I came upon a great passage in The Red and the Black that seemed worth sharing. This comes from the Lloyd C. Parks's translation published by Signet:

"Following I don't know what notion, derived from some account of high society, such as the old surgeon major had seen it, wherever Julien happened to be with a woman, he felt humiliated as soon as there was silence, as though it were his own particular fault. This sensation was a hundred times more painful during a tete-a-tete. Filled with the most exaggerated and Spanish ideas about what a man ought to say when alone with a woman, his imagination had nothing to offer him in his perplexity but inadmissible ideas. His head was in the clouds, and yet he could not find a way out of the most humiliating silence. Thus, the stern look he wore during his long walks with Mme. de Renal and the children was accentuated by the cruelest suffering. He despised himself horribly. If unfortunately he make himself speak, it occurred to him to say the most ridiculous things. To crown his misery, he was aware and had an exaggerated idea of his own absurdity. But what he couldn't see was the expression in his eyes. They were so handsome and revealed such a fiery soul that, like good actors, they sometimes gave a charming import to words that had none at all. Mme. de Renal observed that, if alone with her, he never said anything well, excepting when, distracted by some unforeseen occurrence, he was not thinking about how to turn a compliment. Since the friends of the house did not exactly spoil her with new and brilliant ideas, she took great delight in Julien's flashes of wit."

I'm quite enjoying The Red and the Black, to the point where it's interfering with schoolwork. This weekend, every time that I meant to read for Corporations or start cite-checking sources for the Science and Technology Law Review I found myself picking up Stendahl instead. Now I'm wondering if I can get away with sneaking it into class and reading it under the desk while pretending to take notes. Or, to avoid arousing suspicion, I could read the book surreptitiously while pretending to play computer solitaire. If I looked like I was actually taking notes and paying attention to the professor somebody would think something was up.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on October 9, 2006 1:45 AM.

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