The French Revolution and Stendhal’s "The Red and the Black"

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  • Title: The French Revolution and Stendhal’s "The Red and the Black": Linking the Personal and the Political Using “Reacting to the Past”
  • Author(s): Kathleen A. Kelly
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Humanities Education
  • Keywords: Teaching, Stendhal, The Red and the Black, French Revolution, Reacting to the Past
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2015
  • ISSN: 2327-0063 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-2457 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-0063/CGP/v13i03/43839
  • Citation: Kelly, Kathleen A. . 2015. "The French Revolution and Stendhal’s "The Red and the Black": Linking the Personal and the Political Using “Reacting to the Past”." The International Journal of Humanities Education 13 (3): 53-58. doi:10.18848/2327-0063/CGP/v13i03/43839.
  • Extent: 6 pages

Abstract

Students find Stendhal’s great novel "The Red and the Black" highly readable and appealing, and it has been taught successfully in a variety of contexts. Regardless of context, however, because of the enormous scope of change in French history that shapes the novel, teaching it poses challenges. As one particularly effective way to meet those challenges, I propose teaching the novel in tandem with a study of the French Revolution that employs “Reacting to the Past” pedagogy. RTTP pedagogy uses games to engender engagement in historical issues not only at the intellectual, but also at the experiential level. Studying the French Revolution through this method enables students to appreciate the complex relations between the personal life of Stendhal’s hero, Julien Sorel, and his political and social situation. A course with the game and the novel at its core ensures a deep appreciation of the political and personal challenges of living during a pivotal era in European history.