Publisher: Dar al Bihar (2005)
Pages: 653 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
Dual language books. The English and Arabic pages are facing each other, matching one-on-one with English on the left page, Arabic on the right page. Easy reference for individuals not strong in one of the languages. Well known fiction titles for different interests and levels.
Description of the Book:
The Red and the Black is the story of Julien Sorel, the ambitious son of a carpenter in the fictional French village of Verrières.
The novel comprises two volumes, each of which contains two major stories. The first book introduces Julien Sorel, who would rather spend his time reading or daydreaming about the "glory days" of Napoleon's army (long-since disbanded) than work in his father's timber yard alongside his brothers, who beat him for his intellectual affectation. Julien Sorel ends up becoming an acolyte of the local Catholic prelate, who later secures him a post as tutor for the children of the mayor of Verrières, Monsieur de Renal.
Sorel, who appears to be a pious and austere cleric, in reality has little interest in the Bible beyond its literary value and the way he can use memorized passages to impress important people (passages which he has moreover learned in Latin, and of whose meaning he has only an imperfect grasp).
Sorel begins an affair with the wife of Monsieur de Renal, one that ends badly when the affair is exposed throughout the town by her chambermaid, Elisa, who had designs of her own on Sorel. Monsieur de Renal then banishes Sorel, who moves on to a seminary in Besançon, which he finds cliquish and stifling. Despite his initial cynicism, the director of the seminary, l'abbe Pirard, (a Jansenist and thus a hated figure for the more powerful Jesuit faction in the diocese), takes a liking to Sorel and becomes his protector. When l'abbe Pirard leaves the seminary in disgust at the political machinations of the church hierarchy, he rescues Sorel from the persecution he would suffer in Pirard's absence, recommending him as private secretary to the diplomat and aristocratic Roman Catholic legitimist, the Marquis de la Mole.
Book II, which begins at the time just before the July Revolution, chronicles Sorel's life in Paris with the family of Monsieur de la Mole. Sorel finds himself caught up in the high society of Paris, but the friends of his employer's family, while noting his talents, look down on his lack of finesse and despise his plebian origins. Sorel, boundlessly ambitious to rise in the world, has the clear-sightedness to note the materialism and hypocrisy of the Parisian elite, though he sees also that the times make it impossible for well-born men with superior qualities to find an outlet in public affairs.
In an exhilarating episode, Monsieur de la Mole sends him on a dangerous mission to England, where he is to relay to an unidentified addressee a political letter that he has learned by heart. Distracted by an unhappy love affair, Sorel learns the message by rote, but fails to appreciate its significance. It is in fact part of a legitimist plot, and the addressee is presumably an ally of the Duc d'Angouleme, then in exile in England. Sorel thus risks his life to serve that faction which he most opposes. Sorel justifies this to himself by thinking only in helping Monsieur de la Mole, his employer and a man he respects.
Mathilde de la Mole, the bored daughter of Sorel's employer, had over the preceding months come to be torn between her growing interest in Sorel for his admirable personal qualities and her repugnance at becoming involved with a man of his class. He finds her unattractive at first, but his interest is piqued by her attentions and the admiration she inspires in others. She seduces and rejects Sorel twice, leading him into a miasma of happiness, pride at having outdistanced her aristocratic suitors, despair, and self-doubt. It is only on the diplomatic mission that the inexperienced Sorel gains the key to her affections with a cynical game-plan offered him by a man-of-the-world Russian prince. Following these instructions at great emotional cost, he feigns uninterest in her and provokes her jealousy by using a sheaf of pre-written love-letters to woo a widow in the family's social circle.
Mathilde de la Mole falls sincerely in love with Sorel, and eventually reveals she is pregnant with his child. In the period immediately before Sorel's return to Paris from the mission, she had become officially engaged to one of her many suitors, Monsieur de Croisenois, an amiable young man, rich, and set to inherit a dukedom.
Monsieur de la Mole is livid at the news of the liaison, but begins to relent in the face of his daughter's determination and his real affection for Sorel. He grants Sorel a property that brings him an income and an aristocratic title, and a place in the army. He appears ready to bless a marriage between the two, but has a dramatic change of heart when he receives the answer to a letter of character inquiry at Sorel's last employer, in Verrières. The letter, written by Madame de Renal at the urging of her confessor, warns him that Sorel is nothing but a cad and a social climber who preys on vulnerable women. The personal drama in these chapters is interwoven with a dissection of the role of money and class in contemporary French society.
Upon learning of Monsieur de la Mole's subsequent decision never to bless a marriage, Sorel rushes to Verrières and shoots his former lover during Mass in the town church. She survives, but the final chapters of the book follow the path of his conviction and execution for the crime.
Despite the tireless efforts to save his life by Mademoiselle de la Mole, Madame de Renal, and the ecclesiastics devoted to him since his early years, Sorel is determined to die; there is no place in contemporary French society for a superior man born without the advantages of money and social connections, and his bridges have been burned.
Monsieur de Croisenois, presented as the most appealing of the young men blessed by fortune, is killed in a duel over a slur on the honor of Mademoiselle de la Mole.
Mademoiselle de la Mole's affection for Sorel remains undiminished, but its intellectual and imperious nature, and its component of romantic exhibitionism, make her visits a duty for him.
Once Sorel learns that he has not killed Madame de Renal, he returns to his unnuanced love for her, which had remained in the back of his mind throughout his time in Paris and his passion for Mademoiselle de la Mole. She comes to visit him regularly in his last days, and dies of grief after he is beheaded. Mademoiselle de la Mole reenacts the cherished tale of 16th-Century queen Margot of France's visiting the body of her dead lover, Boniface de la Mole, to kiss the lips of his severed head. The 19th-Century Mathilde de la Mole carries the head of Julien Sorel to its tomb and turns his burial site into a shrine after the Italian fashion.
These special, condensed novels are intended for English speakers to learn Arabic, by reading side by side versions of these simplified famous novels.