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The Red and the Black: A Novel of Post-Napoleonic France Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright; Reissue edition (February 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871401487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871401489
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,236,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The last of the great French moralists. -- Friedrich Nietzsche --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Henri Marie Beyle, known through his writing as Stendhal, was born in Grenoble in 1783 and educated there at the École Centrale. A cousin offered him a post in the Ministry of War, and from 1800 he followed Napoleon’s campaigns in Italy, Germany, Russia and Austria. In between wars, he spent his time in Paris drawing rooms and theatres.

After the fall of Napoleon, he retired to Italy, adopted his pseudonym and started to write books on Italian painting, Haydn and Mozart, and travels in Italy. In 1821 the Austrian police expelled him from the country, and on returning to Paris he finished his book De l’amour. This was followed by Racine et Shakespeare, a defense of Romantic literature. Le Rouge et le noir was his second novel, and he also produced or began three others, including La Chartreuse de Parme and Lucien Leuwen. None of his published works was received with any great understanding during his lifetime.

Beyle was appointed Consul at Civitavecchia after the 1830 revolution, but his health deteriorated and six years later he was back in Paris and beginning a Life of Napoleon. In 1841 he was once again recalled for reasons of illness, and in the following year suffered a fatal stroke. Various autobiographical works, Journal, Souvenirs de l’egotisme and La Vie de Henri Brulard, were published later, as his fame grew.

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Would not have chosen it if not for that reason.
Diana Pritkin
The few foot notes, most of them from the original, do not make for sufficient information to justify the use of the word "Annotation".
Phred
I remember how much I liked this novel years ago when I first read it.
Sharon Anderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Taylor Rand on July 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Burton Raffel's modern translation to Scott-Moncreiff's 1926 version (that's the one you're looking at here). Raffel's Stendhal is more accessible and immediate - The Red and The Black becomes more of a novel than does S-M's nearly 100-year-old translation of a nearly 200-year-old text.

However, S-M's translation may be closer to Stendhal's convoluted style (ironically, Stendhal's writing was, I believe, considered straightforward in his time). I've read the book in the original French - as a learning exercise - and it seems to me that S-M's work is a bit closer to the original. I'm no scholar, not a native French speaker nor a translator either, so I won't venture down that road very far.

Anyhow, if you're looking for a good translation with a modern feel, I'd go with Raffel's. It's pricier (still cheap though), but I believe you'd get far more enjoyment and more of a connection with the book as a novel, rather than as a literary artifact from a long-past era.

Actually, why not get both versions? S-M's translation is only a dollar and not without an antiquarian charm.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Crowell on September 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While Stendhal is amazing, there were bugs in this version. On certain pages the novel would crash and disappear and those pages had to be skipped. This was very annoying so I ended up paying for the Modern Library edition and it was wonderful! The difference in translation was astounding. Stendhal is a master writer, with profound insights that ring true today. The political scheming of Stendhal's era can be found today proving that some things don't ever really change (human nature). Stendhal understands the human heart in all its contradictions and expresses these contradictions beautifully. His characters grow throughout the novel. Contemporary novelists would do well to study Stendhal and learn about structure, characterization, and the human heart. Stendhal knows how to create an erotic love scene from a mere description of holding hands! It's really a remarkable writing feat that few can accomplish today. I have become a True Fan!
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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1997
Format: Hardcover
About halfway through this arch and amusing tale of the foolish, machiavellian Julien Sorel we read: "He almost went mad with joy on finding an edition of Voltaire. He ran and opened the library door so as not to be caught in the act. Next he gave himself the pleasure of opening each of the eighty volumes." You too will almost go mad with joy when you slip into a book that can startle with its pulse, its passion, its ability to seem like a forbidden pleasure. You will smile with glee as you run your hands across pages racy enough to make you feel like you could be caught in the act. You'll find yourself sighing on page 248 when you realize Julien has a full eighty volumes of Voltaire to keep his fires burning, while you only have 500 pages of the Red and the Black. But don't give into that familiar panic--that it might end, that you will spend years regretting those 500 pages of momentary pleasure--because it only gets better with each successive read. Like Cleopatra, it doesn't cloy where most it satisfies, but leaves you short of breath, wanting more-
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Phred on September 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stendhal has written a sharp, dark satire of post revolutionary France. The humor is dark, trending into melodrama. So much of the content is based in the history of that moment that an annotated version is very much needed. Despite the presence of the word "Annotated" in the title, this edition is not annotated. The error does not appear to belong to Amazon

Having read Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma The Charterhouse of Parma (Penguin Classics), I find this book to be more of a pleasure to read. The translation may be more modern, but I was looking to avoid some of the older writing styles. Even so I would love to know if there was a better translation of whatever French word was returned as "Wiseacres".

One does not hear or read the word 'droll' very often. (Dictionary.com: amusing in an odd way; whimsically humorous; waggish.) Droll is down played, roguish rather than slapstick. The wink of a non-glinting eye. Definitely not a pie in the face. Directed to the mind, not the belly. It seems perfect for a certain type of French humor and it is here in Red and The Black.
In order to appreciate droll humor, one must have a fairly deep understanding of the context of the joke. In This case much of the humor is based on class, politics, education, religious orders and French life at the time of the story.

All of this begs for Annotation. As near as I can tell, the Kindle edition has no annotation. Non-English quotes are not translated. Political parties are not identified. References to possibly real newspapers, events or people are not discussed. Even some details on church titles and hierarchies would help.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Togar on September 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Red and The Black is a intriguing tale of capriciousness, infidelity, ambition, and hypocrisy. The characters' constantly changing hearts and minds becomes a bit obnoxious, however it all leads to a thrilling and thoughtful finale.
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