adam's Reviews > The Charterhouse of Parma

The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal
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's review
Oct 08, 07

Standard 19th century French novel? Not even close. This book defies almost every convention of the novel, and it was written before any of those conventions were even recognized! No hero, no heroine, no real plot; no morality lesson; Machiavellian politics for everyone; love doesn't conquer all; love doesn't even exist in this world until the main character gets locked away in prison for a womb-like nine months; a narrator who couldn't care less about the whole thing...this is so modern it hurts. I wouldn't call this an easy or fun read, but I find myself thinking about the book a lot, long after I've finished it. It's really difficult to place and kinda powerful because of it...
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Rebecah (new)

Rebecah Read this in college, but thirty years have gone by and had not thought of it in forever. Delicious irony, insight into human behavior and emotions, and fast paced. Romance, action and intrigue, combined with the kind of sentence structure and vocabulary that almost makes you long for the old days.

John Sundman "A narrator who couldn't care less about the whole thing. . ." I think you have put your finger on the essential modernity and irony of this novel. Its plot, even its characters, are beside the point. It's all about irony and how people manipulate other people by telling them stories. Of which The Charterhouse of Parma is itself a prime example. . .

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