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on 21 February 2016
Brilliant. Previously had not been too keen on French classics. But once I began to read it, I was impressed it's beautiful writing and the depth of the story. Would certainly recommend the book
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on 7 January 2018
The novel itself is great but I wouldn't recommend this edition. The page numbering starts randomly about a third of the way through the book, the text and margins are too large so there are way more pages than necessary and consequently the book is unnecessarily massive and heavy. I'll be buying another edition.
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on 5 April 2016
great
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on 20 December 2015
another stitch in life's rich pageant
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perfect
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 20 January 2016
Nowadays it is hard to get over to anyone how different this was to the normal fare of novels that were being read at the time. Stendhal wrote this in the present tense and what he wrote about was going on around him, he also was inspired by two actual court cases which helped him develop his plot. With his blend of realism and delving psychologically into his characters, he was a trailblazer. People at the time didn't take well to it considering it to be a bit of a shocker, mainly because of its being so topical.

The story follows Julien Sorel who wants to lose his poor peasant roots and become a 'power' in the world. Because Stendahl doesn't jump back or forwards in time but remains in the present tense we read this as if it is actually happening, thus we see how Julien can map out what he wants to do but how things can crop up in his way to cause delays and or make him follow a different path. It is this meandering course where things can quickly alter that makes this so true to life and readable. If you think about it we all make certain decisions each day about certain things, but because other events crop up and occur we have to make alterations to our plans quite constantly.

Taking in the hypocrisy of the period this is a well written satire on the age. It isn't necessary to know the history of France at the period because you soon find yourself immersed in the story and get a feel for the age. Stendhal brilliantly shows something comical in the midst of something serious, the kind of thing that is quite difficult to do for most people, and this shows the level of his genius. This wasn't a big seller in its day but by the latter part of the 19th century such authors as Henry James, George Gissing and Joseph Conrad were taking Stendhal's work seriously and finding it inspirational. By the 20th Century Stendhal at last became more popular with the general reader who found what a great writer he was.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 January 2016
Nowadays it is hard to get over to anyone how different this was to the normal fare of novels that were being read at the time. Stendhal wrote this in the present tense and what he wrote about was going on around him, he also was inspired by two actual court cases which helped him develop his plot. With his blend of realism and delving psychologically into his characters, he was a trailblazer. People at the time didn't take well to it considering it to be a bit of a shocker, mainly because of its being so topical.

The story follows Julien Sorel who wants to lose his poor peasant roots and become a 'power' in the world. Because Stendahl doesn't jump back or forwards in time but remains in the present tense we read this as if it is actually happening, thus we see how Julien can map out what he wants to do but how things can crop up in his way to cause delays and or make him follow a different path. It is this meandering course where things can quickly alter that makes this so true to life and readable. If you think about it we all make certain decisions each day about certain things, but because other events crop up and occur we have to make alterations to our plans quite constantly.

Taking in the hypocrisy of the period this is a well written satire on the age. It isn't necessary to know the history of France at the period because you soon find yourself immersed in the story and get a feel for the age. Stendhal brilliantly shows something comical in the midst of something serious, the kind of thing that is quite difficult to do for most people, and this shows the level of his genius. This wasn't a big seller in its day but by the latter part of the 19th century such authors as Henry James, George Gissing and Joseph Conrad were taking Stendhal's work seriously and finding it inspirational. By the 20th Century Stendhal at last became more popular with the general reader who found what a great writer he was.
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on 11 August 2014
Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. The man's a genius, up there with the Dostoevski's, the Proust's and the Lawrence's. Fantastic. Starts in a fairly ordinary way but don't let that fool you and stay with it. Wow.
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on 1 July 2015
Not read it yet - for later parts of AS Level, but it is recommended for wider reading.
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on 10 September 2010
this is a classic French novel by one of their most famous authors. It is a comment on the social values at that time in France when the best way to progress socially was to join the army or the church, the red or the black.

it is about an ambitious young man who tries to rise socially by using people particularly women.
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