Books: Road to Fame

Road to Fame

STENDHAL; The Life of an Egoist-Rudolf Kayser—Henry Holt ($3).

Henri-Marie Beyle, who called himself, among other pseudonyms, Baron de Stendhal—sensualist, cynic, soldier, exile, diplomat, author—wrote his first novel at 44 and said of himself: "Je serai compris ners 1900 [I shall be understood about 1900]."

Henri's father, whom he always disliked and later spoke of usually as "the bastard," was a royalist who escaped the fury of the French Revolution only because he was a citizen of out-of-the-way Grenoble. There Henri was born in 1783, and naturally grew up as...

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