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Life of a Good-for-nothing

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  2,179 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Despaired of by his father and impatient with his lot, a young man hears the enticing call of life on the road. Leaving his home and all that he knows, he embarks on a journey in search of adventure and glory. One day enjoying fortune and plenty, the next at the mercy of villains and rogues, his is a life of chance and wonder that, despite its strange twists and turns, ult ...more
Paperback, 109 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Hesperus Press (first published 1826)
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Catch-22 by Joseph HellerLittle Women by Louisa May AlcottMy Name is Joe by Stefan BourqueThe Daughter of Time by Josephine TeyHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Average Joes? Not these guys ...
73rd out of 135 books — 13 voters
Heart of Darkness by Joseph ConradDr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis StevensonBartleby, the Scrivener by Herman MelvilleMetamorphosis by Franz KafkaThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Hesperus Classics
167th out of 176 books — 19 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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K.D. Absolutely
Mar 30, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
Shelves: 1001-core, german
Good-for-nothing is how the author referred to his male protagonist in the story. Joseph von Eichendorff (1788-1857) chose not to give a name to his character maybe because he would like us all to relate to his character. I easily was able to. At the beginning of the novel, Good-for-nothing removed all the vegetables in the family's garden and replaced them with flowers and decorative shrubs. Almost twenty years ago or when I was a young man, I also did exactly like that.

Von Eichendorff was a r
...more
Gertrude & Victoria
Joseph von Eichendorff was an intellectual who was mainly known as a lyrical poet, but wrote prose as well. This novella, Life of a Good-for-nothing, is regarded as his magnum opus, and demonstrates the rare versatility of this highly esteemed writer of the German Romantic tradition.

This work, like many that came before and after it, is the classic tale of a young man who sets out into the world for a new life. The hero of the story, due to differences with his father, feels compelled to leave h
...more
Heiko Joerg
Sep 18, 2010 Heiko Joerg rated it it was amazing
I love the English translation of the German title "Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts".;-)

If you are interested in the German literary romantic movement. Sit down, read the book, enjoy the life of a "Taugenichts" and smile. It is perfectly satisfying!
Marc
Apr 21, 2008 Marc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ich weis ich werde hier der einzige sein, der das sagt, aber für mich ist das Buch ein persönlicher Klassiker. Mir hat einfach der Grundgedanke des Buchs gefallen in die Welt zu ziehen und Abenteuer zu erleben. Die Erzählweise war ansprechend und wenn man die überaus positive Stimmung mit etwas Ironie nimmt, kann man ihm viel abgewinnen. Das Buch ist aber sicher nicht für jeden...
Miss Bookiverse
Mar 09, 2010 Miss Bookiverse rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: st-school-reads
Davon abgesehen, dass das natürlich Schul-Zwangslektüre war, fand ich das Buch einfach viel zu kitschig und dick aufgetragen, auch wenn man die entsprechende Literaturepoche mit in Betracht zieht.
Vittorio Ducoli
L'apologo fiabesco come rifugio dalla realtà

La storia narrata da questo breve romanzo, a suo tempo popolarissimo, è quella di un giovane che viaggia, si innamora di una misteriosa bella signora, a causa di questo amore si imbarca in nuove avventure ed alla fine corona il suo sogno d'amore iniziando una nuova vita presumibilmente felice.
Una storia semplice, con qualche piccolo colpo di scena finale ma sin troppo piana. Infatti molte delle recensioni lette su questo libro concordano nel definirlo
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Sandra
This was not bad, and on the other hand it was completely frustrating. We've got a main character, who starts out as someone who refuses to work and does nothing all day, until his father sends him away from home because he can no longer afford to feed the guy if he doesn't work. Very reasonable. Then, through crazy luck, he meets two women who he believes to be of nobility, who take a liking to him and take him back to their city W. There he gets a job, does well for himself, and starts to like ...more
Vasha7
May 29, 2011 Vasha7 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eine reizende Geschichte. Ganz passend ist, dass ein halbes Dutzend Volkslieder darin sind, da das Ganze selbst wie ein Volkslied ist, voller grüne Wiesen und Vogelgesang (und man hat Lust, beim Lesen zu singen). Die Idee, dass eine Gräfin einen Gärtnerburschen heiraten könnte, das ist auch ein Lied oder ein Märchen. (Siehe z.B. Green Brooms oder The Discharged Drummer.) Am Ende gleicht es eher eine Operette, mit seiner irren Handlung -- als ob man von Wien nach Rom reisen sollte, und dabei imme ...more
Hokomoko
Mar 03, 2015 Hokomoko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: expand-your-head
I'd give this book 6 stars if possible as it comes at just the right moment.

