Five Questions: Oskar Cox Jensen on Napoleon and British Song

By Matthew Sangster

Oskar Cox Jensen - Napoleon and British Song

Oskar Cox Jensen is currently a Research Fellow at King’s College London working on the Music in London 1800-1851 project. His work focuses on the political, social and cultural histories of Britain and Europe in the long eighteenth century, with a particular focus on balladry, street music and mass culture. Prior to taking up his post at King’s, he completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford, where he worked on the project that became his first monograph, Napoleon and British Song, 1797-1822, which was published in October by Palgrave Macmillan and which we discuss below. As well as researching songs, Oskar is also a performer and recording artist; versions of many of the Napoleonic songs that his book examines can be heard on his Soundcloud.

1) How did you first become interested in the ways in which Napoleon was represented in popular song?

As an undergraduate historian, I was torn between two rather disparate interests: the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary period (which is now so central to my thinking that I tend to forget to put ‘French’ before ‘Revolution’, just as ‘the ’90s’, to me, means the 1790s…) – and Viking-age …read more