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The Red and the Black by Stendhal

The Red and the Black (1830)

by Stendhal

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,574106795 (3.87)1 / 281
The son of a carpenter, Julian Sorel is inspired by the writings of Napoleon to conquer the heights of society. His initial plan to work his way up through the church is, however, thwarted when he is forced to accept employment as a tutor--and this rash social entrepreneur certainly has not considered the dangers of falling in love. Stendhal's novel is an amusing and piquant study of hypocrisy and free will in post-Napoleonic France.… (more)
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English (78)  French (11)  Spanish (9)  Dutch (3)  Italian (3)  German (2)  All languages (106)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
I first read Stendhal's The Red and the Black fifteen years ago, when I was the same age as Julien Sorel, the book's protagonist. Ever since it has occupied a special place in my heart, for I consider it, without reserve, to be the greatest novel of all time, the one book that I recommend above all others to friends and colleagues. I've studied it, written about it, and of course, read and reread it in the intervening years. Of the various translations out there, I would say that Roger Gard's version does the best job of combining readability and accuracy, although I do admire C.K. Scott Moncrieff's abilities as a translator as well.

The book's plot centers on the rise of Julien, a young French peasant from the provincial village of Verrieres. Julien is a quixotic figure: he adores Napoleon and Rousseau and fancies himself as something of a Don Juan, but in reality he is an awkward and over-sensitive ingenue. So while Julien does possess a superior intelligence, Stendhal comically allows his hero to succeed in *spite* of his repeated blunders rather than any genius on his part. The arc of Julien's success is marked by his transition between three different locations. In Part I, in his hometown of Verrieres, he is elevated above his crude peasant family by his appointment as tutor to the mayor's family. While acting in this capacity, he embarks on an affair with the mayor's wife, Mme de Renal, and, when things end badly, he flees to the town of Besançon to pursue his studies as a priest. In Part II, he is again plucked from relative obscurity to serve as the secretary of the Marquis de Mole, an aristocrat who lives in Paris. There, Julien embarks on another illicit affair, this time with the marquis's fiery, unpredictable daughter, Mathilde.

One of the most astounding features of this book is Stendhal's mastery in depicting the complex psychology of his characters, for Julien, Mathilde, and Mme de Renal resonate in the reader's memory long after the last chapter has closed. Equally impressive is the narrator's ironic tone which, in the process of meditating on the particularities of the nineteenth century, nonetheless contains an unexpected freshness and modernity that will entertain and enchant even the most contemporary reader. These elements all give the book an untimely feeling that cuts across the grain of one's expectations: a nineteenth-century French realist novel shouldn't be this wonderfully engaging and relevant, and yet it somehow is. Oh, and that ending? That twist in the narrative of Julien's seemingly unstoppable success? Yeah, you'll never see it coming. It's as startling, as Stendhal once said, as a pistol shot in a theater. ( )
  vernaye | May 23, 2020 |
Narra la historia de Julien Sorel, que está convencido de que su educación le permitirá ascender de categoría social. Amores y ambiciones se entremezclarán en su vida, urdiendo los hilos de una trama que desembocará en tragedia.
  katherinevillar | Mar 24, 2020 |
Like 'The Charterhouse of Palma" this too is beautifully written, unedited, too long and contains nothing of real interest.

Good if: you are a writer, as there are long passages of the plot being driven forward by characters completely misunderstanding each other.

Bad if: you like a well written modern novel that is actually worth reading. ( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
The book is about Julien, the son of the sawmill operator, is our main character. Julien is a Napoleon want a be but he also would like to be a priest even tho he is an unbeliever. Julien never makes any real decisions but floats from one opportunistic situation to the next. We also are given a picture of Julien in his "chasing women". First he seduces the wife of his employer, then he uses one woman to insight jealousy in another. Out author, who sees himself as a scientist of love, is showing us all the types of love. He also creates many triangles. Besides romance, the book is a historical book, set in post reformation France with a look at rigid class structure; the nobility, the clergy, and everyone else. There is reference to the liberals. The right wing were the aristocrats, landowners and clergy who controlled the French government. The liberals were independents and were a mixed group that were against the Bourbon monarchy and wanted to restore revolutionary principles.

Love: The author reportedly considered himself a scientist of love; passion, physical, vanity and stylish. Do you agree? I do not think he was an expert on love. But he certainly did explore passion, physical, vanity and stylish displays in the book. He created many triangles but the main one would be Julien, Madame de Re'nal, and Mathilde.

Religion: The book is set in post reformation France. During the reformation, France was divided with French Huguenots (Protestants) who left the Church of Rome. Curé Chélan and Abbé Pirard are religious men with integrity, the first is removed from his position and the second is surrounded by enemies, persecuted for his Jansenism. Like Pope Adrian VI, they are incapable of blocking the deterioration of the Church, and remain only a negation of it. Julien is not a believer but still sees a career in the church as viable option.

The French people had no established rights and the king had all the power over government, economy, and the church. Catherine de Medicis is mentioned int he book, as well as Napoleon, or a recollection of Robespierre. So it is a historical novel as well as a satirical novel.

Hypocrisy ( )
  Kristelh | Feb 3, 2020 |
Uncle! I've never given up on a book before, but I just can't do it. I can't finish this book. A woeful priest wanna-be that sleeps around with his bosses wife and then complains about how he'll never be much of anything because Napoleon didn't win and the rich folk are just keeping the clergy down. ( )
  pmtracy | Dec 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Qua schrijfstijl zou Stendhal maar wat aanrommelen, maar in Het rood en het zwart, nu opnieuw uitgebracht in de Perpetua-reeks, bereikt hij het gewenste effect door inzet van de juiste middelen....

» Add other authors (125 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stendhalprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bair, LowellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergés, ConsueloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beyer, HugoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Botto, MargheritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Busoni, RafaelloIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castex, Pierre-GeorgesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charles, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Del Litto, VictorPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Evans, BergenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fadiman, CliftonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gard, RogerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gard, RogerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heumakers, ArnoldAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, DianeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lavagetto, MarioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Madden, JamesNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manger, HermienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martineau, HenriEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maugham, W. SomersetEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mérimée, ProsperIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinxteren, Hans vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raffel, BurtonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schurig, ArthurTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaw, Margaret R. B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaw, Margaret R. B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thole, KarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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[To Part One, Shaw trans.]

Truth – Truth in all her rugged harshness

La vérité, l'âpre vérité

– Danton

[To Part Two, Shaw trans.]

She is not pretty, she wears no rouge.

Elle n'est pas jolie, elle n'a point de rouge.

– Sainte-Beuve
To the happy few
First words
The small town of Verrieres may be regarded as one of the prettiest in the Franche-Comte.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
De e-boekversie van Het rood en het zwart bevat vrij veel transscriptiefouten en is niet aangepast aan de spellingswijzigingen van 1996.
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