“Baroque Explorations” is a blog about my research into past life, research that goes into writing my novels. For my blog on the adventures of my writing life, click here. For either blog, if you subscribe—see lower left—you will be sent new posts. Ipromise that your inbox will not be flooded.
Quote of the moment: “The future is the past, returning through another gate.” — from a poem by Victoria Chang
A master of the sound bite, Napoleon would have been in his element in this Age of Twitter. Here is a sampling of some pithy Napoleon quotes, some of which his stepdaughter Hortense views ironically in The Game of Hope.
“What a novel my life has been!”
“Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.”
“If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.”
“All celebrated people lose dignity on a close view.”
“Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.”
“Victory belongs to the most persevering.”
“History is the lies we all agree upon.”
“What then is, generally speaking, the truth of history? A fable agreed upon.”
“A throne is only a bench covered in velvet.”
“Our hour is marked, and no one can claim a moment of life beyond what fate has predestined.”
“A leader is a dealer in hope.”
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
What are some of your favorites?
While researching The Game of Hope, intrepid traveller and fellow Francophil Ann Coombs sent me photos she took at a special exhibition at Malmaison. This was the one that took my breath away: It's a mock-up of the house Josephine rented before she met Napoleon, then...read more
Hortense was an exceptionally creative person. At Madame Campan's Institute she was fortunate to have Isabey for an art instructor and Jadin for music. Hortense painted and composed songs throughout her life, but she is most known for the song "Partant pour la Syrie,"...read more
I have been doing quite a bit of research into Phantasmagorie for the Young Adult novel I'm writing about Josephine's daughter Hortense. Phantasmagoria was an extremely popular "show" put on for both children and adults in France after the French Revolution,...read more
As I've no doubt mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Renaissance magazine. I devour every issue as soon as it arrives. It's largely intended for devotees of living history, specifically those who participate in Renaissance fairs. That aspect of the publication doesn't...read more
What is the history of April Fools' Day? A reference to April Fools' Day pranks has been found as early as 1539, in a comical poem by Flemish writer Eduard De Dene. Over a century later, in 1686, John Aubrey of England noted "Fooles holy day" observed on April 1st. At...read more
Tracking down facts can be a time-crunching task ... but a very enjoyable one when the goal is in sight. I began with a simple question: Where was Hortense's father executed and buried? I think these were things she might have wanted to know. False leads In the...read more