Erzählungen 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 Is This Loss Of Faith, Together With His Vulnerability And Disequilibrium, His Pronounced Sense Of Evil, His Desperate Challenge To Established Values And Beliefs, That Carries Kleist Forcefully Than Goethe Or Schiller Across The Gap Between The Eighteenth Century And Today

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

[Epub] ➚ Erzählungen ➟ Heinrich von Kleist –
  • Paperback
  • 336 pages
  • Erzählungen
  • Heinrich von Kleist
  • English
  • 13 May 2017
  • 9780140443592

10 thoughts on “Erzählungen

  1. says:

    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 collection that has remained with me for years St Cecilia, or The Power of Music A synopsis of the mysterious events at the heart von Kleist s tale runs as follows four Protestant brothers from the Netherlands, in the spirit of iconoclasm, plan the destruction of a Catholic nunnery Weapons in hand and supported by armed followers, they attend mass held in the convent s cathedral on a day of Corpus Christi During the playing of Gloria in excelsis, the four brothers take off their hats, fall to their knees and touch their foreheads reverently to the ground all four held in a kind of mystical bliss The effect of the music is so strong the brothers do not emerge from their ecstatic state rather, they continue to be held in rapture and thus lose their ability to sense and experience the outside world They are eventually taken to the city s madhouse, where, dressed in the hooded robes of monks, they spend their remaining years in unbroken sublime devotion, sitting around a crucifix positioned on a small table, interrupted only at midnight when they rise to sing Gloria in excelsis The four brothers live to be very old men, dying in peace and joy.I have a deep, personal connection with this story I first read when a college student in my twenties, the age of the four brothers at the beginning of the tale At that time I had one of the most powerful experiences of my life a vivid dream where I was held in ecstasy by music from angelic trumpets while beholding a glorious vision of heaven Of course, my experience was much different than the four brothers since my being held in ecstasy lasted minutes not years But our respective experiences touch on two important points 1 the brothers and I are not of the Catholic faith, and 2 the unmistakable power of music.On the topic of music s power, here is a quote from the nineteenth century German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain Music expresses only the quintessence of life and its events, never these themselves Schopenhauer judges music to be the highest of the arts since it expresses the very core of life And it is no accident the world s mystical traditions emphasize the importance of music Ironically, Schopenhauer was an atheist, however his view of music has much in common with many religious philosophers, theologians and mystics, a common ground speaking volumes about how our experience of music can transcend the differences created by various religions and theologies.But the phenomenon of the four brothers differs sharply from the traditional religious spiritual mystical life in one critical way the mystical experience of the brothers was so powerful that all four were held in its grip every moment for the rest of their lives indeed, since they were never released, in a very real sense, their blissful devotion was not a matter of their own choosing This difference cannot be overemphasized John Cassian writes about the Abbas and hermits who, following the example of Anthony of the Desert, retreated to the wilderness to live in silence and solitude, devoting themselves to communing with God Cassian relates the numerous unending challenges these hermits faced, including the noonday demon depression But none of the noonday demon nor any of the many other challenges on the spiritual path for the tale s four brothers.The second quality of the brothers experience worth noting is its communal nature If such a profound, life transforming experience happened to one man, well, that could possibly be explained as an individual defect or specific medical crisis But to have the exact on the spot spiritual transformation taking place in four brothers deepens the mystery of von Kleist s story And, at least for me, makes this tale unforgettable The kiss and the bite are such close cousins that in the heat of love they are too readily confounded Heinrich von Kleist

  2. says:

    In this volume the editors have all eight of von Kleist s canonical stories which leaves me wondering about the uncanonical stories The Duel, The Earthquake in Chili, The beggarwoman of Lacorno, The Foundling, The Betrothal in Santo Domingo, St Cecilia or the power of Music, Michael Kohlhaas, and The Marquise of O The last two of which I had read and reviewed previously.All of this stories were the same and all of them were different They are the same in striving to drag the reader into extreme emotional states or towards intellectual crisis of faith, the point when your bulkheads rupture, the cold sea waters pour in and you sink in uncertainities and confusion In all other ways the stories are different Kleist might be a precursor to Kafka, or you might prefer to see him as the person who was born and brought up at the end of the Enlightenment and fell into an interior crisis that was to end with his suicide in 1811 The shortest story is three pages long, the longest a hundred, two stories are set outside of Europe, three in Germany, three in Italy, some are compact, others rambling shifting their focus of attention as though von Kleist was tempted to re write The Arabian Nights and tumble from one story into another I feel what happens in these stories that that the characters beliefs and assumptions, maybe their entire intellectual worlds turn round and remorselessly bite the character on their own arse The problems that we face are the products of the baggage intellectual, cultural, social and so on that we drag around with us The only thing to fear is ourselves, because that is what destroys us in the end Perhaps von Kleist s yearning towards extremes and his standpoint was due to a violent encounter with ancient Greek drama, though I believe he himself attributed it to Immanuel Kant.He is at the transition from the Enlightenment to the Romantic, though Romantic as in Goya s Saturn devouring his son.

