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L'étrange histoire de Peter…
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L'étrange histoire de Peter Schlemihl (original 1814; edition 2011)

by Adelbert von Chamisso (Author), Albert Lortholary (Traduction)

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4831331,282 (3.61)10
Member:Mortag
Title:L'étrange histoire de Peter Schlemihl
Authors:Adelbert von Chamisso (Author)
Other authors:Albert Lortholary (Traduction)
Info:Folio (2011), 112 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Peter Schlemihl by Adelbert von Chamisso (Author) (1814)

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English (6)  Spanish (2)  Slovenian (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
While seeking patronage with a local squire after a long journey, Peter Schlemihl encounters a mysterious man in grey who appears to be able to fulfil everyone's wishes. About to leave the squire's party, Peter is approached by the stranger and offered the purse of Fortunatus with its inexhaustible supply of gold in exchange for his shadow. In his folly Peter agrees, but he soon finds cause to regret his impetuous decision.

A classic of 19th-century German Romanticism, this morality tale was written for the children of the author's patron, and it shows – the tone is very much that of a fairy tale intended for the moral instruction of children, very popular at the time it was written. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but the story's characters remain one dimensional and there is virtually no character progression, though it is interesting to note that the narrator of the story, Peter Schlemihl himself, addresses himself directly to the author, as if in corroboration of the veracity of the events. Towards the end the plot takes a rather unexpected direction when I was hoping for some sort of resolution to Peter's dilemma, and although the ending feels unsatisfactory to me, there is a message to be found. ( )
  passion4reading | Nov 21, 2017 |
I have no idea why Italo Calvino liked this book so much. Perhaps there was not too much to read at the time and he was desperate for anything. I am not a fan of Peter Wortsman either any longer as I feel he takes too many liberties in his translations. These writers would not speak as Wortsman has them speak. Plus, they would not as well be creeps and sexual deviants such as he has a tendency to become in his own writings composed around the urinal. ( )
  MSarki | Oct 10, 2013 |
It was much easier to read than I expected after Achim von Arnim, but the style still takes some getting used to. It reads breathless and rushed, as if the title character were running around in his seven-mile-boots already. They are a surprising solution to his problem of wanting to shun humanity because they are hostile on finding his shadow missing.
How neat it truly is didn't become obvious until I read the afterword, a very interesting essay on Chamisso by Thomas Mann. I will certainly track down Chamisso's travel writing about his time with the Rurik Expedition. ( )
2 vote MissWatson | Sep 12, 2013 |
Have a look to our tomcat, who watches over our collection of favourite books: The shadow of Sir Schnurrli is still intact. I could ask him, if he would agree to exchange his shadow against a never empty feeding bowl with daily changing dishes and delicious mountain water besides. I am sure, his answer would be: « Who bothers about shadows? »
  hbergander | Dec 18, 2011 |
Other stories in the volume are Undine, Liesli and Heinrich and Blanca.
  jon1lambert | Jan 1, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chamisso, Adelbert vonAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wüster, EugenTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Loewenstein-Wertheim… Leopold vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Metz, LexIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pozzo, GiulianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Preetorius, EmilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schiavoni, GiulioContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wortsman, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Bewahren, lieber Eduard, sollen wir die Geschichte des armen Schlemihl, dergestalt bewahren, dass sie vor Augen, die nicht hineinzusehn haben, beschirmt bleibe.
Nach einer glücklichen, jedoch für mich sehr beschwerlichen Seefahrt, erreichten wir endlich den Hafen.
Louis Charles Adelaide de Chamisso de Boncourt - as a German he called himself Adelbert von Chamisso - was born a the Chateau of Boncourt in the Champagne on 27th January 1781. (Introduction)
A safe voyage, but I cannot pretend a pleasant one and now at last we were in port.
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Book description
Unsuccessful in his endeavours, the young and naive Peter Schlemihl seals a pact with the Devil in which he exchanges his shadow for the purse of Fortunatus, thereby gaining everlasting riches. But when he is ridiculed, persecuted and hated for being different from other men, he realizes that poverty is easier to bear than the loss of his peace of mind.
Originally written as a cautionary tale for the children of Chamisso's patron, Peter Schlemihl was hailed by contemporaries as a masterpiece with a wide adult appeal, and continues to capture imaginations today.
Haiku summary
Wish I had kept my
shadow and stayed poor – at least
I'd have had my peace.
(passion4reading)

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