The Longman companion to Napoleonic Europe

The Longman companion to Napoleonic Europe

Book Reviews 992 to utilise the literary texts to biographical ends. He makes good use of the better recent studies on the period (Mauzi, Deprun) in...

174KB Sizes 8 Downloads 737 Views

Book Reviews


to utilise the literary texts to biographical ends. He makes good use of the better recent studies on the period (Mauzi, Deprun) in situating this individual in the cultural and emotional currents of the age. One might regret that the etude thtmatique is largely based on the one text ofDolbreuse, rather than on the whole corpus, but that novel ofpurity, fall, and redemption via religion is of sufficient interest (if only because of the way it prefigures Sainte-Beuve, Guttinguer et al.) to make these pages very rewarding reading. One could also regret what occasionally seems undue enthusiasm for somewhat tawdry prose, and, as all too often with recent books from this publisher, an inexcusable number of typographical errors (all luckily minor and easy to correct). In the survey of critical studies, note might have been made of the way in which the French had to invent prkomantisme in order to prove that their Romanticism was not a foreign import (from Germany, yet!). But we must be very grateful to Gimenez for this careful and very helpful study of a figure of considerable historical interest. Frank Paul Bowman University of Pennsylvania

The Longman Companion to Napoleonic Europe, Clive Emsley (London, Longman Higher Education, 1993) 320 pp.

New York:

Anyone who writes history becomes familiar with the expression, ‘the devil is in the details’. Both the seasoned professor and the first-year college student frequently find themselves paging through endless volumes to discover those elusive bits of factual information on which an argument stands or falls. These quests always end with the frustrated researcher wishing for a set of comprehensive, but compact, reference books that would make these tedious pursuits unnecessary. The Longman company of Great Britain is currently attempting to meet the demand for such source books by publishing its series of Longman Companions to History, whose individual volumes each deal with a specific region and period. The turbulent years of Bonaparte’s reign form the subject matter for the latest of these works, Clive Emsley’s The Longman Companion to Napofeonic Europe. The author has put his expertise in nineteenth-century European history to good use in compiling this array of practical information that will help any writer of history to fill in missing details. Although Emsley aims his work primarily at students, even the professional historian can profit from the wealth of data that his volume contains. Much of the book’s contents focus on the military aspects of Napoleonic Europe. No work on this topic could avoid dealing with Bonaparte’s martial exploits, and Emsley gives them the attention they merit. He provides a brief chronology for each of Bonaparte’s campaigns, as well as a glossary of major battles. One section of the volume describes the various coalitions and leagues that formed in opposition to the French Emperor, while another presents brief descriptions of the conferences, congresses and treaties that resulted from the Napoleonic Wars. This collection of data should prove particularly useful to the era’s students who need a synopsis of military history to make sense of the period, but whose main interests lie in other areas. History

ofEuropean Ideas


Book Reviews

The author also offers his readers valuable information on the administrative and political dimensions of Bonaparte’s Europe. A great deal of this data deals with the French Empire. Emsley provides both lists and maps of the territories annexed to France, the departments into which their conquerors divided them, and their chef-Zieus. Several pages of concise prose and a well-designed flow chart present an excellent overview of the Empire’s governing system. Emsley’s work covers more than just France, however. His book includes chronologies of domestic politics for 15 regions and nations, including such peripheral states as the Ottoman Empire and the United States. A section of the volume devoted to rulers and governments gives brief, but effective, summaries of political systems in Europe’s major powers and lists the heads of state in minor principalities, such as Wiirttemberg and Saxony. While the bulk of The Longman Companion to Napoleonic Europe focuses on military and political affairs, its author does not completely ignore other facets of the age. Short sections of the book also deal with cultural, intellectual and economic affairs. A two-page chronology places important musical compositions, literary works and scientific discoveries into the context of their times. Emsley devotes a greater proportion of his volume to a presentation of demographic and economic statistics for Austria, Britain, France, Prussia and Russia. He concedes that such numbers are unreliable, but they achieve his stated goal of providing a frame of reference for comparing the potential strengths of each of Europe’s major powers. The book’s centrepiece, however, is a section that features biographies of 188 important individuals of the Napoleonic era. This collection of single-paragraph life stories acts as the book’s unifying principle, by highlighting personages from a wide range of backgrounds. While statesmen and soldiers dominate the biographical sketches, cultural and intellectual figures also receive their due. A profile of the French painter AntoineJean Gros, for example, follows that of the English politician William Windham Grenville. As this illustration further demonstrates, Emsley draws his subjects from all the nations of Europe. The diversity of the biographies only enhances their value as supplemental reading for anyone trying to sort out the host of historical characters who appear in other texts on early nineteenth-century Europe. Each profile presents the type of pertinent information that allows the reader to grasp an individual’s importance in the period’s history. In a book of this type, of course, almost any informed reader can quibble about the author’s decisions on the data that he omits. Emsley’s failure to mention the germinal franc, for example, represents one such criticism. No amount of nit-picking, however, can hide the fact that Clive Emsley’s Longman Companion to Napoleonic Europe provides a huge amount of useful information in its 327 pages. It may not provide the answer to every question, but it is an indispensible desk reference for anyone who studies modern European history. Stephen

M. Peterson

Northwestern University, IL

Guardian of Dialogue: Max Scheler’s Phenomenology, Sociology of Knowledge and Philosophy of Love, Michael D. Barber (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1993), 200 pp. Among twentieth-century thinkers the phenomenologist, Max Scheler, proves to be one of the least understood and certainly least appreciated. Overshadowed by Husserl on one

Volume 18, No. 6, November 1994