Stendhal states: "I want to impose silence on my heart, which thinks it has much to say. I constantly fear having written nothing but a sigh, when I believe I have set down a truth."
Four kinds of love are discussed. Passionate love, mannered love, physical love, and vanity love. Stendhal draws on history, literature, and his own experiences and what we get is a picture of the author’s innermost feelings.
At the core of this book we find Stendahl’s obsession with Mathilde Viscontini Dembowski whom he called Miltide. She did not return his love nor understood him. He tried to explain his love to her and in doing so dissected his passion.
According to Stendahal the Italians were torn between hatred and love and lived by passions. The French by vanity and the Germans who he felt were discontent and unsophisticated, by their imaginations.
Stendhal said that “a novel is like a bow, and the violin that produces the sound is the reader's soul.” The book is a look into his soul.
Quotes by Stendhal
“A good book is an event in my life.” ...
“One can acquire everything in solitude except character.” ...
“There are as many styles of beauty as there are visions of happiness.” ...
“I love her beauty, but I fear her mind.” ...
“A novel is a mirror walking along a main road.”
“If you don't love me, it does not matter, anyway I can love for both of us”
“Our true passions are selfish.”
“God's only excuse is that he does not exist”
“Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness.