Madame Recamier and Her Battle with the Emperor
by Geri Walton
Pub Date 28 Feb 2020
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Napoleon Bonaparte and Juliette Récamier were both highly influential and well-known in France, yet they were often at odds with each other. Their story played out on the European stage during a period of political upheaval and new political ideas. Napoleon gained power in the aftermath of the French Revolution, and he would go from spectacular victories to dismal failure. His defeat in the early nineteenth century would result in Europe acquiring new national borders and with that Britain, Russia, and the United States would gain greater international influence. Juliette, on the other hand, wielded her own power. Because of the tumultuous French Revolution, noble and aristocratic landowners were being replaced by a new wealthy class in the private sector. Juliette and her husband were among the beneficiaries of this growing affluence and influence, and her power came from her new-found position in society. Juliette also viewed life differently than Napoleon. She saw life from the standpoint of a wealthy socialite whereas Napoleon’s desires were always shaded by his military experiences and his meteoric rise to power. Along the way, Juliette would have to face the testy Emperor, and she would find that his own brother would fall for her. Even some of Napoleon’s greatest enemies would woo her.