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Return to Book Page. Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte by Adelbert von Chamisso. Get A Copy. Paperback , 96 pages. Published January 28th by Philipp Reclam jun. Verlag first published More Details Original Title. Peter Schlemihl. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte , please sign up.
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A novella really a long short story that is an old European fable. The main character is a young man who sells his shadow to the Devil for a pouch that produces endless gold coins. But he finds that without a shadow, he is shunned -- an outcast. Women run from him; kids throw stones. His only friend becomes a faithful servant. Two women he loves reject him. The devil reappears and wants to trade his shadow back to him for his soul.
This time the man rejects the offer. He becomes a loner; a nat A novella really a long short story that is an old European fable. The book was written in , 15 years after the French Revolution. He intended the book as a fairy tale for children. The book jacket tells us that the story was a precursor to works like those of Poe and Kafka.
And then I learned to respect this necessity in and of itself as the wise and providential force that holds sway over the whole grand scheme of things, the machinery in which we are but inconsequential cogs, driven and driving through no will of our own; what must be must be, and what had to happen happened, and all is governed by that providential force that I finally learned to honor as the master of my destiny and the destiny of those who crossed my path.
I stumbled across it at a library book sale. There are amazing coincidences that modern authors would not get a way with. And the fable of selling your soul combined with the fable of the boots seems contrived. But — this may have been ground-breaking originality back in ! View all 8 comments. It began well, but ended in a vague way. I think the inclusion of the autobiographical details at the fair end of the novella spoiled the story.
At least for me. Otherwise it is a simple moral story told in an interesting manner. It is a moral story but it is not too moralistic. It is not preachy. Never trade your human worth for the money. The wealth, especially the ill attained wealth is equated with Satan in many places. It is t It began well, but ended in a vague way. It is through the wealth that the Satan gains access to your soul.
Be honest and when you have failed be ready to repent even when it is difficult. The life will turn out well. Always listen to your heart's warnings. Treasure the exhortations of your conscience. View all 5 comments. Shelves: digibib , in-the-mystic-garden. This is an engaging novella from the time of German romanticism pub. Luckily, for us, Chamisso ignores the request and passes the story on to his author friends Julius This is an engaging novella from the time of German romanticism pub.
After a long and arduous journey by sea, Peter Schlemihl arrives in the city and meets a rich entrepreneur. From now on he is infinitely rich, but without shadow and his life will soon turn out to be miserable.
The prose is rather typical for the time I would say. Big love comes and goes, hearts get broken, rage is raging, tears are flowing endlessly. Chamisso also adds a lot of humor to his book for the reader, not necessarily for his characters. The story of Peter Schlehmil became quite popular, and the character reappeared in several other works by other writers: E. Hans Christian Andersen adopted the motive of the lost shadow in one of his fairy tales. And there were songs and poems and even an opera about Schlemihl.
Thanks to Czarny for the heads-up! Apr 23, Ivana Books Are Magic rated it really liked it. What a wonderful tale! Written by a writer from a German Romantic period, it captures the tone of the era beautifully. I must admit that I wasn't familiar with this writer before, despite my interest in this literary period. Adelbert Von Chamisso was a French nobleman by birth, but his family fled to Germany because of the French Revolution so he basically grew up in present day Germany.
Von Chamisso was shortly an officer in Prussian army, a position he detested and compared it to selling one's What a wonderful tale! Von Chamisso was shortly an officer in Prussian army, a position he detested and compared it to selling one's soul for money. Von Chamisso's difficult social position a French noble by birth, writing his works in German when Prussia was at war with France didn't make it easy for him to gain acknowledgement as a writer.
However, if this book is any judge, Von Chamisso was a brilliant writer. Originally written for children, this Romantic novella is easy to read but it leaves enough food for the thought.
It's filled with wonderful subtle irony and humour. A very rewarding read! It tells a story of young Peter, who being a penniless fellow falls under temptation to sell his shadow to a man in a grey suit.
Despite the fact that the man gives him the creeps, Peter can't resist him because what he offers is- an endless source of gold. However, soon Peter regrets his decision bitterly. People turn from Peter in horror, the crowds abuse him in the streets, and he is forced to run for his life and live a life of seclusion. What is a man to do without his shadow? Von Chamisso social critique is masterfully accomplished in this novella. He shows how materialistic our human society truly is.
It is more than a simple children's story for sure. Some say that Von Chamisso used shadow as a metaphor for one's country he was a man without a country , but whether that is true or not, what is certain is that he wrote an excellent tale.
Supposedly, Von Chamisso himself valued his poems more than this novella.
Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte
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