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We render services, we endure pains, we receive praise: Eléazar Mauvillon, Charles-Joseph de Ligne, and the literary history of Prince Eugene of Savoy

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In 1809 the Memoirs of Prince Eugene, of Savoy<\italic> was published in Vienna. The book was written by Charles-Joseph de Ligne, a Flemish prince who lived seventy years after Eugene

In 1809 the Memoirs of Prince Eugene, of Savoy<\italic> was published in Vienna. The book was written by Charles-Joseph de Ligne, a Flemish prince who lived seventy years after Eugene of Savoy, the general who commanded the army of the Holy Roman Empire in the War of the Spanish Succession. Eugene's military career spanned fifty years and five wars, yet he is less known than his English counterpart, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. The memoirs were only attributed to Eugene for a short period and then tossed aside as the creative musings of a cultured prince who left quite the written legacy. Though attributed to the prince, a contemporary reader would not have thought that the manuscript had been penned by Eugene. The memoirs were heavily inspired by a biography by Eléazar Mauvillon, which was published only six years after Eugene's death. Few of Eugene's own letters survived his death, and he never wrote the memoirs of his own campaigns. Marlborough, by contrast, was a prolific letter writer, and the two generals spent some of the major campaigns of the war together with the result that Eugene has featured in much of the research done on Marlborough as a secondary character. Charles-Joseph de Ligne desired to be as good a writer as he was a soldier. His legacy included his own memoirs, which reflected the desire to be as successful as Eugene and to raise Eugene to the proper level of acknowledgement in military history. This thesis explores the historical memory of Eugene as perpetuated by Ligne's literary creation as well as the historical context in which Eugene rose to fame for his military genius and proves the historical accuracy of Ligne's mystification of Mauvillon's biography.

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  • 2011