“Red and black” F. Stendhal as a socio-political novel

“Red and black” F. Stendhal as a socio-political novel

The Bourbon monarchy, renovated by the occupation forces, was a noble monarchy, that is, political power belonged to the nobility. However, the bourgeoisie already reigned in the economy and was preparing to take political power into its hands, which happened, only Stendhal completed the novel. This re-victory – after the revolution of the late XVIII century. – was inevitable even because the nobility was steadily permeated with the bourgeois spirit, money and property interests for him also became the main values ​​of life. Drawing in the first part of the novel provincial Verrieres, Stendhal writes: “The atmosphere of petty money interests reigns in the plague, here” to make a profit “is a great word on which everything depends.” The Mayor of the

city, the aristocrat de Renal, who is proud of his origin, also engages in entrepreneurship,

The product is full of social dynamics, is the main vector of the movement of history. Drawing aristocrats and bourgeois, Stendhal reflects their confrontation in the public arena, the ousting of the aristocracy, based on the generosity and support of the government, by the bourgeoisie, for which the main tool is money. This is especially evident in the province. In small Verrieres, political passions are also raging – between the nobleman de Renal and the bourgeois upstart. There is a fierce struggle for the post of mayor. At the end of the novel, the author reports on the election of Valno and evaluates it as the victory of an active swindler to a passive ambitious. Far from sympathizing with the aristocracy, Stendhal paints the bourgeois with a black paint. This character discovers the lack of upbringing and culture, any moral principles, the capacity for baseness and meanness for the sake of profit,

In the second part of the work, the action is transferred to Paris, on Wednesday of the Moscow aristocracy, which appears in no less critical light.

Young aristocrats – perfectly trained, have impeccable manners, but faceless and lack of initiative, unable to independently think and act. Most of all in their lives

they are concerned that in any case not to violate the decorum and the rules of high society. Comparing them with the commoner Julien Sorel, the clever and penetrating Matilda de la Mole without hesitation prefers Sorel’s secretary to his father, who is characterized by vigor, strong character, will and determination.

The older generation of aristocracy survived the revolution and emigration, but nothing is understandable, nothing has learned. Instead of thinking about preserving what they have obtained through the Restoration, these people are provocatively conspiring to put an end to the liberals with the help of European monarchs and completely restore the “old order”. Both older and younger generation aristocrats panically fear a new revolution, they are haunted by the specter of the Jacobin dictatorship, the same Matilde Julien appears as the new Danton, who in the event of revolution can save her family from the guillotine.

Casting a glance at modern society, Stendhal sees that it is dominated by the struggle between states and interlayers. “In a society split like a bamboo stem,” he sums up, “the main task of a person is to rise from his class to the highest, who on his part exerts every effort to prevent this person from coming to himself.” So, the pressure from below, the opposition from above, the upper strata try to stop the advance of the lower, therefore, according to the writer, the French society is constantly in a prerevolutionary state that can ever explode.

Indeed, not since the first years of its existence, the Restoration regime has caused a feeling of fragility, timidity in the French public, which was combined with the idea of ​​the inevitability of a new revolution. Sharing such attitudes, Stendhal, who also liked to engage in socio-political analysis and forecasts, undertook to investigate the social layer in which revolutionary energy accumulates, and new Danton and Robespierre grow. As a result, he came to the conclusion that this layer is young people, from the social lower classes, an educated and energetic, ambitious and insulted in their self-awareness, youth, to whom the Restoration has blocked all life paths.

This is the aspect of the work in which he acts as a socio-political novel containing a deep and accurate analysis of the ruling regime. However, in the structure of “Red and Black” this aspect finally looks like a detailed and active background, on which the main action takes place – the dramatic fate of the main character Julien Sorel, who entered into combat with the Restoration Society. From this point of view, “Red and Black” unfolds as a socio-psychological novel, which is inherent in the depth and subtlety of psychological analysis.


“Red and black” F. Stendhal as a socio-political novel