Mel's Reviews > The Marquise of O— and Other Stories

The Marquise of O— and Other Stories by Heinrich von Kleist
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's review
Jul 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 19th-century-fiction, german, translation
Read in November, 2010

Where this not German literature I would say this book very much falls into the Gothic category. The stories were full of evil catholics, unwed mothers and unspeakable activities by the church. The style (in translation) seems half way between a William Morris style re-creation of medivael stories and the gothic novels of the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the short stories are a little odd in places, the timing seemed strange, stories seemed to end abruptly or go on too long in places. Michael Kohlmas started very strongly, a man's misfortune and his rampage of revenge, but then it dissolves into court cases and politics. There isn't much in the way of characterisation, but the stories make up for that in atmosphere. While in many ways the stories are morality tales there is an awful lot of gray area, and it is frequently the (Catholic) church itself that hands out the misfortune. I found this to be an interesting and different collection of stories. As always whenever I read anything translated from German I wish my German were good enough to read it in the original as they do have some wonderfully gloomy stories.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Czarny Pies I believe that Kleist's greatest disciple Baroness Karen Bilxen (a.k.a Isak Dinesen) would tell you that they were in fact highly Gothic. You are right of course, that having been a German living in the Napoleonic era, Kleist could not be classifed as a Gothic writer.

message 2: by Stosch (new) - added it

Stosch *grumbles

message 3: by Stosch (new) - added it

Stosch mel, youre right about gloomy. the germans lack a sense of humour , especially the authors. find me a funny german book and ill eat my hat.

message 4: by Mel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mel This is my favourite funny German book!

Hope your hat is tasty! ;)

I have many German friends who have excellent senses of humour.

Czarny Pies Die Blechtrommel (a.k.a. Tin Drum) is nothing if not funny.

message 6: by Stosch (new) - added it

Stosch gunter is a pole i dont care what wikipedia or gunter says, Mel that looks promising, but thats 1 book, find another and ill finish this hat

Czarny Pies Do you consider ETA Hoffman to have been funny.

message 8: by Stosch (new) - added it

Stosch not familiar, im also joking around im sure theres gotta be some funny germans

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