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Die Maruise von O

Summary Die Maruise von O

E ihren festen Platz in der Literaturgeschichte hat Darin annonciert die unverhofft schwangere Maruise von O dass der ihr unbekannte Erzeuger ihres Kindes bei ihr zwecks Heirat vorstellig werden soll So Spoilers below What a baffling story this is It reminds me of the 'problem plays

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›Die Maruise von O‹ ist die wohl bekannteste Novelle Heinrich von Kleists In einer einmaligen stilistischen Gratwanderung eröffnet Kleist die Novelle mit einer skandalträchtigen Zeitungsannonce di The widowed Maruise of O was the daughter of Colonel G Commandant of the citadel

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Außerordentlich diese Annonce so meisterhaft das Spiel Kleists der in der grellen Offenlegung des Skandals das Unaussprechliche an diesen ›anderen Umständen‹ in zarten Andeutungen zu belassen wei German poet dramatist novelist and short story writer Heinrich von Kleist 1777 Breaking into Information Security: Learning the Ropes 101 poet dramatist novelist and short story writer Heinrich von Kleist 1777

10 thoughts on “Die Maruise von O

  1. says:

    Rambling IntroductionI was digging around on my bookshelves looking for something when I came across The Maruise of O which I had previously read some years ago It was only short and it seemed as though Fate had intervened with a capital letter so I did not resist the serendipityI have felt a slight awkwardness about reading Kleist as though trying to follow his train of thought could lead to his conclusion on the banks of theKleiner Wannsee But after reading Blamberger's biography Heinrich von Kleist Biographie a review here I thought I'd run the riskThe StoryIs a simple one published in 1808 and set in North Italy during the Napoleonic Wars When Russian troops storm a Citadel the Commandant's daughter a widow with two children is threatened by a gang of soldiers their officer Count F steps in and rescues her though during the process the Maruise faints and is unconscious Some days later Count F offers to marry the Maruise as soon as possible mysteriously making an announcement to her that in the future she will be very glad of this The Maruise and her family don't grasp his meaning and the Count departs on business Shortly thereafter the Maruise realises that she is pregnant is rejected by her father and makes her way to her own estate where she has a advert published in the newspaper offering to marry the Father of her child should he come forward This action is the hook and bait that Kleist uses in his first paragraph actually in the first sentence to catch the passing reader In M an important city in upper Italy the widowed Maruise von O a lady of excellent reputation and the mother of several well raised children let it be known through the newspapers that without her knowledge she had become expectant that the father of the child to whom she would give birth should declare himself and that she out of family considerations was resolved to marry him Anyway after some toing and froing it turns out that the Russian Count F raped the Maruise they marry and after some years they get to live happily ever after Some ideas after readingThe wronged woman marries her rapist? Cue for confusion on the part of the contemporary readerReading this story by direct assault the eye taking in the words the hand seizing the page and dragging the reader towards the conclusion where they can plant their flag clearly isn't going to work Here an indirect approach longer slower and less steep offering different perspectives as we get closer is what is neededConsider Lady Deadlock Bleak House Anna Karenina or Tess of the d'Urbervilles the woman must die That is the only way those authors could cope with the conseuences of sex out of wedlock for their readers How different then Kleist for him the woman does not die it is the attitudes of those round her that have to change and society that has to be remodelledHere the rapist can't get away with his crime he is obliged to confess he is obliged to marry but not on his terms as he originally wanted but on the terms determined by the Maruise's family 'Terms' is key The Count F arrives wearing uniform and insignia carrying his weapons to make his eventual confession This is a formal military surrender of one power to another a literary Yorktown If the story begins with the brute assertion of physical power it ends with surrender to a civilised manner of conduct Not rape but a marriage governed by contract Not the war of all against all but lawAs in Kleist's story Michael Kohlhaas the central character is morally right and wronged It is society that is shown to be wrong and unjust although unlike in Kohlhaas Kleist does allow for the eventual triumph of a moral order in this fable rather than pursuing the fate of the individual standing against an unjust moral order to the inevitable bitter endI suspect this might also be a political fable This is an 1808 story in the subtitle of the first edition we are told that this is a true story whose action has been moved from north to south In 1807 the Russians came to terms with the French at Tilsit ending a series of wars in which the Russians attempted to use brute force of arms in Italy Austria and within Kleist's Prussia to uphold the Ancien Regime and resist the rationalising and liberating potential of the French Revolution In that case the Maruise perhaps is a woman who can be understood as a country who optimistically can overcome violence and establish a better future Once the King of France had been tried for high treason found guilty and sentenced to death everything became possible The traditional European world order had been broken open Count F represents that older order he can be violent and he can legitimate that violence even sanctify it The Maruise rejects this She has an intrinsic desire for euity and justice that like Michael Kohlhaas she will not give up Eually there is a surely a sexual political reading male sexual violence gives away to a culture of consent and contract Implicit in that seem to me to be a whole bunch of ideas the officer is a nobleman but behaves ignobly again social criticism and some irony intellectually he is capable of developing to be than a rapist and has a concept of guilt but eually is subject to unconscious drivesThere might also be some criticism of or a presentation of religion as a fable that doesn't much impact on our attitudes here We have an annunciation by the rapist and an unwissentlichen Empfaengniss perilously close to an Unbefleckten Empfaengnis in that the woman is innocent of and fundamentally non complicit in the act on the part of the Maruise However when she asks a Midwife if she has ever heard of such a thing she laughs and can't admit to ever having heard of it So much for the gospels then Or perhaps we are back to social criticism For the Maruise's Father and Brother the simple fact of pregnancy outside of wedlock is a crisis irrespective of their kinswoman's lack of complicity Society blames the victim and cannot offer justice until it itself has been educated in this case through the moral power of the Maruise Bland ConclusionThere's a lot packed into a short story

