Stendhal, oil painting by Pierre-Joseph Dedreux-Dorcy; in the Bibliothèque Municipale de —Courtesy of the Bibliothèque Municipale de Grenoble, Fr.; photograph, Studio Piccardy
(born Jan. 23, 1783, Grenoble, Francedied March 23, 1842, Paris) French novelist. He left for Paris in 1799 partly to escape his father's rule. By 1802 he was keeping a diary (posthumously published as his Journal) and writing other texts dealing with his intimate thoughts. From 1806 he served in Napoleon's army; after the French empire fell in 1814, he settled in Italy. As a result of political and romantic disappointments, he returned to Paris. During 1821–30, while leading an active social and intellectual life, he wrote works including the masterpiece The Red and the Black (1830), a powerful character study of an ambitious young man that is also an acute picture of Restoration France. His other major work, The Charterhouse of Parma (1839), is remarkable for its sophisticated rendering of human psychology and its subtly drawn portraits. His unfinished autobiographical works, Memoirs of an Egotist (1892) and The Life of Henry Brulard (1890), are among his most original achievements.