Nicholas Chauvin

Nicholas Chauvin was an apocryphal farmer, soldier and patriot of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Chauvin had a distinguished service record and maintained a devotion to Napoleon, despite suffering numerous wounds that left him maimed and disfigured.

A marvellous representation of Chauvin from the website of Malcolm Hill, who has composed an opera about the character.
It is suggested, in the Wikipedia entry, that the legend of Chauvin developed in the Bourbon Restoration and July Monarchy. Whether this was as a longing for the 'glory days' of the First Empire or as a form of anti-Bonapartism is open to question.

Chauvin was popularised in the 1831 in La Cocarde Tricolore, Episode De La Guerre D'Alger; Vaudeville En 3 Actes by brothers Charles-Theodore and Jean-Hippolyte Cogniard  in which he was transformed into a patriot in the Algerian War. In more modern and into contemporary times Chauvin is known for the eponymous word that has come to be used to describe any form of excessive or aggressive patriotism or prejudice.

I posted a little more about the man/character and a recent representation in film in the first post on this blog.

For more information

Crotty B (2018) The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin. Les Films du Bal.

Hill, M. (n.d.) Chauvin: Full-scale opera. Music by Malcolm Hill, Libretto by John Deethardt.

de Puymège, G (1994) Chauvin and Chauvinism: In Search of a Myth. History and Memory 6, 35-72.


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