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On the evening of 22 March 1842, Henri Marie Beyle collapsed on a Parisian pavement and died a few hours later. In death, as in his life, the writer we now know as Stendhal remained ignored and underestimated by his contemporaries.

Why this should be is explored by the award-winning writer, Jonathan Keates, in this major biography. Taking us from Stendhal’s childhood in Grenoble through his varied careers to his death at fifty-nine, Keates examines the author’s personal life, his many friendships and his work.

‘Exact and illuminating … Keates, like his subject, loves Italy and music and he loves Stendhal wisely and not too well. He is clear-eyed in appraising his faults.’ Sunday Times

Jonathan Keates manages to transmit both his own enthusiasm for his subject, and Stendhal’s own enthusiasm for varied experience.’ Independent

‘Keates proves to be an alarmingly erudite guide.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Keates has captured the historical sweep of his career and has a sure feel for the social milieux in which Stendhal lived … A biography of admirable pace and geniality.’ Evening Standard


The distinguished writer Jonathan Keates (b.1946) has written several acclaimed biographies and travel books, and his novel Allegro Postillions won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Hawthornden Prize. Keates also reviews regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and teaches English at the City of London School.

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