»K nam so prišli Francozi in prinesli ‚drugačne čase‘«: Napoleonovi Francozi v slovenskih povedkah v kontekstu kolektivnega spomina in drugosti
“The French Came and Brought ‘a Different Time’”: Napoleon’s French Forces in Slovene Legends in the Context of the Collective Memory and Otherness

Anja Mlakar

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/sms.v20i0.6666

Abstract

This paper attempts to shed light on the image of Napoleon’s French forces that invaded and briefly conquered Slovene lands in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as depicted in Slovene folklore. In some legends, we can recognize an echo of the historical reality of the time of French invasions and their rule. These portray the hardships of this foreign occupation, the exploitation of the population by the French and their cruelty and conflicts with them, yet some show a more favourable relationship or even depict humorous accounts (especially in relation with linguistic misunderstandings) with the French, while some aspects of their rule are completely ignored by folklore. In some cases, the French are narrated into stories that explain certain features of the physical environment of the community, and in some legends they are depicted as coming from the world beyond and are attributed supernatural traits. In some folklore examples, the interchangeability of different historical invaders is attested. We can generalize that the French are seen as “the Others” in Slovene folklore and have, as such, acquired different roles in folklore to serve diverse needs of the community in the sense of strengthening its own identity, rationalizing its physical landscape, and taking part in the beliefs about the supernatural and the world beyond.

Keywords

Napoleon’s French forces; Slovene folklore; collective memory; otherness; history vs. folklore; materialization of folklore

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/sms.v20i0.6666

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