Napoleon is dead
From the death of Napoleon, on May 5, 1821 in Saint Helena, to his exhumation, including the realization of the death mask, the autopsy, the exhibition of the body, the burial... the sequence of events is known to the minute. It is as if all those who were at Saint Helena at the time of her death had had a keen awareness of the fact that they were living a moment of history. In December 1840, at the time of the repatriation of the Emperor's mortal remains, the process was repeated and intensified...
However, despite the proliferation of Memoirs, letters, sketches, relics and narratives, this story presents poorly lit areas, uncertainties, contradictions... Hypotheses, theories, assertions, controversies flourish: what exactly did Napoleon die of? Did he really die in Saint Helena? Wouldn't the body of another have been substituted for his? The very existence of these hypotheses - their persistence above all - shows that, from the day of his death, Napoleon no longer belongs. Transfigured, it has become an archetype, a constituent element of the collective unconscious.