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 29, 2015

"Leporella" by Stefan Zweig. 1929

German Literature Month V has only a few days left.  I have greatly enjoyed participating in this wonderful event. I commend and thank the hosts for their hard work.  There are lots of wonderful edifying posts by event participants.  

I am debating with Ambrosia as  whether or not we will host a party this year.  

Works I Have So Far Read for G L V

1.  Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. A brilliant recreation of life in Nazi Germany. 

2.  Ostend, Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth and the Summer Before the End by Volker Weidermann. A fascinating social history 

3.  Buddenbrook Ths Decline of a Family by Thomas Mann.  Must reading 

4.  "The Governess" by Stefan Zweig

5.  Demian:  The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth by Herman Hesse.  Read the major works first.

6.  The Tanners by Robert Walser. a serious work of art

7. The Hotel Years Wandering Between the Wars by Joseph Hoffman, a brilliant collection of feuilletons translated and introduced by Michael Hoffman

8.  "The Dandelioln" by Wolfgang Borchert. 

9.   "The Foundling" by Heinrich Von Kleist

10.  "A Conversation Concerning Legs" by Alfred Lichenstein 

11.  A Homage to Paul Celan

12.  "The Criminal" by Veza Canetti 

13.  Rebellion by Joseph Roth. Between the wars

14.  The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch - an amazing work of art

15.  The Artificial Silk Girl by Irmgard Keun.  Sex and the City redone in the Weimer Republic  

16.  Wolf Among Wolves by Hans Fallada.  A panoramic view of the Weimer Republic 

17.  Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig

18.  Fear by Stefan Zweig

19.  "Mendel the Bibliophile" by Stefan Zweig.

20.  "Oh Happy Eyes" by Ingeborg Bachman - no post

21.  Joseph Roth. Three Short stories published in Vienna Tales no post

Today is the last day of German Literature Month V.  The event really motivated me to read some great literature.  I will do a close out post probably tommorow but I offer my great gratitude to the Hosts for their hard work and support.  Without this event I might never have read Joseph Roth, Stefan Zweig, Gregor Von Rizzori, Herman Broch, Irmgard Bachman, Thomas Bernhard, Robert Walser, Heinrich Von Kleist or Gunter Grass.  

Stefan Zweig is one of my favorite authors.  Sometimes he may be melodramatic but he can tell a great story and has tremendous cultural depth.  He is entertaining, not for nothing was he once the most translated German language writer.

"Leporella" is a dramatic gripping story with no redeeming characters.  The center piece of the story is a mentally challenged woman who works as helper in the house of a Baron.  The Baron married his wife for her money, once married he resumed the ways of a dissolute playboy bachelor.  He was so uninterested in his wife the marriage was never consummated.  The wife is bitter over how she is treated, she tries to get back at her husband by withholding money from him but he gets around this.  One day one of his temporary loves, a young opera student refers to the helper as his "Leporella", a reference to a lover of Don Giovanni in the Mozart Opera and soon he starts to call her that.  She falls in love with the Baron when he gives her a trivial gift and even begins to procure girls for him.  I found that aspect of the story especially fascinating.  It was as if Leporella was vicariously having sex with the Baron.  She is presented as completely without sexual qualities, fit just to work.  Needless to say this does not work out well!

I don't want to spoil the fun of the plot other than to say there are several fascinating turns of events.  This is a look at a bitter world.  I greatlye givex  enjoyed this story.  As far as I know non German speakers cannot read it outside of The Collected Short Stories of Stefan Zweig published by Pushkin Press.

Mel ü

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