Marie-Henri Beyle (23 January 1783 – 23 March 1842), better known by his pen name Stendhal, was a 19th-century French writer. Known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology, he is considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism in his two novels Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black, 1830) and La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma, 1839).
Born in Grenoble, Isère, he had an unhappy childhood in what he found to be stifling provincial France, disliking his "unimaginative" father and mourning his mother, who had died when he was young. His closest friend was his younger sister, Pauline, with whom he maintained a steady correspondence throughout the first decade of the 19th century.
The military and theatrical worlds of the First French Empire were a revelation to Beyle. He was named an auditor with the Conseil d'État on 3 August 1810, and thereafter took part in the French administration and in the Napoleonic wars in Italy. He travelled extensively in Germany and was part of Napoleon's army in the 1812 invasion of Russia. [ 1 ]
After the 1814 Treaty of Fontainebleau, he left for Italy, where he settled in Milan. He formed a particular attachment to Italy, where he spent much of the remainder of his career, serving as French consul at Trieste and Civitavecchia. His novel The Charterhouse of Parma, written in 52 days, is set in Italy, which he considered a more sincere and passionate country than Restoration France. An aside in that novel, referring to a character who contemplates suicide after being jilted, speaks volumes about his attitude towards his home country: "To make this course of action clear to my French readers, I must explain that in Italy, a country very far away from us, people are still driven to despair by love."
Writers by category
Short story writers
Beyle used the pseudonym "Stendhal" (and over 100 others), and scholars in general believe he borrowed this nom de plume from the German city of Stendal in homage to Johann Joachim Winckelmann.
Stendhal was a dandy and wit about town in Paris, as well as an inveterate womaniser who was obsessed with his sexual conquests. His genuine empathy towards women is evident in his books; Simone de Beauvoir spoke highly of him in The Second Sex. He seems to have preferred desire to consummation. One of his early works is On Love, a rational analysis of romantic passion that was based on his unrequited love for Mathilde, Countess Dembowska, whom he met while living at Milan. This fusion of, and tension between, clear-headed analysis and romantic feeling is typical of Stendhal's great novels; he could be considered a Romantic realist.
Stendhal suffered miserable physical disabilities in his final years as he continued to produce some of his best work. As he noted in his journal, he was taking iodide of potassium and quicksilver to treat his syphilis, resulting in swollen armpits, difficulty swallowing, pains in his shrunken testicles, sleeplessness, giddiness, roaring in the ears, racing pulse and tremors so bad he could scarcely hold a fork or a pen. Indeed, he dictated Charterhouse in this pitiable state. Modern medicine has shown that his health problems were more attributable to his treatment than to his syphilis.
Stendhal died on 22 March 1842, a few hours after collapsing with a seizure on the streets of Paris. He is interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre.
Contemporary readers did not fully appreciate Stendhal's realistic style during the Romantic period in which he lived; he was not fully appreciated until the beginning of the 20th century. He dedicated his writing to "the Happy Few." This is often interpreted as a dedication to the few who could understand his writing, or as a sardonic reference to the happy few who are born into prosperity (the latter interpretation is supported by the likely source of the quotation, Canto 11 of Byron's Don Juan, a frequent reference in the novel, which refers to "the thousand happy few" who enjoy high society), or as a reference to those who lived without fear or hatred. It may also refer, given Stendhal's experience of the Napoleonic wars, to the "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers" line of Shakespeare's Henry V. He did have influence as a literary critic. In Racine and Shakespeare he championed the Romantic aesthetic, comparing the rules and strictures of Racine's classicism unfavorably to the freer verse and settings of Shakespeare, and supporting the writing of plays in prose.
Today, Stendhal's works attract attention for their irony and psychological and historical dimensions. Stendhal was an avid fan of music, particularly the works of the composers Cimarosa, Mozart and Rossini. He wrote a biography about Rossini, Vie de Rossini (1824), now more valued for its wide-ranging musical criticism than for its historical content.
