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Napoleon and Romanticism

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Of the three, it was Byron (1788-1824) who made the biggest impact during his lifetime. His poems acted as a major source of inspiration for generations of Romantics. Unfortunately, his verses have not lasted well. His most famous poems are very long and belong to a more leisurely age when people had the time to read such things. But Don Juan still sparkles with a wit that is most un-English and the shorter lyrical verses can still give much pleasure.
The defeat of Napoleon brought no improvement in the condition of the masses. After 1815 there was a deep fall, which paralyzed trade and brought a wide unemployment and poverty. The ranks of the unemployed were swelled by a flood of discharged soldiers and sailors. The victors of Waterloo and Trafalgar were forced to beg for crusts of bread in the streets of London, Manchester and Portsmouth.

In an analogy to Stalin, Napoleon, the gravedigger of the French Revolution, was seen by many
as the continuator of the revolutionary traditions of 1789-93. Wherever his armies set foot, they set about smashing the old order in Europe, and therefore, in a distorted form, they stood for revolution. On the other hand, the armies of England everywhere defended the forces of reaction. Nelson, the national hero, hanged the patriots of Naples and delivered them over to torture and murder at the hands of the reactionaries. Inside England, the reactionaries went on the rampage, smashing printing presses and beating up suspected radicals.

One might say that occasionally the pose seemed more important to him than the idea itself. But

this was entirely characteristic of the Romantics in general. It was also characteristic of many

Romantics to admire, even worship – Napoleon, the Corsican upstart who had hijacked the

French Revolution in its period of decline. The attraction felt for the person of Bonaparte among

the Romantics bears a certain resemblance to the attitude of many foreign intellectuals to Stalin.

Sincerely sympathizing with the cause of the Russian Revolution and the USSR, they lacked the

Marxist understanding to be able to analyze the real nature of Stalin’s regime or see any

difference between it and the regime of workers’ democracy established by Lenin and Trotsky in

1917.

Therefore, napoleon is considered just the gravedigger of the French revolution and not the

nemesis.

Romanticism

Romanticism was name given to the new tendency. According to "Walter pater", ‘it is the

addition of curiosity to the desires of beauty’ , the eagerness for new impression and new

pleasure, to be sought where the hard work of nature or the artist had been most cunning. More

than this it was in revolt against authority, tradition and convention, whether political, social,