This study centers on an evaluation of empirical self-hood, desire, and fiction in two texts by Stendhal,
Vie de Henry Brulard and
Armance, which amply demonstrate the psychological rupture and linguistic experiments at work in his writing. Specifically, in «Vie» it examines how the complex, disrupting dimension of Stendhal's writing affects his poetics of the sublime, his ironic need for selfreinvention, and his subversive relationship to established esthetic norms. Similarly the theme of desire is explored in
Armance within the context of a decadent Romantic novel by creating an erotic subtext which suggests, but never names, the origin of the hero's secret. The close textual analysis sheds new light on Stendhal's skeptical approach to literature.