Portrait of Stendhal by Pierre-Joseph Dedreux-Dorcy
(Bibliothèque Municipale de Grenoble)
Considered by many as the founder of realism, his books are characterised by the use of a simple, direct and highly recognisable style that rejected the dominant Romantic trend at the time for rich but often rhetorically ambiguous or even meaningless prose. In opposition to Balzac, descriptive passages are rare in Stendhal's works as the emphasis is on depiction with words and actions. This, coupled with the exposition and analysis of the psychological state of his characters has meant that his novels do not appear as dated as those of his contemporaries but instead remain in many ways as relevant today as when they were written.