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Le Rouge et le Noir de Stendhal (Fiche de lecture): Analyse complète et résumé détaillé de l'oeuvre

Le Rouge et le Noir de Stendhal (Fiche de lecture): Analyse complète et résumé détaillé de l'oeuvre

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Le Rouge et le Noir de Stendhal (Fiche de lecture): Analyse complète et résumé détaillé de l'oeuvre

évaluations:
3/5 (1 315 évaluations)
Longueur:
44 pages
21 minutes
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Sortie:
1 janv. 2011
ISBN:
9782806218353
Format:
Livre

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Décryptez Le Rouge et le Noir de Stendhal avec l’analyse du PetitLitteraire.fr !

Que faut-il retenir du Rouge et le Noir, le roman incontournable de la littérature française ? Retrouvez tout ce que vous devez savoir sur cette œuvre dans une fiche de lecture complète et détaillée.

Vous trouverez notamment dans cette fiche :
• Un résumé complet
• Une présentation des personnages principaux tels que Julien Sorel, Madame de Rênal et Mathilde
• Une analyse des spécificités de l’œuvre : un réalisme subjectif, l'ambition et les erreurs de Julien, et une écriture rapide et naturelle

Une analyse de référence pour comprendre rapidement le sens de l’œuvre.

LE MOT DE L’ÉDITEUR : 
« Dans cette nouvelle édition de notre analyse du Rouge et le Noir (2014), avec Vincent Jooris, nous fournissons des pistes pour décoder ce classique de la littérature française. Notre analyse permet de faire rapidement le tour de l’œuvre et d’aller au-delà des clichés. » Stéphanie FELTEN


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Plébiscité tant par les passionnés de littérature que par les lycéens, LePetitLittéraire.fr est considéré comme une référence en matière d’analyse d’œuvres classiques et contemporaines. Nos analyses, disponibles au format papier et numérique, ont été conçues pour guider les lecteurs à travers la littérature. Nos auteurs combinent théories, citations, anecdotes et commentaires pour vous faire découvrir et redécouvrir les plus grandes œuvres littéraires. 

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Éditeur:
Sortie:
1 janv. 2011
ISBN:
9782806218353
Format:
Livre

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Le Rouge et le Noir de Stendhal (Fiche de lecture) - lePetitLitteraire

Stendhal

Écrivain et critique d’art français

Né en 1783 à Grenoble

Décédé en 1842 à Paris

Quelques-unes de ses œuvres :

Vanina Vanini (1829), nouvelle

Le Rouge et le Noir (1830), roman

La Chartreuse de Parme (1839), roman

Stendhal, de son vrai nom Henri Beyle, nait à Grenoble en 1783 dans une famille bourgeoise. À Paris, sous le Directoire, les débats d’idées le passionnent et aiguisent son esprit critique. Rejoignant l’armée de Bonaparte, il découvre l’Italie et l’Allemagne grâce aux campagnes militaires. Après 1815, il devient critique d’art à Milan et compose des ouvrages touristiques qu’il signe de son pseudonyme. Dès 1830, Louis-Philippe le nomme consul de France à Trieste, puis à Civitavecchia. Il y complète ses romans majeurs (Le Rouge et le Noir (1830), La Chartreuse de Parme (1839)) et une autobiographie (Vie d’Henry Brulard (1835-1836)). Une crise d’apoplexie le terrasse en mars 1841 à Paris. Il meurt l’année suivante, laissant nombre de manuscrits inachevés.

Le Rouge et le Noir

Le destin exemplaire de Julien Sorel

Genre : roman

Édition de

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Ce que les gens pensent de Le Rouge et le Noir de Stendhal (Fiche de lecture)

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  • (5/5)
    My grandmother Stella lived north of here. I was closer to her than anyone in my family. She loved classic cinema and read voraciously albeit trashy gothic romances. After my grandfather passed away I tried with varying success to ensure that I was with her every Thanksgiving. It should be noted here that she was a terrible cook. Lacking all facility in the kitchen., she approached the culinary arts with an appropriate cynicism I adored immensely. An agreement was reached and rather than suffer through another failed meal, we decided that I would buy pizza and pumpkin pie. It was such a small town Papa Johns that I finished the saga of Julian Sorel. His vagaries remained somewhat mysterious to me, I must admit.

