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  • 1/17/2004


(January 23, 1783 - March 23, 1842)

Marie-Henri Beyle, better known asStendhal, was a19th centuryFrenchwriter.
Born inGrenoble,France, he had a miserable childhood in stifling provincial France but blossomed in the military and theatrical worlds of theFirst French Empire. He travelled extensively in Germany and visited Russia (as part ofNapoleon's army), but formed a particular attachment toItaly, where he spent much of the remainder of his career, serving as Frenchconsul and writing.
Beyle used the pseudonym "Stendhal", supposedly chosen as ananagram of "Shetland" (althoughGeorges Perec may have invented this explanation - references toLe Rouge et le Noir feature extensively in Perec's unfinished last novel53 jours). --- Alternative explanation: some scholars believes he borrowed his nom de plume from the german city of Stendal.
Contemporary readers did not fully appreciate Stendhal's realistic style during theRomantic period in which he lived; he was not fully appreciated until the beginning of the20th century. He dedicated his writing to "the Happy Few", referring to those who would one day recognise his own genius. Today, Stendhal's works attract attention for theirirony andpsychological and historical aspects.
Stendhal was an avid fan of music, particularly the composersCimarosa,Mozart, andRossini, the latter of whom he wrote an extensive biography,Vie de Rossini (1824), now more valued for its wide-ranging musical criticism than its historical accuracy.
He died inParis in 1842 and is interred in theCimetière de Montmartre.
Stendhal's brief, saucy memoir, Souvenirs d'Egotisme (Memoirs of an Egotist) was published posthumously in1892.

Novels include:

Armance (1827)

Le Rouge et le Noir (1830) (variously translated asScarlet and Black,Red and Black,The Red and the Black)

La Chartreuse de Parme (1839) (The Charterhouse of Parma)

Lucien Leuwen (1835-) (unfinished)

Lamiel (1840-) (unfinished)

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