Monday, December 28, 2015

David A. Bell's "Napoleon: A Concise Biography"

David A. Bell is the Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor in the Department of History at Princeton. Born in New York and educated at Harvard, Princeton and the École Normale Supérieure, he previously taught at Yale and Johns Hopkins, where he also served as Dean of Faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of three prize-winning books, most recently The First Total War (2007).

Here Bell shares his assessment of the prospects for adapting his new book, Napoleon: A Concise Biography, for the screen, large or small:
My subject, Napoleon Bonaparte, has been acted hundreds of times in films. Among just the English-speaking actors to play him have been Marlon Brando (Désirée), Ian Holm (The Emperor’s New Clothes), Rod Steiger (Waterloo) and Eli Wallach (The Adventures of Gerard). My favorite Napoleon film, though, is probably the kitschy but delicious French biopic done by Sacha Guitry in the 1950’s, which features both Daniel Gélin and Raymond Pellegrin as Napoleon, and Guitry himself as Talleyrand.

The Weinstein Company has optioned Andrew Roberts’s recent biography for a television series, so I doubt anyone is going to want to film my own Napoleon any time soon.
Learn more about Napoleon: A Concise Biography at the Oxford University Press website.

Writers Read: David A. Bell.

The Page 99 Test: Napoleon: A Concise Biography.

--Marshal Zeringue