Paris: A. Levavasseur, 1831. First edition. A Fine copy of Stendhal's masterpiece and one of the major literary works of 19th century France. A lovely copy, entirely untrimmed (pages 181 x 140 mm), with the original wrappers bound in to each volume (including the spine panels). Elegantly bound by Edouard Pagnant of Paris (1852-1916) in green half-morocco over marbled boards, spine with gilt titles and decorated columns, marbled end papers. Internal contents clean and fresh, quite rare and desirable with the original printed wrappers. Upper wrapper and titles with vignettes of Henry Monnier, engraved by Porret. Volume one vignette shows Julien Sorel appearing to Madame de Renal near a confessional; volume two shows Mathilde de La Mole holding the head of Julien Sorel.
Stendhal’s surprisingly modern bildungsroman about the rise and fall of the romantic Julian Sorel, who attempts to climb the rungs of French society and surpass the expectations of his modest, rural upbringing. The novel is not only an exploration of Julian’s own psychological and spiritual struggles but also a satire of the clergy and French society in general. "The Red and The Black, like much of Stendhal’s work, was not appreciated in his own day. It was only after Stendhal’s death that critics began to realize what a revolutionary stylist he was. He’s currently credited as one of the fathers of psychological realism due to the space he devotes to his characters’ inner lives. “Stendhal’s mind was of the first order… he wrote his two novels, which so few people have read, in a spirit of fearless liberty.” (Joseph Conrad) Fine (Item #1979)