In his works, Stendhal "plagiarized", reprised, appropriated, excerpts from Giuseppe Carpani, Théophile Frédéric Winckler, Sismondi and others. [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ]
- Armance (1827)
- Le Rouge et le Noir (variously translated as Scarlet and Black, Red and Black, The Red and the Black, 1830)
- Lucien Leuwen (1835, unfinished, published 1894)
- La Chartreuse de Parme (1839) (The Charterhouse of Parma)
- Lamiel (1839–1842, unfinished, published 1889)
- The Pink and the Green (1837, unfinished)
- Mina de Vanghel (1830, later published in La Revue des Deux Mondes)
- Vanina Vanini (1829)
- Italian Chroniques, 1837–1839
- Vittoria Accoramboni
- The Cenci (Les Cenci, 1837)
- The Duchess of Palliano (La Duchesse de Palliano)
- The Abbess of Castro (L'Abbesse de Castro, 1832)
- A Life of Napoleon (1817–1818, published 1929)
- A Life of Rossini (1824)
Stendhal's brief memoir, Souvenirs d'Égotisme (Memoirs of an Egotist) was published posthumously in 1892. Also published was a more extended autobiographical work, thinly disguised as the Life of Henry Brulard.
- The Life of Henry Brulard (1835–1836, published 1890)
- Souvenirs d'Égotisme (Memoirs of an Egotist, published in 1892)
- Journal (1801–1817) (The Private Diaries of Stendhal)
- Racine et Shakespéare (1823–1835) (Racine and Shakespeare)
- De L'Amour (1822) (On Love)
His other works include short stories, journalism, travel books (among them Rome, Naples et Florence and Promenades dans Rome), a famous collection of essays on Italian painting, and biographies of several prominent figures of his time, including Napoleon, Haydn, Mozart, Rossini and Metastasio.
In Stendhal's 1822 classic On Love he describes or compares the “birth of love”, in which the love object is 'crystallized' in the mind, as being a process similar or analogous to a trip to Rome. In the analogy, the city of Bologna represents indifference and Rome represents perfect love:
When we are in Bologna, we are entirely indifferent; we are not concerned to admire in any particular way the person with whom we shall perhaps one day be madly in love; even less is our imagination inclined to overrate their worth. In a word, in Bologna “crystallization” has not yet begun. When the journey begins, love departs. One leaves Bologna, climbs the Apennines, and takes the road to Rome. The departure, according to Stendhal, has nothing to do with one’s will; it is an instinctive moment. This transformative process actuates in terms of four steps along a journey:
- Admiration – one marvels at the qualities of the loved one.
- Acknowledgement – one acknowledges the pleasantness of having gained the loved one's interest.
- Hope – one envisions gaining the love of the loved one.
- Delight – one delights in overrating the beauty and merit of the person whose love one hopes to win.
This journey or crystallization process (shown above) was detailed by Stendhal on the back of a playing card while speaking to Madame Gherardi, during his trip to the Salzburg salt mine.
In 1817 Stendhal reportedly was overcome by the cultural richness of Florence he encountered when he first visited the Tuscan city. As he described in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio:
As I emerged from the porch of Santa Croce, I was seized with a fierce palpitation of the heart (that same symptom which, in Berlin, is referred to as an attack of the nerves); the well-spring of life was dried up within me, and I walked in constant fear of falling to the ground.
The condition was diagnosed and named in 1979 by Italian psychiatrist Dr. Graziella Magherini, who had noticed similar psychosomatic conditions (racing heart beat, nausea and dizziness) amongst first-time visitors to the city.
In homage to Stendhal, Trenitalia named their overnight train service from Paris to Venice the Stendhal Express.
- ^ Stendhal (2002). The Red and the Black. New York: Penguin Classics.
- ^ Randall (2001) p.199 quote:
If the plagiarisms of Stendhal are legion, many are virtually translations: that is, cross-border plagiarism. Maurevert reports that Goethe, commenting enthusiastically on Stendhal's Rome, Naples et Florence, notes in a letter to a friend: 'he knows very well how to use what one reports to him, and, above all, he knows well how to appropriate foreign works. He translates passages from my Italian Journey and claims to have heard the anecdote recounted by a marchesina.'
used the texts of Carpani, Winckler, Sismondi et 'tutti quanti', as an ensemble of materials that he fashioned in his own way. In other words, by isolating his personal contribution, one arrives at the conclusion that the work, far from being a cento, is highly structured such that even the borrowed parts finally melt into a whole a l'allure bien stendhalienne
Best known for his two masterpieces, Le Rouge et le noir (The Red and the Black, 1830) and La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma, 1839), Stendhal was born as Henri Beyle in Grenoble to a wealthy lawyer. His mother passed away in childbirth when Stendhal was very young. At age 16, he moved to Paris ostensibly to study, but he entered the military before ultimately settling on a career as a writer.
