Stendhal 1783 - 1842 (59)

God's only excuse is that he does not exist.


The red

and the black

From his earliest childhood he had experienced moments of rapture. Then, he would dream with delight that he would one day encounter the beautiful women of Paris, and would compel their attention by some famous deed. Why should he not be loved by one of them as Bonaparte, while still poor, had been loved by the brilliant Madame de Beauharnais? For many years, scarcely an hour of Julien's life passed without his telling himself that Bonaparte, an obscure and penniless lieutenant, had made himself the master of the world with his sword. This idea consoled him for his sufferings, which he thought great, and redoubled his happiness when he had any.

Stendhal (real name Marie-Henri Beyle (1783-1842)) was one of the greatest writers of the 19th century. Born in Grenoble, France in 1783 into a wealthy family, his father was a landowner and lawyer. He was 7 when his mother died and at 16 he left home to escape his father's despotism. He went to Paris where he joined Napoleon's army and took part as an officer in the campaigns in Austria, Germany and Russia. After the fall of Napoleon in 1815 he moved to Italy. In 1818 he was in Milan and the unfulfilled love for a young lady, made him to write his masterpiece "On Desire" on the bitterness and pain of a passionate man who found no response in his love. In 1822 he was expelled from Italy on suspicion of espionage and returned to Paris. In 1830 he finished his novel "The Red and the Black", which was not very successful because the realistic way of writing seemed strange at that time of absolute romance in writing.

Today is one of the greatest novels of its time because of the thin irony, the psychological and historical penetration. Stendhal returned to Italy in 1831 as consultant in Trieste and Sivitavensia, a small town near Rome. He was always saying that he prefers to live in Italy, considering it more passionate, more artistic and more real than France. In 1839 he finished his other masterpiece, "The Monastery of Parma”. He also wrote biographies, travelogues and tried to become a painter. He was fond of music and women, a dandy of his time with many love affairs and many wanderings; he died on March 23, 1842 in Paris having already prepared his the stele: "I lived, I wrote, I fell in love."