Reading Sir Walter:

The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte

(Extracts) Conclusion 

Read by Lord Woolman

The Life of Napoleon seems to me to be an unjustly neglected work. Here is Scott, novelist and poet, writing a biography. Importantly, he did not select a historical subject. Instead he chose the greatest of his contemporaries - the man whose character and deeds coloured Scott's adult life. The reader feels this in the narrative. Perhaps Scott was also drawn to his subject because of certain parallels in their lives. Each man tasted great success and great failure. The final words of the Life yield an insight into Sir Walter's own perspective on the matter.

November 2009

Life of Napoleon Buonaparte. 1802 Frontispiece by C. Rolls of a painting by J. B. Isabey depicting Napoleon Bonaparte. Used here with the permission of the Walter Scott Digital Archive Image Collection.