Title: The Marquise of O
Author: Heinrich Von Kleist
Length: 30 pages
Source: public library
Reason for Reading: Years of Books Goal
Best summary of this story is the first sentence of the story.
“In M., an important town in northern Italy, the widowed Marquise of O., a lady of excellent reputation and the mother of two well-brought-up children, announced in the newspaper: that she had, without knowing it, become pregnant, and would the father of the child she was to bear kindly declare himself since she was resolved, out of consideration for her family, to marry him.”
I think the first sentence is really comical. It spells disaster. Basically, the widowed Marquise of O, after a battle at her father’s estate, finds herself pregnant. Fearing banishment, she resolves to find the man responsible and marry him, making an honest man of him. I think the thing that interested me most was the Marquise as a representation of women during Napoleonic Europe. I mean, she became pregnant, inevitable through rape, but it is her responsibility to find the man and mary him to save herself from society’s scorn. In today’s world, that is totally not how the situation would pan out.