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September 08 , 2008

The Chartreuse of Parma [Christmas Summary Classics]


Christmas Summary Classics
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The Chartreuse of Parma
Stendhal is the best-known pseudonym (for there were others) of the refined, somewhat eccentric, and still distinguished French author whose real name was C. Marie Henri Beyle. Born at Grenoble on January 23, 1783, he found his way as a youth to Milan, and fought with Bonaparte at Marengo. Afterwards he followed various occupations at Paris and Marseilles; went through the Russian campaign of 1812; and returned to Italy, where he began to establish a reputation as a critic of music and of painting. "La Chartreuse de Parme," his most successful work of fiction, was written in the winter of 1830. Like his other novels, it is discursive and formless; but is considered remarkable alike for its keenness of analysis and its exposition of the acid, materialistic philosophy of its author. A friend of that other eclectic, Mérimée, Stendhal was not much thought of in his own time until the profound praises of Balzac drew all eyes upon him; and in much more recent times interest in the best of his writings has revived on account of his keen and impartial analysis of whatever subject he touched upon. Beyle died on March 22, 1842.

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