He came, he saw, – and then he wrote a novella? So it seems. Although "Clisson and Eugénie," a romance penned by Napoleon, was completed when the future French emperor was still just a 26-year-old artillery officer.
According to Bookseller, "Clisson and Eugénie," written in 1795, tells the story of "the triumphant soldier Clisson, who turns his back on worldly success to marry Eugénie." (Eugénie also happens to be the name of Napoleon's first
wife love. )
After Napoleon's death, the manuscript was divided into six parts, pieces of which have been "traded for decades among French bibliophiles" and incomplete versions of the work have been published in France previously.
But a final missing section was only discovered in December 2007. An English-language version of the complete work will be published by Gallic Books in the UK this fall.
The novella is just 40 pages long, but the book's publisher, Jane Aitken promises that it reveals "one of history’s great leaders to also be an accomplished writer of fiction," and offers "a fascinating insight into how the young Napoleon viewed love, women and military life."
However, no guarantee that all readers will agree. In 1939 a Time magazine reviewer read the then-incomplete version of "Clisson and Eugénie" and relegated it to the ranks of other "dictators' grade C works" including Hitler's water colors and "The Cardinal's Mistress," a romance by Mussolini.