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Michael Kohlhaas

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  3,021 ratings  ·  166 reviews
Based on historical events, this thrilling saga of violence and retribution bridges the gap between Medieval and modern literature, and speaks so profoundly to the contemporary spirit that it has been the basis of numerous plays, movies, and novels.

It has become, in fact, a classic tale: that of the honorable man forced to take the law into his own hands. In this incendiar
Paperback, 133 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Melville House (first published 1810)
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3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,021 ratings  ·  166 reviews

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Bill  Kerwin
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novella

It is not surprising Kafka loved this novella so much that it often brought him to tears, for here, a hundred years before Kafka, Kleist created a hero whose single-minded attempt to right one act of injustice leads him into a nebulous world of bureaucratic timidity, familial influence, and existential absurdity where he is transformed into a criminal, defined as a terrorist, and eventually deprived of everything in life except one final secret, one silence.

But the marvelous thing about Michael
Manuel Antão
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2000
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Tossed Hither and Thither: "Michael Kohlhaas" by Heinrich von Kleist

Just back from a long train journey, I took the opportunity to read Michael Kohlhaas in German. I can't imagine this text in English; it somehow seems simultaneously modern, and of the time in which the story is set. The actual language hardly intrudes at all, but there are particular words or phrases whose recurrance or juxtaposition hints at darker, hidden meaning; h
The story of a man whose sense of justice turns him into a robber and a murderer.

This story is reinterpreted in the novel Ragtime.

I bought this book the first on my long and very slow road to acquaintance with Kleist, in Kassel(view spoiler)
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
the repetition contained within this novella raises, once again, the perennial question regarding a strategy in which the narrative structure itself is meant to mimic and/or reinforce the work's major theme; a kind of narrative onomatopoeia, if you will. one considers godard's slow-moving 15 minute tracking shot of traffic in weekend and wonders if his point (a cinematic representation of the repetition & monotony of a particular aspect of contemporary life) comes across or if just bores the ...more
Luís C.
In this story, inspired by an old chronicle of the 16th century, in a Germany fragmented between small states, Kohlhaas, a rich horse dealer, collides, while he went to a fair of Saxony in the company of three of his animals, at a toll belonging to a mean and frivolous squire. The passage is prohibited until obtaining a pass. Kohlhaas leaves his animals, as a pledge, and for their upkeep, one of his valets with a sum of money. Once in Dresden he learns that this regulation is arbitrary and will ...more
You better not mess with Michael Kohlhaas!

Kohlhaas was a model 16th century citizen. He was one of the most righteous people around. He was God-fearing, benevolent, just, and faithful. And then he became a raider and a murderer. And the reason for this was his righteousness.

That's pretty much the summary of the first paragraph in Kleist's novella. I pondered a while what else there is to say about this book that may want you to read it, because read it you must. In the end I think the above shou
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mein Anstoß, Kleists Drama als Erwachsene erstmals zu lesen, kam übrigens von Marc-Uwe Kling aus seinem Roman Qualityland, der seinen Protagonisten Peter Arbeitsloser mit Michael Kohlhaas verglich, und ich glaube, mein Lesefreund Manuel tat dies auch gleich zu Beginn meiner Statusmeldungen, obwohl er Qualityland noch nicht gelesen hatte. Hier musste ich erstmals feststellen, dass ich dringend und schleunigst eine echte Bildungslücke zu stopfen hatte. Als Österreicherin englische Literatur nicht ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neden bu kitabı okudum; takıntı olur bende, bir yazara başladığım zaman, eğer beğendiysem, tüm kitaplarını okuma isteği gelir içime. Ama bu durum beni diğer okumalardan, hatta hayatın başka renklerinden soyutlar, varsa yoksa o yazar, psikopat gibi başka bir şey düşünemem, o yazarla bütünleşirim, ruh ikizi olurum. O anlarda sanki ondan büyük yazar yoktur gözümde. İşte arka arkaya Hermann Hesse’yi bu anlattığım şekilde okurken, bu bahsettiğim batakvari durumdan kurtulmak için Heinrich von Kleist’a ...more
Ben Winch
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I just re-read this for the first time in ten years or so and it was great. I laughed aloud at the absurdity of it, and yeah, I thought of Kafka more than once. Kleist's grasp of storytelling is phenomenal here - it all happens so quickly, and because the thing goes for 100 pages or so we're soon surrounded by a labyrinth of no less complexity (probably greater complexity) than the one faced by K. in The Castle. I mean, this is off the scale. And it's thrilling, to see the contortions Kleist can ...more
Alice Poon
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
In 2013 I saw the film adaptation Michael Kohlhaas at the French Film Festival in Hong Kong and was very impressed with the powerful theme of one man’s obsessive quest for justice and the intensely haunting cinematography and acoustics.

