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3.55  ·  Rating details ·  2,026 ratings  ·  206 reviews
Adolphe is a privileged and refined young man, bored by the stupidity he perceives in the world around him. After a number of meaningless conquests, he at last encounters Ellenore, a beautiful and passionate older woman. Adolphe is enraptured and gradually wears down her resistance to his declarations of love. But as they embark on an intense and tortured affair, Ellenore ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published July 31st 1980 by Penguin Classics (first published 1816)
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Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,026 ratings  ·  206 reviews

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Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i give a resounding five stars to the first part of this book, and three to the end.

overall, it is a perfect encapsulation of a love experience, from its initial obsessive beginnings to the eventual resentment and tender suffering for the sake of another's feelings. and then - silly silly melodrama.

it is unfair of me to judge the ending of this book. it is a product of its time and i can't hate on it for giving its audience what they wanted; what they expected. and i can't be a hypocrite and l
Ahmad Sharabiani
Adolphe, Benjamin Constant

Adolphe is a classic French novel by Benjamin Constant, first published in 1816.

It tells the story of an alienated young man, Adolphe, who falls in love with an older woman, Ellénore. Their illicit relationship serves to isolate them from their friends and from society at large. The book eschews all conventional descriptions of exteriors for the sake of detailed accounts of feelings and states of mind.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه ژوئن سال 2010میلادی

عنوان: آدلف : نوشته ای ک
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, classics
Benjamin Constant IS Adolphe, the eponymous protagonist. When the bon ton said so in 1816, he wrote to all the newspapers, protesting elaborately. I don’t know why it reminds me so much of Oscar Wilde suing the Marquees of Queensbury for libel (on account of the ‘love that dare not speak its name’ not being apparently a turn up the old chocolate highway. Umm, right) or Bill Clinton: ‘ I did not have sexual relations with that woman’ .

Like all good orators, Constant was hanging on a technicalit
MJ Nicholls
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to MJ by: shemail of the species
Constant’s two books in English translation are first-person accounts of his dalliances, sort of Confessions of an Aesthete Under Napoleon the Great, starring Robin Askwith (see Manny for details). His other, The Red Notebook, a 60pp-odd fragment of an abandoned autobiography, is published by Oneworld Classics and hints at the Flaubert forerunner Constant could have been. This one is a “fictionalised” (i.e. names are changed) account of his romp with Madame de Staël, written in the matter-of-fac ...more
Stefan Stojanovski
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-for-class
Pretty cute. Though it was kinda dry, I enjoyed reading it.
Susan Stuber
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm glad I got around to reading this famous book, especially since I live near the château where he and Mme de Staehl developed their close friendship. The style and story reminds me quite a bit of Balzac, Tolstoy and Stephan Zweig. I haven't read much Goethe but I imagine "Werner" is perhaps in the same league. They often write about men's preliminary fascination for or goodwill towards a woman and how this eventually drags them down and how life becomes almost unbearable, for various reasons. ...more
Jun 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
men are whiny babies and heterosexuality is hell
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't even know how to rate this because the knowledge that Adolphe is, to some degree at least, *meant* to be presented as an insufferable wanker, isn't quite enough to mitigate my consistent instinct to projectile vomit all over this book.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe-central
Until now Ellenore had had no conception of passionate emotion, another’s life merged completely in hers, which my very frenzy […] went to prove all the more conclusively […] I returned to terrifying bursts of rage, submissiveness, tenderness and idolatrous veneration. I looked upon her as a sacred being and my love was closely allied to religion.
This frenzied book is definitely the antidote if, like people in love with the idea of love, your thing is being passionate about passion. Just rea
I'm beginning to think that this novella was passed around gentlemen as a reminder of how even the most ardent love turns sour and how not to become the involved in a melodrama.

Adolphe, a young man finally meets his match in Ellenore, an older woman who the mistress of a Count. Having seduced her into leaving her protector, he finds himself entangled with a shrew and unable to leave her for years. Ellenore is religious, resentful of the fact that she has no way of supporting herself except throu
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

