Stendhal
Overview
Marie-Henri Beyle better known by his pen name
Pen name
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution for his or her...

 Stendhal, was a 19th-century French writer. Known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology, he is considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

 in his two novels Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black
The Red and the Black
Le Rouge et le Noir , 1830, by Stendhal, is a historical psychological novel in two volumes, chronicling a provincial young man’s attempts to socially rise beyond his plebeian upbringing with a combination of talent and hard work, deception and hypocrisy — yet who ultimately allows his passions to...

, 1830) and La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma
The Charterhouse of Parma
The Charterhouse of Parma is a novel published in 1839 by Stendhal.-Plot summary:The Charterhouse of Parma tells the story of the young Italian nobleman Fabrice del Dongo and his adventures from his birth in 1798 to his death...

, 1839).
Born in Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, Isère
Isère
Isère is a department in the Rhône-Alpes region in the east of France named after the river Isère.- History :Isère is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from part of the former province of Dauphiné...

, he had an unhappy childhood in what he found to be stifling provincial France, disliking his "unimaginative" father and mourning his mother, who had died when he was young.
Quotations

Je ne vois qu'une règle: être clair. Si je ne suis pas clair, tout mon monde est anéanti.

I see but one rule: to be clear. If I am not clear, all my world crumbles to nothing.

Le même esprit ne dure que deux cents ans.

Wit lasts no more than two centuries.

Ce sera la noblesse de leur style qui, dans quarante ans, rendra illisibles nos écrivains de 1840.

It is the nobility of their style which will make our writers of 1840 unreadable forty years from now.

L'amour a toujours été pour moi la plus grande des affaires ou plutôt la seule.

Love has always been the most important business in my life; I should say the only one.

I call "crystallization" that action of the mind that discovers fresh perfections in its beloved at every turn of events.

Ch. 1

The great majority of men, especially in France, both desire and possess a fashionable woman, much in the way one might own a fine horse—as a luxury befitting a young man.

Ch. 1

In love, unlike most other passions, the recollection of what you have had and lost is always better than what you can hope for in the future.

Ch. 1

Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness.

Ch. 17, footnote

A wise woman never yields by appointment. It should always be an unforeseen happiness.

Ch. 60

Encyclopedia
Marie-Henri Beyle better known by his pen name
Pen name
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution for his or her...

 Stendhal, was a 19th-century French writer. Known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology, he is considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

 in his two novels Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black
The Red and the Black
Le Rouge et le Noir , 1830, by Stendhal, is a historical psychological novel in two volumes, chronicling a provincial young man’s attempts to socially rise beyond his plebeian upbringing with a combination of talent and hard work, deception and hypocrisy — yet who ultimately allows his passions to...

, 1830) and La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma
The Charterhouse of Parma
The Charterhouse of Parma is a novel published in 1839 by Stendhal.-Plot summary:The Charterhouse of Parma tells the story of the young Italian nobleman Fabrice del Dongo and his adventures from his birth in 1798 to his death...

, 1839).

Life

Born in Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, Isère
Isère
Isère is a department in the Rhône-Alpes region in the east of France named after the river Isère.- History :Isère is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from part of the former province of Dauphiné...

, he had an unhappy childhood in what he found to be stifling provincial France, disliking his "unimaginative" father and mourning his mother, who had died when he was young. His closest friend was his younger sister, Pauline, with whom he maintained a steady correspondence throughout the first decade of the 19th century.
The military and theatrical worlds of the First French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 were a revelation to Beyle. He was named an auditor with the Conseil d'État on 3 August 1810, and thereafter took part in the French administration and in the Napoleonic wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 in Italy. He travelled extensively in Germany and was part of Napoleon's army in the 1812 invasion of Russia.

After the 1814 Treaty of Fontainebleau
Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814)
The Treaty of Fontainebleau was an agreement established in Fontainebleau on 11 April 1814 between Napoleon Bonaparte and representatives from Austria, Hungary and Bohemia , as well as Russia and Prussia. The treaty was signed at Paris on 11 April by the plenipotentiaries of both sides, and...

