It is the last work of the French writer Stendhal, published in1839. In the first chapter entitled "Milan in 1796", the author, according to the confidences of French lieutenant Robert, makes us discover the old marquis del Dongo, in favour of Austria , as well as his wife, the marquise del Dongo, and ofhis sister, Gina del Dongo.
The author insinuates quickly that hero of the novel, the young marquis Fabrice del Dongo, would be the fruit of the love of the marquise del Dongo and the French lieutenant, Robert. Our young hero grows during a tumultous time but so full with the glory of the Napoleonean wars. At the Castle of Griante, on the Lake Côme, he approaches his mother and his aunt Gina, widow of an officer of Napoleon, while his father and his elder brother symbolize the reaction and the obscurantism.
In 1815,when the news is spread that Napoleon is back of the island of Elba,he flees of the castle in order to fight with him. After romantic adventures, it arrives finally to Waterloo the afternoon of the battle, to which it assists without understanding too much
there, before being involved with the others in the retreat.
When he returns to the castle, the marquis del Dongo drives out it at his place, and Fabrice finds refuge in his aunt in Parma. The latter, remained widowed, had indeed known the Prime Minister for prince de
Parme, the count Mosca, and after having married the old duke of Sanseverina, was the ornament of the court of the small tyrant of Parma. To assist the ambition of his aunt, Fabrice, with whom sees it
military is now closed, decides to follow the career of clergyman. He becomes coadjutor of the old archbishop then. But, young person and without true vocation for this career, is involved in the adventurous and easy loves. Thus he duels with Giletti whom he kills to defended himself. The incident is exploited in Parma by the envious of the count Mosca, and whereas immunity was promised to him if he returned, Fabrice is locked up in the fortress at the top of the Farnèse tower. He remains there a long time, the death threat planing on him like a sword of Damocles.
But, during these months of captivity, he falls in love with the young Clelia , girl of the governor of the fortress, the ambitious General Fabio Conti. The two in love ones communicate through
clever stratagems meanwhile Gina, fearing that her nephew may be poisoned by enemies, helps Fabrice, with the complicity of Clélia, to flee. He manages to escape, but having jeopardized Clelia''s father to which they gave a too strong amount of opium, the girl corroded by the remorse decides to remain near her father and not to see Fabrice again. Also, she will have to marry the marquis Crescenzi.
During this time, Gina poisons her husband to get rid of him and does not hide any more her love for her nephew. Fabrice, learning about the
Clélia''s marriage, returns to Parma as fast as possible and delivers himself to the hands his enemies. Fabrice is finally saved thanks to the count Mosca, which excited by his aunt, who obtains her favours in exchange. As soon as the concluded market, Gina leaves with the count Mosca who will marry her. Fabrice becomes a famous preacher
then, but devoured by his passion for Clélia, he only thinks of finding her. he manages to join her for a short period. Clélia becomes pregnant with him but their little child dies and she lets herself die too. Fabrice, giving up honors and richnesses, retires to Parma Chartress and diessoon.