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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 193

Stendhal lived two lives: He was both a Napoleonic army officer and diplomat and the author of such sensitive novels as De l’Amour (1822), The Red and the Black (1830), and La Chartreuse de Parme (1839). It was his first life that caused him to run afoul of government authorities. While he was living in Milan after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, his reputation as a “liberal”—as all opponents of the restored Bourbon regime in France were labeled—prompted the Austrian rulers of Milan to order his arrest in 1821. Forced to flee Italy, Stendhal returned to France, where he could not secure a government appointment because of his earlier association with Napoleon.

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Official harassment for his political views prompted Stendhal to assume his second life as a writer. Always aware of the censors, he consciously avoided offending official sensibilities in his books. Yet although his works were not banned during his lifetime, his caution did not spare them problems after his death. The Roman Catholic church placed his novels on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum later in the century for their anticlerical content, and they were temporarily banned in Russia in 1850 and in Spain in 1939.

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