    I read the novel a second time in tandem with my wife. The novel's cryptic core had been elucidated.
  • (2/5)
    This book was lauded critically at many points in time. However, I did not find the nature of the book to be appealing and the writing felt stilted and forced. The characters I did not especially care for either, despite the extensive efforts of the author to try and describe and invigorate them.

    Overall, disappointing. I do not recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    Stilistisch: Rake type-beschrijvingen (echte archetypen: M. de Renal, abbé de Frilair, Markies de la Mole enz); Opmerkelijk gebruik van de monologue interieure, vooral in deel 2; Duidelijk romantische trekjesFiguren: Niet altijd even consequente karaktererisering.Opmerkelijke vrouwenfiguren: Mathilde en Mme de Renal (geen voornaam), eigenzinnig, slagvaardig, wereldsHoofdfiguur: Julien, symbool van strijd tegen de burgerlijke orde, maar sterk realistische trek (wordt niet afgeschilderd als een sympathiek figuur). Ook politiek element aanwezig: heimwee naar gouden, roemruchtige Napoleontische tijd, toen er nog echte mannen waren.
  • (4/5)
    I should reread this one, since I read it in...French in Portugal, about 40 years ago. There just weren't all that many books in the small fishing village in which I was spending a lot of that summer, and I was desperate. I liked the book a lot, but I suspect I didn't get a lot of the nuances, given the state of my French (primitive) and my lack of a French/English dictionary to consult. But the memory of those long days, and the beautiful ocean, combine very pleasantly in my mind, drenched in a perpetual sunlight having nothing to do with the plot.
  • (3/5)
    I struggled my way through Stendhal's "The Red and the Black," which is one of those books that I can appreciate for being ahead of its time without thinking it was a particularly enjoyable read.The novel is the story of Julien Sorel, a romantic social climber who lives in Paris at a time where it's nearly impossible to get ahead if you weren't born into money and titles. He somehow convinces himself his avarice is actually the love he feels for various women (all wealthy with all the right connections.) He alternately loves these women and hates them for their position and frivolousness. I found the first half of the book just plain tedious...I was literally reading about five pages in a sitting before putting it down. However, the second half of the book moved from tolerable to interesting -- I'm not sure whether that was because the second half has decidedly more action and less of Julien's thoughts or because I got used to Stendhal's style.I'm glad I plowed through this book, rather than abandoning it, but it's not a book I really liked or got much out of either.
  • (4/5)
    I have never been able to read this in translation, so I finally picked it off a shelf in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and was surprised to find it seemed written in haste, almost breathlessly. Maybe no translator can aspire to breathless rendering. This intrigued me, and I read it in a couple weeks, with my "B" level comprehension, but my "A" background in literature.I found it atmospheric, urgent, engaging. Typically, he starts with a provincial portrait built upon Hobbes, the provincials themselves "less bad, but their cage less gay." The respect of fools, the amazement of children: importance (of a provincial mayor)--is it not something? The puzzle is the contentment of these provincials. Julien Sorel is surely not so.Well, his saga, his ironic take on the decadence of the society he claws his way ahead in, sometimes on a lover's parapet, is gripping today as it was when written. (My missing fifth star may well be due to the level of my French comprehension--I may be grading myself, as Julien Sorel seems to now and then.)
  • (4/5)
    I don't like 19th century novels. I have tried to explain this many times and got scolded by a certain somebody. My main problem is having any kind of sympathy for the oh-so-rich-yet-so-trapped aristocracy. You are rich, you can do a lot of things without others questioning you, yet you are so oppressed by your "circumstances," by which we mean belonging to a class that imposes a moral and cultural code on you. Well, isn't everyone oppressed by their class (and those above)? So isn't being rich just simply better? Why are these people whining and complaining? How come they are so bored? I don't know, it is hard to get it. I simply failed many times. I understand one is always constrained by peers, society, tradition, class, etc., but it is much easier for rich people to bend the rules; always has been, always will be. I suppose the early novels were all about these people, like early art was all about religion, so there is no escaping this subject.

