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Their Pavel by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Their Pavel (1887)

by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

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Das Gemeindekind is Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach‘s most famous novel. Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach was a Czech-Austrian writer in the late 19th century.

After robbing a church and killing a priest, Pavel’s father is sentenced to death, his mother who was forced by her husband to help with the crime is sentenced to ten years in prison. Pavel and his sister Milada are now the responsibility of the borough. Milada, who is pretty and cute, gets taken in by the local countess but Pavel (who is around 12 at the time) has to stay with an abusive foster family and endure the community’s shunning of him, since everybody assumes that he’s going to turn out like his parents.

Ebner-Eschenbach’s writing style is, of course, a little outdated. Her book is not. She writes sensitively and sensibly about the life of the poor at the end of the 19th century (and it seems pretty realistic to me), even though she herself was noble and pretty rich. And in Pavel, she examines the relationship between individual choice and biological determinism, which is a still unanswered and interesting question.

Read more about it on my blog: http://kalafudra.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/das-gemeindekind-the-municipal-child-m... ( )
  kalafudra | May 3, 2010 |
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