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By Robert Alter

"A Lion for romance is a version of serious biography—a interesting biography of a desirable man." (Larry McMurty Washington Star)

"The booklet of A Lion for romance, through Robert modify with the collaboration of his spouse, Carol Cosman, provides eventually an exceptional, perceptive, concise severe biography of Stendhal, written with a readability and reliable feel worthwhile of its subject...Alter and Cosman...wear their erudition with changing into lightness." (John Simon New Leader)

"This first-class brief biography...brings out either the charms and the complexities of Stendhal. The tone of the booklet is discreetly admiring, yet ironic sufficient whilst desire be to remind one of many saving and consummate irony of its subject." (John Sturrock big apple occasions publication Review)

"A Lion for romance is a most suitable instance of a unprecedented and hard serious style: a biography which chronicles and translates improvement of a personality of advanced inventive genius, and whilst introduces a lucid serious examining of his works." (Julia Epstein Washington submit publication World)

"[An] very good and balanced biography." (Anita Brookner instances Literary complement)

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Extra resources for A Lion for Love: A Critical Biography of Stendhal

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Stendhal retrospectively confesses, however, that it would have taken but a few well-placed words of mockery spoken by his grandfather at the time to have made him a firm convert to the aristo­ cratic party. The part of the Roman that Henri had sought to play at the Jacobin meeting was, in all its literary stereotypes to which he had been exposed, a manly part-the steely grip of patriotic virtue on the hilt of a sword. But [ 21 ] The Y oung i\1an from tbe Provinces most curiously, Stendhal explains his squeamish response to the unkempt republicans in physiological terms, borrowing, he tells us, the language of the eighteenth-century physiological theorist, Cabanis: "My skin is far too delicate, it is a woman's skin" (a refined woman, one must assume) .

Six years later, with Bonaparte in power and the republican program a thing of the past, the whole enter­ prise was dismantled: thus, Henri Beyle was a member of what proved to be the only student generation produced by the £coles Centrales. Socially, of course, the cloistered Henri's sudden entrance into the society of other boys was a great shock, though, to begin with, a more unpleasant shock than he had expected. He had dreamed of comrades: instead, he found fiercely selfish competitors, many of them already ca­ reeristic hypocrites at fourteen or fifteen.

At t he same time, Stendhal's Shakespeare, like Sam uel Johnson's, is above all a poet admirable for his "just representations of general nature," that is, for his grasp of timeless psychological truths. Stcndhal would go so far as to efj uate the imitation of Shakespeare with th e imitation of nature, the implied opposite to nature being, of course, ri gi d ifie d F rench literar�· convention, as in the pree m in e nt instance of Racine. The love of Shakespeare was still another case of Henri Beyle's d iscovering a real spiritual homeland-observe th e force of his met aphor of rebirth to describe the effect of the English poet on him-in what he could feel as the most p ro fo u n d antithesis to the values of his Grenoble hearth and home.

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