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The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  485 Ratings  ·  58 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
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published 1967 by Heritage Press (first published 1892)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mike Puma
Sep 21, 2011 Mike Puma rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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.
May 28, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
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
Jul 25, 2012 Liam Bryant rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nickolas the Kid
Όμορφη ιστορία, μακριά όμως από ύφος του Μπηρς (φαντάσματα, μάγισσες κλπ κλπ)...

Μέσω της ιστορίας και της αφήγησης του Μοναχού Αμβρόσιου, ο συγγραφέας μιλάει για την θρησκεία, την πίστη, τον έρωτα και την λογική.

Νοήματα δοσμένα με απλό τρόπο, πανέμορφες περιγραφές και χαρακτήρες βγαλμένοι από παραδόσεις και θρύλους.
Ο συγγραφέας χτίζει, σε όλη την διάρκεια αυτού του μικρού διηγήματος, την πλοκή που θα οδηγήσει στην απόλυτη λύτρωση.
Εν τέλει διασκεδαστικό και ελαφρώς φιλοσοφημένο διήγημα.

Caroline Beatle
Jul 01, 2015 Caroline Beatle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

Hermosa edición, preciosas ilustraciones, traducción cuidadísima. Un relato sobrecogedor pero al mismo tiempo muy poético que te hace leerlo con una rapidez extraordinaria.
Octavio Villalpando
Este es otro de esos libros que he comprado únicamente por el trabajo visual de Santiago Caruso, aunque me gusta mucho también el trabajo de Bierce. No lo había leído anteriormente "El monje y la hija del verdugo", aunque me daba la impresión de que no iba a ser algo típico a lo que ya he leído en el pasado del autor, y tuve razón. En esta ocasión, se trata de un relato más inscrito dentro de la tradición europea de esas viejas leyendas tomadas como base para una obra literaria. Esta en particul ...more
Literary device: cognitive dissonance/ irony
Hani Abdullah
Apr 10, 2014 Hani Abdullah rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
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,
Perry Whitford
An inexperienced Franciscan monk called Ambrosius is sent on a mission to the mountain wilds near Salzburg, where he is immediately entranced by the arresting sight of a beautiful young maiden singing and dancing by the gallows of a recently hung man.

The girl turns out to be the hangman's daughter, Benedicta, chasing away the vultures from the swaying body. Father and daughter are treated like outcasts in the remote community, with Benedicta accused of harlotry. Ambrosius is convinced of her pur
Dec 30, 2011 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Roger Senra
Dec 04, 2015 Roger Senra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un relato excelente, con una gran ambientacion gotica. Unos monjes son cambiados a un convento ubicado en lo alto de las montañas y alli, uno de ellos conoce a la marginada pero bellisima hija de un verdugo, la cual lo deja turbado desde el principio. Muy buenas descripciones del ambiente, de las costumbres de la epoca y tambien de los personajes. No hay que leerlo con expectativas de que sea un relato de terror, sino un relato de suspenso gotico.
Nov 10, 2013 Beth rated it really liked it
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!
G. Lawrence
Aug 31, 2015 G. Lawrence rated it it was amazing
The words are poetic, the subject as gothic as could be... I loved this book. Short, anything but sweet... dark, beautiful and haunting... Everything a reader could look for in a gothic fiction.
Jun 27, 2015 latner3 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Like a fairy tale.Grim.
Feb 06, 2017 Ian rated it liked it
Curious novella, based on German tales so not entirely the writers own creation. Bierce does manage to evoke atmospheres of bleak solitude and monastic devotion, reminiscent of The Name of the Rose, though far less sinister. The two works also share themes of illicit love and self-discovery, though the denouement here is predictable. Nevertheless, a most beguiling read, compounded by the authors mysterious disappearance in 1914 when he vanished off the face of the planet in Mexico if Im not mist ...more
Julian Gyll-Murray
Oct 25, 2016 Julian Gyll-Murray rated it it was amazing
I was completely spellbound by this tale. For me, it came across as a kind of proto-American Psycho, in which the reader is trapped in the mind of a monk whose moral compass grows more and more distorted. A great setting, and a powerful ending, added to what was an overwhelming reading experience for me.

I'll definitely going to seek out some of Ambrose Bierce's more well- known novels in the future!
Jan 23, 2017 Matt rated it liked it
Whoa. Creepy monk story.
Sep 28, 2016 nooker rated it really liked it
I really like the monks views on religion and society and the ways everyone should be treated regardless of their birth. This made his actions in the end all the more disappointing.
Catherine  Mustread
From CLassic Tales podcast -- "First published serially in 1891, it has an atmospheric fairy tale feel like many popular stories of the time. The subtle transformation of the monk Ambrosius from innocent monk to violent zealot is where Bierce really shines. When an innocent monk falls in love, his efforts to suppress his natural feelings result in a gradual descent toward calamity. From the introduction to the 1967 edition, copyright by The George Macy Companies, scholar Maurice Valency writes: ...more
Amarie Fdez  Avila
En un primer momento pensé que era una historia de amor más típica ambientada en el medievo... pero vemos desde el punto de vista del monje toda la historia de este muchacho... criado en la fe cristiana más estricta y obsesiva. Intenta llevar a cabo fielmente las leyes de la iglesia y vivir como Jesús lo hizo y predicar como Él lo hizo.

Pero conoce a Benedicta y se compadece de su mala suerte, ve lo buena que es y lo injustamente tratada que está por la sociedad, por el simple hecho de estar mar
Grace Harwood
Jan 24, 2014 Grace Harwood rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 24, 2010 Tucker rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Nov 14, 2010 Frankie rated it really liked it
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
Ade Couper
Mar 13, 2013 Ade Couper rated it liked it
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,
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
Jan 16, 2014 Latasha rated it really liked it
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
Escrito en primera persona, este cuento enormemente descriptivo nos ubica en la mitad del s. XVII para contarnos las atormentadas confusiones de Ambrosio, un monje autoproclamado protector de Benedicta, la hija del verdugo local en un pueblo cerca de Salzburgo. Benedicta es la personificación de la belleza y la inocencia, injustamente vituperada por sus vecinos, maldita por el simple hecho de ser la hija del ejecutor. Una historia corta, pero llena de paisajes y motivos, hacen una deliciosa lect ...more
Conor E.k.
Nov 26, 2013 Conor E.k. rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 07, 2016 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just think ...

This is the kind of fiction our grandparents and great-grandparents liked to read! The florid language, the over the top emotions of the characters, who are so stylised, they are caricatures, plus the descriptions of scenes that are so archaic about what's defined as beauty as to be funny now .. Makes this story a really fun to read old story! It was written 126, nearly 127 years ago! Quite old! Makes the read ever so much more interesting.
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Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842-1914) 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 ni
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