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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving & a psychologically accurate love story
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...
Published on 12 Jan 2008 by bookpike

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars baffling in large parts
This book charts the life of Julian Sorel, the dreamy, academic son of a provincial carpenter. Julian is ambitious and misunderstood. He becomes the tutor to the children of the town's mayor which leads him on to a seminary and eventually a post as a secretary in the house of a Parisian aristocrat. Stendhal charts the ups and downs of society in post revolutionary France...
Published on 17 Nov 2011 by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving & a psychologically accurate love story, 12 Jan 2008
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
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Anthony Peter Swallow (Bruxelles, Belgique) - See all my reviews
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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
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This review is from: Scarlet And Black (Everyman's Library Classics) (Hardcover)
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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars captivating, 11 Mar 2006
By A Customer
I was expecting a book about the politics of religion so I was surprised to find a thrilling intelligent romance. Not a throw away book to pass the time, but a book with a deep understanding of the devastating effects of love and lust.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lovelt edition, 20 Jun 2013
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Yet again a speedy delivery of a beautiful copy of a classic. The book is in excellent condition and arrived really quickly. My only problem is that I've had so many good books through Amazon and their associates recently that I'm way behind on reading them all. But I'll get there! Yet again I'd like to thank everyone involved with this great facility to find copies of books from all over the country from dealers that I didn't know existed, and at really bargain prices (though I'd be happy to pay top prices if I could!) I intend to take advantage of the service as often as possible.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars baffling in large parts, 17 Nov 2011
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book charts the life of Julian Sorel, the dreamy, academic son of a provincial carpenter. Julian is ambitious and misunderstood. He becomes the tutor to the children of the town's mayor which leads him on to a seminary and eventually a post as a secretary in the house of a Parisian aristocrat. Stendhal charts the ups and downs of society in post revolutionary France with Julian as the critical lens through which he looks at the class system and its politics and beliefs. The human interest comes with Julian's relationship with two women, Madame de Renal, the mother of his students and Mademoiselle de la Mole, the daughter of his aristocratic employer.

The book is 500 pages long, and spends four hundred of those pages building slowly to a dramatic centrepiece which is unexpected, and mostly unexplained. The next 100 pages has enough material in it for another entire novel. The book was very unbalanced in this way and I found it very frustrating. The last one hundred pages was by far the most interesting part of the book but it felt rushed and incomplete.

The other thing I found annoying was the character of Julian himself. Stendhal describes him as unpleasant. Most people in the book dislike him intensely and I can see why. He is proud, arrogant and naive. He seems to learn nothing about himself or anyone else, and simply blunders through life trying to fit his own, fixed ideas into a world which is much more complex than he imagines. He is short sighted, cruel and nasty. The two 'love stories' which underpin the study of French society seem completely bizarre to me as it is entirely unclear why the women fall for Julian, and he certainly doesn't fall for them.

It was well written, it was interesting but it didn't engage me sympathetically at all.
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Scarlet And Black (Everyman's Library Classics)
Scarlet And Black (Everyman's Library Classics) by Stendhal (Hardcover - 26 Sep 1991)
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