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The Red and the Blackby Stendhal
"Simply put, in The Red and the Black...Stendhal foreshadowed alienation and disaffection. He made them as sexy as a lipstick trace on a wine glass by embodying them in Julien Sorel, an epicene young theology student endowed with his creator's own intelligence and ambition without any of his physical repulsiveness....The new translation by Burton Raffel rocks....Thanks to outdated translations, Stendhal has spent the last few decades languishing in the twilight realm of the praised but unread. Now, thanks to Raffel's translation, Julien Sorel can begin haunting the 21st century." Allen Barra, Salon.com (read the entire Salon review)
Synopses & Reviews
A Major New Translation
The Red and the Black, Stendhal's masterpiece, is the story of Julien Sorel, a young dreamer from the provinces, fueled by Napoleonic ideals, whose desire to make his fortune sets in motion events both mesmerizing and tragic. Sorel's quest to find himself, and the doomed love he encounters along the way, are delineated with an unprecedented psychological depth and realism. At the same time, Stendhal weaves together the social life and fraught political intrigues of post?Napoleonic France, bringing that world to unforgettable, full-color life. His portrait of Julien and early-nineteenth-century France remains an unsurpassed creation, one that brilliantly anticipates modern literature.
Neglected during its time, The Red and the Black has assumed its rightful place as one of the world's great books, and Burton Raffel's extraordinary new translation, coupled with an enlightening Introduction by Diane Johnson, helps it shine more brightly than ever before.
"The Red and the Black is formally adventurous and beautiful; it is narratively playful....[I]n Raffel's version, the novel races forward....[A] great, complex and enduring work of art." Andre Alexis, The Toronto Globe & Mail
"Even when there is nothing obviously wrong, Stendhal's distinctive tone is missing from Raffel's translation, and the prose is somewhat stolid....Even in an unconvincing translation like this one some of his quality is visible." Philip Hensher, The Atlantic Monthly
"If any single work deserves to be called the father of the modern novel, that work is the anticipatory compendium known as The Red and the Black." Clifton Fadiman
About the Author
Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle) was born in Grenoble in 1783. He served in Napoleon's cavalry and thereafter lived in Italy and Paris, where he wrote many books, including On Love, the autobiographical Life of Henri Brulard, The Charterhouse of Parma (which he wrote in fifty-two days), and The Red and the Black. He died in 1842.
Burton Raffel is a distinguished professor of humanities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His many translations include Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel, winner of the 1991 French-American Foundation Translation Prize, Chrétien de Troyes's Arthurian Romances, Cervantes's Don Quijote, and Balzac's Père Goriot. His translation of Beowulf has sold more than a million copies.
Diane Johnson is the author of ten novels — most recently Le Mariage and Le Divorce — two books of essays, two biographies, and the screenplay for Stanley Kubrick's classic film The Shining. She has been a finalist four times for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
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