When Silence Reigns: Sexuality, Affect, and Space in Soldiers’ Memoirs of the Napoleonic Wars
Centre de recherche de l’Institut de démographie de Paris Université Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne (CRIDUP)
In this paper, I draw on a collection of war memoirs written by soldiers who survived the Napoleonic campaigns. I examine what was sayable or unsayable concerning affect and sexuality in order to better understand the role that these memoirs played in self-narrative within the highly particular context of war. If the present selfnarrative is also a sexual and emotional account, these memoirs demonstrate such interpretations of the self that must be seen as a recent phenomenon. After describing the military context and discussing how their testimonies are constructed, I will analyze the traces they have left of their affect and the manner in which space and sexuality are incorporated into their accounts of the war.