Ahsan's Reviews > Scarlet and Black: A Chronicle of the Nineteenth Century

Scarlet and Black by Stendhal
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's review
Sep 22, 10

bookshelves: fiction, have-copy
Read from September 08 to 22, 2010 — I own a copy

Stendhal's epic novel of 19th century France features an unlikely protagonist, one that the author does not permit the reader to like. And yet, the ambitious Julien Sorel is very fascinating.

His seduction of two very different women, his droll pride, his chancy climb from the care of his carpenter father to the upper-class drawing rooms of Paris, and the author's psychological insights into his characters' motivations combine to make a 5 star novel.

Stendhal has been reported as a precursor of realism. It is to his credit that his prose is just as lucid when he is talking about love as when he is subtly making fun of it.

Only a great writer can make you care about his characters. All through it, I felt a variety of emotions for Julien, Madame de Renal & Mathilde. I wanted to shake them, to knock their heads, to shut them up, to stop them... I wanted them to wake up, I even wanted to cheer for them sometimes.

I'm not sure what the reputation is of this particular translation, but never did I feel like I was reading an 19th century novel. The credit must go to Stendhal.
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09/08/2010 page 65
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