Als zum einen ein Investor sein Kapital durch Landkauf um Unterleuten herum gerade rechtzeitig vor der Wirtschaftskrise rettet und zum anderen der Windenergie-Konzern Vento Direct einen Windpark errichten will, eskalieren die Dinge im Dorf. Ohne Infrastruktur werden weder Touristen zu werben sein, noch sich Betriebe im Ort ansiedeln.
- Sinnig-Unsinniges (German Edition).
- The Business of Pleasure;
- Notes - Political Beethoven.
- Next Generation Mobile Broadcasting?
Lindas Vorteil in der Auseinandersetzung scheint bisher zu sein, dass niemand ihr taktisches Vorgehen zutraut, weil ja allgemein bekannt ist, dass Leute aus dem Westen keine Ahnung haben, ganz besonders die Frauen. Nach den ersten drei Personenbeschreibungen war ich mir sicher, das Konzept einer geplanten Vorabendserie in der Hand zu haben.
Freunde verloren sich aus den Augen, Nachbarn verwandelten sich in Feinde.
Unterleuten by Juli Zeh
Apr 25, Havers rated it it was amazing. Die Bewohner von Unterleuten haben wechselhafte Zeiten hinter sich. Zumindest ein Teil von ihnen. Die Enteignungen im Zuge der Zwangskollektivierung in den sechziger Jahren haben sie weggesteckt, ebenso die Umverteilungen nach der Wende. Konflikte mit den Alteingesessenen sind hier schon fast vorprogrammiert.
Es sind sehr unterschiedliche Charaktere, die die Handlung tragen: Sie geizt auch nicht mit spitzen Bemerkungen zur politischen Situation in diesem unserem Lande, aber immer in dem passenden Kontext. Ons soort mensen van Juli Zeh is geselecteerd voor de Europese literatuurprijs , wat ook de reden is waarom ik dit boek gelezen heb. De Europese literatuurprijs is een prijs die niet enkel naar de schrijver gaat, maar ook naar de vertaler van het boek.
Ze won reeds tal van prijzen voor haar boeken en brak door met Speeldrift bij het grote publiek. Ok haar essaybundel Briefroman werd warm onthaald. Ons soort Ons soort mensen van Juli Zeh is geselecteerd voor de Europese literatuurprijs , wat ook de reden is waarom ik dit boek gelezen heb. Ons soort mensen gaat over het dorpje Underleuten dat in Duitsland gelegen is. Hierdoor ontstaat er conflict tussen de verschillende dorpsbewoners. Mevrouw Franzen daarentegen bezit grond op het gebied waar het windmolenpark kan komen.
Zij bezit slechts een klein aandeel van dat grondgebied, waar zowel Gombrowski als Meiler jacht op maken. Franzen die een droom heeft om haar eigen ranch te beginnen profiteert echter van deze situatie. Ook de oude vete tussen Krom en Gombrowski komt weer naar boven drijven en zo leer je alle intriges tussen de verschillende dorpsbewoners kennen.
Door heel de hetze rond het windmolenpark leer je de verschillende dorpsbewoners beter kennen. Doordat het boek in verschillende hoofdstukken is opgebouwd die iedere keer de gedachten van een andere dorpsbewoner aan het licht brengt, leer je de personages beter kennen en leer je ook oude intriges en vetes beter begrijpen. Zo leer je Franzen kennen als iemand die zeer berekend is in haar gedrag en mensen bedriegt om zo haar zin door te drijven.
Zo gebruikt ze zowel Gombrowski als Meiler om haar ranch voor haar paard Bergamotte te kunnen bouwen, want met het geld dat ze zal verdienen door haar stuk grond te verkopen, zal ze dit kunnen bewerkstelligen.
Gombrowski leren we dan kennen als iemand die zijn vrouw bedriegt en misbruikt, maar is hij daadwerkelijk zo hardvochten als hij eerst lijkt? Zo leer je mensen beter kennen en krijg je meer sympathie voor hen als ze eerst antipathiek lijken of krijg je meer antipathie als ze eerst sympathiek lijken. Je krijgt naarmate dat het boek vordert dus steeds meer inzicht in het handelen van de verschillende personages wiens gedrag soms op het irrationele af kan zijn. Qua vertaling is dit boek zeer vlot vertaald.