Stendhal enlisted in Napoleon’s army in May 1800 and served for 18 months as a lieutenant, fighting in Russia, Germany, and Italy. His dreams, however, were not centered on achieving military accolades; he hoped to become one of the greatest comic poets of all time. When he resigned from active service, he took a post in civil and military administration, which he held until the fall of the French empire in 1814. At that point, he was given a 50 percent pay cut, making his income inadequate to his needs. He searched for other employment for several years but was unable to secure anything in France. Ultimately, he decided to move to Italy, where his first book, a travel piece entitled Rome, Naples, and Florence in 1817 (1817), was published. This was also the first time he chose to use the penname of Stendhal.
Stendhal returned to Paris in 1821, taking advantage of his success as a writer and the steadily improving conditions in France. He frequented salons where he could discuss the latest ideas on art, literature, and politics. He continued to do well as a writer, publishing On Love (1822) and Racine and Shakespeare (1823) in quick succession. On Love, a psychology of love, is a collection of thoughts and ideas that show Stendhal as an early sympathizer, particularly with regard to his feelings on women’s education. Racine and Shakespeare is an important romantic manifesto that insists that literature should reflect its historical moment. These works were well received, but his first novel, Armance (1827), a psychological study of impotence, was scorned by the critics.
The Red and the Black was a breakthrough for Stendhal. Inspired by a newspaper account of the trial of a young man for attempted murder of a married woman, it advanced the development of the novel in its complex and ironic interweaving of the psychological and the historical. It tells the story of Julien Sorel, a peasant, in the context of the post-Napoleonic period between 1815 and 1830. Sorel uses seduction and hypocrisy to rise in society, but believing that his mistress has betrayed him, he shoots the one woman he ever really loved. Finally, he rejects his lies and masks and, a condemned man, stands before the court to attack social inequality and oppression:
Gentlemen, I have not the honour to belong to your social class. You see in me a peasant in revolt against the baseness of his fate…. I see men who would like in my person to punish and dishearten for ever that class of young people who, born in a lowly and poverty-stricken class, had the chance to educate themselves and the courage to associate with those circles which arrogance of the rich calls society….
After the revolution of 1830 and the rise to power of King Louis-Philippe, Stendhal was appointed French consul in the small Italian port town of Civitavecchia. While there, he wrote Memoirs of an Egoist, (published 1892), in which he provides a vivid depiction of life in and among the salons, museums, and theatres of Paris. This work, along with two others, Lucien Leuwen: The Green Huntsman, which depicts the corruption under the reign of Louis-Philippe, and the largely autobiographical piece The Life ofHenry Brulard, which was left unfinished, remained in manuscript at Stendhal’s death, but were published in the 1890s.
Stendhal’s political views were often motivated by his own success or failure under a prevailing regime. If he was doing poorly, he tended to mock and criticize the ruling body for his lack of success. However, as soon as he began to thrive, his views shifted and he became moderately conservative. He composed his second great work, The Charterhouse of Parma between 1836 and 1839, which is concerned with a search for identity. The protagonist, Fabrizio del Dongo, defines himself in areas as diverse as the battlefield at Waterloo and a Carthusian monastery. He experiences the frustrations of war, politics, love, and the loss of his child. He finally withdraws to the Charterhouse of Parma, where he dies. The work was published to great acclaim, rapidly gaining popularity, and critical success.
The Charterhouse of Parma was destined to be Stendhal’s last major accomplishment. In 1841 he suffered a stroke, which forced him to take a leave of absence from his post and return to Paris. Late in the evening of March 22, Stendhal was taking a walk down a Paris street when he collapsed, unconscious, to the ground. He died a few hours later on March 23.
Lamiel, or The Ways of the Heart. Translated by Jacques Le Clercq. New York: H. Fertig, 1978.
Keates, Jonathan. Stendhal. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994.
Pearson, Roger. Stendhal’s Violin: A Novelist and His Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Marie-Henri Beyle, known by his pen name Stendhal, was a prominent 19th century French writer. This biography profiles his childhood, career, life, achievements and timeline.
Also Known As: Marie-Henri Beyle
Famous as: Writer
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Born in: Grenoble
father: Chérubin Beyle
siblings: Pauline Beyle
place of death: Paris
Pictures Of Stendhal
Marie-Henri Beyle, better known as Stendhal, was a famous French writer of the 19th century. He became known for his critical analysis of characters’ consciousness. He is also considered one of the forerunners of ‘realism’. Some of his most popular realist works include ‘The Red and the Black’ and ‘The Charterhouse of Parma’, both of which were originally written in French and translated to English much later. His works were considered extremely unique and complex compared to the other writers of the 19th century. His secret goal was to become a literary master; one who was adept and successful as a playwright as well as a novelist. However, that dream struck a roadblock when he was appointed as an intendant-general of Napoleon’s army. However, this appointment gave him a number of life-long lessons and experiences pertaining to the Napoleonic regime and the war situation in Europe. Once the war ended, his literary calling became irrevocable and he began to pen his insights on a wide variety of topics, which went on to become some of his literary masterpieces. He was unusual in his style of writing and was known for his good-humor and wit, which reflected in his works.
