Manon Lescaut was written a full 100 years prior to The Red and the Black by Stendhal (1830), but only another 50 years prior to The Ladies’ Paradise by Emil Zola. Oh, the changes in French society and literature during that time! To say nothing of Madam Bovary (Flaubert – 1856) and Pere Goriot (Balzac – 1835) and The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas – 1836) which were somewhere in between.
They all have to do primarily with money and status along with love. For what it’s worth, Manon Lescaut was banned in France, read surreptitiously, >>>>MORE>>>>