Brief Lives: Stendhal

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About the Book

About the Book

Though celebrated today as one of the originators of the modern novel, during his lifetime Stendhal was regarded with deep ambivalence, even hostility. He was reputed to be a religious dissident and known as a fervent supporter of Napoleon. In a time of strife and subterfuge, the many pseudonyms of the author christened Henri Beyle aroused suspicion and bewilderment.

This major new biography traces Stendhal's gradual evolution into a writer against the backdrop of a remarkable political climate. It explores his politics, ambitions and many passionate love affairs, as well as his often-strained familial relations. The result is an inspired analysis of the means by which literature was endowed with one of its most distinctive voices.