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The Monk And The Hangman's Daughter
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The Monk And The Hangman's Daughter

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  257 ratings  ·  31 reviews
On arriving at a rural monastery, the monk Ambrosius meets a young girl, Benedicta. She is shunned by the local community for being the daughter of the local hangman, but Ambrosius is drawn into a dangerous sympathy with her, and in defiance of the community and his superiors, he starts spending time alone with her. But when her virtue is corrupted by an impetuous young ma...more
80 pages
Published 1967 by Heritage Press (first published 1892)
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(showing 1-30 of 478)
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Mike Puma
My, my, my. So this is Ambrose Bierce. A twist of fate, a twist of a knife. A well-intentioned monk overcome by desire makes a fatal mistake when judging another’s character. Things aren’t as they seem; they rarely are. Interesting. Somewhat predictable. Whatever else you do, if you should get your hands on the Heritage Press edition, DO NOT read the Introduction unless you do so as an Afterword.
I found this in an antique bookseller. Originally published in the late 19th century (my copy is a 1967 print), it tells a story of a young Franciscan monk in pre-enlightenment Germany, who takes pity on the local hangman’s daughter, a figure who by nature of her father’s occupation is a social outcast. At first, due to the reverential language of the tale, it seemed that it would be a tale of temptation and mutual redemption. By the end of the book, it turns into something quite different. Not...more
Liam Bryant
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hani Abdullah
Asked by a contemporary to translate this novella to English (from yet another translation to German), Ambrose took it upon himself to add some of his own spice to the mix. Ironically, that very contemporary whom Ambrose was asked by, disclosed later that that original author had told him that the whole base of the story was from a manuscript he had found in a Franciscan monastery somewhere in Bavaria.

This is the first work of Ambrose that I have read. With the nature of Ambrose's contribution,...more
Grace Harwood
This is a really entertaining short read about the nature of religion, human values and civilisation. The subject is Ambrosio, a 17th century monk who is little more than a boy himself at 21 years of age. We are told that he has been born into the church, having been left an orphan and therefore really has little choice but to become a monk. He travels to a far away monastery with two of the other monks and there comes across Benedicta, the hangman's daughter. His initial pity of her ostracised...more
Jose Vera
El libro nos ubica en 1680 en Berchtesgaden, en Alemania, un grupo de monjes ha llegado al monasterio; entre ellos se encuentra Ambrosius, un joven impetuoso y con deseos de ser ordenado sacerdote.

Al momento de su arribo, ha conocido a Benedicta, una hermosa joven que sufre de una manera casi inhumana, pues es la hija del verdugo de la zona y, por consiguiente, es tratada como una paria.

La relación entre Ambrosius y Benedicta se va haciendo más cercana cada vez. Hay que tener en cuenta que estam...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I love Ambrose Bierce. His sardonic wit was ahead of its time, especially for an American writer. His story "Chickamauga" shows such perfect and cruel imagery and is possibly my favorite short story. This story or novella is borrowed from a writer Richard Voss, a German teller of medieval tales, that Bierce thought should be translated and "amplified" with his writing style. The story is surprisingly original. The characters are solid, trustworthy, sympathetic, and develop nicely for such a rigi...more
Free from Project Gutenberg, Amazon, others. A fine story about a young monk and the lengths he'll go to for love.


By "fine story" I mean creepy creepy creepy story, and by "love" I mean a horrifying mix of religious zealotry and obsessive stalking that the creepy stalker monk thinks is pure, divinely inspired love... Also, creepy.


Can there really be spoilers in a 100-year-old book?
ah, I do indeed love Ambrose Bierce! at first I thought this story was going to be a little different from his usual stories and it is a little. it kinda starts out slow. 3 monks going to this village to do monk things in order to become priest. then one of them, the youngest & most handsome becomes ...interested.. in the hangman's daughter. he wants to save/redeem her soul (she's damned because her father in the hangman). by the middle I was unimpressed. then wham! the ending. ah!, I loved...more
The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter is a short, but effective, novel written by the American author, Ambrose Bierce. It is written in the form of an undated diary, detailing the arrival in Berchtesgaden of three Franciscan monks, including the diary writer, Ambrosius. He goes on to tell of his first meeting with Benedicta, the hangman's daughter, and of his subsequent meetings and dealings with her.
The story is a tragic one, being "a battle between body and spirit, the sins of the past and the...more
Phil Mc
Charming folk-tale which is easily imagined as the sort of cautionary tale that would have existed in the oral tradition in many forms over the centuries. The writing is accordingly sparse and the tale, although adapted by Bierce from the German source, lacks the craft I might have expected from a so-called forgotten classic.

