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Grenoble 23 Jan. 1783 - Paris 23 March 1842 • French novelist and essayist

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"Stendhal" was the pen name of Henri Marie Beyle, born in Grenoble on January 23, 1783. He came from a solidly middle-class family; his father was a barrister and his mother the daughter of a physician. His mother died when he was seven, and he grew to adore her memory and hate what his father represented to him—bourgeois manners and the pursuit of money. Feeling trapped in his home, the boy developed a vivid imagination and a taste for daydreaming.

At the age of seventeen, Stendhal went to Paris and soon joined Napoleon's army in Italy. Here, and in Paris after he resigned from the army in 1801, he enjoyed a number of romantic liaisons. He joined Napoleon's Ministry of War and later followed the emperor on campaigns in Germany and Russia. After Napoleon's defeat, Stendhal left for Italy and settled in Milan. He began to write books about art and music, and first used the pseudonym "Stendhal"—taken from a town in Prussia where an art critic he admired had been born—in

He returned to Paris in 1821 and frequented its salons and theaters. He wrote a number of books in the next several years, including his first novel, Armance (1827), and Le rouge et le noir (1830). He was appointed Consul to Trieste after the 1830 revolution, and was soon sent to the town of Civitavecchia, outside Rome. Though he did not publish new works during this time, he wrote Souvenirs d' égotisme and began two books he did not complete—Lucien Leuwen, a novel, and Vie de Henri Brulard, an autobiography. All three were published posthumously. In 1836, he returned to Paris due to ill health and there, in 1838, dictated La Chartreuse de Parme (1839), one of the two novels for which he is best known, in just fifty-two days.

Stendhal's health began to deteriorate sharply in early 1841, when he suffered an attack of apoplexy. He died of a stroke on March 23, 1842. (from:

The Red and the Black
The rise and fall of Julian Sorel. Born into peasantry, he connives his way into aristocratic circles, but his powers of seduction lead to his downfall when he commits a crime of passion.

George Eliot, 1871-1872

The Charterhouse of Parma
Follows the adventures of young Fabrizio del Dongo as he joins Napoleon's army just before Waterloo and struggles to keep hidden his love for Clelia amid the intrigues and secrets of the small court of Parma.
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