Six German Romantic Tales

This selection of short fiction embodying some dominant concerns of German Romanticism takes the reader into a world of strange potency and inner logic.

Ludwig Tieck gives a fairy-tale form to horror stories that delve darkly into the unconscious. Eckbert the Fair is a compelling study in paranoia and retribution; The Runenberg a story of the mind-destroying power of Nature. In Kleist’s The Betrothal on Santo Domingo, conflict and persecution during the slave revolt of 1803 on Haiti symbolise a world-view in which evil seems destined to prevail over good. The Earthquake in Chile, despite its brevity perhaps the most epic of all Kleist’s stories, presents an extraordinary pile-up of cataclysmic events, at the high-point of which the horror is turned on its head.

E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Jesuit Chapel in G. and Don Giovanni, the latter containing a celebrated and influential interpretation of Mozart’s opera, show the conflict between art and life and the Romantic vision of the artistic vocation.


This volume of new translations contains several works which, though highly characteristic of their authors, are not readily available elsewhere in English.

‘All the varieties of the German Romantic movement are here: magical, musical, political and aesthetic.’ – Stephen Plaice, Times Literary Supplement

‘These tales are not only fascinating in themselves, and for the insight they give into the Romantic imagination, but are also essential reading for anyone interested in the development of the German Novelle.’ – Michael Hulse, London Magazine