, he left for Italy, where he settled in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

. He formed a particular attachment to Italy, where he spent much of the remainder of his career, serving as French consul at Trieste and Civitavecchia. His novel The Charterhouse of Parma
The Charterhouse of Parma
The Charterhouse of Parma is a novel published in 1839 by Stendhal.-Plot summary:The Charterhouse of Parma tells the story of the young Italian nobleman Fabrice del Dongo and his adventures from his birth in 1798 to his death...

, written in 52 days, is set in Italy, which he considered a more sincere and passionate country than Restoration France. An aside in that novel, referring to a character who contemplates suicide after being jilted, speaks volumes about his attitude towards his home country: "To make this course of action clear to my French readers, I must explain that in Italy, a country very far away from us, people are still driven to despair by love."

Beyle used the pseudonym "Stendhal" (and over 100 others), and scholars in general believe he borrowed this nom de plume from the German city of Stendal
Stendal
Stendal is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is the capital of Stendal District and unofficial capital of the Altmark. Its population in 2001 was 38,900. It is located some west of Berlin and around east of Hanover...

 in homage to Johann Joachim Winckelmann
Johann Joachim Winckelmann
Johann Joachim Winckelmann was a German art historian and archaeologist. He was a pioneering Hellenist who first articulated the difference between Greek, Greco-Roman and Roman art...

.

Stendhal was a dandy and wit about town in Paris, as well as an inveterate womaniser who was obsessed with his sexual conquests. His genuine empathy towards women is evident in his books; Simone de Beauvoir
Simone de Beauvoir
Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir, often shortened to Simone de Beauvoir , was a French existentialist philosopher, public intellectual, and social theorist. She wrote novels, essays, biographies, an autobiography in several volumes, and monographs on philosophy, politics, and...

 spoke highly of him in The Second Sex
The Second Sex
The Second Sex is one of the best-known works of the French existentialist Simone de Beauvoir. It is a work on the treatment of women throughout history and often regarded as a major work of feminist literature and the starting point of second-wave feminism. Beauvoir researched and wrote the book...

. He seems to have preferred desire to consummation. One of his early works is On Love, a rational analysis of romantic passion that was based on his unrequited love
Unrequited love
Unrequited love is love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such, even though reciprocation is usually deeply desired. The beloved may or may not be aware of the admirer's deep affections...

 for Mathilde, Countess Dembowska, whom he met while living at Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

. This fusion of, and tension between, clear-headed analysis and romantic feeling is typical of Stendhal's great novels; he could be considered a Romantic realist.

Stendhal suffered miserable physical disabilities in his final years as he continued to produce some of his best work. As he noted in his journal, he was taking iodide of potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

 and quicksilver
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 to treat his syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

, resulting in swollen armpits, difficulty swallowing, pains in his shrunken testicles, sleeplessness, giddiness, roaring in the ears, racing pulse and tremors so bad he could scarcely hold a fork or a pen. Indeed, he dictated Charterhouse in this pitiable state. Modern medicine has shown that his health problems were more attributable to his treatment than to his syphilis.

Stendhal died on 22 March 1842, a few hours after collapsing with a seizure on the streets of Paris. He is interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre.

Works

Contemporary readers did not fully appreciate Stendhal's realistic style during the Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 period in which he lived; he was not fully appreciated until the beginning of the 20th century. He dedicated his writing to "the Happy Few." This is often interpreted as a dedication to the few who could understand his writing, or as a sardonic reference to the happy few who are born into prosperity (the latter interpretation is supported by the likely source of the quotation, Canto 11 of Byron's Don Juan
Don Juan (Byron)
Don Juan is a satiric poem by Lord Byron, based on the legend of Don Juan, which Byron reverses, portraying Juan not as a womanizer but as someone easily seduced by women. It is a variation on the epic form. Byron himself called it an "Epic Satire"...

, a frequent reference in the novel, which refers to "the thousand happy few" who enjoy high society), or as a reference to those who lived without fear or hatred. It may also refer, given Stendhal's experience of the Napoleonic wars, to the "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers" line of Shakespeare's Henry V. He did have influence as a literary critic. In Racine and Shakespeare he championed the Romantic aesthetic, comparing the rules and strictures of Racine
Jean Racine
Jean Racine , baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine , was a French dramatist, one of the "Big Three" of 17th-century France , and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition...

