Egoists: A Book of Supermen: Stendhal, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Anatole France, Huysmans, Barres, Nietzsche, Blake, Ibsen, Stirner, and Ernest Hello

By James Huneker | Go to book overview
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I
A SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION

HENRY BEYLE-STENDHAL

THE fanciful notion that psychical delicacy is accompanied by a corresponding physical exterior should have received a death-blow in the presence of Henry Beyle, better known as Stendhal. Chopin, Shelley, Byron and Cardinal Newman did not in personal appearance contradict their verse prose and music; but Stendhal, possessing an exquisite sensibility, was, as Hector Berlioz cruelly wrote in his Memoirs: "A little pot-bellied man with a spiteful smile, who tried to look grave." Sainte-Beuve is more explicit. "Physically his figure, though not short, soon grew thick-set and heavy, his neck short and full-blooded. His fleshy face was framed in dark curly hair and whiskers, which before his death were assisted by art. His forehead was fine: the nose turned up, and somewhat Calmuck in shape. His lower lip, which projected a little, betrayed his tendency to scoff. His eyes were rather small but very bright, deeply set in their cavities, and pleasing when he smiled. His hands, of which

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