A timeless treatise on the unique power of human emotion, Stendhal’s Love is translated by Gilbert and Suzanne Sale with an introduction by Jean Stewart and B.C.J.G. Knight in Penguin Classics.
In 1818, when he was in his mid-thirties, Stendhal met and fell passionately in love with the beautiful Mathilde Dembowski. She, however, was quick to make it clear that she did not return his affections, and in his despair he turned to the written word to exorcise his love and explain his feelings. The result is an intensely personal dissection of the process of falling – and being – in love- a unique blend of poetry, anecdote, philosophy, psychology and social observation. Bringing together the conflicting sides of his nature, the deeply emotional and the coolly analytical, Stendhal created a work that is both acutely personal and universally applicable.
This translation retains all the colour and passion of the original and is accompanied buy the author’s original prefaces and appendices. In their introduction, Jean Stewart and B.C.J.G. Knight discuss the relationship between Stendhal and his beloved and explore his views on feminism, education and society.
Stendhal (1783-1842) was the pseudonym of Henri Marie Beyle, born and raised in Grenoble. Offered a post in the Ministry of War, from 1800 onwards he followed Napoleon’s campaigns throughout Europe before retiring to Italy. Here, as ‘Stendhal’, he began writing on art, music and travel. Though not well-received during his lifetime, his work, including The Red and the Black (1830) and The Charterhouse of Parma (1839), now places him among the pioneers of nineteenth-century literary realism.
If you enjoyed Love, you might like Gustave Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, also available in Penguin Classics.
‘The single most insightful book on the role of imagination on love’
John Armstrong, author of Conditions of Love- The Philosophy of Intimacy