From ‘The Red and the Black’, Vol. II, Chapter 22:
Politics in the middle of things of the imagination is like a pistol shot in the middle of a concert. The noise is loud without being forceful. It isn’t in harmony with the sound of any instrument. This political discussion will mortally offend half my readers and bore the others, who have found a much more precise and vigorous account of such matters in their morning newspapers.
In the original French:
La politique au milieu des intérêts d’imagination, c’est un coup de pistolet au milieu d’un concert. Ce bruit est déchirant sans être énergique. Il ne s’accorde avec le son d’aucun instrument. Cette politique va offenser mortellement une moitié des lecteurs et ennuyer l’autre qui l’a trouvée bien autrement spéciale et énergique dans le journal du matin.
Note to readers from the first ‘Sundays with Stendhal’ post, on translations used here and scholarly (in)accuracy, just to be clear; I won’t continue reposting this, but thought it helpful for one more week:
Many of the quotations found in “Sundays with Stendhal” are ironic; all are concerned with “sensibility.” I first read The Red and the Black when I was fourteen, and I can say I’ve re-read it pretty much every year or every other year since then. It’s a Very Special Volokh Conspiracy feature rooted in my particular passion, however, so it’s very far from scholarly and makes zero effort at pedantry. I’ve got a (barely) good enough reading knowledge of French to be able to work through the originals with a dictionary. Much of my personal enjoyment comes from the English translations in which I first read these works as an adolescent, so I freely quote and sometimes rework different translations, without much attention to scholarly accuracy. (Also, to borrow from Twitter-culture, “RT not= moral endorsement.” Cf. #TongueFirmlyInCheek.)