September 15, 2020

Nov 7, In Jeremias Gotthelf’s 19th century gothic horror story The Black Spider, newly translated by Susan Bernofsky, a young woman makes a pact. Apr 5, The Black Spider. by Jeremias Gotthelf. Translated by Susan Bernofsky. NYRB Classics, I picked up The Black Spider because of its. And yet, there it is, Jeremias Gotthelf’s “The Black Spider” (or, as it was titled in its original German, “Die schwarze Spinne”), holding pride of place in Jones.

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However, to those of a critical and questioning turn of mind, the unintentional exposure of the logical craziness and incoherence behind the theology is screamingly apparent.

The Black Spider | Literary Hub

It was first published in German inand was written by a Swiss pastor. As a child I’ve been told that these spiders are venomous, something which Gotthelf also mentions here.

He was a founding member of the Student Society Zofingia, the s He was born at Murten, where his father was pastor. It does not go well. The Times of London. It’s striking then that when this nineteenth-century villager is telling a story about the bad old days, he looks all the way back to when this little area was still a commandery of the Teutonic Knights, when the villagers had to bow their heads to the lord of Sumiswald Castle.

Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. He gives the villagers one month to accomplish the beech planting or else. Open Preview See a Problem?

Kimberly Dark Swinging Modern Sounds It is written like the rest of his works in German, but contains expressions from the Bernese dialect of the Emmental, though Bitzius was not like Auerbach a peasant by birth, but belonged to the educated classes, so that he reproduces what he had seen and learnt, and not what he had himself personally experienced.


Customers who viewed this item also viewed. The Black Spider reads like a cross between a fable and a book from the Old Testament. All celebration ceased, and everyone ran outside to look to the animals, whose bellowing resounded over mountain and valley, but they did not know what to do. Above the mountains rose the sun, shining in limpid majesty down into a welcome but narrow valley, where it woke to joyous life creatures that had been created to take pleasure in the sunshine of their days.

The sense of dread established in this scene becomes even more intense in the pages that follow. It was, I imagine, the type of book that church pastors secretly adored but outwardly shunned for its macabre themes.

The Black Spider

The novella’s depictions of a town led astray in difficult times by a headstrong leader and the morality of collective guilt, gave it renewed relevance in the post-World War II era. The story is fairly short only pages and doesn’t go out of its way to classify itself. We have sympathetic people with sympathetic desires put into a situation which is so impossible that it’s almost understandable that they could make the deal—if the villagers can’t complete the lord’s task and get back to harvest their fields, the whole village will perish, so maybe it makes sense to sacrifice one child.

The fire is going. Again, back to that Christian allegory–which makes sense, Gotthelf was a minister and perhaps his work was an extension of his sermons on evil forces and guilt.

What a fantastic little Halloween read. But however mechanistic its plot, the framing device of the fiction held my attention all the way thro I’m tempted to say that the best thing about The Black Spider is its cover in the new NYRB edition. Articles containing German-language text All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from April Wikipedia articles with GND identifiers.


He has set the reader up for a multi-layered morality tale that loosely bases itself on pre-modern folk interpretations of the causes of the plague. Lovecraft and “may very well be one of the first works of weird fiction ever written. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Share your thoughts with other customers.

Even the babies die. With its monstrous black spider an obvious stand-in for the Devil himself, the book’s central portion i. Was it a fairy tale? Some of the best fire-and-brimstone preachers in history have capitalized on this fact. However, we know that he was also a progressive by contemporary standards – interested in welfare issues – so there is an ambiguity in the tale.

Why is this happening to me? It IS a folk tale.

The Black Spider – Jeremias Gotthelf

The people in this story are God-fearing enough to know that, but circumstances being what they were, shit happened. For the film, see The Black Spider film. The first quarter of the book roughly 25 pages gives the reader a detailed account of the christening party and the various personages in attendance, but things get serious when the grandfather tells a story to explain the strange window post that jars so inharmoniously in one wall.

A terrific read from the 19th century, well worth the few hours jeremiass takes to get through it.

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