's classicism unfavorably to the freer verse and settings of Shakespeare, and supporting the writing of plays in prose.

Today, Stendhal's works attract attention for their irony and psychological and historical dimensions. Stendhal was an avid fan of music, particularly the works of the composers Cimarosa
Domenico Cimarosa
Domenico Cimarosa was an Italian opera composer of the Neapolitan school...

, Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 and Rossini
Gioacchino Rossini
Gioachino Antonio Rossini was an Italian composer who wrote 39 operas as well as sacred music, chamber music, songs, and some instrumental and piano pieces...

. He wrote a biography about Rossini, Vie de Rossini (1824), now more valued for its wide-ranging musical criticism than for its historical content.

In his works, Stendhal "plagiarized", reprise
Reprise
Reprise is a fundamental device in the history of art. In literature, a reprise consists of the rewriting of another work; in music, a reprise is the repetition or reiteration of the opening material later in a composition as occurs in the recapitulation of sonata form, though—originally in the...

d, appropriated
Appropriation (art)
Appropriation is a fundamental aspect in the history of the arts . Appropriation can be understood as "the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work."...

, excerpts from Giuseppe Carpani
Giuseppe Carpani
Giuseppe Carpani was an Italian poet and writer born at Vill'albese, in Brianza .His father wanted him to study law, which he did in Milan and Padua, but after practicing briefly in Milan, he instead followed artistic pursuits...

, Théophile Frédéric Winckler, Sismondi and others.

Novels

  • Armance
    Armance (novel)
    Armance is a romance novel set during the Bourbon Restoration by Stendhal, published anonymously in 1827. It was Stendhal's first novel, though he had published essays and critical works on literature, art, and travel since 1815.-Plot:...

    (1827)
  • Le Rouge et le Noir
    The Red and the Black
    Le Rouge et le Noir , 1830, by Stendhal, is a historical psychological novel in two volumes, chronicling a provincial young man’s attempts to socially rise beyond his plebeian upbringing with a combination of talent and hard work, deception and hypocrisy — yet who ultimately allows his passions to...

    (variously translated as Scarlet and Black, Red and Black, The Red and the Black, 1830
    1830 in literature
    The year 1830 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*Amos Bronson Alcott marries Abby May.*Edgar Allan Poe takes up an appointment at the United States Military Academy, West Point....

    )
  • Lucien Leuwen
    Lucien Leuwen
    Lucien Leuwen is an unfinished French novel written by Stendhal in 1834. It was published posthumously in 1894....

    (1835, unfinished, published 1894)
  • La Chartreuse de Parme
    The Charterhouse of Parma
    The Charterhouse of Parma is a novel published in 1839 by Stendhal.-Plot summary:The Charterhouse of Parma tells the story of the young Italian nobleman Fabrice del Dongo and his adventures from his birth in 1798 to his death...

    (1839) (The Charterhouse of Parma)
  • Lamiel (1839–1842, unfinished, published 1889)

Novellas

  • The Pink and the Green (1837, unfinished)
  • Mina de Vanghel (1830, later published in La Revue des Deux Mondes)
  • Vanina Vanini
    Vanina Vanini
    Vanina Vanini is the title of a story by Stendhal , the nom de plume of Marie-Henri Beyle. Set in 1830s during the early Risorgimento, when Italy was under Austrian control, it concerns the love affair of a young Roman princess and a revolutionary carbonaro.-Synopsis:Vanina Vanini, the...

