Editor's Choice

What were Napoleon's hobbies and interests?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As a child, Napoleon Bonaparte enjoyed drawing and playing games with his siblings.  In school, he was fascinated with the study of mathematics.  He used this mathematical aptitude later in his military career.  As a young man, Napoleon enjoyed reading and studying languages.  Napoleon attended a French school, and he was sometimes mocked by the other students for not speaking the language well.  This drove Napoleon to study French intensely.  When reading, Napoleon enjoyed the study of history.  His knowledge of history would eventually help him in his military and political careers.

Napoleon had a long, time-consuming career.  During his years in the military and in politics, he had little free time.  In his old age, he began to have more time for leisure activities.  The British government had exiled him to St. Helena, which was an island in the Atlantic Ocean.  With little to do on the island, Napoleon was forced to take time for leisure.  He spent a great deal of time reading, and also writing.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As a youth, Napoleon was very interested in history and geography. At the age of 19 or 20, while he was a lieurenant en second in the royal corps of artillery, Bonaparte immersed himself in an assiduous study of military and political history, writing out a synopsis of every book he read. He was also deeply interested in polititcal science and was influenced profoundly by Jean-Jacque Rousseau who wrote The Social Contract. 

On a trip to Paris to make negotiations for his impoverished mother whose husband had died, Napoleon was appalled at the 'red tape' and protracted methods of administrative departments.  After this visit, Napoleon became very interested in politics, and immersed himself in the liberation of his native Corsica in September,1789. 

These early interests fostered Bonaparte's great legal reforms (such as the Code Napoleon) while he was Emperor.  Influenced by Rousseau's writing, he organized the public school system so well that all students throughout the country were on the same curriculum throughout the school year.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial