Research grants 2011


  • Romain BUCLON : Espace créé, espace vécu. Le rôle de Milan capitale dans les stratégies de représentation du pouvoir napoléonien (1796-1814) [Created space, lived space. The role of Milan in the Napoleonic strategies of the representation of power]
    PhD thesis jointly supervised by Professors Gilles Bertrand and Luigi Mascilli Migliorini, Université Grenoble 2 and Istituto universitario orientale di Napoli

    This thesis fits within in a currently popular triple historiographic trend: the history of Milan and Lombardy, the history of towns, their territory and function, and the history of power and the representation of that power. The initial approach will be to compare Milan with other large cities both in France and in Italy, namely Paris, Rome, Naples and Lyons, the aim being better to explain the specific role played by Milan. It is true, Napoleon’s principal residence was Paris, a city in which he accumulated the titles of First Consul of French Republic and of President of the Italian Republic, then Emperor of the French and King of Italy. The aim of this thesis is to highlight: the role of Milan in terms of Napoleonic strategies for the staging of the representation of power; the modalities for this political theatre; and the way in which it was perceived by contemporaries. A broad range of sources has been chosen in order to get the best general picture of the space created and the way it was seen. So, in addition to «usual» sources (newspapers, correspondence, memoirs, private diaries), the juridical aspects will be considered (orders and legislative texts), as will contemporary literature and theatre (opera and plays) (the domain of the intellectual elite), official power theatricality (as seen in the coining of medals and coins), architecture (buildings, plans, imperial ordnances), and pictural and sculptural policies.

  • Pierre HORN : L’adhésion au régime napoléonien dans les départements nord-orientaux du Premier Empire (1810-1813) – étude de l’Esprit public dans la Moselle, les Forêts, l’Ourthe et la Roër [Allegiance to the Napoleonic regime in the north-eastern departments of the First Empire (1810-1813) – a study of public spirit in the Moselle, Forêts, Ourthe and Roer regions]
    PhD thesis jointly supervised by Professors Jacques-Olivier Boudon, Paris IV-Sorbonne and Gabriele B. Clemens, Universität des Saarlandes

    At the end of 1813, the Grand Empire, which stretched from Lübeck to Rome, was a breaking point. The armies of the whole of Europe were soon to invade France, and Prussian propaganda, unleashed, was to have great sport in ex-Départements Rhénans. The story of Prussian groaning under the French yoke is well known. But this account is all too simplistic.
    To this day, no one has been able to measure precisely popular sentiment in the annexed departments regarding the Napoleonic regime. Some historians have flagged up sincere attachment, whilst others have noted frank and categorical rejection. These diametrically opposed opinions are to a certain extent the result of French and German nationalistic historiography in the years between WWI and WWII, where the history of the period was re-appropriated for political or ideological reasons.
    Since it has been the custom to adopt a Manichean interpretation, either adhesion or rejection, many have caricatured a situation which required finesse. The aim of this is to show that during the period 1810-1813, given a situation of which combined economic protectionism on the one hand with conscription on the other, the peoples of Départements of Moselle, Forêts, l’Ourthe and Roër (today in France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg) both gained and lost during Napoleon’s rule.

  • Joshua MEEKS : L’Empire et la construction de l’État : la Corse dans les années 1790 [The Empire and the construction of the State: Corsica in the 1790s]
    PhD thesis supervised by Professor Dr Rafe Blaufarb, Florida State University

    In the 1790s, the island of Corsica underwent a great deal of change and transition, from French rule before and during the early parts of the Revolution, to rejection of that rule (a rejection that found Corsica’s most famous son on the wrong side), to British rule, back to French rule during the Directory, and finally transitioning to Napoleonic rule. This thesis will examine these various attempts at rule, and place them in the context of the origins and early years of Napoleonic state-building and empire. Through a careful examination and comparison of archival material relating to the establishment and maintenance of both the British and French state in Corsica, I will engage with questions concerning the relationship of the early Napoleonic period with the Revolution, highlighting both continuity and discontinuity, and the way in which Napoleon and the Napoleonic state situated itself in relation to the British legacy on the island. In addition, a key question will be how the ideas and expectations of some of the key figures in this history, including Napoleon, were reflected in the reality of a peripheral location such as Corsica.