Recently I saw a GR friend’s review of the novella and was lured to read it. Styled in a chronicle format, the novella is written with impassive detachment, which actually adds to the poignancy of the story that is based on a true event in 16th century Germany (th
Sinem A.
Harika! Gerçek bir olaydan alınan öykü edilgen bir dille anlatılmış. Bu çeviriden mi kaynaklıdır bilmiyorum ama bence öyküye inanılmaz yakışmış. Kurgu da neredeyse boşluk kalmayacak kadar sıkı ve düzgün örülmüş. Bir daha okunabilecek kitaplardan.
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
_Michael Kohlhaas_ is a fictionalized account of an actual historical event. A horse trader from Brandenburg on a journey to Saxony is falsely extorted for a border crossing by the Squire Wenzel von Tronka, who also keeps two of Kohlhaas’ horses as surety against the trader’s inability to pay. Upon arriving at Saxony, Kohlhass learns that, as he suspected, the border tax was a ruse and on his return journey demands his horses back from the squire. Instead he finds that the servant he had left in ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Wanda by: Karen
Project Gutenberg - -

Karen found another Project Gutenberg ebook which contains both a different translation and an interactive table of contents. Find it here:
Thank you, Karen.

3 MAR 2016 - Maintaining an obstinately stubborn vigilante mindset is not a good idea!
Oct 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A man caught between the grindstones of nepotism, corruption and sheer disinterest, whose outrage makes him take justice into his own hands and exact a terrible revenge against the arbitrary extortion of a local baron. The final scene of his execution sees his magnificent triumph; the state takes his life, but he takes a secret with him to the grave. Radical, disturbing.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Миний эрхийг хамгаалахгүй байгаа газар оронд би амьдарч байж чадахгүй!
~ Михаэль Коолхаас
Nov 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
An old folk revenge story, but it reads like something much more modern - at least with some of its portrayals and themes. I'll have to try more Kleist in the future.
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, classics
Kleist ist schon toll! Man ist sofort in der Handlung, der Spannungsbogen ist super und dann kommt auch noch das Mystische hinzu. Wunderbare Sprache!
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
A married employee of a catholic school was accused of having sex with the school physician right there inside the school clinic during office hours. She was dismissed for improper conduct and immorality. The evidence on this was weak because the lone witness to this was the school janitor whose testimony was not only shot full of holes, but he even reported the incident quite very late--around five months after it supposedly happened. A court, however, gave credence to the charge because of ano ...more
kostas  vamvoukakis
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
εξαιρετικό ξεκίνημα για τη χρονιά με ένα βιβλίο που είναι πολύ μπροστά από την εποχή του. δεν Κρινώ το γράψιμο αλλά την ιστορία... εξαιρετική και η ταινία
Монсударын цувралаас уншсан 3 дахь ном боллоо. Крейцерийн сонат, Кандид, Коолхаас гурав агуулгын хувьд маш ялгаатай номнууд боловч орчуулга нь нэг редакцаар дамжсан гэдгийг хэлж болмооор ч юм шиг төсөөтэй үг хэллэг, хэв маяг ажиглагдлаа. Бүгд богино ном тул нэг суултаар уншчихаж болно, ялангуяа Коолхаасын хурдан өрнөл нь дунд нь таслалгүй уншихад зориулагдсан ч бололтой. Номын нүүрний ард Кафка "би энэ номыг сүсэглэн биширч уншлаа" гэсэн нь бий- шударга, хөдөлмөрч Коолхаас эр бурангуй ёсны эсрэг ...more
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Estos alemanes son unas máquinas. No hay con qué darles. El año pasado ya había leído a Stifter y había flasheado, pero este es muy superior. Michael Kohlhaas es un tratante de caballos (vendedor de caballos) que quiere pasar de una ciudad a otra pero en un palacio le impiden el paso y le retienen los caballos. A partir de ahí, de ese hecho mínimo, la novela se va a ir yendo progresivamente al carajo y se va ir complejizando cada vez más. Hay quema de palacios y pueblos enteros, una aparición es ...more
Laura Viviani
Jan 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Buch fürs Abi!
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Karısı aklı başından gitmiş bir halde, 'Neden evini satmak istiyorsun?' diye bağırarak ayağa kalktı. At Taciri, karısını sevecenlikle bağrına basarken, cevap verdi: 'Çünkü ben, sevgili Lisbeth, benim haklarımı korumayan bir memlekette kalmak istemiyorum. Eğer tekmeleneceksem, insan olmaktansa, köpek olmayı tercih ederim!' " Sf:31

