100 Poems without a Country

    By Erich Fried

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    Erich Fried here writes about politics, people, poetry and his own observations of the world. This reprint of his poems, originally published in 1978, was the first collection to appear in English, despite a reputation as one of the major German-language poets of the twentieth century. This volume w…

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    Dearest Father

    By Franz Kafka

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    In this open letter to his father – a letter which was never sent – Kafka tries to come to terms with one of the most deeply rooted obsessions of his troubled soul. Written as a long, tense and dramatic confession in which writer and man are gathered together in front of an ambivalent figure of auth…

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    The Devil’s Elixirs

    By E.T.A. Hoffmann

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    The son of a heinous sinner, Medardus is brought up in a monastery to atone for his father’s wicked ways. However, after succumbing to temptation, Medardus himself is lured into a life of sin. A labyrinthine plot sees him embarking on a fantastical journey into the world, meeting his doppelganger, i…

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    The Trial

    By Franz Kafka

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    On his thirtieth birthday, the bank clerk Josef K. is suddenly arrested by mysterious agents for an unspecified crime. He is told that he will be set free, but must make regular appearances at a court in the attic of a tenement building while his trial proceeds. Although he never comes to know the p…

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    Wilhelm Meister

    By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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    Seduced by the chimerical world of the theatre and taking upon himself the grand ambition of becoming a successful performer and dramatist, the merchant’s son Wilhelm Meister embarks on a tumultuous quest of self-discovery. Along his path he finds himself having to negotiate love, desire and the nee…

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    The Sorrows of Young Werther

    By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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    Presented as a collection of confessional letters written by the eponymous protagonist, The Sorrows of Young Werther charts the emotional journey of a young man who, during a stay in a picturesque German village, falls in love with Lotte, a local woman engaged to another man. As he realizes that his…

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    The Sandman

    By E.T.A. Hoffmann

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    Nathanael remains haunted by his childhood fear that the lawyer Coppelius, a strange night-time visitor who used to come to his house to conduct alchemical experiments with his father – the latter dying as a consequence of one of these sessions – was none other than the Sandman, a mythical figure wh…

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    The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

    By Franz Kafka

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    When the young salesman Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning transformed into a monstrous insect, his shock and incomprehension are coupled with the panic of being late for work and having to reveal his appearance to family and colleagues. Although over the following weeks he gradually becomes used to…

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    The Lulu Plays

    By Frank Wedekind

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    Two of Wedekind’s most seminal plays, Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box both focus on the actions of the young heroine Lulu, who embodies both animal sensuality and waif-like innocence, as she escapes a life on the streets, receives a society education, marries, takes on various lovers, becomes a dance…

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    The King’s Bride

    By E.T.A. Hoffmann

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    Happily engaged to the poet Amandus, Fräulein Anna is horrified to discover that a beautiful ring, mysteriously deposited upon her finger whilst tending her kitchen garden, forces her into marriage with the gnome Corduanspitz. Can Anna find any way of removing the ring? Will her poet lover shake off…

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    The Jew’s Beech

    By Annette von Droste Hülshoff

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    Based on a true story, The Jew’s Beech centres on two brutal murders in rural Westphalia – the first of a local forester and the second of a Jewish moneylender near a beech tree – and the impact these events have on the life of Friedrich Mergel, a local herdsman with a turbulent family history. A pr…

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    The Confusions of Young Master Törless

    By Robert Musil

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    Musil’s limpid, psychological evocation of adolescent sexuality and its often sadistic eroticism which anticipates the carnage of both World Wars. As the nineteenth century draws to an end, young Törless is sent to a military boarding school for the sons of the nobility on the eastern outreaches of…

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