Portrait of Stendhal (1835-1836) by Silvestro Valeri
(Musée Stendhal, Grenoble)

Stendhal in the uniform of consul. On his left breast is the Légion d'Honneur.
For more detailed information about Stendhal's life in English:
  • KEATES, Jonathan, Stendhal, Sinclair Stevenson, London, 1995.
  • RICHARDSON, Joanna, Stendhal, Victor Gollancz, London, 1974.
...and in French:
  • CROUZET, Michel, Stendhal ou Monsieur Moi-même, Flammarion, Paris, 1999.
  • MARTINEAU, Henri, Le Cœur de Stendhal, Albin Michel, Paris, 1952.
1818 – Stendhal begins writing a life of Napoleon and to develop a passion for Mathilde Dembowski, an unrequited love that was to drive him to despair.

1819 – He follows Mathilde to Volterra. Chérubin Beyle dies, which does not bother Stendhal terribly much but he leaves nothing, which does.

1820 – Inspired by his frustrated love for Mathilde, he writes
On Love (de l’Amour), a psychological exposition of love. He sends the manuscript from Milan to Paris.

1821 – Suspected of being a spy by the Austrian government, he is forced to say goodbye to Mathilde and leave Milan (at that time part of the Austrian Empire).

1822 –
On Love (de l'Amour) is published.

1823 –
Racine et Shakespeare is published, a work that was written in defence of the English playwright, at that time much criticized by the French literary establishment. It is highly critical of the French Academy and their insistence on an adherence to the rules of Classical drama.

Life of Rossini (Vie de Rossini) published; his first success.

1824 – Has an affair with Countess Clémentine Curial.

1825 – Publishes second edition of Racine et Shakespeare.  

Stendhal learns of Mathilde’s death and Clementine leaves him. Both events contribute to a dark depression that leave him on the brink of suicide.

Publication of
D'un nouveau complot contre les industriels.

1827 – Stendhal publishes his first novel aged 44.
Armance receives a poor reception from the small number of people who read it, including Mérimée.

Second edition of
Rome, Naples et Florence is published.

1829 –
Promendades dans Rome, another supposed travel guide is published, as is Vanina Vanini, a short story.

1830 –
The Red and the Black (Le Rouge et le noir; Chronique du XIX siècle) is published. The literary establishment largely ignores the publication of Stendhal’s masterpiece. To go to the Red and the Black mini-site click here.

Beyle is named French consul to Trieste.

1831 – Vienna refuse his nomination as they still regard him as a spy and the French government name him consul to Civitavecchia, a papal state near Rome. For the next ten years he holds the post.

1832 – He writes
Souvenirs of egotism (Souvenirs d'égotisme), a collection of autobiographical writings and begins (and abandons) A Social Position (Une Position sociale).

1833 – Stendhal travels down the Rhone river with George Sand and Alfred de Musset as travelling companions.

1834 –  Works on
Lucien Leuwen.

1835 – Due to the highly political nature of Lucien Leuwen, he believes it unpublishable and leaves the manuscript to begin an autobiography:
The Life of Henry Brulard (La Vie de Henry Brulard).

1836 – He begins a second work on Napoleon:
Memoirs on Napoleon (Mémoires sur Napoléon).

1837 – He works on both
The Pink and the Green (Le Rose et le vert), which was to remain unfinished, as well as Memoirs of a tourist (Mémoires d’un touriste).

1838 –
Memoirs of a tourist is published, his first work since Le Rouge et le Noir.

Between November 4 and December 26 he dictates
The Charterhouse of Parma (La Chartreuse de Parme).

1839 –
La Chartreuse de Parme is published. It’s publication is also largely ignored, a fact raised by Balzac who hailed the book as a work of genius.

He publishes the
Chroniques italiennes a collection of short stories supposedly translated from Italian manuscripts of the Renaissance period Stendhal had discovered.

1840 – He begins work on
Lamiel but this work is eventually abandoned.

1841 – Stendhal experiences an apoplectic fit on March 15 and as his health fails he is granted leave and leaves Civitavecchia for Paris on October 21.

1842 – On March 22, Stendhal has another apoplectic attack in the street and is taken to his apartment, at 78, rue Neuve des Capucines. At two in the morning of March 23 Stendhal dies.

He is buried at Montmatre.