    What made The Red and the Black stand out is that the main character, despite his high intellect and ambitions, was almost as lost as I was about these high society people and their moral codes. Stendahl does a very good job explaining the things that always puzzle me. Why certain things are not talked about, how the aristocracy thinks of itself and what that means even at the height of emotion or passion, who owes whom what, etc. There is a lot of politics, some of which is apparent, and some, were lost to me (as I do not read every footnote!) In the end, I think I kind of got why people did what they did, well, until the end...

    What's most puzzling, to me at least, is who Julien loves. In a way, this novel is about a sociopath who will charm his way into any household or bosom to get ahead and rise above his "caste." So is he capable of loving anyone? It is clear that he is prone to bouts of hating himself. And others. Towards the end his love seemed fickle to me. And perhaps that's because I didn't get it entirely, perhaps not. And the women? I think Mathilde is easy to figure out eventually (if you can get over the "hypocrisy"). But Madame Renal? Who knows... Religion messes with your head? Is that the lesson here?

    Don't sleep with other people's wives. Don't try to rise above your class. Rural and urban high classes are different, but a sorry bunch nevertheless. Religious authorities are a bunch of scheming petty folk.

    A bleak outlook on humanity, with very nice nature scenes. Though, I must admit, a page turner as well.
  • (3/5)
    Stendahl didn't like the aristocracy or the clergy. And he thought ambition was a no-win way to behave.
  • (5/5)
    I didn't think I'd wind up liking this book much reading the first dozens of pages. The book is centered on Julian Sorel, the brilliant and ambitious son of a peasant in post-Napoleon France. The "red" and the "black" of the title refer to the two routes to power for someone of humble birth in the France of the era--the military and the clergy. I admit it--I tend to want to spend time with characters I can root for, feel sympathy for. And Julian is about the most unsympathetic character I've followed closely through hundreds of pages. I can't say that even at the end I cared much about Julian or had much liking for him. There's something so calculating about him that left me cold, in spite of an impulsive side that nears too-stupid-to-live territory. And the whole sensibility of the book is one I usually feel out of step with--one of those focusing on, yet disdaining, provincial France and its supposed "money grubbing" spirit. And yet the book after an initial hump held me tightly in its grip--even fascinated me. I think that's because this is one of those books that completely convinces you these are flesh and blood people, closely and intimately--and convincingly--following the thoughts and feelings of the characters. And Julian did have a redeeming feature as a character--he made me laugh, or at least smile. Despite his success with women, he often displays a spectacular social ineptitude and awkwardness. Ultimately he reminded me a bit of that other very famous fictional French provincial--Madame Bovary. Like her, he has aspirations beyond the station he was born into--one sustained by books, even if they're dreams of glory inspired by Napoleon rather than dreams of a grand passion born of too many romance novels. And the women in this book don't come across as porcelain dolls, the way too many of Dickens' heroines have to me. Madame de Renal and Mathilde de la Mole are complex and fascinating characters in their own right. The second a bit larger than life (or unbalanced?) but both are resourceful and intelligent--arguably more so than anyone else in the book. The further I read into the book, the more I fell under its spell. Stendahl is a master of the omniscient point of view--a way of narrative associated with and much more popular in the nineteenth century--and yet the novel feels very contemporary in its sophisticated treatment of the psychology of the characters. Not light, happy reading--no. But ultimately satisfying.
  • (5/5)
    Stendhal had the rare talent of making even the trivial and mundane vibrate with meaning. Cold-eyed brilliance and smouldering passion (though not without moments of wildfire), this novel. I need not wonder why the famous French historian Hippolyte Taine read it more than 20 times. This is a masterpiece beyond question.There are several (I counted at least six in print) English translations of this novel. I recommend comparing excerpts. Some of the translations seemed less than engaging.
  • (5/5)
    If you think you understand love or if you couldn't get through Stendhal's essays on love, try this on for size.
  • (4/5)
    I was really surprised to like this book as much as I did. The main character, Julien, is so calculatingly ambitious and oversensitive that it is hard to really like him. And yet, this novel kept me engaged through witty writing and an ending I did not see coming.
  • (5/5)
    Obviously a great influence of Proust. Took almost a month to read- but very compelling none the less. Nothing very exciting happened- perhaps it was the main character's daring and extreme reactions to events. Espionage was introduced briefly. I wish there was more of that. The end was very fatalistic.
  • (4/5)
    Post-Waterloo France is depicted with simple realism as the milieu of Stendhal's flawed hero in this masterly novel. This translation reflects the panache and directness of the original.
  • (2/5)
