Category Archive 'Apothegms'

14 Mar 2020

Life

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The French Army Crossing The Niemen’, 1812, (1896). French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) crossing the River Niemen during the invasion of Russia. Typogravure after the aquarelle by F De Myrbach. From Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Volume III, by William Milligan Sloane. [The Century Co., New York, 1896].

“Life is like invading Russia. A blitz start, massed shakos, plumes dancing like a flustered henhouse; a period of svelte progress recorded in ebullient despatches as the enemy falls back; then the beginning of a long, morale-sapping trudge with rations getting shorter and the first snowflakes upon your face. The enemy burns Moscow and you yield to General January, whose fingernails are very icicles. Bitter retreat. Harrying Cossacks. Eventually you fall beneath a boy-gunner’s grapeshot while crossing some Polish river not even marked on your general’s map.”

— Julian Barnes, Talking It Over.


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