Marie-Henri Beyle (January 23, 1783 – March 23, 1842), better known by his penname Stendhal, was a nineteenth century French writer and novelist. He is known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology and for the dryness of his writing style. Stendhal is considered one of the foremost and earliest practitioners of the realistic form. Prior to Stendhal, the vast majority of novelists used a highly exaggerate rated and melodramatic Romantic style, which lent itself well to romances and Gothic horror, but was inadequate for depicting the contemporary and increasingly urban world. Stendhal's writing style is realistic in the sense that offers a penetrating and almost scientific view of the thought processes of his characters, and his model would prove to be an exemplar for generations of novelists attempting to create verisimilitude in their writing. The great movement of Russian realism in the second half of the nineteenth century owes an immense debt to Stendhal, as do the French realist novelists Honore de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, and Emile Zola, who would emerge in Stendhal's wake. Moreover, the English and American modern novelists of the early twentieth century, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Virginia Woolf would all acknowledge their debt to Stendhal for bringing about the style of the incisively objective and modern psychological novel.
In his most famous novel, The Red and the Black, Stendhal would not only create a new literary technique, moving the narrative inside the character's mind, but also created a new kind of protagonist, the urban social-climber. Julien Sorel is a new character for a new age, in which the "natural" aristocracy has broken down, and is in the process of being replaced by a new elite who idealize Napoleon Bonaparte and succeed based on their skill and cunning.
Born in 1783 in Grenoble, France, Stendhal was the son of Cherubin Beyle, a provincial barrister. Stendhal's mother died early on in his life, and the loss affected him deeply. In later life he would portray his childhood as stifled and depressing, and a great deal of his early career was shaped by his ardent desire to escape his father and the provinces.
In 1799, the teenage Stendhal got his wish, traveling to Paris, ostensibly to pursue an academic career in mathematics. His diaries show, however, that he had been nursing a secret plan to become a playwright. He dreamed of become a "modern Jean-Baptiste Moliere," but his plans were soon interrupted by some wealthy relatives, who had him appointed second lieutenant in the French army stationed in Italy. In Italy, Stendhal discovered Lombardy, Milan, and the culture of the Italian people with whom he fell in love. His Italian experiences would dramatically shape the rest of his career.
In 1806 Stendhal was appointed to an administrative position in Brunswick, Germany. The position gave Stendhal the time and funds to continue work on his youthful writing projects, while at the same granting him a bird's eye view of Europe in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars which would form such an important foundation for his own fiction. In 1814, with the collapse of the French Empire, Stendhal retreated to his beloved Italy, where his literary career would first truly begin.
Life in Milan proved a boon to Stendhal. He became acquainted with a number of literary and artistic circles in the cosmopolitan city, and found himself quickly employed writing books on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Metastasio, and Italian painting. During this period he also authored a travel book, for the first time using the penname "Stendhal," supposedly chosen as an anagram of "Shetland" (although Georges Perec may have invented this explanation). Alternatively, some scholars believe he borrowed the moniker from the German city of Stendal as a homage to Johann Joachim Winckelmann.
In 1821 the Austrians, who controlled northern Italy at that time, began to put pressure on Stendhal because of his past connections with the French Empire, and ultimately he was forced to flee to Paris to escape persecution. In Paris he became popular in salons as a conversationalist and wit; he was well known for his ability to lampoon his intellectual rivals, and became something of a literary celebrity. He continued to write, publishing a book on the "objective study of love" entitled De l'amour ("On Love") in 1822 and, a year later, began serial publication of a study of Jean Racine and William Shakespeare. In 1827 he published his first novel, Armance, as well as a biography of Gioacchino Rossini. Three years later, however, would be a turning point in Stendhal's career, with the publication of his first masterpiece Le rouge et la noir ("The Red and The Black").
In 1830 the July Revolution reinstated King Louis Philippe to the throne of France, and Stendhal found himself once again in the favor of the ruling political party. He was appointed as a consul to the Papal city of Civitavecchia, which, unfortunately, he found to be a punishment rather than a reward. The position entailed an endless amount of administrative paper shuffling, Stendhal found the town itself to be isolated and droll, and the ultimate consequence of this appointment was the great writer found it almost impossible to write. Lonely and bored, Stendhal turned to writing autobiographical works, two memoirs entitled Souvenirs d'Egotisme and Vie de Henri Brulard ("Memoirs of an Egoist" and "The Life of Henri Brulard") and an autobiographical novel, Lucien Leuwen, none of which he would finish, but which, when published nearly 60 years after his death in their incomplete form, were heralded as some of his finest writings.
