European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Les Cahiers de Recherche,
HEC Paris

No 912: Waterloo et les regard croisés de l'interprétation

Philippe Mongin ()

Abstract: The interpretations of the Waterloo campaign are numerous, diverse and constantly reworked, so they are part of history no less than the event itself. This article briefly reviews them before considering more carefully two selected interpreters, i.e., Clausewitz and Stendhal. It likens the former to a rational choice theorist who makes a step away from intelligible narrative in the direction of modelling, and it represents the latter, who expresses himself through his character Fabrice, as a theoretically informed critique of the inert categories of the historical discourse. Despite their opposing trends towards unification and dissolution, both examples testify to general features, which the end of this essay tries to bring out, of the concepts of interpretation and plurality of interpretations.

Keywords: Waterloo; campaign of 1815; Napoleon; Clausewitz; Stendhal; The Charterhouse of Parma; interpretation; interpretative plurality; intelligible narrative; rational choice theories

JEL-codes: B49; C72; N43

26 pages, January 1, 2009

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