  • Olivier VARLAN : Armand-Louis de Caulaincourt, duc de Vicence (1773-1827) : étude d’une carrière diplomatique sous le Premier Empire, de la cour de Napoléon au ministère des Relations extérieures [Armand-Louis de Caulaincourt, duc de Vicence (1773-1827): a study of a diplomatic career during the First Empire, from Napoleon’s court to the Ministry of Foreign Relations]
    PhD thesis supervised by Professor Jacques-Olivier Boudon, Paris IV-Sorbonne

    Armand de Caulaincourt was born into a noble family from Picardy. After serving as a cavalry officer the Revolutionary armies, he rose rapidly through the ranks, entering the Consular and later Imperial courts, first as ADC to the emperor (1802) and later as Grand Ecuyer (1804). Despite the importance of his court role, Napoleon decided that he should be a diplomat. After a series of minor missions, Caulaincourt was appointed French ambassador in St Petersburg at the end of 1807. As a fervent supporter of the Franco-Russian alliance, the Duc de Vicence (as he had become in 1808) participated in all the great Franco-Russian negotiations of the period. He also however had a grand stand view of the worsening of diplomatic relations between the two empires. When Caulaincourt returned to Paris in June 1811, the results of his political career were poor. His dogged defence of Czar Alexander and his opposition to the military campaign in preparation irritated Napoleon. But his actions earned him a new reputation after the French disaster in Russia, that of a « man of peace ». And this was an image which the emperor was to use when he sent his Grand Ecuyer to conduct the negotiations at the Congress of Prague, in 1813, and then again, in 1814, at Châtillon. The Duc de Vicence, who by this point had been appointed Minister for Foreign Relations, did not manage to achieve peace; he was finally forced to negotiate the abdication of his master. A brief period as Minister for Foreign Relations during the Hundred Days marked the end of his political career. Despite the fact that Caulaincourt was a major figure during the First Empire and famous memorialist of the Russian Campaign in 1812, he has not been the subject of a major study. The aim of this thesis is to use the private archives of the Duc de Vicence so as to shed new light the different parts of his career, concentrating on his action and thought as a diplomat. In doing this I also hope to offer new perspectives for the study of Napoleon’s diplomatic personnel and to re-evaluate the role of those who worked alongside Napoleon.


  • Hanan HASHEM : Satire des règles du Savoir-vivre sous le Second Empire, approche sociopoétique de la comédie chez Emile Augier, Alexandre Dumas fils et Victorien Sardou [The satire of savoir-vivre rules during the Second Empire. A sociopoetic approach to comedy in Emile Augier, Alexander Dumas fils and Victorien Sardou]
    PhD thesis supervised by Geneviève Jolly, UFR des Arts, Université de Strasbourg

    The study of the rules of etiquette/life style in the comedies of Emile Augier, Alexandre Dumas fils and Victorien Sardou implies, on the one hand, the socio-poetical analysis (a field launched by Alain Montandon) of the theatrical domain and, on the other, the study of authors little-known today but who marked the history of French theatre and who form part of France’s dramatic heritage. On reading the comedies of the triumvirate Augier-Dumas fils-Sardou and imagining them on stage, it becomes clear that the writing implicitly takes account of the etiquette/life style of the period and that there is a sociopoetic which governs the scripts and acting. What is the sociopoetic of the theatre? What are the dramatic and theatrical elements which make it possible to talk of a ‘sociopoetic’? How can ‘sociopoetics’ engender the comedic dimension proper to the comedy of manners, which in itself makes it possible to describe a certain theatre as « light », a theatre of entertainment? Can etiquette/life style be the canvas of comedy? And viewing things from stage side, can « sociopoetics » govern acting style? How do « sociopoetics » influence the pace of a play? These are the questions which will be addressed in this thesis, via the study of the texts themselves and period directors’ notebooks.