During his time with the consulate, Stendhal uncovered records of crimes of passion and frightful executions during the time of the Renaissance which would become an inspiration for a series of short stories he published during this period. It was not until 1836, however, when Stendhal at last returned to Paris, that he had the stamina to resume serious intellectual work. In 1839 he published his second masterpiece, Le Chartreuse de Parme ("The Charterhouse of Parma"). He began work on a third major work, but died of a stroke in 1842 before it was completed.
Contemporary readers did not fully appreciate Stendhal's realistic style during the Romantic period in which he lived; he was not fully appreciated until the beginning of the twentieth century. He dedicated his writing to "the Happy Few," referring to those who would one day recognize his own genius. Today, Stendhal's works attract attention for their irony, their psychological complexity and their historical insights.
Stendhal was an avid fan of music, particularly the composers Domenico Cimarosa, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Gioacchino Rossini, the latter of whom was the subject of an extensive biography, now more valued for Stendhal's wide-ranging musical criticism than for its historical accuracy.
Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black) is Stendhal's first masterpiece and a major work of realist literature. The title has been translated into English variously as Scarlet and Black, Red and Black, and The Red and the Black. It is set in 1830s France, relating the attempts of a young man to rise above his plebeian birth through deception and hypocrisy, only to find himself betrayed by his own passions.
As in Stendhal's later work La Chartreuse de Parme, the protagonist, Julien Sorel, believes himself to be a driven and intelligent man, but is in reality a simpleton, a romantic, and a piece in a chess game played by others. Stendhal uses his addled hero to satirize French society of the time, particularly the hypocrisy and materialism of its aristocracy and of the Catholic Church, and to foretell a radical change in French society that will remove both of those forces from their positions of power.
The most common and most likely explanation of the title is that red and black are the contrasting colors of the army uniform of the times and of the robes of priests, respectively. However, the symbolic resonances of the colors in the title could include red for love, and black for death and mourning; or red and black as the colors of the roulette wheel may indicate the unexpected changes in the hero's career.
The Red and the Black is the story of Julien Sorel, the aesthete son of a carpenter in the fictional French village of Verrières, and his attempts to overcome his poor birth through posturing and telling people what they want to hear. The novel comprises two “books,” but each book has two major stories within it.
The first book introduces Julien, a romantic youth who spends his time with his nose in books or daydreaming about being in Napoleon’s (by then defunct) army rather than working with his carpenter father and brothers, who beat him for his pseudo-intellectual tendencies. Julien ends up becoming an acolyte for the local Catholic Abbé, who later secures him a post as tutor for the children of the Mayor of Verrières, M. de Rênal. Julien acts as a pious cleric, but in reality has little interest in the Bible beyond its literary value and the way he can use memorized passages to impress important people. Over time, Julien begins an affair with the wife of M. de Rênal, one that ends badly when the affair is exposed throughout the town by a servant, Eliza, who had designs of her own on Julien. M. de Rênal then banishes Julien, who moves on to a seminary that he finds cliquish and stifling. The director of the seminary, M. Pirard, takes a liking to Julien, and when M. Pirard leaves the seminary in disgust at the political machinations of the Church’s hierarchy, he recommends Julien as a candidate for secretary to the diplomat and reactionary M. de la Mole.
Book II chronicles Julien’s time in Paris with the family of M. de la Mole. Julien tries to participate in the high society of Paris, but the nobles look down on him as something of a novelty — a poor-born intellectual. Julien, meanwhile, finds himself torn between his ambitions to rise in society and his disgust at the base materialism and hypocrisy of the Parisian nobility.
Mathilde de la Mole, the daughter of Julien’s boss, seduces Julien, and the two begin a comical on-again, off-again affair, one that Julien feeds by feigning disinterest in Mathilde at one point and using the letters written by a lothario he knows to woo a widow in the de la Mole’s social circle. Eventually, Julien and Mathilde reunite when she reveals she is pregnant with his child. M. de la Mole is livid at the news, but relents and grants Julien a stipend, a place in the army, and his grudging blessing to marry his daughter. But M. de la Mole relents when he receives a letter from Mme. de Rênal warning him that Julien is nothing but a cad and a social climber who preys on vulnerable women. (In a perfect example of irony, Julien had suggested to M. de la Mole that he write to Mme. de Rênal for a character reference.) On learning of this treachery and M. de la Mole’s decision to rescind all he had granted the couple, Julien races back to Verrières, buys bullets for his pistols, heads to the church, and shoots Mme. de Rênal twice—missing once and hitting her shoulder blade the second time—during Mass. Although Mme. de Rênal lives, Julien is sentenced to death, in part due to his own rambling, anti-patrician speech at his trial. Mathilde attempts to bribe a high official to sway the judgment against Julien, but the trial is presided over by a former romantic rival for Mme. de Rênal’s affections.