This book was mentioned by Alexandre Dumas in "My Memoirs, Vol V."
I probably shouldn't have picked this one up right after reading Dostoyevsky and pointing out that I've had it with weak men in literature (and how their stories and experiences are apparently "universal"). This is pretty close up there with Werther (whom I sincerely hate), but it's not that bad, because Adolphe doesn't get pathetic in the same way. Because we all know what happens to Werther. Perhaps I should actually say that Adolphe is way weaker. He can't do anything, even though he knows he ...more
Feb 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
This is one of the most cliche books I've ever read. Cliche meaning that the plot is exactly the same for this genre, without adding anything personal style wise. As usual boy falls in love with older mistress, she says she loves him too. She leaves her lover for him, society hates her. He leaves his job for her dad hates him. They move together and they're poor. Then old lover proposes money as long as she leaves the boy, she refuses. His family offers him positions if he leaves her, he refuses ...more
Not bad. It's basically the story of young Adolphe, a noblemen of 24 years old, and his relationship with Ellenore, a woman ten years her senior and the mistress of one of his acquaintances. From the moment they met, how he tries to seduce her and she resists (and, of course, at the end she surrenders), the beginning of their affair – their infinite love for each other – but then the development of jealousy, a will to control the other's actions all the time,... And so Adolphe – the novel is alw ...more
Apr 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like stories about jaded lovers
Shelves: adult
The most exasperating love story I've ever read.
Himanshu Khurana
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am at pains to explain exactly how this book has made me feel. Just over a 100 pages, this short book is almost brimming with tantalising emotion, fanatical love, quotidian betrayal, unending sacrifice and finally untethered pathos. It is devoid of the usual novelist's artifice of in-depth description of the characters' physical attributes and detailed portrayal of stationary objects-animate and inanimate. As the translator Leonard Tancock comments in the Introduction that the book,"is economi ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french-lit
This is an unusual short novel. A story of a romance with virtually no context, however it suggests what Europe was like for a son of a wealthy family in the early 19th century. And, in one of the later chapters, Constant describes the physical geography of an area of Poland. But, beyond that, there's only Adolphe's emotions and his perceptions of Eleanor's. In its psychological approach it reminded me a bit of The Sorrows of Young Werther, but perhaps more closely resembles Lermontov's A Hero o ...more
Angélique Moreau
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xix-fiction
I simply adored this book when I was 16, and devoured it in one go! However when I tried to get back into it a few years later to compare it to the movie by Benoît Jacquot, I had lost the feeling.
This French classic is a must-read for scholars (a prime example of the «roman d'analyse»), and those sensitive souls who enjoyed the plights of Werther or the ennui of Madame Bovary. Though written in a very straightforward style, this story clearly belongs to the Romantic movement, and the passivity
Stephen B
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, _swiss
This short novella by Benjamin Constant was written in 1816. Once again, I am disabused that somehow modern culture is more "evolved" than that of the past. Like hell! This is a really rather wonderful story of passionate "love", what it might actually (really) be, and then the extended vacillations of a weak minded young man trapped in a relationship where with a woman he does not love anymore; but perhaps, really, he does...? I can't tell you how many times I recognised myself in his descript ...more
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
The editor of my edition attests that Adolphe, not Ellenore, is the main artistic achievement of this novel. I like that. Adolphe, so likable and familiar at first, quickly becomes truly detestable: abusive, inconstant (hey hey) and cowardly, Adolphe's failing qualities reach much further and deeper than he knows.

[Note that I don't aim to excuse Ellenore's conduct by emphasizing Adolphe's. Ellenore can be a sort of harridan, torturing her lover from her bedroom-throne. But what she does onto Ado
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-owned
This is a portrait of the prideful and delicate male ego, in which expressions of a certain type of “love” are not humble, selfless and shared, but instead vain and selfish reflections of self-love. Aldolphe’s wild and passionate outbursts are more designed to manipulate Ellenore than to woo her. He sees her love as a prize to be conquered -- an ego-boosting reward for his pitiful self-image. If he fails, then it’s Ellenore’s fault for not seeing how his love is “unique” and “different” from all ...more
Jordan Taylor
The short and tragic love story of Adolphe, a young and irrationally passionate young man, and the gentle Ellenore, a woman who is ten years his senior.
This book focuses on a familiar, yet no less depressing, story of the passion of supposed love. The storyline then follows the gradual disintegration of this emotion into something common-place, to something done out of duty, to something completely exhausting.
Half the book is spent with Adolphe being obsessed with Ellenore and doing everything h
Osas Aghaku
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wauw, I was actually moved by this book, which I never thought to happen, due to the way the story builds up, but It catches me at a certain moment and It even left me happy, in a way that it was worth reading. I nearly read books on love, lust and relationship, because I feel like most of the time it´s just a overrated story with hugs and kisses, and at the end all of it goes in the same box, I mean, why would I want to read such cliche type of books? This book however gave a much deeper insigh ...more
Riley Haas
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an odd one: it's a story of a romance with virtually no context. Sure, we get some idea of what Europe was like for a son of a wealthy family in the early 19th century. And, in one of the later chapters, Constant describes the physical geography of an area of Poland. But, beyond that, there's only Adolphe's emotions and his perceptions of Eleanor's. I don't know that I've read anything like it.

And though I don't know that I enjoyed it - I feel like the main characters' behaviour would on
Jun 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noemi
a book about ideals and passion
Aug 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
clearly i am fond of books where nice fairly intelligent people fuck up their lives.
Sep 19, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, 19th-century
Quintessential French "relationship" story.
Apr 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book: totally haunting. Hyper self-analysis only denies our experience of emotions + (once again) the bitch of language!!! uuuuuhhhh... oh man
Nov 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fict
This is quick, little read that is by turns comedic and a horrible investigation of the tricks of love.
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Good little read with true-life characters.
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 1935554093 is 126 pages 2 18 Jan 13, 2016 12:51PM  

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Henri-Benjamin Constant de Rebecque was a Swiss-born, nobleman, thinker, writer and French politician.

Constant was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, to descendants of noble Huguenots who fled France during the Huguenot wars in the early 16th century to settle in Lausanne. He was educated by private tutors and at the University of Erlangen, Bavaria, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. In the co

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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
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“The great question in life is the suffering we cause, and the most ingenious metaphysics do not justify the man who has broken the heart that loved him.” 44 likes
“Woe to the man who in the first moments of a love-affair does not believe that it will last forever! Woe to him who even in the arms of some mistress who has just yielded to him maintains an awareness of trouble to come and foresees that he may later tear himself away!” 11 likes
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