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The Marquise of O and Other Stories Introduction
The Earthquake in Chile The Marquise of O—
Michael Kohlhaas The Beggarwoman of Locarno St. Cecilia or the Power of Music The Betrothal in Santo Domingo The Foundling The Duel
Posted March 30, 2014
In spite of an almost three-year gap - I read "The Marquise of O-" and "The Duel" then the cats managed to shove the book behind the nightstand - I finished this collection of von Kleist's weird, dense, and occasionally supernatural stories of injustice. Obviously, the Marquise's story is going to have a lot of triggers for some people with it's themes of rape, questionable incest, and the improbably happy ending (it works as a story, trust me, but then also raises the question of how many women throughout history have found themselves in such a position....chilling). Likewise, "The Duel", "The Earthquake in Chile", and "The Betrothal in Santo Domingo" all deal with the supposed chastity or lack thereof of young women; one story ends happily (one of the few stories in this volume with an "up" ending), the other two do not. "The Beggar Woman of Locarno" is a short-short piece centered on a persistent phantasm. "St Cecilia or the Power of Music" invokes the supernatural in the form a saint's protection of her cathedral by striking down trouble-making Protestants. The longest piece in the book, "Michael Kohlhaas", is the novella-length story of a horse-dealer's long, treacherous, and tragic search for justice against a corrupt system. Very moving.
Definitely a collection of stories to read alongside von Kleist's contemporaries Goethe and Hoffman.
Posted August 28, 2003
I read this book (or at least the 'Marquise of O- portion) for my honors english class in college. For only 45 pages or so, its suprisingly deep. However the author doesn't bog you down in wordy language but rather gives you time to think about the message it is conveying. For only about a day or two's worth of reading, I would definitely recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 17, 2009
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