Napoleon Translations

Title of Translation

Eulogy of a Death

Title of Original Work

Panégyrique d'un mort

Author(s) of Translation

Danielle Mettler
Samuel Krc

Document Type


Date of Translation Publication


Original Work Publication Date


Translator's Note

No official eulogy was written for Napoleon in 1821, the year of his death. More than five years after he was put in exile on Saint Helena in 1815, Napoleon was still a sore subject in the French political scene. An official eulogy glorifying the former emperor simply would have been too controversial. Nevertheless, countless French citizens still saw Napoleon as the nation's hero, the man who breathed life into a land suffocated by the turmoil of the revolution. This particular eulogy is one of many unofficial works that paid homage to Napoleon following his death. The author, who remains anonymous, overflows with pride for the French nation and nostalgia for an unforgettable era. As it retells Napoleon's life story, the eulogy celebrates his achievements while acknowledging his faults. It simultaneously mythologizes and humanizes Napoleon, comparing him to Alexander the Great and yet revealing that at heart, Napoleon was a man of the people. Though the French government refused to admit it at the time, the author of the eulogy was aware that Napoleon Bonaparte would live on as an unforgettable historical legend.