German short stories began in the late 18th century as brief, beautifully written moral fables. In the following century, style evolved toward realism in parallel with that of other European literature. From the lofty idealism of Goethe to the searing verisimilitude of Mann, German writers of all styles have left us some of the most arresting profiles of the human condition ever conceived. Roiled by gigantic undercurrents of history and blessed with a multiplicity of great poets, thinkers, and artists, the German speaking lands have provided extraordinarily rich soil for literature.
Selections in Volume I:
The Attorney by Goethe
A beautiful young girl discovers an inner awareness during her husband's lengthy absence.
The Sport of Destiny by Friedrich Schiller
A young man comes into the possession of power and its insidious influence.
The Hussar, Kannitverstan, Unexpected Reunion by Johann Peter Hebel
Three timeless fables that explore the spiritual dimension of mankind with gentle humor, wry drama, and poignant love.
Bassompierre by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
In 16th century Paris, a dashing French soldier pursues a romantic affair in a time of plague.
The Bachelor by Arthur Schnitzler
At the death bed of their comrade, three friends find a disconcerting letter that reveals intimate details about their wives.
Little Herr Friedemann by Thomas Mann
This tale of unrequited love and cruel rejection ranks among the world's great masterpieces of psychological pathos.
The Enchanted Cabinet by Friedo Lampe
A whimsical romp through a German seaside resort complete with burglar, magician, detective, damsel in distress, and hero.