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The plot of The Charterhouse of Parma suggests a run-of-the-mill potboiler, complete with court intrigue, military derring-do, and more romance than you can shake a saber at. But Stendhal had an amazing, pre-Freudian grasp of psychology (at least the Gallic variant). More than most of his contemporaries, he understood the incessant jostling of love, sex, fear, and ambition, not to mention our endless capacity for self-deception. No wonder his hero, Fabrizio de Dongo, seems to know everything and nothing about himself. Even under fire at the Battle of Waterloo, the young Fabrizio has a tendency to lose himself in Napoleonic reverie:
Suddenly everyone galloped off. A few moments later Fabrizio saw, twenty paces ahead, a ploughed field that seemed to be strangely in motion; the furrows were filled with water, and the wet ground that formed their crests was exploding into tiny black fragments flung three or four feet into the air. Fabrizio noticed this odd effect as he passed; then his mind returned to daydreams of the Marshal's glory. He heard a sharp cry beside him: two hussars had fallen, riddled by bullets; and when he turned to look at them, they were already twenty paces behind the escort.The quote above, a famous one, captures something of Stendhal's headlong style. Until now, most English-speaking readers have experienced it via C.K. Scott-Moncrieff's superb 1925 translation. But now Richard Howard has modernized his predecessor's period touches, streamlined some of the fussier locutions, and generally given Stendhal his high-velocity due. The result is a timely version of a timeless masterpiece, which shouldn't need to be updated again until, oh, 2050. Crammed with life, lust, and verbal fireworks, The Charterhouse of Parma demonstrates the real truth of its creator's self-composed epitaph: "He lived. He wrote. He loved." --James Marcus --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I have had this book on my must read list for over 30 years, and I finally bought the translation by Parker and read it. I’m glad I did. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Eric Lee Smith
Old fashioned and sometimes confusing but good fun with wonderfully descriptive prose.Published 3 months ago by Tiger
disappointing - I expected it to be about the Napoleonic final battle.Published 4 months ago by June Carol
Pretty boring. In my opinion, not very well written but perhaps that is because it was poorly translated from another language. Hard to identify with any of the characters. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Margery Andrews
Real 19th century romanticism / realism and very enjoyable. Translation far from perfect though.Published 11 months ago by P.V.Callenfels
The book's ending is surprisingly abrupt, but other than that is is a very engaging read.Published 11 months ago by HH