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Italian Chronicles

2017
Author:

Stendhal
Translated by Raymond N. MacKenzie

Italian Chronicles

Nine bloody, revenge-filled tales—several translated for the first time—from French writer Stendhal

This new translation of Stendhal’s Chroniques italiennes is a collection of nine tales written between 1829 and 1840, many of which were published only after his death. Complete with revenge, bloody daggers, poisonings, and thick-walled nunneries, these collected tales reveal a great novelist working with highly dramatic subject matter to forge a vision of life lived at its most intense.

Nineteenth-century French writer Marie-Henri Beyle, better known by his pen name Stendhal, is one of the earliest leading practitioners of realism, his stories filled with sharp analyses of his characters’ psychology. This translation of Stendhal’s Chroniques italiennes is a collection of nine tales written between 1829 and 1840, many of which were published only after his death. Together these collected tales reveal a great novelist working with highly dramatic subject matter to forge a vision of life lived at its most intense.

The setting for these tales is a romanticized Italy, a place Stendhal viewed as unpolluted by bourgeois inhibitions and conformism. From the hothouse atmosphere of aristocratic convents to the horrors of the Cenci family, the tales in Italian Chronicles all feature passionate, transgressive characters engaged in “la chasse au bonheur”—the quest for happiness. Most of the tragic, violent tales are based on historical events, with Stendhal using history to validate his characters’ extreme behaviors as they battle literal and figurative oppression and try to break through to freedom.

Complete with revenge, bloody daggers, poisonings, and thick-walled nunneries, this new translation of Italian Chronicles includes four never-before-translated stories and a fascinating introduction detailing the origins of the book. It is sure to gratify established Stendhal fans as well as readers new to the writer.

Italian Chronicles

Stendhal, the pseudonym of Marie-Henri Beyle (1783–1842), is best known for his major novels The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma. He was a prolific writer in many genres, including novellas and tales.

Raymond N. MacKenzie is professor of English at the University of St. Thomas. He is the translator of Jules Barbey D’Aurevilly’s Diaboliques: Six Tales of Decadence (Minnesota, 2015).

Italian Chronicles

Contents
Translator’s Introduction
Stendhal’s Prefaces
Italian Chronicles (1855)
Vanina Vanini; or, Particulars concerning the Most Recent Gathering of a Cell of the Carbonari—Discovered in the Papal States
Vittoria Accoramboni: Duchess of Bracciano
The Cenci: 1599
The Duchess of Palliano
The Abbess of Castro
Italian Stories
The Jew
San Francesco a Ripa
Too Much Favor Is Deadly: A Tale of 1589
Suora Scolastica: A Story That Shocked All Naples in 1740
Translator’s Notes