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This is the strangest of autobiographies: In fact, it is like a set of notes for an autobiography, with repetitions, footnotes that are nothing more than a reminder to the writer, and crude illustrations of rooms, streets, and scenes that played a part in the early life of Stendhal (Henri Marie Beyle).

And it is only the first twenty or so years in Stendhal's life that are covered, comprising his childhood in Grenoble, his first few months in Paris, and his happiness at joining Napoleon's army in its invasion of Italy.

Why is it called The Life of Henry Brulard when Stendhal's real name is MarieHenri Beyle? If we learn anything in the first twothirds of the book, it is that MarieHenri loathes his father and his aunt Seraphie, who seems to spend most of her time belittling and punishing him. He refuses to call himself Beyle, adopting instead the name Brulard, which belonged to his late, beloved mother. When Seraphie dies and he finally gets to Paris, he is disconsolate because in Paris there are no mountains, as in his native Dauphiné. In fact, until the very end, when Stendhal falls in love with Italy, he is a young man not comfortable in his own skin:

"Is Paris no more than this?"

This meant: the thing I've longed for so much, as the supreme good, the thing to which I've sacrificed my life for the past three years, bores me. It was not the three years' sacrifice that distressed me; in spite of my dread of entering the Ecole Polytechnique next year, I loved mathematics; the terrible question that I was not clever enough to see clearly was this: Where, then, is happiness to be found on earth? And sometimes I got as far as asking: Is there such a thing as happiness on earth?
Although The Life of Henry Brulard lacks the formal excellence of a great literary biography such as we are accustomed to, it is so manifestly truthful and selfcritical that, for once, we do not feel that the author is busily embroidering an alternate past for himself.

The whole book was written over a fourmonth period in the 1830s, when Stendhal was fiftytwo. Reading The Life of Henry Brulard is like experiencing a great writer forgiving all the dead ends and defeats of his youth. It is, if anything, a kind of celebration of a wayward youth. Stendhal stops writing abruptly when he feels his life is on the right track. What we get are all the wrong tracks that threatened to overthrow his development.

Fortunately for all of us, Stendhal went on to become a great writer, one who was eventually happy within his own skin. Henry Brulard was the draft of his autobiography that Stendhal never finished. Stendhal was certainly right to publish it in his lifetime. The work was not complete and from what one can see from the document that exists, Stendhal had no idea where he wanted to go with the work.

It is the role of the scholar to take documents like Henry Brulard and draw from them to create a true biography. Packaging and presenting this as a somewhat complete work does a disservice to both Stendhal and the unfortunate person who pays for it. This has to be one of the finest autobiographies ever written. I'm a little surprised to see the less than positive reviews of it here. I found Stendhal's meandering and picturesque tale of his formative years to be perpetually engaging, admirably honest, witty and intelligent throughout. I especially enjoyed his ongoing commentary on (and rejection of) bourgeois European life and the lasting and significant influence that great books (like those of Rousseau) had on him. Also, his mature recognition of youthful folly was constantly as humorous as it was courageous. A nearly unsurpassable masterpiece. If this hadn't been a workrelated must read, I doubt I would have finished it. A rambling repetitive mess of chaotic thoughts and fragmentary recollections, a deluge of names and references to contemporary events, judgements and developments, none of which really come to life, and with only some vivid scenes, few and far between, that light up in the murk. Starting off on Stendhal with this would induce only a happy very, very few to move on to his great novels, I suspect.

Much of it is also simply incomprehensible. There are anecdotes I completely fail to see the point of.
Take this observation: 'I learnt English only many years later, when I invented the idea of learning by heart the first four pages of The Vicar of Wakefield [Ouaikefield:]. This, I fancy, was around 1800. Someone had had the same idea in Scotland, I believe, but I didn't find that out until 1818 when I got hold of some Edinburgh Reviews in Germany.'
Little or no connection with what precedes and follows this passage. It sounds like a madman's comments. 'Invented the idea'? What's the idea? How do you learn a language just by memorizing four pages of text in it? And who was that Scotsman? Didn't he speak English already? What is he talking about.
In the Dutch edition that I read, the notes don't help me either.
And it's full of these random jottings. The whole thing sounds like Stendhal muttering to himself rather than addressing any reader. (Of course, the thing was never finished or published in his lifetime.)
Granted, that is also what gives it some life.

