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The Point of Honor

The Point of Honor by Joseph Conrad

The Point of Honor by Joseph Conrad is a gripping tale of betrayal, honor, and revenge set against the backdrop of Napoleonic France. The story follows two friends, D'Hubert and Feraud, who become bitter enemies after a misunderstanding leads to a duel.

Conrad expertly weaves a complex narrative that delves into the themes of loyalty, duty, and the destructive power of pride. The tension between D'Hubert and Feraud is palpable as they struggle to uphold their sense of honor while navigating the treacherous waters of political intrigue and personal vendettas.

The character development is masterful, with both D'Hubert and Feraud being portrayed as flawed individuals driven by their own insecurities and desires for validation. The writing is rich and evocative, transporting the reader to the smoky cafes and dueling fields of early 19th century France.

Overall, The Point of Honor is a compelling and thought-provoking read that explores the timeless themes of human nature and the consequences of pride. Conrad's prose is as sharp as a rapier, cutting through the facade of honor to reveal the true motivations of his characters. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction and psychological dramas.

Book Description:

Set during the Napoleonic Wars, “The Point of Honor” (English title: “The Duel”) features two French Hussar officers, D’Hubert and Feraud. Their quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter, long-drawn out struggle over the following fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop. At the beginning, Feraud is the one who jealously guards his honor and repeatedly demands satisfaction anew when a duelling encounter ends inconclusively; he aggressively pursues every opportunity to locate and duel his foe. As the story progresses, D’Hubert also finds himself caught up in the contest, unable to back down or walk away.

This Conrad short story evidently has its genesis in the real duels that two French Hussar officers fought in the Napoleonic era. Their names were Dupont and Fournier, which Conrad disguised slightly, changing Dupont into D’Hubert and Fournier into Feraud. In 1977, it was turned into a movie, “The Duellists”, starring Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel.

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