The tale (which is the best word for it) is allegorical and it is interesting to consider the changing interpretation of the allegory. At the time of both its setting and pu...more
Ade Couper
Quite a gruesome little tale this.....

Brother Ambrosianus is 1 of 3 Franciscan monks send to a remote abbey in Germany. On his way there, he meets Benedicta, the daughter of the local hangman , & rapidly becomes infatuated with her. What will happen when she becomes entangled with the son of the local Saltmaster...?

An interesting morality play, predictable in its outcome but nonetheless gripping. Ambrosianus' mental deterioration is well portrayed: Bierce adds some nice 1-liners to the tale,...more
Liz Polding
Interesting to contrast this with Matthew Lewis's high gothic work 'The Monk'. Fairly savage indictment of the Catholic Church and the conventional morality of the time. Didn't see the ending coming!
Cindy Barnett
Ends badly. Too dark for rereading. For those who like the sad tale's I'm not one.
Conor E.k.
I just finished it moments ago and have not yet caught my breath. Bierce's somewhat forgotten work is a masterpiece to be sure. It is a tale of faith, obsession, betrayal, and misunderstanding told in the manner of a diary, with the feeling of a fairytale. The characters apart from the narrator are indeed simple, but this is a result of Bierce's masterful use of perspective. And the end. What a twist!

A caveat: do not be fooled by the fairytale-like setting. This is not a book to be enjoyed by ch...more
Bierce was a huge fan of the ironic twist, and that comes out in spades in the titular novella and seven short stories in this collection. From a monk who commits the ultimate sin for a misunderstood reason, to a series of civil war vignettes where death and life unexpectedly change places, Bierce's lush prose is consistently engrossing, physical, and often very funny. It is no surprise that many of his short stories were expanded into horror movies, suspense films, and twilight zone episodes.
Lucy Lavelle
A simple novella with an unexpected outcome.

Upon arrival at a rural monastery Brother Ambrosius meets Benedicta, the shunned and reviled daughter of the local hangman. Seeing it as his divine duty to protect her he embarks on a friendship which is a source of contempt for both his superiors and the local community.

I originally only decided to read this book because it was short and I didn't have a lot of time but I enjoyed it far more than I expected.
The tragic but moving account of a young monk's experience at a rural monastery and the trials and tribulations through which he suffers when he befriends the hangman's daughter. Astonishing depth and clarity of character are established through the monk's diary entries as his willingness to serve God leads him to his fate. This is a short read that returns your investment very quickly.
Although a short novella, it ponderously, yet with vivid scenic description, finally reaches it's anticipated end. Basically just an overwrought moral tale of puritanical desire and jealousy. The title promises more than the story delivers--but it's a reflection of Victorian morales reflective of the period it was originally to be published.
To me this is the story of overly idealistic young monk whose black and white view of the world makes him spiral deeper and deeper into madness. It is also the story of society's view of women as either good or bad, with nothing in between. This made Ambrosius put Benedicta on a pedestal that reached all the way up to heaven.
Interesting short story written as though it is a reworking of a translation from a lost German manuscript. Short chapters (36 in 92 pages) make it a quick read, but nonetheless a worthwhile one. It has a shock twist at the end and I am surprised that this book isn't more well known.
Far better than any contemporary psychological thriller. The blend of Romantic language with a more contemporary view on true humanity and true flaws. This book is an extremely short read, yet Bierce is able to write a master piece in less than 300 pages. Very fun and highly recommended.
Very short story that reads like a cautionary fairytale. Simply written in a diary form with succinct and sharp descriptions of the landscapes that you can see immediately in your minds eye! The style it is written n reminds me of Evelyn Waugh, but I'm not sure why exactly!
Vivek Biru
A good book.though the 19th century Christian backdrop makes it gyrating on senses but the central story and the final act are universal .the story presents a great commentary on the interwoven fabric of society religion and morality . Worth a read .
Funny that, celibacy sucks!
William Mankelow
A book that I randomly picked up in the library. I Didn't really relate with the main character, the story was okish but certainly not what I'd expected from the synopsis.
For when it was written, this is a very good story. I am looking forward to read more of his work.
CRÍTICA: PCH... no mata, ni tan solo la construcción psicológica de un radical como el monje...
The ending was a shock! Great story.
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Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and his satirical lexicon, The Devil's Dictionary.

The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work – along with his vehemence as a critic, with his motto "nothing matters" – earned him the nickname "Bitt...more
More about Ambrose Bierce...
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary Ghost and Horror Stories The Complete Short Stories Civil War Stories

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