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Unit information: Napoleon (Level I Special Field) in 2015/16

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Unit name Napoleon (Level I Special Field)
Unit code HIST26003
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Will Pooley
Open unit status Not open



HIST23008 Special Field Project

School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Few could doubt the importance of Napoleon, the leader who rose from relative obscurity to become the ruler of an Empire that stretched across most of modern Europe. But what was Napoleon’s influence on his times and over posterity? This course examines Napoleon in the round, as military leader and hero, as lawmaker and ruler, as thinker and writer, as statesman and diplomat, and as a man, a husband, a father. Was he extraordinary compared to his contemporaries, or was he just in the right place at the right time? How has the legend of Napoleon lived on, and what has it offered to subsequent generations?

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should have developed:

  1. a firm understanding of the causes of Napoleon’s rise to power, the nature of his rule, and the impact he had on European society
  2. an understanding of, and ability to critique, different perspectives which have been applied to Napoleon’s career and legacy
  3. an ability to form independent interpretations relating to Napoleon
  4. the capacity to express these interpretations with an eloquence appropriate to level I.

Teaching details

1 x 2 hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

1 x 2 hour exam

Reading and References

  • Geoffrey Ellis, Napoleon (Harlow, 1997)
  • J. M. Thompson (Ed.), Napoleon’s Letters (London, 1998)
  • Philip Dwyer, Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power (London, 2013)
  • Andrew Roberts, Napoleon the Great (London, 2015)
  • D. G. Wright, Napoleon and Europe (London, 1984)
  • Geoffrey Ellis, The Napoleonic Empire (Basingstoke, 1991, 2003)
  • David Gates, The Napoleonic Wars (London, 1997)