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Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica   By: (1862-1922)

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Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica by John Kendrick Bangs is a delightful and witty satirical novel that takes a comedic jab at the powerful figure of Napoleon Bonaparte. Blending historical fiction and humor, the author presents a fictionalized account of Napoleon's early life through the eyes of a bumbling and eccentric narrator.

The story revolves around the misadventures of our protagonist, who is enlisted by Napoleon's family to document the future emperor's life. From the very beginning, it becomes evident that Mr. Bonaparte is not your typical hero. His clumsy and inept nature leads to countless hilarious situations, providing an amusing contrast to the grandeur associated with Napoleon Bonaparte.

Bangs employs a smart and light-hearted narrative style, often punctuating the events with sarcastic asides and tongue-in-cheek commentary. The author's wit shines through in every chapter, allowing the readers to consistently find humor in the outlandish scenarios and characters. Whether it's Mr. Bonaparte's unintentional blunders or the eccentricity of Napoleon's family, the story never fails to bring a smile to one's face.

One of the highlights of this book is its unique exploration of historical figures. Bangs successfully humanizes Napoleon Bonaparte by presenting him as a flawed and vulnerable character. Contrary to the usual depiction of the legendary emperor, the author focuses on his upbringing, personal quirks, and relationships, shedding light on the man behind the Napoleon myth. This fresh perspective adds depth and complexity to the story, making it more relatable and engaging for the readers.

Furthermore, the novel provides a fascinating glimpse into the social and political landscape of Napoleon's time. Bangs skillfully weaves real historical events and figures into the narrative, painting a vivid picture of the era. As readers follow Mr. Bonaparte's endeavors, they are immersed in a world filled with intrigue, betrayal, and power struggles, creating a compelling backdrop for the comedic escapades.

While Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica is undoubtedly a humorous book, it also serves as a subtle critique of hero-worship and the obsession with power. Bangs cleverly uses satire to challenge society's perceptions of greatness, reminding readers that even the most influential figures have their flaws and ridiculous moments. Through laughter, the author encourages us to question authority and challenge conventional wisdom.

In conclusion, John Kendrick Bangs' Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica is a delightful and clever novel that cleverly blends history and humor. With its witty writing style, memorable characters, and insightful social commentary, the book offers a fresh perspective on Napoleon Bonaparte, while keeping readers entertained from the first page to the last. It is a must-read for anyone looking for a good laugh and a unique take on historical fiction.

First Page:

This etext was produced from the 1902 Harper and Brothers edition by David Price, email


by John Kendrick Bangs


Napoleon's father, Charles Bonaparte, was the honored progenitor of thirteen children, of whom the man who subsequently became the Emperor of the French, by some curious provision of fate, was the second. That the infant Napoleon should have followed rather than led the procession is so foreign to the nature of the man that many worthy persons unfamiliar with the true facts of history have believed that Joseph was a purely apocryphal infant, or, as some have suggested, merely an adopted child; but that Napoleon did upon this occasion content himself with second place is an incontrovertible fact. Nor is it entirely unaccountable. It is hardly to be supposed that a true military genius, such as Napoleon is universally conceded to have been, would plunge into the midst of a great battle without first having acquainted himself with the possibilities of the future. A reconnoitre of the field of action is the first duty of a successful commander; and hence it was that Napoleon, not wishing to rush wholly unprepared into the battle of life, assigned to his brother Joseph the arduous task of first entering into the world to see how the land lay... Continue reading book >>

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