School of Humanities and Social Science
HISTORY SEMINAR SERIES – 2009
Private Reminiscing, Public Remembering: Military Memoirs, Veteran Culture and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
Dr. Philip Dwyer, University of Newcastle
Friday, 20 March
10am to 11am
(with morning tea/coffee afterwards)
Cultural Collections Reading Room (near the Information Common)
Level 2, Auchmuty Library, Callaghan Campus
This paper explores French war memoirs published after the fall of Napoleon, during the Restoration and July monarchies. It examines the manner in which the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars were portrayed, and seeks to understand why particular representations succeeded in dominating the public imagination. These memoirs, and the stories that were told in them, informed and shaped the images surrounding the campaigns of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars for generations to come. Given the distance that often separated the writing from the event, they almost always contained projections, evasions, myths and outright fantasies. But that is exactly where their value lies. It allows the historian to establish the extent to which those who took part in the wars began to romanticize, or indeed contest the wars and the man most responsible for their being there – Napoleon – and the degree to which they engaged in the political and cultural debates of the day.
Philip Dwyer is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Newcastle. His primary research interest is eighteenth-century Europe with particular emphasis on the Napoleonic Empire. Philip’s articles have appeared in the International History Review, German History, the European History Quarterly, and French History. His recent book Napoleon: The Path to Power, won the Australian National Biography Award, and was also short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award.
Staff, students and members of the public are welcome