Advanced French Reading & Essay Writing: Napoléon et Joséphine

*Depuis le départ du premier consul pour la campagne de Marengo, où je le suivis, jusqu’au départ de Fontainebleau, où je fus obligé de quitter l’empereur, je n’ai fait que deux absences, l’une de trois fois vingt-quatre heures, l’autre de sept ou huit jours. Hors ces congés fort courts, dont le dernier m’était nécessaire pour rétablir ma santé, je n’ai pas plus quitté l’empereur que son ombre.
Mémoires de Constant, Introduction. *

About The Author
As Napoléon’s ‘premier valet de chambre’, Louis Constant Wairywas at the emperor’s side for fifteen years. Incredibly, he wrote an account of his experiences, offering the curious reader interesting insights about the famous couple’s personalities and habits, and also relating anecdotes and offering descriptions that bring to life the time, people and places of Napoléon’s rule. Whether you admire the self-proclaimed emperor – or not – you are sure to find this selection of texts entertaining, for the descriptions of historical events, fashions, battles, palaces, daily life and people.

Contents & Instructions
Here are 27 excerpts from the diaries of Constant, suitable for advanced students who are ready to improve their French through a generous amount of reading. Each text is two to three pages long. The student should begin by reading the excerpt. Unfamiliar vocabulary should be copied into the blank list provided for each section (or a separate notebook), and translated with the help of a dictionary. If it is easier for the student to make notes in the margins of the text they may do so. Large margins have been provided for this purpose.

Having read the excerpt, the student must now exercise their research and writing skills. They may simply write a brief ‘résumé de texte’ for each section, or attempt a longer assignment, in which case you may refer to the ‘Essay Writing’ section and follow the instructions to write either a ‘synthèse de texte’, ‘commentaire de texte’, or ‘dissertation’.

Save for later