The Red and the Black by Stendhal

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

This book is a psychological novel by Stendhal in two volumes. The original title of The Red and the Black is Le Rouge et le Noir, and the book tells mainly the story of Julien Sorel’s life. This is also the title that the author originally wanted to give the book. However, throughout the book we walk from the lowest to the highest social classes, we meet people from different professions and ranks, we are given subtle lessons of history and we are familiar with the political situation of France at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

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Thus, we are introduced to the world of the main character of the novel, a world often dominated by lies, deception and theft, behaviors that all social classes, from the simplest peasant, continuing with the bourgeoisie and the clergy and ending with the aristocracy of Paris, encourage and value them.

The Red and the Black is a complex novel not only from the point of view of the multiple layers of the subject that it treats, but also in terms of composition and the style in which it is written. This differs from the classic novel with omniscient author who keeps distance from his characters, by the interventions of the author which gives from time to time his opinion about their behavior. This book is undoubtedly one of those novels to be read at least once in lifetime.