One of the great French novelists of the nineteenth century, Stendhal describes his unhappy youth with sensitivity and intelligence in his autobiographical novel The Life of Henri Brulard, written in 1835 and 1836 but published in 1890. Long after his death. Stendhal detested his father, a lawyer from Grenoble, France, whose only passion in life was making money. Therefore, Stendhal left home as soon as he could. Stendhal served with Napoleon's army in the campaign in Russia in 1812, which helped inspire the famous war scenes in his novel The Red and the Black (1831). After Napoleon's fall, Stendhal lived for six years in Italy, a country he loved during his entire life. In 1821, he returned to Paris for a life of literature, politics, and love affairs. Stendhal's novels feature heroes who reject any form of authority that would restrain their sense of individual freedom. They are an interesting blend of romantic emotionalism and eighteenth-century realism. Stendhal's heroes are sensitive, emotional individuals who are in conflict with the society in which they live, yet they have the intelligence and detachment to analyze their society and its faults. Stendhal was a precursor of the realism of Flaubert. He once described the novelist's function as that of a person carrying a mirror down a highway so that the mirror would reflect life as it was, for all society.
Richard Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 13, 1929. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1951 and studied at the Sorbonne as a Fellow of the French Government in 1952-1953. He briefly worked as a lexicographer, but soon turned his attention to poetry and poetic criticism. His works include Trappings: New Poems; Like Most Revelations: New Poems; Selected Poems; No Traveler; Findings; Alone with America; and Quantities. He won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1969 for Untitled Subjects. He is also a translator and published more than 150 translations from the French. He received the PEN Translation Prize in 1976 for his translation of E. M. Cioran's A Short History of Decay and the American Book Award for his 1983 translation of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal. In 1982, he was named a Chevalier of L'Ordre National du Mï¿½rite by the government of France. He teaches in the Writing Division of the School of the Arts, Columbia University.