    A difficult book on many levels. Julien Sorel is not a likeable character and no one else is really either. He rises from poverty, and makes a muddle of things on his rise. It is, I guess, an allegory on class warfare set in 1830 France.
  • (1/5)
    This is a classic, but I certainly don’t care for it. There isn’t one likable character, I found the plot and story far less than stellar and, frankly, other than good grammar for the era, couldn’t find one redeeming point in this book other than that, once done, it was finally over. So why, then, bother to read it at all given that I’m long past school? I chose to read it as a group read, and having never read Stendhal before, thought I may as well give it a go. I didn’t read this exact copy, and while I understand that the translator of the library copy I read, Charles Tergie, might not be the best translator of this work around, there is nothing any translator could do to fix the worst parts of this for me.Naturally, at least one person I know is likely to love this novel or at least like it, and, as always, there is nothing personal about disagreeing on novels such as this. After all, not everyone needs to like a novel’s character to enjoy it. They might like the psychological aspects of it, or appreciate points about it that did nothing for me, and given that this is literature and not something involving human rights or safety and so on and so forth, they are entitled to enjoy it. But, honestly, Julien is so unlikable; at one time brilliant in certain ways and on another so doggone shallow, egotistical and self centred, not to mention rather manipulative at times, with absolutely character growth of any value whatsoever that I just didn’t like him, nor based solely on this novel, could I form any good opinion of the author. Don’t even get me started on the inane character Madame de Rênard or the other women who came into Julien’s life. Based on this novel alone, Stendhal’s understanding of women appears to have been extremely limited and superficial. There wasn’t one woman in the lot I could like.However, if you frequently love books I hate, try it and see what you think. If you are passionate about nineteenth century French literature you might love it. I’ll stick to authors such as Victor Hugo. For sure, Hugo tended to ramble and lecture, but at least he knew how to create characters we could get behind and root for passionately.
  • (3/5)
    I had some trouble getting into this novel, and did not like it as much as I had expected/hoped.In the novel, a young man, Julien Sorel, tries to reach a better position in society. He very much admires Napoleon and wishes for a life of greatness. In his search for greatness he gets wrapped up in two love affairs and ends up attempting to murder one of his lovers; he is subsequently condemned to death.I think my main problem with this novel was that I never really liked Julien or his actions - this made it hard for me to really connect with him. Julien is very much obsessed with improving his position in life and seems to have little regard for others. He decides on a religious career, not because of any religious feeling, but simply because he thinks it's the quickest way to get power and fortune. When he initiates his affair with Mme Renal, he is initially not really in love, but merely interested in getting the attention of a grand lady. When he seduces Mathilde, he also soon finds he has no real feelings for her. Though there are moments in the novel where Julien does show emotion, and he does discover his love for Mme Renal in the end, his main motives are mercenary. I found him an unpleasant and unlikable protagonist. Aside from this though, I have to admit that it is an interesting story, and a great sketch of the time and lives of people living shortly after the defeat of Napoleon. Aside from the story of Julien Stendhal adds a political and social background which gives an insight into the situation in those days.In many ways it is not a bad novel. The setting is great and historically very interesting, Stendhal's style of writing is nice, the descriptions are often beautiful and the characters are vivid and well-rounded. Yet, for me, the lack of likable characters and often negative, cynical views made it not a very pleasant read.
  • (3/5)
    A book that as I read it wasnt sure what to make of it. Is it a treatise of love or a comment on the church? A priest with two mistresses, and no one is shocked, including the author. He becomes the cause celebe at the end.
  • (1/5)
    French Naturalism and me will likely never get along very well. This book was a struggle for me, and in the end I gave up and skipped large portions of it. On the face of it, I can without qualms say that Le rouge et le noir has the makings of a very good 19thC psychological novel, in which a well-rounded character with believable issues and tendencies is confronted with various challenges, and their mental world and their social environment is explored skilfully and with great insight in the human condition. The main character is Julien Sorel, a working class lad from small-town, provincial France, who’s got a talent for book-smarts, and who is anxious to climb the social ladder to upper-middle class or lower-upper class levels. The obstacles are well-developed, too. One is that the people on those upper rungs will never accept him as one of their own: he’s at most a pet displaying impressive tricks, but never an equal (this is part of their upbringing, of course). Another obstacle is psychological in nature: Julien’s congenital, knee-jerk disdain for