The last few chapters show Julien in prison, reconsidering all of his actions over the three years during which the story takes place and considering his place in the world and the nature of society. Mme. de Rênal forgives Julien, and she and Mathilde both attempt to bribe and cajole local officials to overturn Julien’s death sentence. Julien’s affections, meanwhile, have returned to Mme. de Rênal. The novel closes with Julien’s execution; Mme. de Rênal, who pledged to Julien that she would not take her own life and that she would care for Mathilde’s baby, dies three days later, most likely of grief.
The Charterhouse of Parma is one of Stendhal's two acknowledged masterworks. The novel is another early example of realism, in stark contrast to the Romantic style popular while Stendhal was writing. It is considered by many authors to be a truly seminal work; Honoré de Balzac considered it the most significant novel of his time; André Gide thought it the greatest French novel ever. Leo Tolstoy was heavily influenced by Stendhal's famous treatment of the Battle of Waterloo, where his protagonist wanders about in confusion over whether or not he has been in "a real battle."
A "writer's writer," Stendhal is known more in literary circles than to the public at large. Many writers have acknowledged his influence on their work and used his technique of detailed psychological description in their own stories. Leo Tolstoy considered Stendhal an enormous influence. Gide felt that The Red and the Black was a novel far ahead of its time, and called it a novel for readers in the twentieth century. Emile Zola and his fellow French realists considered Stendhal the founder of their movement.
At the time Stendhal wrote The Red and the Black, the prose in novels included dialogue or omniscient descriptions, but Stendhal's great contribution was to move the narration inside the characters' heads, describing their feelings and emotions, through the use of techniques like interior monologue. As a result of this book, Stendhal is considered the inventor of the psychological novel.
Stendhal's style was highly allusive, with copious references to the works of Voltaire, Friedrich Schiller, and William Shakespeare; quotes from Jean Racine's play Phèdre and Don Juan; and to philosophers and thinkers who influenced Stendhal, such as John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
- Armance (1827)
- Le Rouge et le Noir (1830) (variously translated as "Scarlet and Black," "Red and Black," and "The Red and the Black")
- La Chartreuse de Parme (1839) ("The Charterhouse of Parma")
- Lucien Leuwen (1835-) (unfinished, published 1894)
- Lamiel (1840-) (unfinished, published 1889)
- The Life of Henry Brulard (1835-1836) (published 1890)
- "L'Abbesse de Castro" (1832)
- "The Duchess of Palliano"
- "Vittoria Accoramboni"
- "Vanina Vanini"
- "The Cenci"
- De L'Amour (1822) ("On Love")
- Souvenirs d'Égotisme (published 1892) ("Memoirs of an Egotist")
All links retrieved October 21, 2015.
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He grew up in Grenoble hating his father and the Jesuit, Royalist atmosphere in his home, and he went to Paris at his earliest opportunity. There influential relatives obtained a place for him at the ministry of war. In 1800 he became a dragoon in Napoleon's army, and the invasion of Italy took him to Milan. By 1802 he was back in Paris, where he pursued the amorous adventures that continued to interest him all his life. He read widely and kept notes and journals, which have been published. He again served with Napoleon's army in the disastrous Russian campaign (1812). After Napoleon's fall in 1814, Stendhal went to Milan, remaining there until 1820. There he began his literary career.
In Vie de Haydn, de Mozart, et de Métastase (1814) and in Rome, Naples, et Florence en 1817 (1817), he borrowed facts freely from other writers, but the point of view and wit were his own. His books were better known in England than in France, and from c.1817 he wrote for British journals. In this period, when he was suffering from his most genuine and most unhappy love affair, he wrote De l'amour (1822), a psychological analysis of love that predates Freud. Stendhal's first novel, Armance (1827), was scorned by the critics.
