And yet, there it is, Jeremias Gotthelf’s “The Black Spider” (or, as it was titled in its original German, “Die schwarze Spinne”), holding pride of place in Jones. The Black Spider. by Jeremias Gotthelf. Translated by Susan Bernofsky. NYRB Classics, I picked up The Black Spider because of its. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf.

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One theme that emerges from Swiss history is the idea of different communities banding together to form self-governing political units, without the feudal overlordship that was the norm everywhere else in Europe.

Next Article Hunter S. And although I rarely find blurbs to be helpful, I was further intrigued by the Thomas Mann quote printed on the back cover: Return to Book Page. Created by Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature. Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers By: To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Susan Bernofsky’s Blog on Literary Translation. I have a general rule that, once I have started to read a book, I must continue with it to the end before I can claim the right to comment on it.

This part of the story is wonderfully gothic and sinister, and I think the fact that it is framed within the initial charming pastoral scene makes it all the more effective.

The Black Spider

Henceforth Bitzius was a prolific writer, and in the last 18 years of his life became one of the important novelists not only of Switzerland but of the German language in general.

People are waiting for food. There is also a headstrong female, one of the wives who thinks she can trick the devil. Unless you aren’t squeed out by spiders, of course, but then that makes you untrustworthy because how can you not be a bit icked out by a spider, or even the thought of a spider on someone’s face. During a christening party, someone points out a black post in this otherwise newly built building.


However, soon deadly spiders are added to the peasants’ woes, crawling out of Christine. But it’s all good!

I cheered for the spider as it decimated the village! A black mark appears on her face, which grew into the shape of a black spider. On the day of the birth, Christine tried to steal the infant so she could sacrifice him to the devil. In less-busy days, it’s the sort of thing I should have been able to polish off in one sitting, but life has not been that great to me lately, so it took a bit longer than necessary.

The Black Spider – Wikipedia

It was a short, well-translated story. The quaint,charming village of Emmental,reminded me of the atmosphere in Haneke’s The White Ribbon in that how the diabolical is always bubbling below the surface gktthelf.

But really, if you’re okay with spiders crawling on your face, then I can’t trust you. The Black Spider can be seen as a parable of evil in the heart or of evil at large in society Thomas Mann saw it as foretelling the advent of Nazismor as a vision, anticipating H. I’d always considered spiders overrated as a symbol of evil, although this might be because I’m from a place so cold that the poisonous ones don’t survive. Facebook Google Twitter Print Email. The contrast with the framing story is also nicely done and effective.

The spider in her face swelled up higher than ever, sending fiery barbs through her very bones.

Die schwarze Spinne

While both sides would blsck to claim possession of the Absolute Truth, the real truth is: Right conduct is cemented by a horror story thhe provides the space in which right-minded persons like Pastor Bitzius can do their stuff.

The constantly partying Knight, who was the true source of evil, is not tortured. What does god or the devil care about justice? When the magical green man the devil offers a temporary fix to their imminent death from overwork, aristocratic caprice or starvation, they think it over and wonder if they should accept his offer to deliver the beeches in the time specified by the wicked lord.


Then again, horror stories have always been some of the most moralistic and meremias pedantic stories. While rather bombastic, this review written in pretty much sums up some of my issues with religion, faith, and belief.

Seriously, it was in every other sentence for two pages. I am fascinated and horrified by the thought that, somewhere out there, great cosmic bogeymen float in the ether, and we gotthelff merely dust particles to them.

And as a result, I think, I had trouble balck with the story. Accountability, the primary structural support of deiphobia, has lost its sting in this world and, thusly, people have less and less to fear from God. As payment, he wanted an unbaptized child. These spiders are however completely harmless.

Gotthelf was a pastor: Published for spooooky month! At this dire moment, the Devilin the form of a wild hunter, offered his assistance with the replanting.

thw Featuring a cruelly overbearing lord of the manor and the oppressed villagers who must render him service, an irreverent young woman who will stop at nothing, a mysterious stranger with a red beard and a green hat, and, last but not least, the black spider.

In many ways, The Black Spider is quite a simple religious allegorical tale, but it does have some genuinely terrifying and horrific moments.