higher-class people and the way they behave towards anyone not from their class. Yet another obstacle is that Julien himself develops a haughty disdain for people from his original class: he’s trying to fit in, but this renders him an outcast almost everywhere. The result is an impossible conundrum, and Julien struggles mightily to navigate it. So far, so professional. What made me want to give up is a combination of vexations I had, all of which are excusable individually, but the cumulative effect proved to be too much. For one thing: most characters, including the main one, are straight-up selfish arseholes, quick to despise anyone qualifying as The Other, which leaves me with precious little patience to tolerate their antics. Many are incompetent, too, unable to stick to a course of action and veering back and forth between two sides of a decision as a new mood overcomes them. This also annoyed me. Watching a moody adolescent failing at his half-hearted attempts at get-riches-and-a-title-quick schemes isn’t a fun experience, either -- whether they be impossible designs, half-baked plans, spur-of-the-moment decisions, or a systematic faking of religious fervor that higher-up clergy are bound to see through. I also had an especially hard time engaging with 19thC concerns, both petty squabbles of the small-town kind (the cost of a servant's uniform, or whether or not someone is allowed to stand in a crowd to see a king’s procession), and the ridiculously quaint class sensitivities (constraints on proper behaviour; everyone’s callousness towards members of another class). I just can't find it in me to care. Then there is the unpleasantness that is Julien’s amorous escapades. Julien seduces two higher-class women -- one is his first employer’s wife, Mme de Rênal, who he decides is pretty even though she’s already thirty. Julien desires her because she represents an ideal to him, and because his self-image would look pretty good with a higher-class mistress. When the adultery becomes known, his reputation (and hers!) is ruined, and Julien has to run from the vengeful husband. A well-placed connection sets him up as the secretary of Marquis de la Mole -- whose teenaged daughter Julien promptly seduces. Again, his motivation is more class envy and a feeling that a man of his pretentions ought to be looked up to by a woman such as Mlle de la Môle. Throughout it all, Julien is consumed by contradictory emotions, passions and wild flights of fancy, which serve as a complex psychological shield for his sometimes-calculating moves in securing money, lovers and status he thinks should be his due. Other people’s sacrifices for his sake barely register in Julien’s self-estimation. Finally, there’s the novelist’s approach to their work: It is clear they have chosen their subject carefully, wishing to show certain societal currents and what kind of effects they have. But I felt as though Stendhal were trying to dissect their characters with such levels of emotional detachment and objectivity that it all felt forced and needlessly explicit. The image I have of Stendhal is that of a droning teacher who fails to realise their pupils have gotten the point but overexplains every step, and nothing is going to deter him. And so subplots and new characters are introduced merely to press a button in Julien’s psychology, or to bring out a conflict Stendhal wishes to turn to next. All the conflicting dilly-dallying between Julien and his female objects of desire is this writ large: their endless drama serves merely to have the occasional realization occur to Julien, or to make points about the rigidity of the class system. As a result, the demonstration of Julien’s psychology and his struggles with himself and with society is done with a graceless lack of subtlety, a tedious plodding through the whole process, step-by-step, that ends up feeling so forced it loses all semblance of realism. In a word: I found this book too noticeably constructed. Taken separately, I would probably be able to overlook these points, but taken together they made working my way through this book an unpleasant chore. They were also magnified by the book’s length: my physical copy has over 820 pages with tiny print. Like Julien, I struggled (though perhaps not mightily), but was unequal to the task, and more or less abandoned this book. I ended up reading to the 52% point (as per my e-reader) before I was ready to give up. I spoiled myself thoroughly on a synopsis and an article or two about the book’s influence and Nachleben, trying to decide whether continuing the drudge was worth it. In the end, I decided not to. I read a chapter here and there, but ended up skipping most of the rest of the book. The final 10% (again, as my e-reader has it) I did read, and so, having reluctantly read some two thirds, I can happily say that I am properly done with this book. Here’s hoping next year’s Big French Classic will be a more agreeable read.
  • (4/5)
    Very enjoyable view of a romantic young social climber in post-Napoleonic France. I especially liked the way the satire rose with Julien's social surroundings. The historical footnotes were enormously helpful in placing the story in its context.
  • (3/5)
