Toward a Poetics of Fusion

Robert Morrissey

in The Economy of Glory

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2013 | ISBN: 9780226924588
Published online May 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780226924595 | DOI:
Toward a Poetics of Fusion

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From the desolate island of Saint Helena emerges a work in which the epic material characteristic of the Bulletins and the intimate self-representation characteristic of Rousseau’s Confessions are fused together to form a strangely seductive hybrid operating along an axis with glory at one end and authenticity at the other. The Mémorial plays masterfully with multiple registers of story, point of view, and voice to give force and power to a tale constantly threatened by immobility and ennui. The challenge is to give the reader a text that will rise above the very boredom it is relating. Las Cases creates an open, polyphonic work in which the adventure of the text plays as important a role as any of the actors it represents, and which textually puts on display the workings of the politics of fusion. Against his jailor Sir Hudson Lowe, Napoleon enters into a struggle to the death for recognition, in which the ideal of glory is reworked and projected onto the everyday with Napoleon becoming an everyman figure.

Keywords: Las Cases; Saint Helena; epic; fusion; national reconciliation; polyphony; ennui; recognition; everyman

Chapter.  13759 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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