March 7, 2018

"Snuffing out Boney."



An 1814 cartoon by George Cruikshank.
George Cruikshank (27 September 1792 – 1 February 1878) was a British caricaturist and book illustrator, praised as the "modern Hogarth" during his life. His book illustrations for his friend Charles Dickens, and many other authors, reached an international audience.
"Boney" was a British epithet for Napoleon Bonaparte. Looking that up, I ran across the British cartoonist, James Gillray (1756 - 1815), called "the father of the political cartoon," whose "Maniac-raving's-or-Little Boney in a strong fit" is the reason for spread of the false belief that Napoleon was short:
In it, the famed caricaturist James Gillray portrays a diminutive Bonaparte flipping over furniture in a childish temper tantrum while raving about the “British Parliament” and “London Newspapers! Oh! Oh! Oh!”

24 comments:

Rob said...

Insert Bill Clinton joke here.

Michael K said...

Napoleon was short. I've seen his clothing. He was not a midget, however.

YoungHegelian said...

Weels me on your tartan trews, bonny laddie, highland laddie,
Tell me, tell me, a' the news, bonny laddie, highland laddie!
Saw ye Boney by the way, bonny laddie, highland laddie?
Blucher wi' his beard sae grey, bonny laddie highland laddie?


Bonny Laddie, Highland Laddie

By L. van Beethoven, Scottish Songs, Opus 108, #15

Bay Area Guy said...

After a few Cosmos, my wife likes to pull the Bonaparte.

CWJ said...

Presumably, the illustration refers to Napoleon's first abdication given the 1814 date. What is interesting to me is that the cartoonist, British though he may be, gives credit to the Russians. This is indicated by the snuffer's green attire and "eastern" headpiece.

Darrell said...

British propaganda.
Do you mean the Dutch men don't marry their pillows? Or consider making their guest pay, a treat?

Paddy O said...

Only loosely related to this post, I am enjoying re-reading both the Aubrey/Maturin series and the Richard Sharpe books, alternating between the two. About a third of the way through this task. Makes for a nice holistic approach to Napoleonic historical fiction.

The Godfather said...

@Paddy O: I take it you've already done Hornblower?

Tim in Vermont said...

You have to hand it to the Brits, it’s definitely their language.

Paddy O said...

Godfather, yes! Though I like Aubrey/Maturin better, Hornblower is a fine read. I didn't even think about weaving those into the mix. Now I will! Thanks for the reminder. Hornblower and Aubrey are such different kinds of captains, it won't feel like repetition.

Bill R said...

A British nursery rhyme from Napoleon's day.

Naughty Baby

Baby, baby, naughty baby,
Hush, you squalling thing, I say.
Peace this moment, peace, or maybe
Bonaparte will pass this way.

Baby, baby, he's a giant,
Tall and black as Rouen steeple,
And he sups and dines, rely on't,
Every day on naughty people.

Baby, baby, if he hears you
As he gallops past the house,
Limb from limb at once he'll tear you,
Just as pussy tears a mouse.

And he'll beat you, beat you, beat you,
And he'll beat you into pap,
And he'll eat you, eat you, eat you,
Every morsel snap, snap, snap.

Unknown said...

Consider Django Wexler's "Shadow Campaigns" series. Napoleon reimagined on a world where there is magic. Good fun, though he does have to cater to modern sensibilities some.

Here's the first: The Thousand Names

Michael said...

"1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow"

Blunders, blind luck, carnage. Epic. Excellent read.

William said...