  2. says:

    short version—long versionPunctuation marks do have their meanings Some others less but none are unimportantIn German the dash is sometimes called “Gedankenstrich” which can be translated as “line to ponder” or “a break to think over” The most famous – most notorious – dash in German literature perhaps in all of literature? I don’t know is the one that Heinrich von Kleist hat set in his novella from 1808uite early in the story the titular Maruise of O is rescued by the Russian count F from the hands of some rough Russian soldiers who were just about to cause harm to the Maruise The noble officer “smashed the hilt of his sword into the face of one of the murderous brutes” and led the young lady to a save location where she “collapsed in dead faint” The next sentence reads as followsThen — the officer instructed the Maruise’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 fightingOriginalHier — traf er da bald darauf ihre erschrockenen Frauen erschienen Anstalten einen Arzt zu rufen; versicherte indem er sich den Hut aufsetzte daß sie sich bald erholen würde; und kehrte in den Kampf zurückOne can easily overlook the dash in this sentence even consider it a mistake of the typesetter but it is intended and has its justification In fact what’s hidden behind the dash drives the whole plot and its characters further on and almost into tragedy At least I think that’s what it does Who knows‽ It’s only a dash after all – its meaning can be pretty much anything you want But do yourself some favor and don’t dash past those little fellows mindlessly This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 30 Unported License

  3. says:

    The widowed Maruise of O was the daughter of Colonel G Commandant of the citadel in Northern Italy during the Napoleonic Wars Russian soldiers led by Count F overran the citadel with heavy artillery fire and set the palace ablaze Total confusion ensued The Maruise was subject to the most shameful mishandlinga Russian officer appeared and with angry thrusts scattered the dogs lusting after their booty This officer Count F delivered her to safety She passed out Regaining consciousness the Maruise wanted to express her gratitude to her rescuer but was informed that Count F was killed in a skirmish with the enemy while leaving the fortressThe Maruise of O had resided with her parents and two children since the death of her husband By all accounts she was devoted to her parents teacher to her children and enjoyed art and literature She was chaste and respectable and had decided not to marry again Imagine her surprise when Count F appeared at her father's house asking for her hand in marriage He explained that after being seriously wounded his every thought was of the lovely Maruise Reports indicated that on the battlefield and suffering from a mortal chest wound he cried out Juliette this bullet is your revengeConfirmed by both a doctor and a midwife the Maruise learned of her pregnancy It was incomprehensible to this woman of integrity By dishonoring her parents she was banished from home Gathering her wits about her the idea occurs to her of inserting a newspaper announcement inviting the father of her child to make himself knownThe Maruise of O is a novella written by Heinrich von Kleist and published in 1808 The two principal characters are the Maruise and Count F The Maruise courageously tried to unravel her mind boggling situation and reconcile with her parents Count F found that it was impossible for him to go on living without somehow cleansing his soul Could inner peace and redemption be within his reach? Will the father of the Maruise's unborn child come forward? An enjoyable readThank you Pushkin Press and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review The Maruise of O