    This book was not what I was expecting. The "Red" and "Black" are more of a setting and minor subplot to the real story, which is a romance (well, multiple romances). The main issue I have is that the tone was initially very light, humorous, even cute-- then it became ridiculously melodramatic-- and ultimately was tragic. I have to believe this was intentional and intended to reflect the outlook and maturation of the protagonist, Julien Sorel. Somehow, it just didn't work for me. It seemed disjointed, unbelievable, and made the characters seem false so it was difficult to rouse any empathy for their situations.There are still many aspects of the novel to be appreciated and even admired. Stendhal clearly had acute insight into the minds of young lovers (both male and female), and the ambitions of the not-yet-cynical or apathetic. The writing is certainly old-fashioned but easy to read, though my translation used and reused some obscure adjectives to death. I would recommend this book to anyone who makes a serious study of literature and wants to understand its influence on later writers. I also think it might be a good choice for an especially precocious teenager.
  • (3/5)
    I think I read a bad translation of this book. The translation was from 1970, so I am hoping there are better ones out there now.Julien is a peasant in the early 1800s France. Napoleon is gone and the monarchy has been restored. Julien secretly idolizes Napoleon and despises the rich and the clergy.His father and brothers are carpenters, and he is weak and studious. They of course pick on him and slap him around, until one day Julien is asked to be a teacher for the children of a local family.Eventually he ends up at a monestery (I think) and then a secretary to a marquis. And then the downfall; and yes, it involves women!I had trouble liking the book until I got to the last 100 pages. I really think I would have liked it more if the translation had been more modern.
  • (3/5)
    The story:This novel narrates the progress of a Julien Sorel, son to a carpenter, who is rather disenchanted with his family and is very ambitious of becoming a person of value. He progresses thanks to his prodigious memory which he uses first to memorize the bible in latin. This impresses the local church and is admitted to a seminary. This also helps him get a job with the local mayor, where he takes advantage of the mayor's wife, Madame de Rhenal, and becomes her lover. He moves from there to a seminary in Besancon but from then he is able to procure a job with the Marquis de la Mole in Paris. There he falls in love with the marquis' daughter who gets pregnant by him. The marquis, needless to say, is not very happy at the prospect of his daughter marrying this commoner, so he tries to buy him off to get Julien to leave France. Julien refuses and while this activities are going on, Madame de Rhenol at the instigation of a priest writes a letter to the marquis denunciating Julien as a scoundrel who left her. When the marquis shows Julien the letter, the latter becomes enraged, acquires a couple of pistols and goes back to Mathilde's town and shoots her in church. He is apprehended and taken to jail. A trial will take place but while in jail, both Mathilde and the Marquis' daughter come to see him. Mathilde, the marquis' daughter, is his wife since she's expecting his child. At this point, Julien realizes that he is really in love with Madame de Rhenal and despises Mathillde. At the trial, despite the efforts of his friends to buy the jury, Julien goes into a diatribe chastising the jury. So he is found guilty and a few days later faces the guillotine. Julien, like most of the other characters in the novel, is very self-centered and egotist. In fact heis almost a mysoginist- he despises nearly everybody, even those he claims to love. His affections for people are mostly ways to get gains for himself. A striking aspect of the novel is the rigidity of the classes in France at that time (and perhaps today too). The only hope for a person born in te low classes was that he'd be found to be the abandoned child of some nobleman- otherwise he is doomed to a life of poverty and privation. Class distinctions play a crucial role throughout the novel, being the impediment for Julien's progress. And perhaps the reason for his continuous resentment.
  • (4/5)
    read the book for a class on the Euoperan novel. I am glad I did, there were some many good parts, reminded me especially the ending of campus the stranger. thought a lot about the idea of bad faith in reading the novel
  • (4/5)
    We can't see what we have become without seeing who we were to start with. Trace us. Look into our soul.
  • (4/5)
    For better or worse The Red and the Black is essentially only the story of Julien Sorel, the third son of a carpenter whose ambition can never be satisfied and whose pride can never be restrained. There are other characters who are depicted with some depth, namely Madame de Rênal and Mathilde de la Mole, but it is Sorel that the book makes into flesh and blood. Julien Sorel is a young man of contradictions: he is obsessed with climbing the social ladder, but seemingly despises the upper class; he is clever enough to memorize the bible, but cannot grasp its meaning and is devoid of any religious faith; he takes action for the sake of form, but even in fake romances of his own design his emotions get the better of him; he idolizes Napoleon and how the Emperor gave the common man a chance, but he participates in loyalist plots meant to keep Napoleon from returning to power. Making a character full of inconsistencies is a difficult line to walk, as making a character inconsistent can make the book feel as though characteristics were inserted by the author to more easily tell the story. Here, however, Julien Sorel's characteristics do not smack of authorial convenience but of reality. In Julien Sorel Stendhal has crafted a character that is all too true to life.

