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The Marquise of O— and Other Stories
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The Marquise of O— and Other Stories

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,663 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
From 'The Marquis of O--', in which a woman is made pregnant without her knowledge, to the vivid and inexplicable suffering portrayed in 'The Earthquake in Chile', his stories are those of a man swimming against the tide of the German Enlightenment, unable to believe in the idealistic humanism of his day, and who sees human nature as irrational, ambiguous and baffling. It ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 28th 1978 by Penguin Classics (first published 1808)
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Jonathan Scheuer No, it's not a clean book. There is no pornography whatsoever, and the depictions of violence are not extensive or grotesque. However, these stories…moreNo, it's not a clean book. There is no pornography whatsoever, and the depictions of violence are not extensive or grotesque. However, these stories feature protagonists who commit acts of murder, terrorism and rape, while behaving according to strict codes of morality. The reader is forced to reexamine their assumptions about good and evil, right and wrong. It is not for children or those disturbed by moral complexity.(less)

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Glenn Russell
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing


Heinrich von Kleist (1777– 1811) was a true romantic, a literary genius on fire with poetic inspiration all throughout his twenties and early thirties, dedicating himself to writing plays, poems, essays, novellas and short stories before ending his life at age thirty-four via a suicide pact with a beautiful young woman suffering from terminal illness. I dearly love each of these dramatic von Kleist tales, however, for the purposes of my review, I will focus on one story from this Penguin collect
...more
knig
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 2012
Von Kleist is groszartig. Is it a coincidence that these shocking stories stem from the pen of what was quite likely a manic depressive who eventually committed suicide? There have been numerous studies confirming positive correlation between displays of genius and people with an overactive mental stasis.

What is shocking these days? Are there any wonders left us to marvel at? The only film that shocked me in the last ten years was ‘the Others’: for inverting the Ghost story on its head by a sim
...more
Lee
Nov 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: put-down-for-now
The Earthquake in Chile sets a standard the other stories maybe don't totally live up to? It also sets the precedent for a sort of narrative insurrection in which the author seems to have it in for his characters in an angry God/terroristic way. The random violence really jumps off these early-1800s pages. The title story started tremendously with sacking of a castle and bashing in of brains but devolved to hysterics. "Michael Kohlhass" kicks total Kafka precursor ass for its first third or so b ...more
Terence
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Terence by: Francine Prose
I originally gave The Marquise of O - three stars (“I liked it”) but upon reflection I feel I have to round it up to four. There are no clunkers in the collection of Heinrich von Kleist’s short prose work (he was also a poet, playwright, and wrote operas) and the translations are excellent, retaining the robust, Teutonic sentences of the original German without sacrificing readability.

Von Kleist is another one of those fortuitous discoveries that I wish I had made before entering my twilight yea
...more
Robert
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Separately I've written a review of "Michael Kohlhaas", the principal work in this collection, so I'll pass it by now and comment on some of the other stories and Kleist himself.

Famous for his striking first paragraphs, Kleist begins "The Marquise of O" with the marquise placing an ad in the local paper asking that the man who fathered the child she is carrying to identify himself. The absurdity of this proposition might be something out of Kafka or Beckett or a contemporary writer, but of cours
...more
Ana Rînceanu
Having already read Michael Kohlhaas, The Duel and The Marquise of O, I skipped straight to these:

The Earthquake in Chile - an eartquate taken place on the eve of an execution of an unmarried woman with a child (2 stars)

The Beggarwoman of Locarno - a ghost terrifies the count's castle (3 stars)

St Cecilia or The Power of Music - a mother is searching for her four sons only to find them in a madhouse (2 stars)

The Betrothal in Santo Domingo - a slave revolt unleashes havoc on the former masters; th
...more
Yadel
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reading Kleist is an exhilarating experience that can be very unpleasant. I don’t think any stories have ever moved me the way Kleist’s do, but I’m having a hard time describing this effect in words. I’d like to say that his sentences manage to capture the beauty and anxiety of a single moment, but that makes absolutely no sense. Maybe I can get to it by thinking about something else.
Do expectations ruin our experience of the future, or do they help us tolerate it? The answer is both. Moreover,
...more
Mel
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
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. Michae ...more
Connor
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
at their best these stories remind me of Poe and Kafka

not all of them are that good, unfortunately. Still worth a read, especially michael kolhaus and the power of music
Quinn Slobodian
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Like workers who bring the factory to a standstill by following every rule, Kleist's heroes stick so stubbornly to some kind of code, whether positive--of law, love, filial piety--or negative--of dogma, self-love, filial disgust--that they bring structures down around them. The outcomes of his stories are always perverse. Through the characters' belief in the law, they become outlaws, through the ferocity of their love, they sacrifice those they love, through the depth of their faith, they submi ...more
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The dramatist, writer, lyricist, and publicist Heinrich von Kleist was born in Frankfurt an der Oder in 1777. Upon his father's early death in 1788 when he was ten, he was sent to the house of the preacher S. Cartel and attended the French Gymnasium. In 1792, Kleist entered the guard regiment in Potsdam and took part in the Rhein campaign against France in 1796. Kleist voluntarily resigned from ar ...more
More about Heinrich von Kleist...
“In M---, an important town in northern Italy, the widowed Marquise of O---, a lady of unblemished reputation and the mother of several well-brought-up children, inserted the following announcement in the newspapers: that she had, without knowledge of the cause, come to find herself in a certain situation; that she would like the father of the child she was expecting to disclose his identity to her; that she was resolved, out of consideration to her family, to marry him.” 5 likes
“In M…, einer bedeutenden Stadt im oberen Italien, ließ die verwitwete Marquise von O…, eine Dame von vortrefflichem Ruf, und Mutter von mehreren wohlerzogenen Kindern, durch die Zeitungen bekannt machen: daß sie, ohne ihr Wissen, in andre Umstände gekommen sei, daß der Vater zu dem Kinde, das sie gebären würde, sich melden solle; und daß sie, aus Familienrücksichten, entschlossen wäre, ihn zu heiraten.” 1 likes
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