De roman bestaat uit twee delen. Het eerste deel speelt zich af in de garnizoensstad Nancy, waar Lucien Leuwen als tweede luitenant in dienst is bij een regiment lansiers en verliefd wordt op de jeugdige adellijke weduwe Bathilde de Chasteller. In het tweede deel wordt hij op voorspraak van zijn vader secretaris van de minister van Binnenlandse zaken. Zijn vader is ontevreden over de manier waarop zijn zoon door de minister wordt behandeld. Om de minister te dwarsbomen vormt hij een eigen groepering in het parlement. Hij maakt het de minister met deze groepering behoorlijk lastig.
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La Sra. Sin embargo otros personajes como la Sra. This tale of corruption in high places is just as relevant today. The novel is closer to Charterhouse of Parma than the Red and the Black.
It is an unfinished novel, so not the best introduction to Stendhal. But it is a rare treat for admirers of Stendhal or other authors of the period. Sep 28, Howard Olsen rated it liked it This is an "unfinished" book; but, if you are a Stendhal fan, that should not stop you from reading this.
And like This is an "unfinished" book; but, if you are a Stendhal fan, that should not stop you from reading this. The differences are intriguing enough to warrant your attention. The hero Lucien is not a rage-filled outsider trying to will his way into the circles of power in Paris, as is Julian Sorel.
The relationship between father and son is also very different from those in other works of Stendhal - Lucien loves his father, looks up to him, and has a very good relationship with him. Lucien uses his connections to join a regiment of Lancers, which is posted in the garrison town of Nancy. The parts of the book set in Nancy are the most worthwhile parts, as these are the sections that Stendhal seems to have spent the most time crafting.
The characters are often brilliantly realized - young flirts, corrupt corporals, pompous, old veterans endlessly reliving their days under Napoleon, the village doctor - all come to life. Although Stendhal makes clear that he thinks the people of Nancy are petty and provincial, he still manages to make many of them very appealing.
If you just read the first part of this book, titled "The Green Huntsman," you will find a lot to enjoy. Unlike most unfinished books by famous writers like, say, the "Man Without Qualities" or "Felix Krull" , "Lucien" does reach an end of sorts.
The problem is that Stendhal never really finished tinkering with it. The tone of the book not to mention the plot tends to shift abruptly. At times he is a naif, at others a world-weary cynic, at others a smirking ironist.
Some scenes are overwritten, while others seem dashed off. Similarly, some plot points are barely sketched out while others like a provincial election that Lucien supervises seem to go on and on. Actually, the only fully realized portion of the story is the slow development of the love affair between Lucien and a rich widow in Nancy.
Stendhal is, among other things, drawing a portrait of the political changes roiling France. In Nancy, many of the characters are die-hard royalists ultras. Lucien is suspected of being a "republican" today we would call him an Obama voter , but he denies this, and it is clear that "republican" was a dirty name back then. Like julian Sorel, Lucien is mostly interested in power, and he is in a position to observe the naked exercise of the power of the French state.
His Lancers are sent to a neighboring town to suppress a rebellion by some workers, who did not yet have the benefit of trade unionism or the "Communist Manifesto. Stendhal makes clear that he considers the new rule of the bourgeois to be inherently corrupt as the bankers and businessmen who are backing the government wield their power to enrich themselves, rather than for the good of France.
The politics in this book is very interesting. However, the names, places, and events that Stendhal refers to in these segments would tax someone with a Phd in French history. If you read this book, I would strongly recommend reading an edition with as many footnotes as possible.
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