The Instigator
espanolproyecto
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
FourTrouble
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

Stendhal's The Red and the Black is a product of romanticism not realism

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
FourTrouble
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2012 Category: Arts
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,857 times Debate No: 22127
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

espanolproyecto

Pro

I will be arguing that Stendhal's The Red and the Black is a product of realism and not romanticism. I would ask that my opponent use reliable sources for this argument and that they cite them every round.

That being said, let us begin.
FourTrouble

Con

Literary critic Michel Crouzet argues that Stendhal's Romanticism offers "an explicit will to ensure the domination of interiority over exteriority." Along these lines, I will argue that Stendhal's The Red and the Black has Romantic elements thematically, structurally, and stylistically. To ground argument, I use the example of Julian Sorel, the central character of the narrative, who embodies Romantic characterists in his concern for internal authenticity in the face of radical uncertainty, and thus provides readers with a vision of the Romantic life.

I assume Pro has the BoP. That said, let us begin.
Debate Round No. 1
espanolproyecto

Pro

John Lye has written that "Realism is faithful to our experience of life lived in a physical and social environment, and governed by causes and effects. The most powerful argument for realism is that it represents life as we live it -- sequential, contextualized, rooted in the concrete.".
Now what this means is that Stendhal's voice comes out in the novel, a lot of the time through Julien, seeing as he was a part of Napoleon's army.

He also portrays religion and the upper class as using their influence to benefit themselves. This coincides with his personal views and values, especially those that he cultivated in Italy.

Stendhal's The Red and the Black. Ed. Harold Bloom. New Haven: Chelsea House,
1988. Print.


For the sake of an interesting debate, please attempt to prove that it is instead romanticism.
FourTrouble

Con

Pro has provided a definition of realism, but has provided no arguments that the novel excludes Romanticism and is purely realist.

In the absence of an argument by Pro, I'm not sure where to go. The novel dramatizes Julien's emotional responses rather than the external world around him. In fact, the central dialogue of the novel is Julien's internal conversations with himself, in which Julien's external self (the one he presents to the world) is juxtaposed with his interior self. Much of the novel presents Julien, in is internal dialogue, trying to control, rearrange, and adapt his external appearance to fit the particular circumstances he finds himself in. What emerges, beneath this surface, is part heroic aspiration and part self-doubt, as Julien constantly wonders about the relationship of his inner state to his external appearance, questioning, doubting, resolving, and so on.

What is preeminently clear in Stendhal's novel is that Julien's life takes pace primarily on the inside. The novel stages a contest between his inner life and outer life, in which the prize is a hold over his authentic self. Ultimately, Julien's inner life never stabilizes, but rather, ends engaged in constant unresolved dialogue with itself. This focus on the interior as opposed to the exterior demonstrates an explicit concern with Romantic themes.

Furthermore, Julien's personality itself is that of a Romantic visionary, dreaming of a self-realized Napoleonic grandeur. But the key to understanding his Romantic heroism lies not only in these visions but in his internal doubt, in which Julien carves out a space for authentically affirming is Romantic vision while warding off a world that he suspects is out to deceive, embarass, and demote him.

Julien's internal/external problem, that of resolving his Romantic external aspirations with his Romantic internal doubt, is compounded by the fact that the person he is talking to is often doing the same: concentrating on the most appropriate relationship between an inner self and an outer appearance. The novel also dramatizes the internal/external problematic of the characters Julien interacts with, which produces Romantic irony. Irony, if our readers will recall, is when the surface meaning of something is undercut by a contradictory implied meaning. The Romantic irony is produced by juxtaposing the internal lives of two people who are interacting externally. Expectations arise externally, but the reader is privy to the complex and lively internal life that both characters are undergoing. In this way, Stendhal establishes a Romantic irony, an irony that operates through the explicitly Romantic domination of the interior over the exterior.

Literary critic Ian Johnston writes: "In all of this there is a constant sense of how pathetic Julien really is. His vision of himself as a conquering hero in the Napoleonic mode translates itself into complex but endlessly hesitant, self-reflecting and unsatisfying love affairs which he describes to himself in military language, a style which simply reminds us just how unheroic these achievements are by comparison. And no matter what success he enjoys, he is constantly plagued by self-reflection, self-doubts. Have I done the right thing in my campaign for advancement? Shall I hold her hand? Maybe I should not have done that. If I show my feelings, will I lose the campaign? And so on. This is a very far cry from the confident romantic assertiveness that we saw in Jane Eyre--psychologically much more interesting, of course, but also far less of an affirmation of the emotional rightness of that attitude."

Notice Johnston explicitly relates the novel to the romanticism of Jane Eyre, but notes that Stendhal's novel offers a more interesting psychological portrait of the character, which is to say, internal portrait, but does so through Julien's self-doubt and self-reflection. I cannot think of anything more Romantic.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 2
espanolproyecto

Pro

espanolproyecto forfeited this round.
FourTrouble

Con

Unfortunately, Pro has forfeited Round 3. Since there is time left to argue, I offer Pro the opportunity to make his case in Round 4.
Debate Round No. 3
espanolproyecto

Pro

espanolproyecto forfeited this round.
FourTrouble

Con

Pro forfeits again. Extend arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
espanolproyecto

Pro

espanolproyecto forfeited this round.
FourTrouble

Con

Vote Con please.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by espanolproyecto 4 years ago
espanolproyecto
It is arguably both, thus the point of this debate.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
Ah, subjective debates. How much I have missed thee.
Posted by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
Isn't it arguably both?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TUF 4 years ago
TUF
espanolproyectoFourTroubleTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF"s