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Heinrich von Kleist (1777–1811)

Author of The Marquise of O and Other Stories

404+ Works 5,525 Members 81 Reviews 27 Favorited

About the Author

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Works by Heinrich von Kleist

The Marquise of O and Other Stories (1956) — Author — 825 copies
Michael Kohlhaas (1810) — Author — 805 copies
The Broken Jug (1806) — Author — 388 copies
The Prince of Homburg (1978) — Author — 339 copies
The Marquise of O (1810) — Author — 315 copies
Penthesilea (1808) — Author — 216 copies
Novellen (1810) 101 copies
Essays on Dolls (Syren) (1956) — Author — 94 copies
Amphitryon (1962) — Author — 92 copies
Das Käthchen von Heilbronn (1810) — Author — 90 copies
The Duel (1810) 73 copies
Sämtliche Werke (1960) — Author — 61 copies
Selected Writings (1997) 60 copies
Sämtliche Erzählungen (1956) 47 copies
Die Hermannsschlacht (1903) — Author — 47 copies
Sämtliche Erzählungen und Anekdoten (1997) — Author — 35 copies
Sämtliche Erzählungen. (1984) — Author — 33 copies
Verzameld proza (2009) 29 copies
Werke in einem Band (1982) 23 copies
Die Familie Schroffenstein (German Edition) (1992) — Author — 20 copies
The Marquise of O [1976 film] (1985) — Author; Original story — 16 copies
La marquise d'O-- (1993) — Author — 16 copies
The Earthquake in Chile (1810) — Author — 15 copies
Betrothal in Santo Domingo (1810) 13 copies
La marchesa di O...-Michael Kohlhaas (1810) — Author — 13 copies
Robert Guiskard (2000) — Author — 13 copies
Anecdotes (2021) 12 copies
Die Marquise von O... (1976) — Author — 12 copies
Five Plays (1988) 11 copies
Théâtre complet (2001) 11 copies
Briefe (1964) 10 copies
The Beggar-Woman of Locarno (2011) — Author — 9 copies
Ausgewählte Werke (1806) 8 copies
Relatos completos (1900) 7 copies
Werke 2. Dramen 2 (1983) 7 copies
Opere (2011) 7 copies
Ein Lesebuch für unsere Zeit : Kleist (1990) — Author — 6 copies
Anekdoten (1974) 6 copies
El desafío (1991) 5 copies
O Duelo (2019) 4 copies
Werke : in 2 Bänden (1968) 4 copies
Los románticos alemanes — Contributor — 4 copies
Fortellinger (2012) 4 copies
Die Marquise von O. 2 CDs (1999) 4 copies
Der Findling 4 copies
Sämtliche Briefe (1999) 4 copies
I racconti 4 copies
Prosastücke (1962) — Author — 4 copies
Kirik Testi (2022) 3 copies
Michael Kohlhaas und andere Novellen (1940) — Author — 3 copies
Racconti 3 copies
Dramen (2010) 3 copies
Contes (2016) 3 copies
Elbeszélések (1995) 3 copies
Werke in einem Band (1966) 2 copies
Dramer (2011) 2 copies
Samtliche Erzahlungen (1984) — Author — 2 copies
Tutti i racconti (1997) 2 copies
Lettere alla fidanzata (1985) 2 copies
Opere (1959) 1 copy
La Cruche cassée (1999) 1 copy
Jutustused (2007) 1 copy
Heinrich von Kleist (2011) 1 copy
Stories 1 copy
Epistolario (2010) 1 copy
Dramen I 1 copy
Erzahlungen (2013) 1 copy
Gedichte 1 copy
Kleine Prosa 1 copy
Jugendbriefe 1 copy
Geistererscheinung (2011) 1 copy
Antologia 1 copy
Listy 1 copy
Cuentos 1 copy
I ‰racconti 1 copy

