> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 16 October 2002
  • ISBN: 9780140447644
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 608
  • RRP: $19.99

The Red and the Black




Stendhal's dark, compelling tale of one man's descent into glamorous, greedy French society

Handsome, ambitious Julien Sorel is determined to rise above his humble provincial origins. Soon realizing that success can only be achieved by adopting the subtle code of hypocrisy by which society operates, he begins to achieve advancement through deceit and self-interest. His triumphant career takes him into the heart of glamorous Parisian society, along the way conquering the gentle, married Madame de Rênal, and the haughty Mathilde. But then Julien commits an unexpected, devastating crime - and brings about his own downfall. The Red and the Black is a lively, satirical portrayal of French society after Waterloo, riddled with corruption, greed and ennui, and Julien - the cold exploiter whose Machiavellian campaign is undercut by his own emotions - is one of the most intriguing characters in European literature.

  • Pub date: 16 October 2002
  • ISBN: 9780140447644
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 608
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Stendhal

Henri Marie Beyle, known through his writing as Stendhal, was born in Grenoble in 1783 and educated there at the École Centrale. A cousin offered him a post in the Ministry of War, and from 1800 he followed Napoleon's campaigns in Italy, Germany, Russia and Austria. In between wars, he spent his time in Paris drawing rooms and theatres.

After the fall of Napoleon, he retired to Italy, adopted his pseudonym and started to write books on Italian painting, Haydn and Mozart, and travels in Italy. In 1821 the Austrian police expelled him from the country, and on returning to Paris he finished his book De l'amour. This was followed by Racine et Shakespeare, a defense of Romantic literature. Le Rouge et le noir was his second novel, and he also produced or began three others, including La Chartreuse de Parme and Lucien Leuwen. None of his published works was received with any great understanding during his lifetime.

Beyle was appointed Consul at Civitavecchia after the 1830 revolution, but his health deteriorated and six years later he was back in Paris and beginning a Life of Napoleon. In 1841 he was once again recalled for reasons of illness, and in the following year suffered a fatal stroke. Various autobiographical works, Journal, Souvenirs de l'egotisme and La Vie de Henri Brulard, were published later, as his fame grew.

Also by Stendhal

See all

Related titles