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A couple of my friends called me a "socially deviate asshole" back then Larry Send a noteboard - 02/05/2012 08:05:03 PM
When I first read it on my own volition in 1995-1996, when I was 21, it was one of my favorite novels and Julien Sorel was one of my favorite characters (which might say some rather uncomfortable things about me and my personality then :P). Re-read it in late 1997 for a grad class on the Cultural History of the French Revolution and I used it as part of my 20 page paper.

It definitely is fascinating in that regard, the historical background and the tension between the Catholic conservatives and the "Jacobin" liberals.

And don't forget the Bonapartists. The Ultras were also separate from the grand bourgeoisie, who tended to support the early years of Louis XVIII (and Louis Philippe later). Did notice that my edition has a facsimile of the real-life case that inspired Stendhal. Didn't have much time to read last night, due to the Lakers game and working out during it.

But it's been too long since I last read to write my thoughts in full, other than to note that I disagree with the PUA reference.

Surely you have to admit he behaved terribly in that love affair.

He behaved like many young men do when they're confused about their desires. He may have wanted to be calculating, but I think the text supports an interpretation of him being truly conflicted and trying to rationalize those thoughts.

I would also note that your chronology is off a bit; Thackeray wrote Vanity Fair in the late 1840s and I believe Madame Bovary was written soon afterward; the period of Charles X would have been likely a distant memory for those two :P There's more to the novel, but I think I shall re-read it shortly before weighing in.

In terms of when they were written, yes, I'm aware - Madame Bovary was published only in the 1850s iirc, and Middlemarch even later. I was talking about the time the plot of the novels was set in (admittedly, much of Vanity Fair's plot is set earlier or even much earlier, only the final parts are close to 1830). And even then it's only a rough approximation obviously - but I've read few enough books written in the first half of the nineteenth century that I'm inclined to use rough approximations like that. :P

There were key differences between British and French social/political situations then, though. I think that I'd be hesitant to make generalizations in this case.

And since I found a used French edition a couple of weeks ago, I might just read it for the first time in French to see if that'll change my opinion on Stendhal's writing (also found several other novels by him at the same used bookstore, all for 15¢ each :|)

At least he's not remotely as hard to read as Flaubert.

I hope to read Derrida in "French" in the near future ;)
Illusions fall like the husk of a fruit, one after another, and the fruit is experience. - Narrator, Sylvie

Je suis méchant.
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A couple of my friends called me a "socially deviate asshole" back then - 02/05/2012 08:05:03 PM 1191 Views
That explains a lot. - 02/05/2012 08:22:04 PM 1123 Views

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