Heinrich von Kleist: Die Marquise von O ... [The Countess of O ...]

(2177 words)
  • William C. Reeve (Queen's University at Kingston Ontario)

Characteristic of an author famous for paradoxical scenarios, Kleist’s novella “Die Marquise von O…” [“The Marquise of O…”] commences with an arresting, contradictory announcement: “In M…, an important city in upper Italy, the widowed Marquise von O…, a lady of excellent reputation and the mother of several well-raised children, let it be known through the newspapers that without her knowledge she had become expectant, that the father of the child to whom she would give birth should declare himself and that she, out of family considerations, was resolved to marry him”. This opening anticipates Goethe’s definition (1827) of the Novelle (novella) as “an unheard of event that took place”. Reminiscent of …

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Reeve, William C.. "Die Marquise von O ...". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 February 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13113, accessed 27 September 2016.]