->''“La vérité, l’âpre vérité”''
-->-- '''Danton''' ''[[note]]“The truth, the harsh truth”. [[BeamMeUpScotty He never said that.]][[/note]]

''The Red and the Black'' is a famous novel of the French author Creator/{{Stendhal}}, dealing with the society of France in the 19th century.

Julien Sorel is a young dreamer, preferring to read his books and daydream about Napoleon than to do something useful for his family. He becomes an acolyte and then obtains a job as a tutor in the prestigious house of Monsieur de Rênal, mayor of Verrières. However, he pays less attention to Literature/{{the Bible}} than to the mayor’s wife.

Soon he finds involved in the political turmoil of the age and starts being manipulated by all kinds of factions, just as he’s trying to forget Madame de Rênal and starts trying to court the daughter of his new boss, Mathilde de la Mole.

Of course, things go downhill from there.

This book was one of UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy's favorites.
!!This book has examples of:
* AbusiveParents
* AgonyOfTheFeet: Julien is so nervous during his first meeting with the marquis that, between other mistakes, accidentally steps on his foot. Of course, the marquis’ opinion of him wasn’t the most high after that, especially considering he had gout.
* AltumVidetur: Julien can impress people citing memorized passages of the Bible in Latin. He pays little attention to the holy book beyond that.
* AmbitionIsEvil
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove
* AntiHero: Julien.
* BettyAndVeronica: Madame de Rênal and Mathilde de la Mole, respectively.
* TheCasanova: Julien.
* ColorMotif: Julien’s clothes are almost always black, which makes him stand easily on a crowd. Contrast it with the red clothes of the army which are ubiquous around him.
* ComingOfAgeStory: Julien leaves the nest, climbs his way to the top using talent, hard work and hypocrisy and learns that nothing is as nice as it seems.
* CorruptChurch: The church, with some individual exceptions, is generically composed of hypocrites pulling political threads in the shadows.
* DeadpanSnarker: Mathilde.
* DistractedByTheSexy: Julien gets distracted by an unsuccessful love affair of the letter he has to memorize to deliver it (he can’t get caught with it, so he can’t have it written). He manages to memorize it, but as a result of his distraction doesn’t get the subtext of the legitimist plot in it, the very faction he opposes.
* DoomedMoralVictor: [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]], as the reader is meant to see Julien as this when he is able to happily go to the guillotine after finally renouncing his HolierThanThou persona and religion in general, and being authentic for the first time, despite the fact that society as a whole likely views him as scum.
* DuelToTheDeath: Monsieur de Croisenois fights on a duel for Mathilde's honour. [[spoiler:He loses.]] Julien gets himself on a duel too, but though he loses, he doesn’t die.
* {{Epigraph}}: All the chapters have epigraphs of well-known writers or others that sound like smart guys. Many of them were invented by Stendhal (like the one at the top).
* EvilJesuit: Averted with the abbé Pirard. Played straight with the rest.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: When Julien is departing to the seminary, he gives one last look at the bell tower of Virrieres’ church. It’s the same church where [[spoiler:Julien tries to kill Madame de Rênal at the climax of the story.]]
* GratuitousEnglish: Some of the epigraphs are in untranslated English. In a straighter (albeit meta) example, it seems that Stendhal occasionally liked to insert English words into French sentences for no apparent reason. The notes he wrote on the blank pages following the end of Book I in his copy of the work illustrate this.
-->'''Excerpt:''' "20 mai 1830. Je consign le 7e sheet of ''Le Rouge.''"[[note]]From the Folio Classique edition endnotes.[[/note]]
* {{Hypocrite}}: Almost everybody. Julien sees and hates the hypocrisy of the upper class, but he’s as guilty as them of that, even though he doesn’t see it.
* ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou
* ItsAllAboutMe: Julien only cares about how things reflect on himself.
* [[ItsPronouncedTroPAY It's Pronounced Tro PAY]]: The Comte de Thaler. His name is German and should be pronounced “Thalay” in France.
* LongingLook: When Mathilde starts finding Julien interesting, she keeps sending him looks, expecting to catch his attention. He [[ObliviousToLove barely realizes]] at first, mainly because of his dislike of her upbringing.
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Crazy enough to try to [[spoiler:kill his former lover in public]].
* NoTitle: The last four chapters don’t have titles at all.
* TheNounAndTheNoun
* OffWithHisHead: [[spoiler: Julien]].
* {{Pride}}: Present in almost all the characters, including the three main protagonists. In fact, it’s Julien’s pride that moves much of the plot.
* RagsToRiches
* SexyPriest: Julien, though technically he only gets to be an acolyte.
* SlippingAMickey
* SmartPeopleKnowLatin: Subverted. All the rich people know some Latin from their education and use it to gloat, but that’s the extension of their knowledge. Julien is even worse: he’s hired by the Mayor because he can quote the Bible in Latin verbatim… but that’s all he knows about the language.
* SpellMyNameWithABlank
* TraumaticHaircut: Self-inflicted by Mathilda.
* {{Tsundere}}: Mathilde, especially toward Julien. She also displays some {{Yandere}} qualities. Madame de Rênal, too.
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: Julien Sorel.
* UnwittingPawn: Julien is used in a legitimist plot against his better judgment.
* VowOfCelibacy: The title is sometimes held to refer to the ambitious protagonist's choice between civil and clerical avenues of advancement (although even among those who accept this explanation of the title, there's disagreement on which colour represents which). The protagonist is never actually ordained, but he's sufficiently part of the church that the abbé sends him away to a seminary when he's revealed to have had an affair.