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Le Rouge et le Noir (1831) - Stendhal

Related: psychologial novel - 1800s literature - modern literature - modern novel - Stendhal - French literature - 1830s


Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black) is a novel by Stendhal, published in 1831. The title has been translated into English variously as Scarlet and Black, Red and Black, and The Red and the Black. It is a melodramatic novel set in 1830s France relating a young man's hypocritical rise to power, influence and wealth and subsequent fall. With this book Stendhal has been said to have practically invented the psychological novel.

The story is told mostly through detailed descriptions of the characters states of mind, an unusual technique at the time this novel was written. Few events pass in which we are not treated to a bird's-eye view of the mental state of all participants.

The title of the novel has never been satisfactorily explained. One explanation is that red and black are the contrasting colours of the army uniform of the times, and the robes of priests, respectively.

A "writer's writer" Stendhal is known more in literary circles than in the public at large. Many writers have acknowledged his influence on their work and used his technique of detailed psychological description in their own stories. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_and_the_Black [Mar 2005]

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