  • Mélanie SALITOT : Les Didot amateurs de livres illustrés à Paris (1754-1855) [The Didot family, lovers of illustrated books published in Paris (1754-1855)]
    PhD thesis supervised by Professor Marianne Grivel, Paris IV-Sorbonne

    The Didot family left its mark on the deluxe publishing industry in Paris, and their name is associated, still today, with books beautifully produced, both in terms of the excellence of their texts and the quality of the book production. The Didot dynasty benefited from imperial advantages, and they were consecrated as the premier printers in Europe at the dawn of the 19th century, as a result of their monumental “du Louvre” illustrated books, baptised. As erudite book publisher, art lovers and bibliophiles, they were successively appointed as printers to the Senate, the imperial court and the Institut de France. They therefore participated in the great editorial enterprises of the empire – from General Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaigns to the emperor’s marriage – and of the early 19th century. They also worked with the great artists of the time, such as Jacques Louis David and his pupils, and this contributed to their reputation.
    The aim of this thesis is to further knowledge of this great dynasty, placing it in the context of deluxe publishing both in France and abroad in the 18th and 19th centuries. The research will be based on previously unused sources (notary acts, family and professional archives, correspondence); it will include analysis of newspapers and other period writings. One part of the thesis will be the constitution of a catalogue of the illustrated books produced by the Didot dynasty for almost a century, highlighting the evolution of their editorial choices and taking into account the artistic, political and economic issues important for publishers in the 18th and 19th centuries.

  • Wassili JOSEPH : François Rude (1784-1855), sculpteur romantique [François Rude (1784-1855), Romantic sculptor]
    PhD thesis supervised by Professor Barthélémy Jobert, Paris IV-Sorbonne

    The founder of Romanticism in sculpture, François Rude (1784-1855), is without doubt one of the best known sculptors in France, largely because of his high relief, the Départ des volontaires, on one of the pillars of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile in Paris and which, with its original nickname La Marseillaise, is one of the symbols of the French Republic.

    Rude received his artistic education at the École Impériale des Beaux-Arts and was obliged to go into exile in Belgium after 1815 where he was employed in Brussels by William I, King of the Netherlands. His first works, in the royal palace and in the Tervueren pavillion, show his perfect mastery of the neoclassical forms which he had learned in school in Paris. On his return to France in 1827, he was recognised at the Salon of 1833 as one of major sculptors of his generation via his work entitled, Jeune pêcheur napolitain, which was the initiator of the picturesque genre in sculpture. After the inauguration in 1836 of the Départ des volontaires, Rude became the sculptor of republican and imperial glory. His series of great men, dominated by his Napoléon s’éveillant à l’Immortalité, also includes sculptures of Maréchal Ney, General Bertrand, the academic Monge and the polemist Cavaignac. What is less known is his religious work, remarkable for its heteroclite approach to sources: the Italian renaissance provided one source for his Baptême in the Eglise de la Madeleine and the realism of the Burgundian masters provided another for his Calvaire in Saint Vincent de Paul. Following his teachers, her returned at the end of his career to mythological subjects, to which he brought a new naturalism.

    During his lifetime, Rude was to received a medal of honour during the Universal exhibition of 1855 and he was considered by Apollinaire to be the father of modern sculpture. He was held to the master for a whole generation of Second Empire sculptors, beginning with Jean Baptiste Carpeaux, and he was very inspirational to sculptors such as Dalou, Rodin and Bourdelle. Rude’s work has not been the subject of monographic study since the beginning of the 20th century. This thesis will be a biographical essay and a detailed catalogue.