By Heinrich von Kleist
Translated by Michael Hofmann
“Our sort is nothing compared to Kleist.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
“Sometimes you find a brother, and you instantly know that you are no longer alone. I experienced this with Kleist.” — Werner Herzog
“Kleist’s two abiding concerns, politics and metaphysics, come together powerfully in Michael Kohlhaas, his longest and best-known narrative, which now appears in a lively new translation by Michael Hofmann.” — Ratik Asokan, Bookforum
“Kleist is a giant, Cervantes's heir, and a one-man avant-garde of the modern German novel.” — The Guardian
An extraordinary masterpiece of German literature, now in a gripping new English translation.
Michael Kohlhaas has been wronged. First his finest horses were unfairly confiscated and mistreated. And things keep going worse—his servants have been beaten, his wife killed, and the lawsuits he pursues are stymied—but Kohlhaas, determined to find justice at all costs, tirelessly persists. Standing up against the bureaucratic machine of the empire, Kohlhaas becomes an indomitable figure that you can’t help rooting for from start to finish.
Knotty, darkly comical, magnificent in its weirdness, and one of the greatest and most influential tales in German literature, this short novel, first published in German in 1810, is now available in award-winning Michael Hofmann’s sparkling new English translation.
New Directions, 2020
Originally published in 1810
5.2 x 0.4 x 8.1 inches