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200 × 130 × 12 mm
208 pages
30 illustrations
16 Sep 2019
Critical Lives

Stendhal Francesco Manzini

This is a book about the life and work of a singular writer, known for his biographies and travel writing but most famous for his novels The Red and the Black and the Charterhouse of Parma. As a child, Stendhal witnessed the unfolding of the French Revolution; as a young man, he served Napoleon first as a soldier and then as an administrator; and, as a middle-aged man, he made it his task not to pursue his career, but instead to take as much paid leave as possible in order to be free and to be happy, and to write. Stendhal’s works often take the form of conversations with his readers – the ‘Happy Few’ as he called them – about the things that matter most. He once claimed that he spent the majority of his life ‘carefully considering five or six main ideas’. This book shows what those main ideas were, why they mattered to Stendhal, and why they continue to matter to his readers.

‘Francesco Manzini has given us a sharp-witted and moving Life of Stendhal that is in every way worthy of its unaffectedly original subject. Always generous and enthusiastic, at times defiantly so, this is a book that dares to be sincere.’ — Richard Scholar, author of Montaigne and the Art of Free-Thinking

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Francesco Manzini is a Research Fellow and Tutor in French at Oriel College, Oxford. He is the author of Stendhal’s Parallel Lives (2004) and The Fevered Novel from Balzac to Bernanos (2011).

List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Readers

1 Names and Identities, 1783–90
2 Revolt, 1790–95
3 Truth, 1795–9
4 Empire, 1799–1815
5 Métilde: De l’Amour, 1815–21
6 Restoration:Armance, 1821–7
7 Azure Skies: Le Rouge et le Noir, 1827–31
8 Muddy Roads: Lucien Leuwen, 1831–7
9 Privileges: La Chartreuse de Parme and Lamiel, 1837–42
10 Posterity

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Photo Acknowledgements