    (1829)
  • Italian Chroniques, 1837–1839
    • Vittoria Accoramboni
    • The Cenci (Les Cenci, 1837)
    • The Duchess of Palliano (La Duchesse de Palliano)
    • The Abbess of Castro (L'Abbesse de Castro, 1832)

Biography

  • A Life of Napoleon (1817–1818, published 1929)
  • A Life of Rossini (1824)

Autobiography

Stendhal's brief memoir, Souvenirs d'Égotisme (Memoirs of an Egotist) was published posthumously in 1892. Also published was a more extended autobiographical work, thinly disguised as the Life of Henry Brulard.
  • The Life of Henry Brulard (1835–1836, published 1890)
  • Souvenirs d'Égotisme (Memoirs of an Egotist, published in 1892)
  • Journal (1801–1817) (The Private Diaries of Stendhal)

Non-fiction

  • Racine et Shakespéare (1823–1835) (Racine and Shakespeare)
  • De L'Amour (1822) (On Love)


His other works include short stories, journalism, travel books (among them Rome, Naples et Florence and Promenades dans Rome), a famous collection of essays on Italian painting, and biographies of several prominent figures of his time, including Napoleon, Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

, Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

, Rossini and Metastasio
Metastasio
Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi, better known by his pseudonym of Metastasio, was an Italian poet and librettist, considered the most important writer of opera seria libretti.-Early life:...

.

Crystallization

In Stendhal's 1822 classic On Love he describes or compares the “birth of love”, in which the love object is 'crystallized' in the mind, as being a process similar or analogous to a trip to Rome. In the analogy, the city of Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 represents indifference and Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 represents perfect love:

When we are in Bologna, we are entirely indifferent; we are not concerned to admire in any particular way the person with whom we shall perhaps one day be madly in love; even less is our imagination inclined to overrate their worth. In a word, in Bologna “crystallization” has not yet begun. When the journey begins, love departs. One leaves Bologna, climbs the Apennines
Apennine mountains
The Apennines or Apennine Mountains or Greek oros but just as often used alone as a noun. The ancient Greeks and Romans typically but not always used "mountain" in the singular to mean one or a range; thus, "the Apennine mountain" refers to the entire chain and is translated "the Apennine...

, and takes the road to Rome. The departure, according to Stendhal, has nothing to do with one’s will; it is an instinctive moment. This transformative process actuates in terms of four steps along a journey:
  1. Admiration – one marvels at the qualities of the loved one.
  2. Acknowledgement – one acknowledges the pleasantness of having gained the loved one's interest.
  3. Hope – one envisions gaining the love of the loved one.
  4. Delight – one delights in overrating the beauty and merit of the person whose love one hopes to win.


This journey or crystallization process (shown above) was detailed by Stendhal on the back of a playing card while speaking to Madame Gherardi, during his trip to the Salzburg salt mine.

Stendhal syndrome

In 1817 Stendhal reportedly was overcome by the cultural richness of Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 he encountered when he first visited the Tuscan city. As he described in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio:

As I emerged from the porch of Santa Croce, I was seized with a fierce palpitation of the heart (that same symptom which, in Berlin, is referred to as an attack of the nerves); the well-spring of life was dried up within me, and I walked in constant fear of falling to the ground.

The condition was diagnosed and named in 1979 by Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 psychiatrist
Psychiatrist
A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. All psychiatrists are trained in diagnostic evaluation and in psychotherapy...

 Dr. Graziella Magherini
Graziella Magherini
Graziella Magherini is an Italian psychologist, at the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in Florence, Italy.-Biography:Graziella Magherini is most well known for her 1989 book La sindrome di Stendhal , which introduced this term to indicate a psychosomatic illness affecting individuals when exposed to art...

, who had noticed similar psychosomatic conditions (racing heart beat, nausea
Nausea
Nausea , is a sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach with an involuntary urge to vomit. It often, but not always, precedes vomiting...

 and dizziness
Dizziness
Dizziness refers to an impairment in spatial perception and stability. The term is somewhat imprecise. It can be used to mean vertigo, presyncope, disequilibrium, or a non-specific feeling such as giddiness or foolishness....

) amongst first-time visitors to the city.

In homage to Stendhal, Trenitalia
Trenitalia
Trenitalia is the primary train operator in Italy. Trenitalia is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato, itself owned by the Italian Government. It was created in 2000 following the EU directive on the deregulation of rail transport.-Passenger transport:...

 named their overnight train service from Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 to Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 the Stendhal Express.

Further reading

  • Ann Jefferson, Reading Realism in Stendhal (Cambridge Studies in French), Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
  • Joanna Richardson, Stendahl: A Biography, Gollancz, 1974. ISBN 0575018704

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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