De la campagne d’Italie à Waterloo, la scène de bataille dans le roman
Copyright (c) 2020 Michel Delon
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Can a novelist recount a battle? Above all a Napoleonic battle, at a time when knightly combat gives way to mass slaughter, when the use of artillery marks an irrevocable change? Balzac planned, but never wrote, a novel called La Bataille. He chose the Battle of Essling of 1809, when Napoleon decisively replaced Bonaparte, when the Revolutionary general disappeared before the imperial conqueror. Pigault-Lebrun’s Jérôme, Nancy’s Alphonse de Coucy, and the young novelist Sophie Gay’s Mémoires d’un jeune aide-de-camp help us to understand Fabrice Del Dongo’s blindness in La Chartreuse de Parme as well as to appreciate La Bataille (1997), Patrick Rambaud’s delightful pastiche of the novel that Balzac did not write.