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Distinguished Speakers in Military History – Michaelmas 2010

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A Glorious Defeat? How the French Remembered the Armies of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

The paper will examine the memory of the Napoleonic armies in the nineteenth century and their integration into French national myths. How, after a generation of war and enormous sacrifices by soldiers and civilians, did France come to terms with defeat in 1815? What implications did the final defeat have for the French army as an institution? And to what extent did the French turn the defeat of Napoleon into a moral and cultural victory?

Professor of Modern History in the University of York, where he also serves as the director of the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Alan Forrest is a leading specialist on the history of France in the age of the Revolution and Napoleon, on which he authored and co-edited over ten books including Conscripts and Deserters: The Army and French Society during the Revolution and Empire, Napoleon’s Men: The Soldiers of the Revolution and Empire, Paris the Provinces and the French Revolution, and The Legacy of the French Revolutionary Wars: The Nation in Arms in French Republican Memory. Prof. Forrest serves on the editorial boards of French History and War in History, and is a member of the advisory committee for Annales Historiques de la Revolution Française.

This talk is part of the Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History series.

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