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Literature / The Charterhouse of Parma

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The Charterhouse of Parma is a novel written by Stendhal in 1839 on the spur of the moment in just 52 days.

The novel deals with Fabrice del Dongo, a young visionary wanting to join Napoleon’s army. Sadly, he doesn’t realize he’s not fit for the army, being swindled and robbed by burglars and his fellow soldiers and witnessing a whole pandemonium instead of the noble battle he expected.

Some time later, his aunt and her lover, the Count Mosca, try to plan a successful life for him, so they decide to use their influences to put Fabrice in an important place of the religious hierarchy. Whether he wants it or not isn't relevant…

The book goes on, but it’s difficult to summarize it without starting to explain the whole plot. Let’s just say it involves a prison, love, political intrigue and conspiracies.

Famous for being written on a moment of inspiration by Stendhal from start to finish; that gives the novel a sense of freshness not usually found on many novels. On the other hand, it also means that plot points and characters are only introduced when the author thought about them, giving the feeling that they come out of nowhere and, obviously, showing a lack of planning.

The book provides examples of: