The Red and the Black by Stendhal is a historical psychological novel in two volumes by Stendhal, published in 1830. It chronicles the attempts of a provincial young man to rise socially beyond his modest upbringing through a combination of talent, hard work, deception, and hypocrisy. He ultimately allows his passions to betray him.
The novel's full title, Le Rouge et le Noir: Chronique du XIXe siècle (The Red and the Black: A Chronicle of the 19th Century), indicates its twofold literary purpose as both a psychological portrait of the romantic protagonist, Julien Sorel, and an analytic, sociological satire of the French social order under the Bourbon Restoration (1814–30). In English, Le Rouge et le Noir is variously translated as Red and Black, Scarlet and Black, and The Red and the Black, without the subtitle.
The title is taken to refer to the tension between the clerical (black) and secular (red) interests of the protagonist. But it could also refer to the then-popular card game "rouge et noir," with the card game being the narratological leitmotiv of a novel in which chance and luck determine the fate of the main character. There are other interpretations as well.