The Red and the Black: A Chronicle of the Nineteenth Century

The Red and the Black: A Chronicle of the Nineteenth Century

The Red and the Black: A Chronicle of the Nineteenth Century

The Red and the Black: A Chronicle of the Nineteenth Century

Synopsis

The son of a carpenter, Julian Sorel is inspired by the writings of Napoleon to conquer the heights of society. His initial plan to work his way up through the church is, however, thwarted when he is forced to accept employment as a tutor--and this rash social entrepreneur certainly has not considered the dangers of falling in love. Stendhal's novel is an amusing and piquant study of hypocrisy and free will in post-Napoleonic France.

Excerpt

The truth, the truth
in all its harshness.

DANTON

Put thousands together
Less bad.
But the cage less gay.

HOBBES

THE small town of Verrières may be regarded as one of the prettiest in the Franche-Comté. Its white houses with their steeply pitched roofs of red tile are spread over a hillside where clumps of sturdy Spanish chestnuts mark out the slightest dips in the terrain. The river Doubs flows several hundred feet beneath the old town walls, built in former times by the Spaniards and now fallen to ruin.

Verrières is sheltered on its northern side by a high mountain ridge, part of the Jura range. Right from the earliest cold spells in October the jagged peaks of the Verra are covered with snow. A mountain stream which comes tumbling down from the heights passes through Verrières on its way to join the Doubs, and supplies power to numerous sawmills. This simple form of industry provides a reasonably comfortable living for the majority of the inhabitants, who are peasants rather than townsfolk. The wealth acquired by this little town does not, however, come from the sawmills, but rather from the factory where painted fabrics are produced in the Mulhouse tradition. This is the source of the general prosperity which, since the fall of Napoleon, has enabled all the house-fronts in Verrières to be refurbished.

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