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Old 09-30-2007, 09:42 AM   #1
Patricia
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Stendhal: Armance, v1, 30 Sept 2007.

Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)
Armance: Some scenes from a salon in Paris in 1827
(Armance, ou quelques scenes de Paris en 1827)
Translated from the French by C. K. Scott-Moncrieff

A novel about male impotence. However, the topic is covered very subtly and a reader might not realise why young Octave is so restless.
(Stendhal and Prosper Merimée’s correspondence makes it clear what the hero’s problem actually is.)
The impotence is probably a metaphor for French society under the restoration.

Hemingway used this novel as an inspiration for ‘The Sun Also Rises’.

From a review on amazon.com:
‘In 1827, Octave is a young man living the moment in which an aristocratic young Frenchman must become a grown-up. This includes getting married. Small wonder that he is rather gloomy and tormented about the whole idea, since he feels obliged to find a rich wife, but he is in love with his cousin, Armance, an orphaned, sensitive and intelligent young woman. And there you have your drama: he is shy because of his illness; she is shy because she's poor. Doomed love. Nevertheless, Octave will decide to marry her after an equivocal incident in which her honor might be at risk, thus finding a suitable excuse to let her finally know how much he loves her (those were the days). I won't spoil the ending, but it is an interesting solution to the problem.’

(The subject-matter is covered more fully in a chapter (‘The Fiasco’) of Stendhal’s study ‘De l’Amour’ but this is not available online in English.)
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