Stendhal, the pen name for Marie-Henri Beyle, was a 19th-century French writer known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology and considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism in his two novels 'Le Rouge et le Noir' (The Red and the Black, 1830) and 'La Chartreuse de Parme' (The Charterhouse of Parma, 1839). His works delve into the complexities of the human mind and the society of his time, and they have had a profound influence on future novelists.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Red and the Black

    The novel is a detailed psychological portrait of Julien Sorel, a young man from a provincial background who aspires to rise above his humble beginnings. He uses his intelligence and hypocrisy to advance in the post-Napoleonic French society, which is deeply divided by class and political loyalties. The story is a critique of the society's materialism and hypocrisy as Julien's ambitions lead him to a tragic end. The title refers to the contrasting uniforms of the army and the church, the two routes available to him for upward mobility.

  2. 2. The Charterhouse of Parma

    The novel follows the life of a young Italian nobleman, who, driven by romantic ideals and a thirst for adventure, leaves his comfortable life to join Napoleon's army. After surviving many trials and tribulations, he returns home to a life of political intrigue, love affairs, and power struggles in the court of Parma. The narrative provides a vivid and satirical depiction of the political and social life in Italy during the 19th century.

  3. 3. Le Rouge Et Le Noir

    The novel is a psychological drama and a critical portrayal of French society in the 19th century. It follows the ambitious Julien Sorel, a young man from the lower class who uses his intelligence and charm to climb the social ladder, initially through the church and later in politics. His journey is marked by his relationships with two women from different social backgrounds, which lead to internal conflict and ultimately tragedy. The protagonist's struggle with his own emotions and the rigid social structure reflects the author's exploration of themes such as hypocrisy, love, and the clash between romanticism and realism.

  4. 4. On Love

    The book is a philosophical inquiry into the nature of love, drawing upon the author's personal experiences as well as historical and fictional examples. It dissects romantic attraction, detailing the process of crystallization where ordinary perceptions are transformed into idealized notions of the beloved. The work explores various types of love, from passionate physical attraction to vanity-driven affection, and delves into the psychological aspects of desire, jealousy, and the pursuit of happiness within romantic relationships. The author's analysis offers a blend of cynical and passionate perspectives, reflecting on the complexities and contradictions inherent in love.