- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 607 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Penguin Classics edition (September 24, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780140447644
- ISBN-13: 978-0140447644
- ASIN: 0140447644
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 150 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Red and the Black (Penguin Classics) Paperback – September 24, 2002
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Praise for Burton Raffel’s translations
For Balzac’s Père Goriot
“Raffel’s Père Goriot is both faithful and beautiful, and that makes it a masterpiece.” —Alain Renoir
“I predict that this translation will give Balzac’s great novel a new life for English and American readers. . . . The definitive translation for this generation.” —Peter Brooks
“[Raffel’s] translation has the vigor and elasticity of Balzac’s style, and catches with uncanny accuracy the tone of the period.” —Guy Davenport
For Cervantes’s Don Quijote
“[Raffel’s Don Quijote] recasts the original into lively English, without losing the complexity and flavor of the Spanish. . . . This Quijote flows smoothly and reads, in fact, like original prose rather than a translation.” —Adrienne Martin
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.
Roger Gard was educated at Abbotsholme School, Derbyshire, and at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Before his death in 2000 he was Emeritus Reader in English at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. Among his publications are books on Henry James, Jane Austen and the teaching of fiction in schools. He also translated Alfred de Vigny’s The Servitude and Grandeur of Arms, and edited Henry James’s A Landscape Painter and Other Tales, The Jolly Corner and Other Tales and a selection of his literary criticism, The Critical Muse, for Penguin Classics.
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Because this classic was written in 1830, today’s readers can be forgiven if some of the plot lines, psychological exposition, obvious use of foreshadowing and characters seem a bit familiar. It is easy to envision a young Theodore Dreiser, Erich Maria Remarque, Saul Bellow or Willa Cather holed up in a corner devouring every word as it sowed the seeds for their writing (I found so many parallels with An American Tragedy and Augie March). Stendhal’s story delves deeply into a particular society in a unique period of history. Julien indeed feels a bit lost; he would rather have been marching with his hero Napoleon in an earlier time. At times it seems tedious, which Stendhal comically acknowledges: “The total boredom of the life led by Julien, without real interests, will no doubt be shared by the reader. These are the flatlands of our journey.”
Yet the journey takes us to a conclusion that has a lasting effect. I doubt it can be forgotten by anyone once read. Like training for a long race, it makes all the toil that came before it more enjoyable and relevant. I can better understand why, in life, there are but a happy few.
The plot follows a young man who wants more from life than being a peasant. He educates himself and comes to the attention of the local church hierarchy. He furthers his education and gains a position in a middling household as a tutor to the children of a local somebody. The envy he feels and the derision and contempt he is treated with conspire to push his ambition further to ruinous heights. He commits adultery and causes scandal eventually ending in murder.
One feels sorry for him as a victim of society's class divisions and rules yet at the same time he brings his tragedy on himself. It is almost Shakespearean in its scale.
Highly recommended for all lovers of quality literature.
I found it quite entertaining and remarkably cinematic in the way a scene would sometimes “dissolve” into the next scene. It’s a long book, but I found it fast moving. FOUR STARS
Some would say that Stendhal's French is fairly easy to read, and the best solution is to learn to read him in the original. My objection to this view is that though I can read French modestly well, I would still need a dictionary to read Stendhal and, even more important, the nuances of 19th century French are different from what I learned in school.
Moreover, all of Stendhal's translators have said that his "simple" style is really quite hard to reproduce in English.
Most famously, Moncrieff was the translator of Proust, a writer whose style is far from simple. Could this make it difficult for him to adjust to Stendhal?
Going purely by the way the translation reads in English, I would say that good as Moncrieff is, the old Penguin version by Margaret Shaw is the one that sounds "like Stendhal" to me, and I've read at least four translations. This may be nostalgia speaking, because I think I read Shaw's translation first.
Whichever translation you read, lisez Stendhal!!!!!!