In my adolescence, Stendhal was to me an author of swashbucklers. Yet I was profoundly impressed by his style, by the charm of his two most known novels. So I did not revere him yet, but the style already made the profoundest impression upon me. I looked it upon as the ideal style (I repeat, I mean the style of his novels, of his narrations).
Then came a few sentences from a Nietzsche's book. That rehabilitated to me Stendhal as a classic novelist, if I am to use this label. Then there was a lesson at school, when our teacher resumed for us, briefly, LE ROUGE
.Again, I was very impressedthis time, by the very content of the novel, its richness and density and intrinsic interest.
The entire rehabilitation came from an essay by Genette, read in '97 (and reread later
). That essay lead me to join the cult, the club of our master. In short, the others' perspectives on his books greatly improved my knowledge of him. I was as impressed with his books as with others' enthusiasm for him.
I belong to those who find much more interesting his novels themselves, than the man who wrote them (i.e., I am not interested in his two main novels as personal ,private documents or confessions, but as fiction). I loathe _biographism. I loathe biographic explanations and approaches in literary criticism. I tax it as cheap, petty exploitation.