Michael Kohlhaas (Paperback)

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"You can send me to the scaffold, but I can make you suffer, and I mean to."

Based on actual historic events, this thrilling saga of violence and retribution bridged the gap between medieval and modern literature, and speaks so profoundly to the contemporary spirit that it has been the basis of numerous plays, movies, and novels.

It has become, in fact, a classic tale: that of the honorable man forced to take the law into his own hands. In this incendiary prototype, a minor tax dispute intensifies explosively, until the eponymous hero finds the forces of an entire kingdom, and even the great Martin Luther, gathered against him. But soon even Luther comes to echo the growing army of peasants asking, Isn’t Kohlhaas right?

Widely acknowledged as one of the masterworks of German literature, Michael Kohlhaas is also one of the most stirring tales ever written of the quest for justice.

The Art of The Novella Series

Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.

About the Author

Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) ist ein grosser deutscher Erzahler und Dramatiker, der sich ausserhalb der literarischen Stromungen seiner Zeit bewegte. Er brach mit den Konventionen seines Standes und fuhrte ein rastloses Leben. In seiner Tragodie der Verstrickung beschreibt er Menschen, die ohne jegliche Sicherheiten existieren. Radikal und sprachlich versiert fuhren seine Werke in die Abgrunde der menschlichen Seele. Dabei lotet er die Konflikte seiner Zeit aus. Finanziell ruiniert und zutiefst verzweifelt, nahm er sich gemeinsam mit der todkranken Henriette Vogel am 21. November 1811 das Leben. Michael Kohlhaas und Die Marquise von O... sind die bekanntesten seiner acht Erzahlungen. Kleist vollendete sieben Dramen, zu denen Der zerbrochne Krug, Amphitryon, Das Katchen von Heilbronn und Prinz Friedrich von Homburg gehoren.

Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) was virtually forgotten until the beginning of the twentieth century, when Rilke, Kafka, and Thomas Mann hailed him as a master of German prose and European dramatic literature. During Kleist's lifetime, Goethe, sensing in the younger man his greatest rival, carefully withheld from him the endorsement that would have established his reputation. At the age of thirty-four, impoverished and in debt, despairing of the literary honor he had hoped to gain for his family, Kleist consummated a suicide pact with an incurably ill married woman. Ironically, the spectacular circumstances of his death helped to rescue his oeuvre--primarily eight stories and eight plays--from oblivion.

Martin H. Greenberg is one of the most prolific anthologists in publishing history and a recipient of the Ellery Queen Award for life achievement in editing from the Mystery Guild of America. He lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Praise For…

"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

"Small wonders."
Time Out London

"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer

"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
The New Yorker

"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)

"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
The Wall Street Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9780976140726
ISBN-10: 0976140721
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication Date: May 2005
Pages: 133
Language: English