Napoleon the gardener and art thief

05.05.2021 - By Arts & Ideas

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The day before Napoleon's death on May 5th 1821, the willow tree he liked to sit under on St Helena was felled by tempestuous winds. Ruth Scurr has written Napoleon: A Life in Gardens and Shadows. Natasha Pulley's novel The Kingdoms imagines a history with Napoleon victorious in England, Emma Rothschild has traced a family in France over three centuries. Rana Mitter chairs a discussion about how looking at Napoleon as gardener, collector of art and founder of an institution dedicated to the arts and sciences in Egypt adds to our understanding of him as a military man and the panel consider alternative histories of France.

Ruth Scurr's book Napoleon: A Life in Gardens and Shadows is out now. You can hear her discussing her book about John Aubrey in this episode of Free Thinking
Natasha Pulley's novel The Kingdoms is published May 25th 2021. You can hear her discussing the Japanese novel and film Rashomon and the writing of Angela Carter
Emma Rothschild has published An Infinite History: The Story of a Family in France over Three Centuries

Producer: Ruth Watts

You might be interested in another Free Thinking discussion about Napoleon in Fact and Fiction hearing from actor/director Kathryn Hunter, biographer Michael Broers historians Oskar Cox Jensen and Laura O'Brien, journalist Nabila Ramdani
and Radio 3's weekly curation of Words and Music features an episode focusing on authors and composers inspired by the life of Napoleon with readings from Jane Austen, Wordsworth, Anthony Burgess and Thackeray and music from Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev.

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