Soldier, Scholar, Horseman, He

A double view of Napoléon as seen by Stendhal and Tolstoy. The first, whose whole life followed the curve of the Emperor's ascent to power and fall from it, is deeply marked by the heroic project. His characters, particularly Julien Sorel, live with the myth of Napoléon. A generation later, Tolstoy depicts the man as a cowardly despot, in love with his own image, blind to the tide of events that finally overtakes him. Whether depicted as a hero or a villain, it is finally the man in literature who will reach us on the deepest level. It is the alchemical transformation of history through art that will imbue the factual with the mystery it possesses while it is being lived. (RCL)

Lamont, Rosette C
Volume 1976-1977; 5(1-2): 39-48.