Home > Uncategorized > Jules Janin: War aborts orators and writers, bears soldiers

Jules Janin: War aborts orators and writers, bears soldiers


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

French writers on war and peace

Jules Janin: War needs blood and gold


Jules Janin
From An American in Paris
Translator unidentified

People of spirit who, under the empire, might have been orators or political writers became soldiers in order to have a good reason for neither speaking nor writing; – everything gave way, in republican France, to the passive obedience of the soldier to his chief. What the man of spirit would not have granted to the head of the nation without blushing at his own weakness the soldier would willingly yield to his captain. This accounts for the fact that there were so many good soldiers and so few passable writers under the empire. It was because as long as Napoleon lived such a captain contented himself with going to war, who was born and made his appearance in the world solely to be a great orator or a great writer. Thus Napoleon had misappropriated all the noble instincts, and had forced all the splendid intellects to the profit of his own power and supreme will. The proof of this is that – Napoleon fallen – French eloquence, that forgotten power, suddenly made its way through so many ravages. More than one eloquent voice made itself heard from the wrecks of armies, which foreign cannon had overwhelmed in the dust.

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