Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"The Governess" by Stefan Zweig (1927)

A Story of the End of Innocence for two Young Girls

My favorite works by Zweig are first "Mendel the Bibliophile"then Chess, and The Post Office Girl

There are still several days left in German Literature Month IV.  Lots of time left to participate. There are already over a hundred posts, reading through them is much like a fine class in German literature at a top academy.

The schedule and guidelines for participation are on the event webpage.  Just reading the  posts of all the other participants is tremendously informative. There is an interesting contest or two and some prizes to be won.  One of the tasks participants are charged with is reading a work first published in 2014 and this collection qualifies.  

I am very happy to be once again participating in German Literature Month, hosted by Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Lizzy of Lizzy's Literary Life.   Events like this are one of the great things about being part of the international book blog community.  I know there is a lot of work that goes into a month long event and I offer my thanks to Lizzy and Caroline

Works I have so far read for German Literature Month 2014

1.   Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

2.   Gertrude by Hermann Hesse 

3.  "Diary of a School Boy" by Robert Walser (no post)

4.  Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse

5.  Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig 1925

6.  Life Goes On by Hans Keilson

7.  Comedy in a Minor Key by Hans Keilson

8.  "The Wall" by Jurek Becker

9.  "Romeo" by Jurek Becker

10.   "The Invisible City" by Jurek Becker.

11.  Wittgenstein's Nephew by Thomas Bernhard

12. "Dostoevsky's Idiot" by Robert Walser

13.  "French Newspapers" by Robert Wasler 

14.  Jakob the Lier by Jurek Becker

15.  The Trial by Franz Kafka 1915,

16.  "The Seamstress" by Rainer Maria Rilke  1894

17.  "The Experiement or the Victory of Children" by Unica Zürn 1950

18.  "The Star Above the Forest" by Stefan Zweig. 1924

19.  "Saint Cecilia or the Power of Music" by Heinrich von Kleist 1810

20.  Amok by Stefan Zweig 1923

21.  Concrete 1982

22.  "Kleist in Thun" by Robert Walser 1913

23.  "Incident at Lake Geneva" by Stefan Zweig (1924)

24.  "The Governess" by Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig is, among numerous other gifts, a wonderful story teller.  "The Governess" is an excellant, probably risqué for the time it was published, story about what happens when two near adolescent girls listen at a closed door when their governess talks to Otto.  It is a very insightful look at how being raised partially by servants impacts children's relationships to their parents.

The girls have noticed that their governess has been distracted, not her happy self as of late.  They wonder if she could be in love.  They are shocked when,listening through the door, they hear their governness ask Otto, "What will we do with the baby?".  The girls think it must mean she has a baby, but they reason how can that be as only married ladies like their mother can have a baby.  Soon they see adults as liers and deceivers.  They ease drop as their mother, with whom they don't seem very close, cruelly fire the governness, calling her a woman of low morals not fit to be around her daughters.

Their father became very hateful to the governness.  They had never before seen this side of him.  No one will give the girls the truth. Their own behavior changes, they become deceitful in small ways, untrusting of adults.

There is sense of expulsion from Eden, lost paradises, often false Utopias, in much of Zweig's work.

A decent enough story.

Mel von ü

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