  3. says:

    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 simple rocado view spoiler The Marquise of O surrounded by a frenzied pack of ultra villains intent on the usual is dramatically saved by a Prince well Count riding in on a white horse, who slays the miscreants The ultimate fairytale in memoriam He then proceeds to rape her as she lolls in the obligatory swoon Even the Grimm brothers never went that grim Subsequently he tries to make amends and in his deepest penitence, the Marquise proclaims she can not have him, for he she recognises the devil in him, which she can only know for having seen the angel in him before at the rape Nothing is as it should be To be fair, she makes him sign a marriage contract where she gets all his goods and he gets no marital rights of conjugation whatsoever Apparently this didn t go down so well in Prussia in 1806 hide spoiler

  4. says:

    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 but then maybe devolves into overlong legalese Would love for a simplified version of that story to have been filmed staring Klaus Kinski at his Aguirre era fanatical best There s a serviceable ghost tale and a straightforward story about iconoclasts overwhelmed by spooky orchestral music that promised solid remaining stories but the long one in Haiti and the final two failed to keep me with them I might come back to these last ones again but I think I understand Kleist s technologies of cruel fate, his pre Kafka semi fabulist clinical work Wasn t sufficiently engaged throughout to deeply analyze theme or psychoanalyze author A little disappointed but glad I m at least familiar with him finally will definitely reread The Earthquake in Chile, a shockingly good intro to Kleist s cataclysms.

  5. says:

    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 years if I had known about him during my days slaving over German texts, I might have invested greater effort His stories address themes that interest me such as the arbitrariness of life the meaning, extent and possibility of justice and the irrationality of humans I am an Enlightenment Romantic, which may be a contradiction but I think it describes why I enjoy these stories Like von Kleist 1777 1811 , I am heavily influenced by Enlightenment ideals yet recognize and despair at their limits, the human propensity for irrationality and the Universe s utter indifference to it all.In order of preference The Betrothal of Santo Domingo Betrothal takes place during the Haitian slave revolt against the French and involves the doomed love of Gustav, a white man, and Toni, a mixed race woman It s a bit like Romeo and Juliet and with an equally tragic ending The Earthquake in Chile works in a similar vein It too is about star crossed lovers in this case the Santiago of 1647 and tragic As the story begins both Jeronimo and Josefa are condemned to death for fornication Josefa is being led to the gallows, and Jeronimo is preparing to hang himself in his cell when an earthquake miraculously frees both The tale recounts their miraculous survival, the extraordinary acts of kindness found among the refugees, and the lovers brutal murders at the hands of a self righteous mob when they return to the city Michael Kohlhaas is the best known of von Kleist s prose works It s based on real life events around the time of the Reformation, and recounts one man s attempt to achieve justice It s a fast paced tale and it swept this reader up as Kohlhaas goes from ordinary merchant to insurrectionary and nearly brings about war between Prussia and Saxony The Foundling is the story of the eponymous wastrel Nicolo and the tragedies that ensue when his jealousy destroys the lives of his benefactors and his, as well The Duel and The Marquise of O follow the same patterns and deal with many of the same themes as the stories above but they end happily As a sentimental pessimist, I didn t find the stories to be as powerful as the tragedies And I imagine that some modern readers may have qualms about the rape and its denouement that forms the central event of The Marquise Von Kleist certainly doesn t dwell on it Count F having just saved the marquise from being raped by a gang of Russian soldiers led her into the other wing of the palace which the flames had not yet reached and where, having already been stricken speechless by her ordeal, she now collapsed in a dead faint Then the officer instructed the Marquise s frightened servants, who presently arrived, to send for a doctor he assured them that she would soon recover, replaced his hat and returned to the fighting p 70I m not entirely convinced or understand the marquise s eventual accommodation to what happened but I think I grasp part of what von Kleist is saying about society and human nature and the rape is an integral part of that story, however distasteful.In St Cecilia and the Power of Music von Kleist writes about religious mania The Beggarwoman of Locarno is a straightforward ghost story.In terms of stars, the first two stories are definitely 4.5 5 starworthy, and the last two are solid threes, the rest falling somewhere between As I wrote above no clunkers This translation of von Kleist is highly recommended with two minor quibbles 1 There s an egregious typo in the table of contents where The Beggarwoman of Locarno is written The Beggarwoman of Lacorno, which is inexcusable 2 I echo another reviewer s admonishment to NOT READ the Introduction until after you ve read the stories if then.