In 1831 the first of his two great novels, Le Rouge et le Noir (tr. The Red and the Black), was published. The Red in the title symbolizes the army and liberalism, and the Black the reactionary clergy. It is, baldly, the story of a sensitive but calculating youth, Julien Sorel, who pursues his ambitions by seduction and is eventually guillotined for shooting his mistress. Its sympathetic and acute character analysis and its picture of the period make it one of the world's great novels.
After the accession (1830) of Louis Philippe, Stendhal was appointed consul at Trieste, but because Metternich objected to his books and liberal ideas, he was shifted to Civitavecchia in 1831. He wrote constantly there, although he did not publish; among the works of that period are Souvenirs d'égotisme and La Vie d'Henri Brulard, both autobiographical, and Lucien Leuwen, a novel.
During a three-year leave of absence (1836–39), which he spent in Paris or in traveling about France, he wrote what many consider his greatest novel, La Chartreuse de Parme (1839, tr. The Charterhouse of Parma). Its plot is from the Renaissance, but it is set in Italy of the 1830s. Its hero, Fabrizio del Dongo, like Julien Sorel, possesses a special egoism (termed Beylism by Stendhal) that derives its great energy from passion, has its own moral code, and consists of unswerving pursuit of happiness in the form of love or power. Stendhal returned to Paris a few months before he died. Nearly 50 years after his death, his unprinted works were discovered and published.
See translations of his autobiographical works, The Life of Henri Brulard (1939), Memoirs of Egotism (1949), and The Private Diaries of Stendhal (1&54); biography by J. Keates (1997).
(pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle). Born Jan. 23, 1783, in Grenoble; died Mar. 23,1842, in Paris. French writer.
The son of a lawyer, Stendhal was brought up in the family of his grandfather, a humanist and republican. In 1799 he took a position in the Ministry of War. He joined the army the following year and took part in Napoleon’s Italian campaign of 1800–02. Retiring from military service, he undertook to educate himself, attended the theater, and frequented literary circles. He returned to the army and, as a member of the quartermaster’s staff in Napoleon’s army (1806–14), traveled through most of Europe and witnessed the battle of Borodino and the flight of the French from Russia. After the fall of Napoleon (1814), Stendhal went to Italy, where he associated with the leaders of the Carbonari and became closely acquainted with the Italian romantics and with Lord Byron. In 1821 he moved to Paris and contributed to the French and British opposition press. In 1830 he became the French consul in Trieste, and later in Civitavecchia, where he spent the last decade of his life.
The earliest works of Stendhal dealt with music, which he called his strongest passion. His books Lives of Haydn, Mozart, and Metastasio (1817) and Life of Rossini (1824) expressed Stendhal’s aesthetic tastes with complete clarity. He was particularly drawn to Italian opera (Cimarosa and Rossini), with its melodic bel canto style of singing, and to the classical symphonic art of Haydn and Mozart.
In the History of Painting in Italy (vols. 1–2) and Rome, Naples and Florence in 1817 (both 1817), Stendhal attacked idealist aesthetics from the standpoint of the cultural-historical method and advanced the view that art is a means of reflecting and comprehending reality. A number of later works, such as Walks in Rome (1829), were brilliant popularizations of art. In 1822, Stendhal published the treatise On Love, an attempt at psychological analysis that was augmented by numerous expressions of personal feelings and observations.
Stendhal’s involvement in the prevailing disputes on romanticism and classicism in literature was reflected in the two versions of his pamphlet Racine and Shakespeare (1823 and 1825). In them he contrasted Shakespeare’s profound and passionate art to the worn-out dogmas of the epigones of classicism, and urged rejection of the celebrated three unities and the establishment of a new dramaturgy, contemporary in spirit. However, although he defended romanticism, Stendhal rejected the views of the conservative romantics, with their flight from reality, tawdry exoticism, and idealization of the Middle Ages.
Stendhal was the true founder of realism in literature. His approach to events was historically oriented, and he depicted situations and characters realistically, made penetrating analyses of man’s subtlest feelings, and satirized the petty world of the ignorant and uncultured stratum of high society. All these features of Stendhal’s realistic method were already evident in his first, still somewhat schematic novel. Ármame (vols. 1–3,1827). The short story “Vanina Vanini” (1829) gave a sympathetic portrayal of the Italian Carbonaro and patriot.
The novel The Red and the Black (1831) is subtitled “Chronicle of the XIX Century.” In it, Stendhal presented a broad portrayal of French society on the eve of the July Revolution of 1830, revealing the avarice of the bourgeoisie, the obscurantism of the clergy, and the desperate efforts of the aristocracy to maintain its class privileges. The novel focuses on the dramatic inner struggle of the young Julien Sorel: the innate honesty, greatness of soul, and nobility that have raised this son of an ordinary carpenter above the crowd of rich people, hypocrites, and titled nonentities that surround him are in conflict with his ambitious aims and his efforts to succeed at any price. The discord between the hero’s thirst for power and his revulsion toward the ignominious pursuit of power brings him to ruin.
