Armée bears down on Moscow, however he additionally seems as a serious character himself. Removed from a inventory determine, he’s a completely realized individual within the novel, displaying egotism, anger and a liking for snuff.
Don’t be postpone that upon its launch in 1886, The Times panned it.
If that famously thick ebook is an excessive amount of, there are a number of movie variations. Herbert Lom performs Napoleon in a 1956 Hollywood movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda. And Prokofiev wrote an opera that was final seen on the Met in 2008, however is available on streaming companies.
Napoleon’s towering affect on his period means he looms over many different novels, together with William Thackeray’s “Vainness Truthful” and Stendhal’s “Le Rouge et le Noir.” And it’s no coincidence that the pig who turns into a dictator in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” is called Napoleon.
There are various different movies primarily based on Napoleon’s life, however one of many classics was made 10 years earlier than Ridley Scott was born. Of his 1927 silent epic “Napoléon,” the director Abel Gance boasted: “I’ve made a tangible effort towards a considerably richer and extra elevated type of cinema.”
The movie has improvements to spare: Large-screen formatting, fast modifying and hand-held camerawork all took large steps ahead with its launch. It may be discovered for viewing at dwelling, nevertheless it additionally pops up in revival homes occasionally.
7. Have fun
Napoleon, together with his distinctive (and normally ahistorical) mannerisms, turns up as a supporting character, or simple joke, in a variety of movies. Marlon Brando performs him in “Désirée” (1954) and Rod Steiger in “Waterloo” (1970).
His look within the time-travel comedy “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989) is lots lighter: Terry Camilleri’s Napoleon, collected from a battlefield and thrust into Eighties Southern California, bowls, devours ice cream and enjoys a waterslide at a park referred to as (what else?) Waterloo.
8. Play a sport
Historical past buffs can reshape the world within the long-running laptop sport Civilization. (“There might not be a sport franchise I’ve loved extra persistently during the last twenty years than Civilization,” the Occasions reviewer Seth Schiesel wrote in 2010.)
Napoleon seems solely as a common within the newest iteration, Civilization VI, however in Civilization V, he leads the French forces. Right here’s an opportunity to lastly win the Battle of Waterloo and possibly conquer the world.
9. Watch a cartoon
Within the Bugs Bunny quick “Napoleon Bunny-Part” (1956), Bugs encounters Napoleon and rapidly infuriates the simply infuriated caricature, as solely Bugs Bunny can, whereas narrowly eluding the guillotine. A spotlight is when he disguises himself as Josephine and slightly simply fools the little common. “What’s up, Nappy?”
10. Eat dessert
After all of the tomes, movies and touring, reward your self. You could possibly make a scrumptious mille-feuille, the puff pastry with cream, utilizing the New York Times recipe. Or simply purchase one at the namesake pâtisserie Mille-Feuille on LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village.
Oh, sure — the mille-feuille is usually often called a Napoleon. Bon appétit, mon général.