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
Nov 30, 12

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 of 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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