    The question, therefore, is whether bringing a single character to life is enough to make a book great. Besides the rise and fall of Julien Sorel The Red and the Black does little else besides having a backdrop of Parisian society at that time (something Balzac and Proust depict with far more depth and skill in their works). Furthermore, Julien himself is not always a particularly compelling character. From early on it is established that he's a selfish ass, and this remains true throughout the rest of the story. His combination of pride, perpetual dissatisfaction with his lot in life, and lack of superior ability make it clear from very early in the book that his story will end in tragedy. It's still interesting to see how he reaches his end, but the impact of it is dulled when you've seen it coming from 400 pages away.

    For having created one of the most fully-realized characters ever to appear in fiction I give this book four stars. If it had combined that with revelations about virtues and vices that I hadn't thought of before, or a deeper connection with the France of that period, then this could have been a five-star work for me (though perhaps the deeper connection to the time period would have made the character of Sorel feel less timeless, it's hard to say). For many people the character of Sorel alone will be worth five stars, and I understand that, but I require something more than that for a book to climb that high in my esteem. Certainly worth a read, unless you're the type who requires a sympathetic main character.

    A note on my edition: I was happy with the Burton Raffel translation, I found that the prose flowed well.
  • (3/5)
    read so long ago I barely remember it. It was about french people... in the 19th century. A young man's choice between the military(red) or clerical(black) careers. I don't even remember which he chose.
  • (3/5)
    I was with this classic novel for several weeks. It failed to hold my interest in many spots, but I decided to persevere through, since it had an unusual ending. The protagonist, Julien Sorel, is an intelligent, ambitious and unscrupulous son of a saw mill operator in the remote provinces of France. In the first book he is hired as a tutor to a prententious mayors children, and seduces the mayor's wife, finally running to the seminary. In the second book he is appointed as a personal secretary to a Marquis, and seduces the Marquis daughter. When it appears that he will succeed in marrying the daughter, and has been set up as a gentleman by the Marquis, a letter from the first love arrives accusing Julien. He trys to shoot his first love, and is condemned, but since she doesn't die both her and the daughter of the marquis defend him to the end. Stendhal has an unusually wry and sarcastic voice as he describes the boredom of the nobles and the striving of the bourgeoisie.
  • (5/5)
    It seems to be the time to write about the first big novel I have read this year...although I'm already 2 books ahead and otherwise I will loose track completely. As usual - and as I have read the book in German translation - I will write a short comprehension in english, but will discuss everything in German.Stendhal a.k.a. Henri Beyle put the scenery of "Rouge et Noir" in the time of about 1830, the Bourbone restauration in France, and subtitled it as a chronicle of the 19th century - which was still young at his time. But, it was supposed to be a novel taking place right now...and not in the past. Julien Sorell, the unusual intelligent son of a simple wood cutter - at least as being a designated priest he