Associated Works

75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World's Literature (1961) — Contributor — 289 copies
Deutsche Gedichte (1956) — Contributor, some editions — 135 copies
The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories (1984) — Contributor — 122 copies
Great German Short Novels and Stories (1933) — Contributor — 103 copies
Great German Short Stories (1960) — Contributor — 83 copies
The Classic Theatre Volume II Five German Plays (1959) — Contributor — 78 copies
Dark Arrows: Great Stories of Revenge (1985) — Contributor — 60 copies
Nineteenth Century German Tales (1959) — Contributor — 36 copies
The Triumph of Art for the Public: 1785-1848 (1979) — Contributor — 30 copies
Five German Tragedies (1969) — Author — 30 copies
Eight German Novellas (Oxford World's Classics) (1997) — Author — 24 copies
German Romantic Stories (German Library) (1988) — Contributor — 23 copies
Romantiques allemands, tome 1 (1963) — Author, some editions — 20 copies
All verdens fortellere (1990) — Contributor, some editions — 15 copies
Fragmentos para una teoría romántica del arte (1987) — Contributor — 13 copies
Tyskland forteller : tyske noveller (1972) — Contributor — 11 copies
Deutsche Novellen von Tieck bis Hauptmann — Contributor — 8 copies
Ten German Novellas — Contributor — 4 copies
Great Love Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) (2016) — Contributor — 4 copies
Suhrkamp BasisBibliothek : Heinrich von Kleist : Michael Kohlhaas (2013) — Text, some editions — 2 copies
Kleist-Jahrbuch 2020 (2020) — Featured Artist — 1 copy
Kleist-Jahrbuch 2008/2009 (2009) — Featured Artist — 1 copy
Kleist-Jahrbuch 1984 — Featured Artist — 1 copy
Die Romantik in Deutschland — Featured Artist — 1 copy
Deutsche Erzählungen (1957) — Contributor — 1 copy
Am Borne deutscher Dichtung (1927) — Contributor — 1 copy
Schatten dieser Erde - Romantische Lebensläufe (1988) — Featured Artist — 1 copy


18th century (51) 19th century (196) anthology (141) Belletristik (44) classic (68) classics (66) drama (232) ebook (32) essays (27) fiction (488) German (455) German fiction (55) German language (26) German literature (499) German Romanticism (21) Germany (148) ghosts (20) Heinrich von Kleist (37) Kleist (73) literature (255) novel (45) novella (77) Penguin Classics (27) play (35) plays (64) poetry (56) prose (33) read (46) Reclam (77) Roman (20) romantic (30) Romanticism (56) short stories (326) short story (20) stories (86) theatre (102) to-read (167) translation (42) unread (32) world literature (23)

Common Knowledge



Early Kafka, but (even) more comedic and severe (in the sense that these innumerable functionaries actually exist), though tarnished by a "magic Gypsy" subplot and the narrative imperfection which brings back those schwarz horses in our final scene.
1 vote
Joe.Olipo | 23 other reviews | Sep 19, 2023 |
I read this book for the first time about 10 years ago; I remember having liked it, but not much else about it. However, Heinrich von Kleist's "The Marquise of O and Other Stories" impressed me enough for me to hold onto my paperback copy. Now having read this collection for the second time, I found all of these stories to be engaging and absorbing; consequentially, I have such renewed respect for this author -- Particularly for the compelling characters that people his work. Regarding Kleist's style: while humour can come into play in these tales [i.e. in "The Marquise of O"] Tragedy is obviously Kleist's forte -- It can be too much to bear. Heavy, harsh and shadowy reality abounds within this author's work; the author's style could be described as gothic [as in "The Beggarwoman of Locarno"]. Kleist's characters are inevitably cursed, or at the very least -- Frowned upon by fate. And if not that, then his evil-imbued antagonists prove to be too strong a match for those "good people" with whom they come into conflict [i.e. Count Jakob Rotbart of "The Duel" brings to mind Shakespeare's "Richard III"]. In "Michael Kohlhaas", the desire to be right / thirst for revenge, combined with bad luck / karma -- Turns the snowballing effects of Kohlhaas' self-sabotage into a fatal downward spiral. Finally, the story that proves to be the most heartbreaking is "The Betrothal of Domingo", which was written in 1811, the final year of Kleist's brief time on the planet; I believe that "The Betrothal of Domingo" actually foreshadows the murder-suicide pact with which Kleist ended his life.… (more)
stephencbird | 10 other reviews | Sep 19, 2023 |
Irreligious, perverse, and shocking even to this day. Von Kleist's discontent with the social structures of his time—most especially the church, the law, and the vagaries of community life—makes his tales perhaps more politically rich than his contemporary Hoffmann, although both are equally skillful in plumbing the depths of the human psyche when it comes to matters of love, survival, family, and even gender.

Von Kleist's style is very proto-modernist: his paragraphs run on for pages with no apparent reason for when they begin and when they end; his pacing is subjectively approached rather than objectively obsessed; and he often begins his stories by telling his reader the endings.

Absurdism runs rampant through these pieces. The title story involves a widowed Marquise who takes out an advertisement in the newspaper, searching for the man who apparently—although she has no memory of this—impregnated her. This kind of illogical and paradoxical situation is at the heart of most of von Kleist's work: "The Earthquake in Chile" turns an exiled pair of lovers into heroic figures in an apocalyptic setting ruled by no seeming authority; however, von Kleist seems to suggest that the imposing orders of the church and the law are so pervasive in their hold on mankind that mankind wreaks the same violence if left with no punitive action from high above.

