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Scarlet and Black (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Stendhal , M. R. B. Shaw
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1969 Penguin Classics
It mirrors, rather than paints, mobile and revealing glimpses of life as it was whiled away in the climate of fear and greedy drawing-room conformity that followed Waterloo. Julien Sorel, the novel's restless, ambitious hero, rebels against his circumstances and wills himself to make something of his life by adopting a code of hypocrisy. On the road to the surprising crime he commits (out of passion, principle or insanity), he turns into Stendhal's greatest and most completely human creation.

Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New impression edition (July 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140440305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140440300
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 11.1 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 669,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
The little town of Verrieres is one of the prettiest in Franche-Comte. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Julian Sorel is a carpenter's son born and brought up deep in provincial France. He's very ambitious and keen to leave behind his violent and hateful father and carve out for himself a glittering career in Paris. Fired by the deeds of Napoleon, the dictator is no more during the period this book covers and loyalty to him is dangerous, Sorrel sets about entering the church as his only way of advancing without money or background.

He is undone by love for two women. The first older than him. The second the same age but spoilt and selfish. The book traces the appalling effects love can have on all concerned. It shows how love can create an insurmountable urge to self delusion and pain. Along the way Stendhal dissects the personalities involved showing us why they do what they do.

It's bittersweet but also very funny. Black humour that make you laugh at the misfortune of others whilst clearly seeing how easy it would be to fall into the same traps.

A brilliant classic. Throw away the tripe on the bestseller lists with their dreamy pastel covers this is easy to read but executed by a master.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black and then scarlet 22 Aug 2011
As a student in the late 60s I loved this book.
Now that I am 61 I re-read it (again in the original French), finding it, to my surprise, very hard going. I think this is partly to do with the style and with my inability to be able to fathom the three main psychological steps : Julien's act of revenge on Mme de Renal, Mathilde de la Mole's various reactions to Julien's suit and Julian's famous "Mourons" - I may as well die.......
The events in the book are described sometimes in very minute detail and sometimes not at all : I think it is very surprising that the end is only sketched out in barest detail, whereas the build up to it is monumental.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading - though I think I will have to take Stendhal off my list of favourite authors - he has been on it for 41 years, so perhaps time to move on....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scarley & Black 12 May 2011
One of my favourite classics beautifully presented. You can't beat a hardback book, a bit of a luxury I know but worth it in this case.
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