My good friend Klaus Hofmann taught this book in secondary school where it was mandatory reading (part of the canon in Germamy till 20 years ago). The story concerns a 'good for nothing' who doesn't want to fit in, do the work, meet expectations of the middle class. So he sets out on a life with no bonds, claims or expectations. No single word is wasted here, as his entire destiny as a rebelling youth with a privileged
...more
Jonathan
After reading this short novel the word that comes to my mind is 'charming'. If you intend to read this novel then you should be clear that this is not gritty realism, rather it is a type of picaresque novel. There are, however, no fantastic elements to the story other than a few dreams, coincidences and misunderstandings.

It clips along at a jaunty rate, with the main character responding to events in an almost dreamlike state, most of the time he just goes with the flow. Whenever he wants to h
...more
Christian
Hatte irgendwie gefühlt keine Handlung, das Ende ging nicht noch komplizierter oder unlogischer... war aber machbar. :D
Sarah
May 14, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ein herrliches Buch über das süße Nichtstun und eine etwas komplizierte Liebe. Wirklich erst auf den allerletzten beiden Seiten klärt sich das ganze Hin- und Her auf und der gute Geigenspieler findet doch noch sein Glück.
Ich kann das Buch nur weiterempfehlen! Nicht nur für Fans von Klassikern, sondern auch für alle Anderen, die eine heiter geschriebene Novelle nur ungerne verpassen möchten!
Melanie Goetz
Ehm...no. Sorry Eichendorff - I can appreciate your romantic poetry and I realize that you make great use of lyrical language in this story about a Good-for-nothing, but it just didn't work for me. This small novella took me forever to read, mainly because there's nothing in it to hold my interest. A picaresque novel has to have interesting characters or compelling storylines for me to be interested in it - and Don Quixote is a perfect example of how this may be achieved. Our protagonist here is ...more
Joshua
Apr 06, 2012 Joshua rated it liked it
It's a good thing it's spring, because I feel I'd dismiss Eichendorff's adventure as "bunk" and "humbug" in any other season. It's definitely a novel to read in spring, preferably while reclining in an open field, and thinking about falling in love for no verifiable reason.
Now, I am certainly a romantic, but even while typing this between two pictures of my wedding day, cannot I reconcile the amusing, though clearly nonsensical, story with the total lack of real substance. The Good-for-Nothing's
...more
Annika
Oct 03, 2007 Annika rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: studymaterials
Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing.

Once again, a very, very personal review, not at all academic (not trying to be either): The main character annoyed the heck out of me. I kept finding myself wanting to punch him or shake him or... grrrr... I have absolutely no problem with wanting to travel, wanting to free yourself of society shackles and follow your own mind - au contraire, I'm quite fond of all that myself. However, this Good-For-Nothing character is so frecking irresponsible in his whole being.
...more
Piet Michael
May 24, 2014 Piet Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Einen so leichten, lockerflockigen deutschsprachigen Klassiker habe ich schon sehr sehr lange nicht gelesen.
Megan
Aug 31, 2011 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this because it is a classic example of Romanticism literature and comes in at only 105 pages. As an exemplar of the values of the Romanticism movement and how they were manifested in literature, this is a valuable little read. The story is cute, but suffers from its brevity. Not like I don't read enough already, but the lack of character development and exposition make it hard to care about the series of Forrest Gumpian interludes experienced by our protagonist. There's also no clear ant ...more
Emilayana


Genre: Klassik
Autor: Joseph von Eichendorf
Verlag: Deutscher-Meister-Verlag
Seiten: ca. 90
Druck: 1920

1. Handlung: Mit nichts als seiner Geige im Gepäck, macht sich der Taugenichts auf den Weg, um die Welt zu erkunden. Eichendorff macht daraus ein musikalisches Gedicht, ein – leise ironisches –, poetisches Loblied auf einen fröhlichen Lebenskünstler, im Gegensatz zum spießbürgerlichen Philister, der ein eintöniges Dasein fristet. Der kleine Roman stellt eine Versöhnung dar von Poesie und Leben, Sub
...more
Chris
Jan 05, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To all of you who rated this book below four stars: Either you know nothing about German literature and cannot hear what Eichendorff is singing, or you have a heart of stone! Though I guess atheists and shallow romantics will have difficulties in seeing the otherworldly sparkle of this little gem as well.