This is also the case in "Michael Kohlhaas" where the protagonist takes the law into his own hands after repeated attempts to bring legal action against a man who is terrorizing the community. This kind of Kafkaesque critique of the law is also carried out to the extreme limits of surrealism, rendering reality as nightmarish in much the same way Kafka would do later. Of the shorter pieces collected here, "The Foundling" is the strongest and seems to speak to the same examination of reality versus fantasy in Hoffmann's "The Sandman." However, it is in the longer tales that von Kleist is able to enlarge his canvas and allow his oddly distorted syntax and phrasing to loop in and out of sense and nonsense most elegantly.
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proustitute | 10 other reviews | Apr 2, 2023 |
German poet, dramatist, novelist and short story writer Heinrich von Kleist (1777 – 1811) mixed with figures such as Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, founders of the Romantic Movement in Germany, and could himself be considered one of the movement’s representatives – albeit an eccentric one. An encounter with Kant’s philosophy in 1801 shaped Kleist’s subsequent literary career, but also had a tragic influence on his life. He interpreted Kant’s view as implying the impossibility of ever establishing an objective truth and this led him into the dark alleys of an existential crisis from which he never fully recovered. He would eventually die by his own hand, in a murder-suicide planned with his then lover Henriette Vogel.

The novella The Marquise of O- is possibly the best-known Kleist’s writings – it is available in several editions and translations (around half a dozen in English alone) and has also been turned into a film by Eric Röhmer (winner of the 1976 Cannes Festival Gran Prix Spécial) and a modern movie adaptation by Pappi Corsicato (Il seme della discordia, which participated in the 2008 Venice Film Festival).

Written in 1808, The Marquise of O- is set during the Napoleonic Wars and is based on a barely believable premise allegedly inspired by “a true incident whose location has been transferred from north to south”:

In M--, an important town in Northern Italy, the widowed Marquise of O—, a woman of impeccable reputation and mother of well-brought-up children, made it known through the newspapers that she had inexplicably found herself in a certain condition, that the father of the child she would bear should make himself known, and that out of regard for her family she was resolved to marry him.

The identity of the father is strongly hinted at from the very first pages of the novella, but what to the reader may seem obvious, remains a “mystery” to the Marquise until late in the book, and provides the narrative drive for the novella.

In Kleist’s prudish times, The Marquise of O— was condemned as an immoral. In our #metoo present, the novella is equally problematic, if for different reasons. It is based on an episode of rape, leading to some uncomfortable questions about the relationship between victim and perpetrator. And yet, it would be wrong to dismiss The Marquise of O— as an outdated, misogynist work because it clearly isn’t. From the theatrical cast of five – the Marquise, her parents, her brother and the Russian officer who wants to marry the Marquise – it is the mother and daughter who are portrayed more favourably. They are honourable and resourceful in a patriarchal world of bungling men. The novella is, ultimately, an enigmatic work, permeated with the same ambiguity Kleist (via Kant) perceived in the world around him.

What may also seem strange to the modern reader is the narrative voice – the novella is recounted throughout in the third person, but it portrays the thought processes of each of the characters, often creating the same “modern” effect as a first-person narrative.

In other words, The Marquise of O— is a story of its time, but also one which keeps raising questions today. For readers who, like me, are new to this novella, the edition recently issued as part of the ever-dependable Pushkin Classics series is a recommended choice. The new translation by Nicholas Jacobs is idiomatic and readable yet close to the text. Jacobs also provides an introduction to Kleist’s life and work, a biographical note and suggestions for further reading.

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JosephCamilleri | 5 other reviews | Feb 21, 2023 |



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Associated Authors

E. T. A. Hoffmann Contributor, Author
Ludwig Tieck Author, Editor
Novalis Contributor
Friedrich Schlegel Contributor
Robert Kalfin Director
Chris Andreus Translator
David Luke Translator
Nigel Reeves Translator
Helmut Sembdner Editor, Afterword
Ronald Taylor Translator
Walter Flemmer Introduction, Composer
Walter Victor Series founder
Heinrich Kurz Author, Editor
Rolf Boysen Narrator
Esaias Tegnér Contributor
Paul Sahre Cover designer
Michael Hofmann Translator
Erik Ågren Translator
Adolph Menzel Illustrator
André Noorbeek Translator
Jens Harzer Narrator
Maurice Sendak Illustrator
Thomas Mann Introduction
Jorge Riechmann Translator
Leo Simons Preface
Paul Stapf Editor
Erwin Laaths Introduction
Philip B. Miller Translator
Anita Golz Editor
Peter Friedel Cover artist
Willy Fleckhaus Cover designer
Isa Dietrich Cover artist
Stefan Zweig Afterword
Horst Erich Wolter Cover designer
Ursula Volk Illustrator
Gottlieb Mohnike Translator
Max Mendheim Translator
Walther Kupfer Illustrator


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