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June 22, 2024
Literair overzicht

Notes on Red and Black: The Pioneer of Psychological Novels

Everyone has a grave in his heart, which is used to bury his loved ones.

My dream is worth fighting for. My life today is not a cold copy of my life yesterday.

Le Rouge et le Noir is a realistic novel written by French novelist Stendhal. The author of this book unfolds the story with a fictional small city – Weiliye. After the collapse of Napoleon’s empire, various political and religious forces in France were complicated.

Yu Lian, the youngest son of the carpenter in the small town of Weiliye, was scolded and bullied by his father and two brothers since childhood. But he loves reading, especially worships Napoleon, and has an ambition to conquer the world under his handsome appearance. With his intelligence, he won the favor of the priest of the church and became a local celebrity because he could memorize the Latin Bible.

On the recommendation of the priest, the local mayor decided to hire Yu Lian as a tutor. The noble mayor’s wife, Mrs. Rilla, has a good feeling for handsome Yulian. She has found a love that has never been found in her. Yu Lian also fell in love with the mayor’s wife at all costs, but it soon came to light. He had to leave the mayor’s home and enter the seminary with the help of the priest who treated him like a son.

During his study in the seminary, Yu Lian’s amazing talent and unique personality were valued by the dean of the seminary. According to the president, Marquis Ramore of the Paris Royalist Party decided to hire him as his private secretary. He was soon put in a high position by the Marquis, and Yu Lian came into contact with the life of the upper-class circles in Paris.

A few years later, the marquis’s daughter, Miss Madierte, who was as proud as a princess, became interested in the country boy Yulian. After repeated trials, I found myself in love with Yu Lian. Having been engaged, she had an affair with Yu Lian and became pregnant regardless of her identity.

Just as the young couple had worked hard to get the marquis’s consent and decided to marry, the marquis received a letter and ran away angrily. It turned out that under the planning of the church, the mayor’s wife was forced to write a letter of information to expose Yu Lian, which destroyed his success. In his anger, he shot and wounded the mayor’s wife. Although she ran through Miss Madierte in many ways, Mrs. Rilla pleaded for Yulin regardless of her identity, and was still sentenced to death by the judge and went to the guillotine.

Yu Lian regretted his mistakes in prison. He gave up the opportunity to appeal and was willing to be beheaded. He knew that his favorite was Mrs. Rilla. He regretted hurting his mother’s wife under impulse. Mrs. Rilla, who loved him so much, died three days after her death because of grief.

There are a lot of psychological descriptions in this book, which can be regarded as the first of “stream of consciousness novels” and “psychological novels”. Later generations competed to imitate this “Stendhal style”, so that the novel creation “turned inward”, and developed into a modern form that focuses on psychological portrayal and emotional expression. Therefore, people call Stendhal “the father of modern novels”.


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