The Privileges [of 10th April 1840] (Fragment inédit de Stendhal, 1861, and reprinted in Memoirs of an Egoist, trans. Andrew Brown, 2003)


by Stendhal (1783 - 1842)

Written at 57, two years before his death, this is the novelist’s fantasy wish-list in the format of an international treaty.

Article 1 demands a good death, but, by Article 3, Stendhal is very much alive: requiring a hard and moveable penis. Other miracles to be granted ‘the beneficiary’ include the shape-changing powers of a Greek god, self-cleaning clothes, glowing flags to locate game when hunting, the right to kill ten people per year, a magic prayer for repulsion of biting insects, and, revealingly, to ‘never be more unhappy than he was from 1st August 1839 to 1st April 1840’.

Related recommendation: Montaigne’s ‘Of the Power [or Force] of the Imagination’

Can also be found at: British Library shelfmark YC.2003.a.18503

Origin: France

Themes: How to Age and/or Die, How to Live

Genres: Aphoristic, Autobiographical, Semi-Fictional , Humorous

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