Napoleon caused two million men to die before their time. Not so impressive by our standards, but, considering the fact that there were no repeating rifles or, for that matter, rifles back then, that's quite a lot of people to kill. For most of the 19th century, the heavyweight artists and intellectuals stood in awe of his achievements. Not just French writers, but Goethe, Heine and Lord Byron genuflected before his genius.......The Duke of Wellington had his men flogged and didn't think enlisted men were suitable material for the officer corps. Napoleon never flogged his men, and several of his most distinguished marshals started their careers as enlisted men. Counterpoint to this is the fact that Wellington's army was well behaved and paid for what they took. Napoleon's army was known for rape and plunder. As long as they didn't rape the daughters or wives of someone important, Napoleon adopted a boys will be boys attitude toward sex crimes. Time's up Boney.......Also, it should be noted that Napoleon sent an army to reinstate slavery on Haiti, and Wellington and Pitt the Younger were committed abolitionists......Dont put too much faith in those who warn you about putting too much faith in princes and prelates. The alternative is more often than not worse

Gahrie said...

Godfather, yes! Though I like Aubrey/Maturin better, Hornblower is a fine read.

If you like Hornblower, and Science Fiction, you might want to give the Honor Harrington novels by Weber a shot. The series was definitely inspired by Hornblower, re-imagined as a woman several hundred years in the future.

If you like a little humor mixed with your naval fiction, you might want to try the Alan Lewrie books by Dewey Lambdin. Another humerious choice would be the Flashman books by George McDonald Fraser. He's sort of the anti-Sharpe.

Unknown said...

The first Honor Harrington book, _On Basilisk Station_ is a great stay-up-all-night read. Unfortunately at some point Weber stopped being edited and more recent HH books are like, almost literaly, sequences of meeting minutes.

Gahrie said...

Unfortunately at some point Weber stopped being edited and more recent HH books are like, almost literaly, sequences of meeting minutes.

he has created a problem for himself by breaking the Honorverse into three distinct lines of novels all telling interrelated tales in a single universe. Thus events that happen in say the Shadow or Crown line of novels effect events in the mainline novels. So he has to spend a certain amount of time explaining and/ or retelling events that happened in other books. It can be annoying, but I just find myself skipping over those parts after the first read.

You want to see Weber in need of an editor...do you read the Armageddon Reef books?

Martin said...

Part of the legend of Napoleon being short is that the Brits measured him on St. Helena and recorded him as 5'2", but those were "French feet" or 1/3 of a meter. So the word spread that he was 5'2". But converting to English measure, that is between 5'7" and 5'8", which was pretty normal for European men of the period.

Unknown said...

You want to see Weber in need of an editor...do you read the Armageddon Reef books?

Oh gosh yes. And someone to tell him "If you pick those stupid spellings, you will be stuck with them".

Not to mention that the series started as the fairly exciting story of Nimue/Merlin and got so far away from those essentials that it hardly merits a line of dialogue when Merlin apparently falls in love, which should have been a major subplot if the series hadn't drifted so far.

eddie willers said...

The first Honor Harrington book, _On Basilisk Station_ is a great stay-up-all-night read.

FYI. Your discussion made me go to Amazon to read the reviews. Saw the price was $0.00 (I am not kidding) and so, duh, I "bought" it.

Unknown said...

Yes, for many years, OBS was given out for free in a CD glued to the inside cover of Baen books. The concept was the "Baen Free Library", which has more or less gone by the wayside now, but OBS is still often free as a loss leader for the series.

Same is true for the also excellent "Into the Dark" by Sutherland, which is the first book of *his* England in Space "Alexis Carew" series https://www.amazon.com/Into-Dark-Alexis-Carew-Book-ebook/dp/B00MXN33M4

Unknown said...

Uh, probably should have Althoused that amazon link for Into The Dark (even though it is free) this is it I think

Deja Voodoo said...

William said...
Napoleon caused two million men to die before their time. Not so impressive by our standards, but, considering the fact that there were no repeating rifles or, for that matter, rifles back then,

Rifles date back to the 15th century.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rifle#Historical_overview

Gahrie said...

it hardly merits a line of dialogue when Merlin apparently falls in love, which should have been a major subplot if the series hadn't drifted so far.

I'm actually pretty surprised Weber did devote so little attention to that given his SJW tendencies. especially given the importance of trans issues in our culture lately.