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Adolphe enjoys all the advantages of a noble birth and an intellectual ability, yet he is haunted by the meaninglessness of life. Thus, he merely seeks distraction in the pursuit of the beautiful, but older and married Ellenore. The young Adolphe, inexperienced in the language of love, falls for her unexpectedly and falters under the burden of an illicit love that is destructive to his public career. Unable to commit himself fully to Ellenore, and yet unwilling to face the pain he would cause by leaving her, Adolphe finds himself incapable of resolving an increasingly tragic situation.
Written in a clear and thoughtful style, Adolphe (1816) reveals Constant's own experiences in love, while reflecting his anxieties for the possibility of any authentic commitment to someone other than ourselves, whether emotional or political, in a disenchanted world.
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About the Author

French politician and writer Benjamin Constant combined an extremely lively political career with fertile literary output and an enthusiastic series of liaisons with some of France's most prominent women. Among them were two of his mistresses, Madame de Stael and Madame Recamier, as well as his two wives.

Reviews

"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."--Ron Rosenbaum, "The New York Observer""Small wonders."--"Time Out London""""[F]irst-rate...astutely selected and attractively packaged...indisputably great works."--Adam Begley, "The New York Observer""I've always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it's the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher's fine 'Art of the Novella' series."--"The New Yorker""The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed--tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."--KQED (NPR San Francisco)"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."--"The Wall Street Journal"

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