Napoleon and the revolt agianst togetherness

October 1810. The book was censored and then it was banned. So many representations and so much insistence overtaxed his patience. In order to give a definite answer to the petitioners, he took the book up again and lost his temper with the passages that had already worried him. The negotiations of the previous week had almost saved the book; but by her direct solicitations, Mme de Stael had lost it. She had reawakened an almost dormant anger.

---Napoleon at the Penthouse at Jaffa Antoine-Jean Gros This piece, done in 1804, depicts Napoleon with the prisoners at Jaffa. Napoleon had conquered the city in one day. A large number of prisoners died there because there wasn't enough food for them.---Read More:

Not only were actual politics involved between Mme de Stael and Emperor Napoleon; there was more than a hostility of circumstances. There was more even than a temperamental incompatibility; there was an essential opposition of characters, ideas and minds.

He was cold and crafty even in his angers, secretly ardent, busy from a distance with his most far-reaching plans, and dependent upon the future. She, on the other hand, preferred friendship and love, burned eagerly for systems and men, concealed nothing: an improviser, changeable and entirely given up to the present. He unjustly despised humanity, while she imprudently trusted it. She was generous and he was implacable; she was a utopian and he was a calculator. She wanted to draw the Revolution back to its principles, to steep it again in its sources; he wanted to fulfill it in its consequences, to drown it in its own overflow. She wanted to moderate it; he wanted to transcend it.

---Colnaghi's description of this work follows: "On the death of Madame de Staël in 1817 and as a homage to her, Prince August of Prussia, cousin of King Frederic-Guillaume III, asked Madame Récamier, whom he had met in Coppet, to organise the posthumous commissioning of her portrait. In 1818, Madame Récamier wrote to David who was going to portray her as Corinne crowned in the Capitol and remarked 40,000 FF for the commission. As a result, perhaps due to the high price, David’s portrait was refused by Prince August who instead asked Gérard for his assistance. On 6th April 1819, Prince August wrote to Gérard offering him 18,000 FF and the choice between representing Madame de Staël under the guise of Corinne at the time of her triumph in Capitol or at the Cape Miseno. Gérard chose the latter. Finished in 1822, this portrait was given by Prince August to his lifelong friend, Madam Récamier, in exchange for her portrait painted by Gérard in 1805 (located in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris).--- Read More:

Napoleon was descended through Robespierre from Louis XIV and Caesar; she was the daughter, through Mirabeau, of Rousseau and Montesquieu. Mme de Stael believed in ideas, which he distrusted; in enthusiasm, at which he smiled; in the intellect, which he feared. He sought to establish order by strength; she sought to establish happiness by justice. He was intoxicated with grandeur; she, with liberty.

Decidedly, there was no place for her in the imperial edifice. Their conflict resulted from the nature of things. Through the voice of imperial wrath, destiny had spoken.

---Wait, what, I hear you cry. Well, like that earlier French beauty and icon Madame de Pompadour, it is not altogether clear who the lovely Juliette Bernard’s father was and there is reason to believe that the enormously wealthy banker Récamier, who was thirty years her senior and who she married at the age of fifteen was actually her father and had hit upon matrimony as a novel way of making sure that she, his illegitimate daughter, inherited all of his wealth when he died.--- Read More:

Banished once more,Mme de Stael dawdled and loitered along the way home to Switzerland. In Geneva she learned that both she and her son Auguste were henceforth forbidden to enter France without police permission.

But the wall suddenly collapsed. Two weeks in the spring of 1814 were enough, at the end of which the Emperor was an outlaw himself. Exiles flowed back into Paris en masse. In May, Mme de Stael hastened to Paris; Mme Recamier returned unhurriedly from Rome. When their first ecstasies died down, did each woman find the other really the person she had left? Until now, they had been accustomed to love one another only in the midst of anxiety and misfortune. How would their relations stand up in prosperity?

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---Juliette Récamier, by Joseph Chinard, from 1805-1806. In 1793, at the age of 15, she married the banker Jacques, 42, the longstanding lover of her mother who was probably her real father. This was at the height of the revolutionary Terror - if he was guillotined, she would inherit his money.---Read More:

In her own home, Mme Recamier luxuriated in fashionable success. Quickly wearied by these mundanities, Mme e Stael left for Switzerland that July. Mme de Recamier vainly urged her to return to Paris for the autumn, but she did not reappear until more than a year later, and then only to make a final stir and to die.

In this last year of her illness, it first occurred to her to invite Chateaubriand and Mme Recamier together. Had she guessed in fact that for about two years her beautiful friend had been secretly disturbed by this tempestuous author? Was it her desire that he should take the place in Juliette’s heart that she herself was soon to vacate?

---And her image and fame has lived on, as she surely would have wished: René Magritte, Perspective, Madame Récamier de David, 1951.--- Read More:

What did Mme Recamier do during the days of mourning which followed two weeks after? She wept, certainly, for the vanished friend, but she dreamed too, of the man this friend had bequeathed her. Did she already know that at this moment Chateaubriand, disgraced and exiled in a chateau in Perche, was evoking for her, in a volume of his memoirs, the eager reveries of his youth and tracing the outlines of the charmer he was later to call his Sylphide?

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