Ludwig Achim Von Arnim's Novellas of 1812 Isabella of Egypt; Melück Maria Blainville; the Three Loving Sisters and the Lucky Dyer; Angelika the Genoese and Cosmus the Tightrope-Walker
Ludwig Achim von Arnim (1781-1831) is one of German Romanticism's most important writers. Only one of Arnim's short stories (The Mad Invalid at Fort Rattoneau) has previously been translated into English. In 1812, he published this group of four novellas. All are interesting, both inherently and historically, but Isabella, the longest of the four, has become a major canonical work. Still read today, it is also often cited in studies of Romanticism and in scholarly works about folklore. The Surrealists were particularly taken with it, and André Breton translated it into French. Czech, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish versions have appeared in recent decades, but this is the first complete translation into English.
". . . as Duncan points out in his excellent 11-page biographical and critical introduction, Arnim's configural style involves 'interpenetrating planes' of narrative and symbolical reference. . . .today's more sophisticated reader should find the candid crossectional disarray within Arnim's 'writer's workshop' extremely revealing and provocative - which is why the present collection of excellently-translated novellas is so welcome as the first reproduction in English of an entire original cluster of Arnim stories. . . . Where needed for clarity, Duncan has provided footnotes within the translated texts explaining such biographical or historical allusions." - Roland Hoermann
"I am sure that Bruce Duncan's edition will be valuable for courses in German Romanticism since it will provide narratives that are not only complex in their metaphorical structure but also in their narrative texture. . . . He does not provide the romaticized biographical account usually found in anthologies; rather, he gives a realistic and authentic picture of the life and work of the poet. . . . The translator also places the novellas in their cultural context. . . .will be a welcome addition to the available translations of German romantic writers. . ." - Roswitha Burwick
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