Battle of Waterloo/Waterloo in literature
Byron in his long poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage took his hero to the field of Waterloo, which he himself had visited, and gave his thoughts on the battle and on Napoleon, starting with a description of the ball at Brussels which preceded the battle: "There was a sound of revelry by night"
Thackeray introduced the battle into his major novel Vanity Fair, in order to kill off a major character who needed to be disposed of. He too used the ball and the circumstances around it to bring out features in the novel's characters.
Victor Hugo devoted a whole book of his great novel Les Misérables to the battle of Waterloo, even though it had little relation to his plot. The climax of his description was reached at the end of the battle when the French forces had been routed, but some squares of French infantry still remained, though being mown down. An English officer calls on the brave French to surrender, and the commanding general replies with a single word, "Merde!" Hugo goes on at length about the achievement of this word.