The Charterhouse of Parma – Stendhal

The Charterhouse of Parma is the second Stendhal I read. The first book was, of course, The Red and the Black. I remember that when I read The Red and the Black, I didn’t think I could be affected by any book so much. Of course, I was young and very much in love. These were important to the perfection of the book. The Charterhouse of Parma is an entirely different subject.


Stendhal, whose real name was Marie-Henri Beyle, wrote The Charterhouse of Parma in a short time. Since it is six hundred pages long, one can immediately approach with prejudice. As a result, there are some shortcomings in the book that even he declared. As you can see, it was not an exquisite classic as The Red and the Black. However, despite all its roughness, The Charterhouse of Parma is the most important French novel of its time, as Balzac stated.

The Charterhouse of Parma - Stendhal

I think I expected a lot from The Charterhouse of Parma because of The Red and the Black. Although I liked the book, the characters and names were difficult to follow and distracted me from the story. Therefore, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted. I think it would be a much more beautiful book if it were a little shorter. It is interesting when you think that this is already the short version. Stendhal was unhappy that they cut pages from this story.

The Charterhouse of Parma can become an indispensable book for you if you are interested in the life of aristocrats. Fabrice del Dongo, who went to fight for Napoleon, is a pure and self-conscious youth. His curiosity to fight ends after a few adventures, and he returns to his country. Due to the political tricks of his aunt and her lover, and his lustful adventures, he gets into chaos. Subsequent events are full of prisons and love. It is a colourful story full of exuberance, hypocrisy and youth.

The Charterhouse of Parma - Stendhal

The Charterhouse of Parma

Headstrong and naïve, the young Italian aristocrat Fabrizio del Dongo is determined to defy the wrath of his right-wing father and go to war to fight for Napoleon. He stumbles on the Battle of Waterloo, ill-prepared, yet filled with enthusiasm for war and glory. Finally heeding advice, Fabrizio sneaks back to Milan, only to become embroiled in a series of amorous exploits, fuelled by his impetuous nature and the political chicanery of his aunt Gina and her wily lover. Judged by Balzac to be the most important French novel of its time, The Charterhouse of Parma is a compelling novel of extravagance and daring, blending the intrigues of the Italian court with the romance and excitement of youth.


Marie-Henri Beyle, better known by his pen name Stendhal, was a 19th-century French writer. Best known for the novels Le Rouge et le Noir and La Chartreuse de Parme, he is highly regarded for the acute analysis of his characters’ psychology and considered one of the early and foremost practitioners of realism.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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