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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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A terrific read from the 19th century, well worth the few hours it takes to get through it. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. The concept is ridiculous. 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. In he was received as a pastor. Many Christians myself included have lost the ability to fear God because they have grown weary of the petty, prudish provincialism of a segment of the religiously-minded who refuses to listen to Reason.

I cheered for the spider as it decimated the village! Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. The christening that we witnessed was a reverent and joyful event.

Here it becomes clear that this is not the kind of fairy tale one might find among the stories of the Brothers Grimm, but a conspicuously Christian parable about the fate of the human soul. The Black Spider – Canada.

Blacl more about Amazon Prime. When the magical green man the devil offers a temporary fix to their imminent death from overwork, aristocratic caprice or starvation, they think it over and wonder if they should accept his offer to deliver the beeches in the time specified by the wicked lord. It does not go well.

The beginning offered little guidance. The novella also gives us a nice feeling for what life must have been like for the midth century rural Swiss folk, and Gotthelf’s word pictures of the village, the foods at the christening, and the bucolic scenery blac quite vivid.


A combination of fairy tale, horror story and religious allegory The Black Spider is interesting and absorbing.

We publish fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, interviews, and art. At her inquiry, the grandfather tells everyone the story of the post. After some hesitation, he answers by telling them blacj story of the black spider. Although its author might have considered it an essentially religious work, contemporary readers can enjoy it on a secular level and appreciate its literary merits without accepting its theological conclusions.

Lovecraft, of cosmic horror. His serfs suffer under his torments without relief.

The Black Spider | Literary Hub

Jessica Michalofsky lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Clearly this is secondary to the religious allegory on show here, but it adds a fascinating extra layer to the story. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. During a christe This novella took me four days to read, which makes no sense because it really is not that long. Add both to Cart Add both to List. Yes, eventually the satanic presence is bested — and yes, that black window post has something to do with it — but the carnage before then is dreadful.

A black mark appears on her face, which grew into the shape of a black spider. It seems at first that these two tales are where the horror resides, but what is most chilling is how the stories themselves grisly and terrifying shed new light on the framing story of the baptism of the child, spreading, as if by contagion, a pall of fear and doubt onto what has previously been read as the splendor of a sacred day.

It tells a simple compelling story of how the devil, in the form of a large lethal spider, was allowed to prey upon a peaceful community, twice: He does something only the best horror writers, and the best preachers, can do: He pays for this service with his life, but he dies in “God’s Peace”. Manuel, in the Berlin edition of Bitzius’s works Berlin,and by J.

Just look at the Bible: But though Old Scratch came through royally on his end of the bargain, the townsfolk tried to evade their obligation, with the result that a spider-shaped welt soon began to grow on Christine’s cheek, which eventually erupted and poured forth plague-carrying spiders around the countryside!


It purported to be the life of Jeremias Gotthelf, narrated by himself, and this name was later adopted by the author as his pen name. Inside in the big, clean kitchen a huge fire of pine wood was crackling; in a big pan could be heard the popping of coffee beans which a stately-looking woman was stirring around with a wooden ladle, while nearby the coffee mill was grinding between the knees of a freshly washed maid….

However, over time, many returned to their godless behavior. For this reason, these desperate believers cling tenaciously to God and refute science because, in their mind, to accept scientific fact would be to destroy their belief in God. And although I rarely find blurbs to be helpful, I was further intrigued by the Thomas Mann quote printed on the back cover: In the second instance, there is no such thing as overwriting, as demonstrated by the quote above.

Thereby hangs a tale, one that, as the wise old grandfather who has lived all his life in the house proceeds to tell it, takes one chilling turn after another, while his audience listens in appalled silence.

Die schwarze Spinne

This is a quietly sinister book in more ways than the obvious ones. Finally Christen who is browbeaten by his overbearing wife and mother captures the gorthelf again, and dies from its bite. The story is characterized by its complex narrative structure, its conservative Christian motifs and symbolism, and its precise descriptions of the social dynamics of the village.