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The Red and the Black (Signet Classics)by Stendhal
Synopses & Reviews
In December 1827, a French newspaper ran a story about a young man charged with the attempted murder of a married woman. The article fired the imagination of Marie Henri Beyle, and under the pen name Stendhal, he set to writing what was to become one of the great psychological novels of all time. I will be famous around 1880,” he predicted in one of his many diaries. I shall not go out of style, nor my glory go out of style.”
Set in a provincial French town and in Paris, The Red and the Black tells the story of Julien Sorel, a handsome and brilliant young tutor who is both hero and villain. Cold, opportunistic, and uncompromising with others—including his influential mistress—he follows his lust for power and wealth. At the same time, he is tortured by his uncontrollable passions, and by the military and religious forces—the enigmatic Red” and Black”—that dominate French society in the years following the Revolution.
Stendhal's most famous work, this is at once a brilliant portrait of French society after the Revolution and a profound psychological study of a young man's struggle to cope with opposing and often uncontrollable urges.
Set in a provincial French town in 1827, this psychological masterpiece tells the tale of Julien Sorel, who, during the Bourbon Restoration, disregards all moral codes as he attempts to accumulate power. Reissue.
About the Author
Henri Marie Beyle, known through his writing as Stendhal, was born in Grenoble in 1783 and educated there at the École Centrale. A cousin offered him a post in the Ministry of War, and from 1800 he followed Napoleon’s campaigns in Italy, Germany, Russia and Austria. In between wars, he spent his time in Paris drawing rooms and theatres.
After the fall of Napoleon, he retired to Italy, adopted his pseudonym and started to write books on Italian painting, Haydn and Mozart, and travels in Italy. In 1821 the Austrian police expelled him from the country, and on returning to Paris he finished his book De l’amour. This was followed by Racine et Shakespeare, a defense of Romantic literature. Le Rouge et le noir was his second novel, and he also produced or began three others, including La Chartreuse de Parme and Lucien Leuwen. None of his published works was received with any great understanding during his lifetime.
Beyle was appointed Consul at Civitavecchia after the 1830 revolution, but his health deteriorated and six years later he was back in Paris and beginning a Life of Napoleon. In 1841 he was once again recalled for reasons of illness, and in the following year suffered a fatal stroke. Various autobiographical works, Journal, Souvenirs de l’egotisme and La Vie de Henri Brulard, were published later, as his fame grew.
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