  6. says:

    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 course Kleist wrote it in 1806 He then demonstrated his unusual talent for marching absurdity along the path of straight faced realism while powdering it with sympathetic touches of romanticism He was a tale teller, a clue dropper, and something of an antiquarian, meaning his work often indulged in the magic of times past, of legends, of miracles In this sense, he was a very early bridge figure between the 19th and 20th centuries, at one and the same time ironic and tender.In my edition, which I don t find listed in Goodreads, Thomas Mann s introduction suggests something special about Kleist s style, in German, that was essential to his trickery he burnished his prose to the point that the reader would glide across it quickly while at the same time constantly being caught on its prickers Emotion wells in all of these stories, likewise violence In The Earthquake in Chile , Kleist commences by noting that just as the earthquake struck, Jeronimo Rugera was standing next to a pillar in his prison cell, preparing to hang himself In St Cecilia or the Power of Music, Kleist commences by placing four brothers in Aachen, determined to start a riot in protest against the Catholicism of the Convent of St Cecilia In The Engagement in Santo Domingo, perhaps the scariest of Kleist s tales, he commences by introducing the fierce African Kongo Hoango mercilessly leading a revolt against the island s French whites.All of these stories, as I commented in my review of Michael Kohlhaas, achieve compression and excitement by being told, not shown, exactly what contemporary critics and creative writing teachers most abhor But it is the once upon a time in a strange place quality of Kleist s fictions that making telling work along with that steel smooth style of his The Duel is dense with period piece detail while hurtling improbably toward the enigmas of God on the one hand and lascivious chambermaids on the other It relies on the power of honor and shame that even today does not need explaining even if duels are a thing of the past that power can simply be assumed Of course, men would fight over such slanders and insults Of course, there d be a naughty woman behind it all and a virtuous widow almost forced to pay the price for the wench s mischief.There are writers like Pushkin and Kleist who are revered in their native tongues but not valued quite so highly in translation Kleist s peculiar appeal to his German speaking audiences Kafka loved him derives, I suspect, not only from his painstakingly revised prose but also from his intimate insights into the hypocrisies of pre unification Germany and pre dissolution Austro Hungary He stands nobility, justice, passion, loyalty, and pomposity on their heads and makes them look convincingly silly He writes exactly what he knows people think but don t say, and that s what made Kafka laugh so hard But at the same time, Kafka s protagonists suffer passively while Kleist s, venting his own anger, I suspect, fight hardor, as often happens, they faint, a kind of trope in Kleist that mostly affects women overcome by the nauseating truth of things but occasionally affecting a man, even killing oneby fainting The key to Kleist, I think, is that you take him seriously by not taking him seriously You laugh even if you aren t in on all the private German riffs You know that because he is so strong, so headlong, so compelling, he is fully aware of what he is doing when he blows up conventions with nary a hint of puckishness.Evidently he was miserable, shy, and unhappy most of his life He had the wild notion that somehow he could supplant Goethe in the pantheon of German literature But we should forgive him that Kleist at his wildest is Kleist at his best Likewise Goethe, I might add.

  7. says:

    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, expectations themselves become a sort of experience that can be both positive and negative I m sure I m not the only person who feels alive when they re striving to achieve a goal than when they actually achieve it Nor am I the first person who has become stressed over something that turned out to not be very bad at all Kleist s style thrives on the managing of expectation The chain of events he describes follow a natural progression so that you can guess how a story will end after reading the first page At the same time, however, you re afraid that it really will end that way Reading his stories, expectations neither ruin the experience of the ending nor help you tolerate it Every sentence carries a finality outside of the plot of the story In the Earthquake in Chile, for example, there are no distractions Every line shapes the story in the same way that the things you do shape the person you become which shapes the things you do in the future Every action leads to a thought that leads to an action and so on Every need to act leads to a need to think and after every thought there is a need to act This is all very obscure Ultimately, it s unpleasant to read Kleist stories because you want to be able to tell his characters to not get their hopes up, or to have faith, or to not go to the church, or that you support them, but you can t because they re not real It s unpleasant because it reminds you of the times you ve wanted, in hindsight, to tell yourself to not believe something or to not do something, producing the same anxiety that comes anytime you realize you cannot change the past It s unpleasant because his plot, and the speed with which he writes it and all of the transitions , mimic the thing responsible for your bad decisions Time moves, and there s nothing you can do to stop it, so you re forced to act And when we re afraid of acting we think, and that s the most tragic part because thinking doesn t help anything Doing the thing that will result in the most positive outcome is the only thing that matters When we re looking at things in hindsight we accept a fatalism that makes any thought, any attempt at trying to control our destinies, to be a tragic setup for disappointment and failure The anxiety from Kleists s stories comes from feeling that the character s stories is already written, but they re so alive why do they feel so alive I think it has to do with their totally believable sense of expected surprise that when they think they can control their future, you feel pity for them.This is a long way of saying that Kleist is an uncomfortable, but masterful writer who everyone should at least give a try.

  8. says:

    Some of the stories were interesting, some others made no sense at all, but then Kleist had to go all White Supremacy and I couldn t deal with him any.

  9. says:

    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 this is really mess up and rascist short story 1 star The Foundling a plague breaks out, a foundling is saved by a passerby and his son the son dies and the passerby adopts the foundling 3 stars

  10. says:

    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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