"Ey çılgınlık, dünyayı yöneten sensin ve senin tahtın da güzel bir kadının ağzıdır!" Sf:90
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it

I enjoyed it & I think some of the themes are still relevant.
The writing style was good but overall it was missing something for me.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Geile scheiße
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Io ho il fortissimo presentimento di non essere in grado di esprimere un parere sensato su questo racconto.
Detto questo, mi è piaciuto molto, ma ho subito delle influenze esterne, infatti ho letto Michael Kohlhaas solo dopo aver visto l'omonimo film del 2013 di Arnaud des Pallières (che naturalmente non è stato distribuito in Italia), inoltre il saggio in fondo al libro di Stefan Zweig su Kleist mi ha fatto amare profondissimamente questo autore e questo ha avuto un peso nelle mie considerazion
Diego Moreno
"Me encanta".

5 Estrellas

- Ernesto Laguardia.

No, es broma. De seguro el Neto no salieron sus lecturas de algunos pasajes de la biblia o cuando él salía en Tv y Notas.

Von Kleist, mi querido von Kleist. Un prerromántico, o posible romántico. Este autor me lo recomendó un querido compadre mío, nos conocimos cuando trabajé en Porrúa, por eso se lo agradezco, ya que él tiene muy buenos gustos artísticos en general, y eso que nunca cursó carrera literaria alguna, mucho menos llevó un curso de alguna be
Jul 23, 2016 rated it liked it
The introduction of my version of Kohlhaas waxes over Kafka's infatuation with von Kleist, an author who had to some extent been vilified in the nineteenth century for his wilful inversions of the romantic mode. Though he was considered a Romantic, there is little of the violently throbbing heart, little Sturm und Drang, to his prose. Rather, it seems finely calibrated, and indeed in its labyrinthine ways bears a resemblance to Kafka.

Kohlhaas is a small man who, on the face of it, can no longer
Jessica Hansen
Edit Review:
I read this book again even if I originally didn't enjoyed it at all because of a discussion I had with my boyfriend. I have to say that I still don't like this book but I think it deserves 2.5 stars instead of 1 star. The story itself is actually quite interesting. I don't like Kohlhaas as a protagonist because I think his revenge is exaggerated but I think the plot of the story is meaningful and that is why I change my review after reading this again on my own. I know I wrote that
Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1305-read
Michael Kohlhaas was kind of a badass!

 photo michael-kohlhaas-pictures-5_zpsd17038e9.jpg

I expected a stuffy old story, but NO! This man was wronged by some sniveling dude who just happened to have familial ties to governmental agents, which resulted in Michael not being able to obtain justice. But, when he takes matters into his own hands, he starts a series of events that will not be stopped.

I totally want to see this movie, but it's in French. (I think - possibly German, but I'm pretty sure it's in French.) So, I'm anxiously awaiting the sub
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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
“Ben bu toplumun dışına atılmış olmasaydım, insan topluluğuna açtığım bu savaş, kötü bir davranış sayılabilirdi.” 2 likes
“Yasanın korumadığı kimseyi ben, devlet topluluğunun dışına atılmış sayarım.” 2 likes
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