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The plot of The Charterhouse of Parma suggests a run-of-the-mill potboiler, complete with court intrigue, military derring-do, and more romance than you can shake a saber at. But Stendhal had an amazing, pre-Freudian grasp of psychology (at least the Gallic variant). More than most of his contemporaries, he understood the incessant jostling of love, sex, fear, and ambition, not to mention our endless capacity for self-deception. No wonder his hero, Fabrizio de Dongo, seems to know everything and nothing about himself. Even under fire at the Battle of Waterloo, the young Fabrizio has a tendency to lose himself in Napoleonic reverie:
Suddenly everyone galloped off. A few moments later Fabrizio saw, twenty paces ahead, a ploughed field that seemed to be strangely in motion; the furrows were filled with water, and the wet ground that formed their crests was exploding into tiny black fragments flung three or four feet into the air. Fabrizio noticed this odd effect as he passed; then his mind returned to daydreams of the Marshal's glory. He heard a sharp cry beside him: two hussars had fallen, riddled by bullets; and when he turned to look at them, they were already twenty paces behind the escort.The quote above, a famous one, captures something of Stendhal's headlong style. Until now, most English-speaking readers have experienced it via C.K. Scott-Moncrieff's superb 1925 translation. But now Richard Howard has modernized his predecessor's period touches, streamlined some of the fussier locutions, and generally given Stendhal his high-velocity due. The result is a timely version of a timeless masterpiece, which shouldn't need to be updated again until, oh, 2050. Crammed with life, lust, and verbal fireworks, The Charterhouse of Parma demonstrates the real truth of its creator's self-composed epitaph: "He lived. He wrote. He loved." --James Marcus --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I understand that Stendahl is the French equal of Alessandro Manzoni or Leo Tolstoy. Based on that alone, Hell yes you should read this book!Published on Feb. 17 2004 by some guy
The magic of this classic of French literature will follow you forever after reading Stendahl's work. He was a master of the tale and he was a master of the pen.Published on Aug. 31 2002 by Boris Zubry
Stendhal's great novel follows the life of "our young hero" Fabrizio del Dongo (a Lombard nobleman) through the early 1800s and life in-between the various reactionary... Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2002 by "ateliermp"
After reading The Red and the Black, also by Stendahl, I expected a fascinating read. Instead I'm resisting falling into a coma. Read morePublished on March 19 2002
I don't really know exactly why I was so bored by this novel. Perhaps it's because many of the themes and techniques appeared so familiar to me after having read "The Red and... Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2001 by MR G. Rodgers
Fabrizio's dubious lineage is just a small seed of a hint as to the kind of life he will live for everything Fabrizio does has the distinction of being a dubious undertaking. Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2001 by Doug Anderson
This is an unconventional novel by the very unconventional Stendhal. Many have commented on the unusual structure of the narrative, the frequent and apparently random plot twists,... Read morePublished on May 29 2001 by R. Albin
A friend who is a French Lit prof recommended this book to me, and so I dutifully plowed thru it in the original. Read morePublished on April 12 2001 by Robert J. Crawford