It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Set in the 23rd century, 'The Glass Bead Game' is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, which he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi.
From 'The Marquis of O--', in which a woman is made pregnant without her knowledge, to the vivid and inexplicable suffering portrayed in 'The Earthquake in Chile', his stories are those of a man swimming against the tide of the German Enlightenment, unable to believe in the idealistic humanism of his day, and who sees human nature as irrational, ambiguous and baffling.
This selection of Hoffmann's finest short stories vividly demonstrates his intense imagination and preoccupation with the supernatural, placing him at the forefront of both surrealism and the modern horror genre. Suspense dominates tales such as "Mademoiselle de Scudery", in which an apprentice goldsmith and a female novelist find themselves caught up in a series of jewel thefts and murders.
Goethe’s Faust reworks the late medieval myth of a brilliant scholar so disillusioned he resolves to make a contract with Mephistopheles. The devil will do all he asks on Earth and seeks to grant him a moment in life so glorious that he will wish it to last forever. But if Faust does bid the moment stay, he falls to Mephisto and must serve him after death.
Widely considered one of the great dramatic creations of the modern stage, "Mother Courage and Her Children" is Bertolt Brecht's most passionate and profound statement against war. Set in the seventeenth century, the play follows Anna Fierling -- "Mother Courage" -- an itinerant trader, as she pulls her wagon of wares and her children through the blood and carnage of Europe's religious wars.
In this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Mann uses a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, a community devoted exclusively to sickness, as a microcosm for Europe, which in the years before 1914 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality. The Magic Mountain is a monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual ferment, a book that pulses with life in the midst of death.
Fontane's enchanting seventeen-year-old heroine, Effi, is married off to Geert von Innstetten, an austere, workaholic civil servant twice her age. Set in Bismarck's Germany, this luminous and moving tale of a socially suitable but emotionally disastrous match, shifts from childhood idyll in Brandenburg, to a remote Baltic port and back to Imperial Berlin.
The story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. A harrowing -- though absurdly comic -- meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation.
Left unfinished by Kafka in 1922 and not published until 1926, two years after his death, The Castle is the haunting tale of K.’s relentless, unavailing struggle with an inscrutable authority in order to gain access to the Castle.
The action of The Visit takes place in the small town of Guellen, "somewhere in Central Europe." An elderly millionairesse, Claire Zachanassian, returns to Guellen, her home town, after an absence of many years. Merely on the promise of her millions, she shortly turns what has been a depressed area into a boom town.