Translated by Andrew Brown
Foreword by Adam Thirlwell
When Henri Beyle – pen-name Stendhal – took in hand the education of his deeply loved sister Pauline, he was obliged to carry out her tuition by correspondence. In his letters to her he instructs her in what she should read (Plutarch, Molière, Shakespeare); what to study (philosophy, logic, mathematics, music); whether or not to get married (and to what kind of man), and generally how to enliven the tedium of a French provincial town. At the same time, he encourages her to think for herself – a process that, inevitably, reveals what he thought when thinking for himself.
This selection of Stendhal's letters to his sister are written in his usual apparently artless, unbuttoned, sparkling style, and mark the transition of a literary man into a mature and accomplished writer.
Publication date: 01/08/2011