could speak Latin and had an enormous memory that he showed when citing entire parts of the bible by heart (and in Latin) - got the job of a house teacher in the family of the local Mayor M. de Renal. He seduces Mdme. Renal - not really out of love, but more because of his ego - and to avoid a scandal he is forced to leave. He joins the priest seminar - which by the way is one of the most impressive written parts of the book - and finally succeeds in becoming the private secretary of Marquis de la Mole. The Marquis' daugther soon got an eye on Julien and finally - this really takes Julien some time and and also sophisticated strategies - they plan to marry because she became pregnat (by him...). Of course the Marquis is rather dissappointed about this misalliance. Then, he receives a letter written by Mdme. de Renal in which she warnes the Marquis de la Mole about Julien being an imposter, whose only goal is to make carreer out of seducing women in the families where he is put in. Julien also reads the letter and for revenge shoots Mdme. de Renal while she is attending at church. Although she recovers, Julien gets voluntarily adjudged and executed......Die vorliegende neue deutsche Übersetzung von Stendhals Klassiker ""Rot und Schwarz" kann ich allen - egal ob Fan von französoscher Literatur des 19. Jahrhunderts oder nicht - nur wärmstens ans Herz legen. Das Buch ist überaus spannend und unterhaltsam geschrieben. Stendhals mitunter kurze und prägnante Art verzichtet auf ausschweifende Schilderungen der Schauplätze ohne jedoch das jeweils für diese typische außer Acht zu lassen. Üppig, intensiv und wohlüberlegt ausgefallen sind alle Dialoge. Man durchlebt die Höhen und Tiefen von Julien Sorells Dasein - auch wenn man seine Gefühle, seinen Antrieb heute nicht immer recht verstehen kann. Die französische Revolution, Napoleons Kaiserreich und die anschließende Restauration - auf die eine weitere Revolution folgen sollte - prägen das gesellschaftliche Bild, das Stendhal zeichnet. Der Karrierist und bürgerliche Emporkömmling wird ebenso scharf charakterisiert wie der alteingesessene Adel, der ewige Streit zwischen Jesuiten und Jansenisten verfolgt die Handlung wie das gerade im Entstehen begriffene Genre des Stutzers und modebewußten Dandytums. Und natürlich die Frauen...alle scheinen sie in Julien verliebt. Angefangen von der unscheinbaren Kammerzofe, über Mdme. de Renal, einer Kaffeehausangestellten, einer verwittweten Generalin, bis hin zur Marquise de la Mode...alle weiß Julien von sich einzunehmen...und zu enttäuschen. Das Ende jedoch - laut Stendhal Bestandteil der dem Buch zugrundeliegenden wahren Begebenheit - bleibt mir rätselhaft. Wie bereits geschildert versucht Julien Mdme. de Renal in der Kirche zu ermorden und sieht danach, obwohl diese sich von ihren Verletzungen erholt und ihm vergibt, keinen anderen Ausweg, als sich dem Gericht zu überantworten und selbst auf seine Verurteilung zum Tode zu bestehen. Natürlich...nicht gerade ein 'Hollywood'-gerechtes Ende. Aber eindringlich und wirklich kurzweilig erzählt. Besonders hervorzuheben sind in dieser Ausgabe die vielen Zugaben. Neben einem ausführlichen Anhang mit Erklärungen und Anmerkungen Stendhals (die man im laufenden Text jeweils nachschlagen kann..) bietet die Ausgabe noch Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte, sowie Stendhals eigene Rezension des Werkes. Also: Lesebefehl!
  • (4/5)
    1007 The Red and the Black, by Marie-Henri Beyle (De Stendahl) translated by C. K. Scott-Moncrief (read 10 May 1969) Sadly, my post-reading note on this book merely says I was somewhat impressed by it!