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The Red and the Black (1830)

by Stendhal

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,032112782 (3.86)1 / 291
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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» See also 291 mentions

English (81)  Spanish (10)  French (10)  Dutch (3)  Italian (3)  German (2)  Catalan (2)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
Libro Primero
La verdad, la amarga verdad(Danton)
Colección: Historia Universal de la Literatura
Nº 2 ( )
  Aido2021 | Apr 4, 2021 |
The Red and the Black is Stendal's BIG novel about France after Napoleon and after the French Revolution.

Julian Sorel, the nobody son of a carpenter, is plucked out of his low class existence to become the tutor for the children of the Mayor in rural 1830's France. Though he is addressed as "Monsieur" and allowed to eat with the family he is always made aware of his low status and poverty". Oddly he winds up in a curious love-her hate-her affair l'amore with the mayor's young and naive wife. It doesn't end well.

Later he becomes the letter-writer and secretary for a well do to nobleman in Paris and we see him interact with the glittering nobility and the scheming clergy of Paris. And another hard to fathom romance that really doesn't end well.

The book is stiff with contempt for the class structure of Paris and the hypocrisy and the role-playing and game playing that everyone does almost as a matter of rote. The Revolution is in everyone's memory and everyone is looking over his shoulder ("Don't make the coachman mad ; he may come for you after the Revolution")

There's good writing here but it goes on for a LONG time and Julian as a hero is kind of hard to root for - he hates the upper classes but he's just as shallow and stuck up as they are. The portrait under his pillow is not a girl - it's Napoleon!

This was a re-read and i really didn't enjoy myself this round. Perhaps it was a bad translation. Or perhaps the time for this book has past. ( )
  magicians_nephew | Mar 25, 2021 |
I was surprised at this: first, it's very readable (well done to the translator); second, it's very entertaining for about three quarters of the time. Unfortunately, Beyle gets serious about LURV, and turns into the most tedious kind of romantic for long stretches of the book. Give me more of the falsity and fakeness of human existence, the turpitude of the rich and of society as a whole, the extremely funny church satire--in short give me more Tobias Smollett. And give me much less of the nineteenth century, French version of D.H. Lawrence. In short: this is very fun, and I have no intention whatsoever of reading any more of his work, because I'm fairly sure it'll be much more of the gothicized lurv, and much less of the social critique. If I'm wrong, do let me know. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
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. ( )
1 vote 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 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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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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.

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