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The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon
Author: Laure Murat

ISBN: 9780226025735
Format: Hardcover
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 17 August 2014
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 6.0 x 9.0 x 2.5
In December 1840, almost twenty years after his death, Napoleon's remains were returned to Paris for internment. The very next day, the director of a Paris hospital for the insane admitted fourteen men (not the first by any means) who took themselves for Napoleon. This bizarre episode is Laure Murat's springboard for a vivid account of the impact of historical events on madness. Murat digs into the archives to get at the truth of this story?but also to ask, Why Napoleon? Why not Louis IV, or Jesus Christ? The French psychiatrist Jean-Etienne-Dominique Esquirol claimed that he could recount the history of France from asylum registries. Murat takes up that challenge in her inquiry on the relationship between history and madness. She uncovers the stories of countless patients whose insanity seems to have roots in the political traumas of their time, such as the watch maker who believed he had ?lost his head" by the guillotine and lived with a replacement one. Are these matters of ideology or pathology? What did government ?reason" mean in the face of revolutionary ?madness"? These questions, Murat shows, run throughout the nineteenth century, a time w...

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