When Silence Reigns: Sexuality, Affect and Space in Soldiers’ Memoirs of the Napoleonic Wars

Marianne Blidon


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 self-narrative 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 analyse the traces they have left of their affect and the manner in which space and sexuality are incorporated into their accounts of the war.


Sexuality; Soldiers; Memoir;

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