Queer Napoleon: from Napoleonic Friendship to Gays in the Military

Abstract: Napoleonic Friendship examines the history of male intimacy in the French military, from Napoleon to the First World War. Following the French Revolution, radical military reforms created conditions for new physical and emotional intimacy between soldiers, establishing a model of fraternal affection during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars that would persist amid the ravages of the Franco-Prussian War and World War I. Through readings of Napoleonic military memoirs (and other non-fiction archival material) and French military fiction (from Hugo and Balzac to Zola and Proust), Martin examines a broad range of emotional and erotic relationships, from combat buddies to soldier lovers. The 2010-2011 Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies has been awarded to Brian Martin for his book Napoleonic Friendship: Military Fraternity, Intimacy, and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century France. Sixty-five books were submitted for consideration, all of them published in 2010 or 2011. The Wylie Prize is awarded every second year to the best book in French social or cultural studies. Nominated books must be scholarly essays dealing with French society or culture concerning any historical period. France is conceived in broad geographic terms, including the Caribbean, Africa, the Maghreb, the Indian Ocean, South and Southeast Asia, etc. While fiction and literary criticism are excluded, nominated books may combine literature with other disciplines. Books may be written in English or French, but the author must reside in North America. All things being equal, preference is given to scholars at the beginning of their careers. Present members of the prize committee are Tom Conley (Harvard), Laurent Dubois (Duke), Brigitte Lane (Tufts), and Stéphane Gerson (NYU).

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