John Carey reviews Julian Barnes' recent memoir, repeats without demur Barnes' account of Stendhal's response to seeing paintings by Giotto:
For another, aesthetic rapture may be simulated. One of his heroes is Stendhal, who recalled, in 1826, that when he first went to Florence he swooned on seeing the Giottos in Santa Croce. It has made him “the modern art-lover’s progenitor and justification”, and his swoon has been recognised by psychologists as a special kind of arty faint called Stendhal’s Syndrome. But it seems it never happened. Barnes finds no mention of it in Stendhal’s original 1811 diary of the Florence trip.
Right. So let's say I write an essay now on something extraordinary that happened to me in 1993. You dig up my diary for 1993 and find that I have not mentioned it. You adduce this as evidence that the event never took place. I adduce this as evidence that you have confused a diary with a surveillance camera.