When Stendhal died in 1842, his death did not go unnoticed and several obituaries were published eulogizing his name. However, while other writers were fully recognized in their own lifetime, only a ‘Happy Few’ were aware of Stendhal throughout his career and his greatness was only to be generally recognized sometime after his death. His posthumous rise to glory has been quite unique in literature, not least because Stendhal predicted that he would only truly make his mark ‘around 1880.’ A remarkable piece of clairvoyance or self-confidence that the world would one day come around to his way of thinking.
After Stendhal’s death his cousin, Romain Colomb, was charged with the task of assuring that his name did not sink into total obscurity. Colomb was to prove more than worthy of this task and set about securing the legacy of his dear friend by ensuring that an edition of his collected works was put into print (Michel Lévy 1853), along with two volumes of correspondence (Michel Lévy 1855) before he died in 1858.
In the later half of the nineteenth century Stendhal was the subject of works of literary criticism by such figures as Sainte-Beuve, Taine and Bourget and an ever growing army of ‘Beylists’, appeared to assure that his works would not be forgotten. One of the early beylistes, Adolphe Paupe, took ‘Stendhal for ever’ as his motto and this website is a continuation of his spirit for the 21st century.
By the end of the nineteenth century Stendhal had taken his rightful place alongside the greats of not only French, but also world literature. His works are now studied in schools and universities around the world and his ‘Happy Few’ now number many more...