Stendhal expressed an even greater degree of social satire and denunciatory zeal in his unfinished novel Lucien Leuwen (1834–36; published 1&29); it depicted the everyday reality of the July Monarchy, which had replaced the Restoration, as a tragicomic farce. Using techniques of the grotesque, Stendhal revealed the repellent nature of Louis Philippe’s government, in which bribery, slander, and blackmail reigned supreme. He portrayed the army as a body that had degenerated into a punitive band persecuting insurgent workers, and censured the willingness to compromise that was typical of some members of the French intelligentsia.
In his search for intense passions, heroic deeds, and characters of integrity—none of which, Stendhal was convinced, could exist in contemporary France—the writer made use of old chronicles and of episodes from the national liberation struggle of the Italian people against Austrian oppressors. The novel The Charterhouse of Parma (1839) was inspired by Stendhal’s study of the chronicles of the Farnese family and by a rebellion that had taken place in the duchy of Modena, provoked by the duke himself. Stendhal transferred the place of action to Parma, making his depiction of the mores of this tiny police state a symbolic portrayal of Europe during the period of reaction after the Napoleonic Wars. The novel powerfully expresses the themes of love for liberty and of the struggle of proud and self-sacrificing patriots for the liberation and reunification of Italy.
Stendhal drew on the same sources for his Italian Chronicles, written during the 1830’s and published as a single work in 1855. They depicted prominent Renaissance personages, forces of mortal enmity, and outbursts of elemental feelings, so remote from the outdated respectability and hypocrisy of French aristocratic and bourgeois mores of the mid-19th century. The Memoirs of a Tourist (vols. 1–2, 1838) satirized these petty people, immersed in the mire of everyday life.
Many of Stendhal’s works were not published until after his death, including the autobiographical novella The Life of Henri Brulard (1835; published 1890) and Memoirs of an Egotist (1832; published 1892), both containing many acute psychological observations and accurate depictions of everyday life. Other posthumous works by Stendhal are the unfinished novel Lamiel (183&9ndash;42; published in part, 1889; in full, 1&28); Too Much Favor Can Kill (Trop de faveur tue, 1839; published 1&129ndash;13), in terms of composition related to the Italian Chronicles cycle; a number of diaries; and an extensive correspondence.
Stendhal’s works combine sober observation and inspiring romanticism, critical acuity and psychological depth. He constantly sought to express the drama of life and to create rounded, living characters who reflected the ideas and passions of their era.
Stendhal won recognition from only a few literary figures during his lifetime, including Mérim9eacute;e, Balzac, and Goethe, but he was rediscovered in the second half of the 19th century. Since then, the publication of his manuscripts and of monographs and articles devoted to him has been unceasing, and all succeeding generations of French writers have been influenced by him. In Grenoble, in the apartment where Henri Beyle was born, the Stendhal Museum was established in 1933. Several film versions of Stendhal’s works have been made, including Vanina Vanini (1922), The Charterhouse of Parma (1948), and The Red and the Black (1954).
In Russia, Stendhal’s works were known as early as the 1830’s; they were praised by Pushkin and L. N. Tolstoy.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–15. Edited by A. A. Smirnov and B. G. Reizov. Leningrad-Moscow [1&33]9mdash;50.
Sobr. soch. v 15 tt., vols. 1–15. Edited and with an introductory article by B. G. Reizov. Moscow, 1959.
Reizov, B. G. Stendal’: Gody uchen’ia, Leningrad, 1968.
Reizov, B. G. Stendal: Filosofiia istorii. Politika. Estetika. Leningrad, 1974.
Gorky, M. [Foreword.] In A. K. Vinogradov, Izbr. proizv., vol. 1: Tritsveta vremeni. Moscow, 1960.
Vinogradov, A. K. Stendal’ i ego vremia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1960.
Ehrenburg, I. “Uroki Stendalia.” In Frantsuzskie tetradi. Moscow, 1958.
Frid, Ia. Stendal’: Ocherk zhizni i tvorchestva, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1967.
Prévost, J. Stendal’. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960. Translated from French.)
Thibaudet, A. Stendhal. Paris, 1931.
Martineau, H. Petit Dictionnairestendhalien. Paris, 1948.
Europe, 1972, no. 51&9ndash;21. (Issue devoted to Stendhal.)