And maybe memoirs (with all those names of people most everybody has now forgotten) just isn't my genre. Found this book hard to digest and the tale somewhat far fetched. More Hocus Pocus than escape. The two pricipal characters outwitting the 'wiley orientals' and intriguing their way to freedom just 2 weeks before the end of the war. Not pointless, but just too much of a bore for my liking. i want to read this book so bad it's distracting. i don't have anytime to read it right now, and i'm already reading too many books. so instead of reading it right now, i just pick it up and look it over. i love stendhal. i can't wait to read new (to me) stendhal. Much more consistently interesting than either "Red and the Black" or "Three Italian Chronicles", and full of the sense of who Stendhal was. *DOWNLOAD EPUB ↾ La Vie de Henri Brulard ✗ La Vie Le Site Chrtien D Actualit Recevez Gratuitement Les Newsletters De La Vie Je M Inscris Sorties Cin Les Films De La Semaine Voir Tous Les Articles Voyages Russie Duaot AuseptembreCroisire De La Vie De David Gale FilmAlloCin La Vie De David Gale Est Un Film Ralis Par Alan Parker Avec Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet Synopsis Militant Contre La Peine Capitale Au Texas, Le Docteur David Gale, Un Professeur DVos Histoires De La Vie Quotidienne VDM VDM VieDeMerde Prenez La Vie Ct Humour En Partageant Vos Petits Malheurs Et Drles D Histoires De La Vie Quotidienne, Car A Fait Du Bien D En Rire Accueil La Vie De L Auto Editeur De Presse Indpendant, Les Editions LVA Se Positionnent Comme Le Leader De La Presse De Collection Et Ce Depuis , Anne De La Cration De Son Titre Phare, La Vie De L AutoAu Total, Le Groupe Publietitres Soitmagazines,hebdos Etbimensuel Tous Ddis L Univers De La Vie De Brune Home Facebook La Vie De Brune, Le Touquet Paris Plage , Likes , Talking About Thiswere Here Brune Est Atteinte Du Syndrome DE SCHIMKE Maladie Rare Orpheline Et Mortelle Avec Une Esprance De La Vie De La Moto, Chaque Semaine Toute L Actualit De LaSite Du Journal Hebdomadaire La Vie De La Moto Spcialis Dans La Moto Ancienne Et La Moto De Collection Services En Ligne De Petites Annonces, Calendrier Des Bourses,salons, Rassemblements, Rpertoire Des Professionnels, Clubs Et Muses, Boutique Proposant Livres, DVD, Objets Dcoratifs Et Anciens Numros "The word genius was for me, at that time, what the word God is for a bigot." (Chapter XXVIII) I wish there was a way to give this book five stars without indicating that I think most (or indeed, the vast majority of) people would enjoy it. So, a few caveats: Stendhal repeats himself constantly, the timeline manages to be highly confusing despite covering about ten years total, the footnotes all refer to things he's doing in Rome in 1843, at one point he tells us that his aunt was 24 in 1790 and that he has no idea how old she is in the same paragraph, which is characteristic of the general level of editorial oversight, and Brulard isn't actually his name. It's certainly not as compulsively readable as his novels, or even most of the travel writings and essays. At the same time, Stendhal is Stendhal: witty and charming and intelligent and fundamentally sincere and warm. It's a fascinating record of the mindset of a particular time and place, and of the origins of Stendhal's particular narrative fixations. This isn't exactly nonfiction: it's clear that he's telling a story about himself, and the story is pretty familiar. But then, Stendhal only really has one story, and I enjoy it every time.