I have to admit, though, that this book really has to be read in German, since it is pure poetry, with echoes back and forth within German literature and, I dare say, the (genuine) German soul.
...more
Travelling Sunny
Young man loafs around his dad's place until he is kicked out to make a name for himself. He travels from Germany to Italy where he doesn't speak the language and basically bungles his way around making friends and chasing his lady love. Relatively benign and plain and ho-hum (compared to the likes of Lazarillo, Candide, Kohlhaas, Quixote and others) until the very end which had a twist that I certainly didn't see coming. Short and sweet.
Philip Lane
May 25, 2012 Philip Lane rated it liked it
As Im reading other early 19th century writers this seemed rather old-fashioned. It is short and sweet but didn't really get me very involved with the characters as it seemed to be a pale comparison to a Gothic novel or a Romance or even a Shakespeare play. I finished feeling that I had gained very little and that it was all very superficial. Disappointing.
H
Nov 12, 2009 H rated it liked it
This is a pleasant yarn about a dufus running around Vienna and Italy landing himself in unfeasible situations while doing his best to kick back, smoke his pipe and enjoy nature. It has the emotional depth of a puddle and it largely just a trivial romp, although Eichendorff does have a wry turn of phrase from time to time.
Natalie
wunderbare lyrische Prosa, für die empfindsame Seele geschrieben. Am Besten als echtes Buch auf altem vergilbtem Papier zu lesen, bei Kerzenschein, oder in einem Zug auf Reisen...
Haneen
Dec 23, 2011 Haneen rated it did not like it
It's an old novel with an old life style which I don't like....the author tried to write a love story but I didn't feel it...
Renate
Jan 20, 2008 Renate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german
Always a favorite classic novella. Seems so harmless, and yet so deep.
Lilith
Jul 24, 2012 Lilith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
«Sieht der Herr, so studieren wir von einem Tage zum andern fort. Und wenn dann endlich die Vakanz kommt und die anderen fahren und reiten zu ihren Eltern fort, da wandern wir mit unseren Instrumenten unterm Mantel durch die Gassen zum Tore hinaus, und die ganze Welt steht uns offen. »

Ich weiß nicht – wie er so erzählte – ging es mir recht durchs Herz, dass so gelehrte Leute so ganz verlassen sein sollten auf der Welt. Ich dachte dabei an mich, wie es mir eigentlich selber nicht anders ginge, un
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Michael Bohli
Mar 01, 2016 Michael Bohli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Hach ja, die Romantik. Man entdeckte die Natur neu, ordnete das Wertesystem um und schwelgte in blumigen Beschreibungen. Eichendorff sprach mich mit seinen Gedichten oft an, Jahre später weiss sein Roman "Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts" meinem Leben aber keine Offenbarungen hinzuzufügen.
Das Buch ist locker und vogelfrei, gibt sich der prosaischen Kunst hin und stellt ein Gegenbild zur damalig vorherrschenden Arbeitsmoral und dem Gesellschaftsbild. Trotzdem, viel Mehrwert holte ich nicht heraus
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Michi
Apr 08, 2016 Michi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not usually a big fan of long descriptive passages but all the description in this book gives it a strange lightness. Almost makes you want to pack your bags and go out into the world, too. I also did not expect the twist at the end there, which was a pleasant surprise, even though the main love story seems a bit forced.
Gustl
Jun 25, 2014 Gustl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fiaba leggera e scorrevole, all'insegna della contemplazione della natura, e del sentimento puro e spontaneo. Fuga dai doveri imposti dalla nascente società borghese, rappresentata dal lavoro al mulino del padre, ai quali, il protagonista preferisce libertà ed ozio. Intreccio semplice, fatto di equivoci, e lieto fine.
John
Nov 28, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the frivolity of it. It's about a kind of lazy debutante who, as it turns out, isn't exactly lazy, just more romantic. I liked the notion of traveling, a Bildungsroman kind of like "Wilhelm Meister" or "Siddharta". The setting and length of this set it apart from the other two. It's one of the few works of German literature pre-Kafka that I actually like.
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Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff (March 10, 1788 – November 26, 1857) was a German poet and novelist of the later German romantic school.

Eichendorff is regarded as one of the most important German Romantics and his works have sustained high popularity in Germany from production to the present day.
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“And the world suddenly appeared to me as such an awfully large place, with I so totally alone in it that I could have cried from the bottom of my heart.” 9 likes
“Everybody is so happy, and no one has a thought for you. And this is what happens to me everywhere and always. Everyone has marked out his own little spot on the Earth, his warm stove, his cup of coffee, his wife, his glass of wine in the evening, and is quite content with that;[...]I don't feel at ease anywhere. It is as if I always arrive a second too late, as if all the world had utterly failed to take me into account.” 7 likes
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