  4. says:

    sexual assault tw It's a challenge to discuss this book originally published in 1808 in any kind of measured way in 2019 and not sound like a sociopath  Through a contemporary lens its premise is unarguably disgusting a widow finds herself pregnant having been raped while she's unconscious and puts a notice in the paper saying that she's willing to marry any man who comes forward as the father  If you can't stomach this on principle and you would certainly be forgiven stay far away  I do try my best to engage with classics on their own terms and I must admit this one leaves me somewhat baffled  While I found this to actually be curiously engaging I'm ultimately unsure of what Kleist was trying to say with it and I must concede that this probably was not the best place to start with this author with only the translator's brief introduction for context Thank you to Netgalley and Pushkin for the advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review

  5. says:

    Spoilers below What a baffling story this is It reminds me of the 'problem plays' of Shakespeare All's Well That Ends Well Measure for Measure The Taming of the Shrew even the Hero subplot of Much Ado About Nothing where women and sometimes men are wronged abused thrust out of their home andor family and yet somehow the tale orchestrates a happy ending of reconciliations and redemption In tone this reads like a fable rather than anything naturalistic and the abundance of indirect speech contributes to the slightly fairy tale air of the whole thing The translation feels adept without jarring momentsBut really the pleasure comes from pondering what Kleist is up to here is this supposed to be an allegory of the triumph of civility over barbarity? It is after all set during the Napoleonic Wars Or something about unbridled and brutal male sexuality being 'tamed' within bourgeoise conventions of the marriage contract? I'm still not sure and while it doesn't travel well in a culture of #MeToo it's a story where rape seems to be symbol rather than visceral reality And how weird that final reconciliation of father and daughter 'lying in her father's arms while he pressed long hot and hungry kisses on her mouth just like a lover' while the mother looks on secretly but approvingly 'she hesitated to interrupt the joy of this heaven sent reconciliation her house was once again enjoying'Yes baffling but intriguingThanks to Pushkin books for an ARC via NetGalley

  6. says:

    No Hell noI know there's a good reason on why the author thought that a raped woman can regain her honor by marrying the rapist as stated by Jan Maat but I just don't care

  7. says:

    Such a shame I really liked some parts of this book especially the writing style which I found kind of refreshing but then came the end and I'm not okay with the victim being forced to marry her rapist even though it might be historically accurate I just can't Also in which alternate universe would this have a happy ending?

  8. says:

    A fascinating short story; had I not read the accompanying introduction I would likely have missed the controversial ‘dash’ dubbed by some commentators ‘the most important piece of punctuation in literature’ It certainly throws a potential light upon the proceedings; the story of a mysterious pregnancy and the Maruise of O’s attempts to identify the father

  9. says:

    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 subseuent 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 Maruise 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 FestivalWritten in 1808 The Maruise 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 Maruise 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 Maruise until late in the book and provides the narrative drive for the novellaIn Kleist’s prudish times The Maruise of O— was condemned as an immoral In our #metoo present the novella is eually problematic if for different reasons It is based on an episode of rape leading to some uncomfortable uestions about the relationship between victim and perpetrator And yet it would be wrong to dismiss The Maruise of O— as an outdated misogynist work because it clearly isn’t From the theatrical cast of five – the Maruise her parents her brother and the Russian officer who wants to marry the Maruise – it is the mother and daughter who are portrayed 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 himWhat 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 narrativeIn other words The Maruise of O— is a story of its time but also one which keeps raising uestions 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 readinghttpsendsofthewordblogspotcom20

  10. says:

    This tale puzzled me It teases flirts briefly with the fairytalish fantastical tosses out a red herring in the shape of a father’s tongue on a daughter’s lips elides a rape and suggests that only presumed angels can be devils while monsters live between I didn’t uite get it even as I uickly rode its tireless narrative like a cockhorse Then its hidden psycho magma spurted up through its elided rape gooing up my cockhorse and I ground to a stop The story turned inside out becoming all dark spermy underbelly with all its characters in a dither on its upside all unconsciously riding an inadmissible cockhorse looking for a daylit stable Who raped the Maruise? She knows but refuses to know or can’t know blacked out by a devil’s cock she much prefers an angel’s codpiece In an age of codpieces actual cocks can go unseen Though she accepts the existence of monsters she clings to a life of conscious codpieced angels and ends up ostracized by the power of unconscious cocks Until the codpieces rear their inner heads and ooze fertile psycho magma upon her sunlit social scene The maruise’s father responds by welcoming her back and promptly props her on his cockhorse groping and licking her until the cocky angeldevil knocks at the door and plops the story’s prodigious underbelly flat in their faces When the puzzling louring cock shaped sperm clouds finally clear they all live happily ever after and I see the story for what it is

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