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Download The Red and the Black Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Red and the Black, by Stendhal Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (16,331 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stendhal Narrator: Frederick Davidso Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.”


  • 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.”


Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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About the Author
Author Stendhal

Stendhal, the pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle (1783–1842), was a nineteenth-century French writer. Known for his acute analysis of his characters’ psychology, he is considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism in his two novels, Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black, 1830) and La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma, 1839).