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Download The Red and the Black Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Red and the Black Audiobook, by Stendhal Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.91 out of 53.91 out of 53.91 out of 53.91 out of 53.91 out of 5 3.91 (22 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stendhal Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2011 ISBN: 9781455192960
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One of the great novels of the nineteenth century, The Red and the Black is a powerful character study of Julien Sorel, a clever and idealistic young opportunist who attempts to rise above his station through a combination of talent, deception, and hypocrisy. Sorel uses his powers of seduction and charm to secure advancement, only to find himself betrayed by his own passions and outwitted by the larger political and social intrigues of post-Napoleonic France. His doomed quest for fortune and love is both heroic and satirical, reflecting the inner tensions and outer pretensions that result from desiring what is not ours. Stendhal’s complex portrayal of his characters’ thoughts and feelings was far ahead of his time, earning The Red and the Black recognition as the first modern psychological novel, with Julien as his most brilliant creation and one of the greatest characters in all of literature.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In The Red and the Black...Stendhal foreshadowed alienation and disaffection. He made them as sexy as a lipstick trace on a wine glass by embodying them in Julien Sorel.”

    Salon

  • The Red and the Black is a shocking novel...it was a novel ahead of its time...the author pulled no punches in his depiction of comtemporary society.”

    Roger Pearson, Fellow and Praelector in French and The Queen's College, Oxford

  • “That Stendhal liked women helps explain why he is such a great portrayer of women characters. His portait of Mathilde de La Mole in The Red and the Black is clearly drawn by a man who understood women.”

    Diane Johnson

  • “A work of literature that one views as difficult, or as an undertaking, demands the best-quality narration. This re-released production of Stendhal’s finest work, a progenitor of the psychological novel, easily meets this requirement. The late David Case’s pacing lends itself to the themes of class, ambition, and desire. His delivery makes this seemingly dusty work of literature an engrossing story and helps one understand the new ground Stendhal broke in writing it. As Case portrays the archetypal characters, he fully inhabits both their struggles and the satire of the story.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 MJ | 2/17/2014

    " I loved it in high school, but now all I can say is, "what was I thinking?" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tempi | 2/14/2014

    " Brilliant! Absolutely marvelous book and one of my all time favourite in literature classes. And Julien Sorel is a spectacular character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Finley Macdonald | 2/10/2014

    " I found reading The Red and the Black, a tale of chicanery-brimming, post-revolutionary France, a little like taking sips of anise tea. Julien Sorel--sensitive, inquisitive, and abused by his father--invites hope that he might use his books and intelligence to develop some elevated sense of himself along with insights into his society. His books, it seems, are but fodder for a script full of peculiar notions on valor and love. The script drives Julien to mad lengths--for loves exclusively designed and self-aggrandizing. No character is terribly likeable, and Julien himself despises the aristocrats he courts. His sympathy for his father and fellow plebeians comes off as Julien piling on another layer of self-congratulatory emotion. Deep into this novel, I sank into a sense that a clear look at myself would reveal the same contradictions, pettiness, and self delusion. Although I'm not sure why or to what end, I suppose that was the writer's intention. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joel | 1/31/2014

    " Assigned reading, and I'm glad it was. This was a really fun story about one young man's attempt to drag himself up the social ladder. He starts with nothing but heroic dreams and ambition and struggles to attain what he believes is important. The ending is fantastic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bonnie | 1/9/2014

    " I almost quit halfway through. Really glad I read all the way to the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lenore | 1/4/2014

    " I listened to this because it's a classic, and supposedly one of the first "psychological" novels, but I felt the same way about it that I did about The Bonfire of the Vanities, which I couldn't get through: It's a book about unlikeable self-obsessed people who have no redeeming social value, but who also actually never lived and thus have had no real effect on society -- in which case, why do we want to read about them? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zöe Zhai | 12/28/2013

    " Young people need. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 12/20/2013

    " So far, the best translation, but I'm still looking. Any recommendations? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 CB Brim | 11/14/2013

    " Sorel has no discernable redeeming qualities and so the tragedy of his downfall fails to be tragic. This book makes tax forms seem scintillating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathryn Kopple | 10/27/2013

    " It has been a long time since I read this book, but I have never forgotten it. A revolutionary and tragic book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Smaranda Filipciuc | 8/5/2013

    " how people can be cheated. again - how few has changed during the generations of people and priests. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nate | 5/11/2013

    " very dry writing style and sense of humor, but i enjoy that sort of thing. solid characterization "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashley | 3/27/2013

    " It has some good parts, but it's a LONG read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed | 2/6/2013

    " This book walks a line between dark comedy and just plain freakishness as you see overarching ambition reach its logical conclusion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anthea | 1/2/2013

    " The story of the rise and downfall of a very confused boy. A Machiavellian tragedy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Gardiner | 3/1/2012

    " One of the most curious heroes in literature. Not exactly faultless, but then neither were his women! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kellie | 2/1/2012

    " Apparently burying your husband's decapitated head is a mighty noble thing to do... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taylor | 5/23/2011

    " Great book. Fast-paced, incisive, exciting, sprawling, sloppy, brilliant. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill | 4/10/2011

    " Stendahl didn't like the aristocracy or the clergy. And he thought ambition was a no-win way to behave. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mpho3 | 4/3/2011

    " Like this reader, Julien Sorrel is a fool, a hypocrite, and melancholic. Stendhal manages to make everyone and everything seem bovine. Thumbs up! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maki | 2/23/2011

    " This is the book that I got me hooked in French Literature. Ended up majoring French Literature in college back in Japan many many years ago. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara | 2/20/2011

    " I believe this is Stendhal's best book - beautifully written and great subject matter. "

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About the Author
Author Stendhal

Stendhal (1783–1842) was the nom-de-plume of Marie-Henri Beyle, who was born in Grenoble in 1783. He served in the army under Napoleon, but on the restoration of the monarchy moved to Italy, where he started his career as a travel writer. His great love of the arts, and his declared ecstatic dizziness at the overwhelming beauty and magnificence of Italian paintings, frescoes, statues, and architecture, particularly in Florence, led to the recent coining of the “Stendhal Syndrome.” On his return to Paris in 1821, he moved into society, had several publicized affairs, and in 1830 published The Red and the Black, considered by many to be one of his masterpieces. He took a diplomatic post in Italy, but in 1841 became ill and returned to Paris, where he died of a stroke in 1842.

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.