La Question sociale et la recherche de soi dans Lucien Leuwen de Stendhal

The motif of social unrest underlies the action of Stendhal's Lucien Leuwen. The appellation "Saint-Simonian" haunts young Lucien in the drawing rooms he frequents. Society is preoccupied by the old political battles of the revolutionary period and by the unseemly pursuit of money and the derisory favors of a July Monarchy government lacking gravity and direction. Lucien's suspected Saint-Simonism underlines a continual questioning that seeks to situate the different characters in the range of political and social positions that existed in the 1830s. The incipient labor movement and the claims of the working class become an aspect of society against which the sensitive individual in search of his social identity must define others as well as himself.