Themes of Political and Religious Satire
By A.E. Greaves
The essential thrust of this book is an examination of the origins and development of the satirical element of Stendal's writing in Italy, which culminates with the creation of what many critics consider to be his finest achievement, the novel La Chartreuse de Parme.
Tony Greaves adduces some of Stendhal's lesser-known, non-fictional 'Italian' works as essential ingredients in the understanding of 'where La Chartreuse comes from', telling how the different Italian themes of the novel emerge from their historical context.
". . . The work as a whole becomes a kind of Resistance text containing - to pursue the author's comparison - a contrebande message for its contemporary reader, an exhortation to consider the impact of political and spiritual repression not just in Italy but in Europe generally. The links with earlier works, through which Stendhal's view of Italy has already been traced with considerable firmness and cogency, are constantly kept in play and the satirical content of La Chartreuse is thereby restated and reinforced." (Journal of European Studies)
A.E. GREAVES is a lecturer in the School of Education, University of Exeter.