Saturday, 20 June 2015

Napoleon Rising

Because it is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (well, it was on Thursday), BBC Radio 3 has featured Napoleon Rising, a play adapted for the radio by Anjum Malik. The play is based on the Napoleon Symphony by Anthony Burgess. You can listen to it here, for a few days still. The novel is amazing, so is the play. If you can get pass the English actors with English accents passing as French characters (and I easily did), you will find an genuine portrait of the artist in this play. Because Burgess considered Napoleon, like many of the fictitious heroes he created, as an artist in his own way. He also stripped away historical characters and events of the pomposity we often drape them in to show them in something like raw, bare authenticity. His Napoleon swears, curses, his soldiers go to war in ghastly conditions. It is a story full of violence, dirt, obscenities and yet... Yet the art of war is truly an art: compared to a waltz, to music, among other things. And the words, the dialogues! There is such a virtuosity in its prose, it is absolutely brilliant. So yes, please listen to it. And read the novel.

1 comment:

Christer. said...

We've seen some documentaries about him this week. I've always thought he was the one starting all wars but it turns out it was Britain behind it all, sponsoring other countries to attack France (including Sweden, it was the last war we participated in and got Norway as a thank You, something the Norwegians didn't like at all since they just were about to break free from Denmark :-) ).

Have a great day!