Cover illustration byVíctor Rodríguez, 2005
Stendhal Or the Pursuit of Happiness
by Matthew Josephson.
(6' by 9', Perfect Bound 490 pp) $28.95 ISBN
Originally published by Batam Book in 1946.
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Marie-Henri Beyele, later known as Stendhal was born in Grenoble on January 23, 1783, six year before the start of the French Revolution. He was a child of the transforming event of western civilization that made the individual citizen the center of a new social order. The Revolution was a turning point in continental European history.
"The study of human nature, 'the observation of the human heart and its passions,' was his constant preoccupation. But where could he study the passions better than in himself? Though he lived exuberantly, submitting himself to experience... he went on incessantly writing down everything that happened to him just as it happened. he even led to perform some remarkable experiments upon himself.He laid claim to having been a soldier, a man of fortune, a great lover, a society wit, a diplomat, a traveler, and even, sometimes, a revolutionary conspirator. "Fifty years after his death he becomes one of the demigods of the world's letters, taking his place in the ranks of the great social writers who appeared toward the end of the last century. his manner of life itself has fascinated whole regiments of literary scholars in France, Italy and Germany in the last forty years." -Matthew Josephson, From the Introduction (1946) "Like Josephson's Victor Hugo, it is the best and most comprehensive English study of its subject, a careful collection of material, skillfully assembled and organized...When Freud read Stendhal's memoirs of his childhood and adolescence he called them 'a manifestation of psychological genius.' Stendhal, he saw, had been a Freudian some 70 years before Freud himself."-TIME Magazine (1946) Move to Top
About the Author
Since his early life Matthew Josephson (1899-1978) shown extreme versatility: he wrote poetry, extensive biographies (Zola, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Stendhal and Edison) essays on political issues, newspaper articles, personal chronicles (Life Among the Surrealists: A Memoir) . Today he is best known as the author of The Robber Barons, He was also an experienced and successful Wall Street broker and businessman.
Josephson's chief concerns were nineteenth-century French literature and twentieth-century American capitalism. In the 1920's lived in Paris and Berlin where he became acquainted with the European Dadaists and Surrealists as Paul Eluard, Andre Breton, Louis Aragon, and Max Ernst.
In Stendhal Matthew Josephson thought he ha discovered the meaning of his own life.
David E. Shi. Matthew Josephson, Buergeois Bohemian, Yale University, 1981 Move to Top
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