The semantics of color nominations in F. Stendhal’s novel «Red and Black»

Keywords: semantics, colour nomination, literal meaning, figurative meaning, feelings, emotions.


The issue of colour nominations has always been topical since the ancient world. It has been researched in a lot of works. Nevertheless, the semantics of color nominations in F. Stendhal’s novel had not been interpreted by scholars. This has caused the choice of the topic. Colour nominations play a special part in human life since they are able to impact person’s mood, feelings and emotions. Some colours make us feel good and bring positive emotions, others have negative impact.

The author identified that in the novel F. Stendhal uses the nominations of chromatic and achromatic colours. This was achieved by the use of original
methodology. The writer makes use of the chromatic colours bleu, vert, doré, pourpre, violet, and achromatic nominations blanc and gris not mentioning the two colours presented in the title.

It was determined that the colour nomination for an achromatic colour blanc was used to describe the characters’ clothes, their faces and the surrounding objects. The colour nomination of gris identifies the colour of the stone used to build houses and for the description of Julien’s father’s eyes. The author turned to the colour nomination noir the most frequently and with its help he created the main character’s image who did not only have the black clothes but such thoughts and ambitions as well.

As to the chromatic colour nominations they are often used to demonstrate the characters’ clothes, their eyes’ colour, and the decorative objects (the colours are bleu, doré and jaune). The colour nomination vert helps to show not only the colour of the eyes but also everyday objects surrounding the chaaracters, the parts of the buildings and the furniture. Colour names violet, pourpre and rose are used very rarely for the description of the red shades.
An important part among the colour names in the analyzed novel plays the word rouge. The author uses this nomination literally (the natural shade o the roofing, the ribbons etc.) as well as figuratively (to describe the characters’ feelings). The peculiar feature of the analyzed novel is the use of the derived colour nominations bleuâtre and rougeâtre, which is the means to intensify the shades
of the depicted objects.


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Author Biography

Tetiana Shvets, Pereiaslav-Khmelnytsky Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University

Ph.D. in Pedagogic Sciences,
Assistant professor

How to Cite
Shvets, T. (2020). The semantics of color nominations in F. Stendhal’s novel «Red and Black». Theoretical and Didactic Philology, (32), 161-168. Retrieved from