The Nightwatches of Bonaventura

The Nightwatches of Bonaventura

By: Bonaventura (author), Gerald Gillespie (translator)Paperback

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First published in German in 1804, under the nom de plume "Bonaventura," The Nightwatches of Bonaventura is a dark, twisted, and comic novel, one part Poe and one part Beckett. The narrator and anti-hero is not Bonaventura, but a night watchman named Kreuzgang, a failed poet, actor, and puppeteer who claims to be the spawn of the devil himself. As a night watchman, Kreuzgang takes voyeuristic pleasure in spying on the follies of his fellow citizens, and every night he makes his rounds and stops to peer into a window or door, where he observes framed scenes of murder, despair, theft, romance, and other private activities. In his responses, Kreuzgang is cynical, pessimistic, yet not without humor. For him, life is a grotesque, macabre, and base joke played by a mechanical and heartless force. Since its publication, fans have speculated on the novel's authorship, and it is now believed to be by theater director August Klingemann, who first staged Goethe's Faust. Organized into sixteen separate night watches, the sordid scenes glimpsed through parted curtains, framed by door chinks, and lit by candles and shadows anticipate the cinematic. A cross between the gothic and romantic, The Nightwatches of Bonaventura is brilliant in its perverse intensity, presenting an inventory of human despair and disgust through the eyes of a bitter, sardonic watcher who draws laughter from tragedy. Translated with a fresh introduction by Gerald Gillespie, The Nightwatches of Bonaventura will be welcomed by a new generation of English-language fans, eager to sample the night's dark offerings.

About Author

Gerald Gillespie is professor emeritus at Stanford University and a former president of the International Comparative Literature Association.


Preface Introduction THE NIGHTWATCHES Nightwatch 1. The dying freethinker Nightwatch 2. The devil's apparition Nightwatch 3. Stony Crispin's discourse on the chapter de adulteriis Nightwatch 4. Woodcuts; along with the life of a madman as a marionette play Nightwatch 5. The brothers Nightwatch 6. Doomsday Nightwatch 7. Self-portraiture - Funeral oration on a child's birthday - The itinerant minstrel - Suit for slander Nightwatch 8. The poet's apotheosis - Farewell letter to life - Hanswurst's prologue to the tragedy Man Nightwatch 9. The madhouse - Monologue of the insane creator of the world - The reasonable fool Nightwatch 10. The winter's night - Love's dream - The white and the crimson bride - The nun's burial - Run through the musical scale Nightwatch 11. Premonitions of one born blind - The vow - The first sunrise Nightwatch 12. The solar eagle - The immortal wig - The false pigtail - Apology of life - The comedian Nightwatch 13. Dithyramb on spring - The title without book - The invalid home of the gods - The backside of Venus Nightwatch 14. The love of two fools Nightwatch 15. The marionette theater Nightwatch 16. The Bohemian woman - The man with second sight - The father's grave Afterword: Authorship and Reception Notes Select Bibliography

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780226141565
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 216
  • ID: 9780226141565
  • ISBN10: 022614156X
  • language of text: German

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