Het leest zeer aangenaam en de taal is ook zorgvuldig gekozen. Ook het feit dat het boek in relatief korte hoofdstukken is opgedeeld, bevordert de leessnelheid. Dorpsverhaal over een fictief dorp Unterleuten met zijn verschillende inwoners. In de ban van een nakende komst van een windmolenpark; wat voor- en tegenstanders meebrengt.
Het krijgt geen 5 sterren omdat ik het in het middelste deel soms toch wat langdradig vond, maar de laatste pagina's zijn super. Hoe het verhaal zich opgebouwd heeft om dan verrassende wendingen te nemen voor de meeste personages, zijn zo goed en geloofwaardig. Een leuk boek, maar wel een dikke turf. Ideaal om in een vakant Dorpsverhaal over een fictief dorp Unterleuten met zijn verschillende inwoners. Ideaal om in een vakantieperiode te lezen. Mar 11, Emina Ibrahimovic rated it did not like it.
Langweilige, unausgegorene Formulierungen treffen auf unorigenelle Charaktere, geleckte Dialoge und pauschale Weltbilder. Er ist so lasch und uninspirierend, dass mir die Lust an der Geschichte vergangen ist. Ik heb een beetje moeten doorbijten om het uit te lezen. Vooral omwille van de gedetailleerde uitwerking van de personages vond ik het toch de moeite. Verder is het een tamelijk ontluisterende inkijk in het allesbehalve idyllische dorpsleven Sep 21, Franziska rated it really liked it. Vielleicht ist der Roman insgesamt etwas lang geraten, aber die gesellschaftlichen und zwischenmenschlichen Beobachtungen fand ich doch sehr anschaulich und gut getroffen.
Zeer goed geschreven verhaal over een micro-kosmos in voormalig ddr. Heerlijk om te lezen. Unterleuten, een ex- DDRdorp, jaren na de val van de muur. Dit gegeven verdeelt het dorp, waar ieder zo zijn eigen belangen heeft die ofwel indruisen tegen de komst van de windmolens, ofwel er voordeel uit halen. Door de intriges tussen de dorpsbewoners komen we dingen uit het verleden te weten die gaandeweg duidelijker maken waarom men voor of tegen de Unterleuten, een ex- DDRdorp, jaren na de val van de muur. Door de intriges tussen de dorpsbewoners komen we dingen uit het verleden te weten die gaandeweg duidelijker maken waarom men voor of tegen de beslissing is.
Het was voor mij een pageturner, omdat slechts mondjesmaat duidelijker wordt wat er speelt bij de bewoners van Unterleuten en wat er in het verleden is gebeurd. Hoe meer je te weten komt, hoe groter de behoefte om van alles het fijne te weten. En dus lees je maar door, en door… Beetje bij beetje kom je meer te weten.
De karakters worden mensen van vlees en bloed en je ontkomt niet aan je oordeelvorming over ieder van hen. Er zweeft een licht Twin Peaks-sfeertje over dit boek. Apr 09, Katischakalaka rated it really liked it. Die ersten rund Seiten fiel es mir schwer, in die Welt, die Charaktere und ihre Gemeinschaft oder das, was sich dahinter verbirgt reinzukommen. Denn was danach geschieht, ist meisterhaft. Unterleuten, ein kleines Dorf in Brandenburg mit knapp Einwohnern, ist auf den ersten Blick ein Postkartenidyll.
Als dann noch eine Windkraftanlage gebaut werden soll, brechen alte, schon fast vergessene Wunden im Dorf auf und die Gemeinschaft droht daran zu zerbrechen. Durch die Planung der Windkraftanlage, die im Dorf entstehen soll, sucht nun jeder nach seinem eigenen Vorteil und zeigt sein wahres Gesicht. Am Ende wird in Unterleuten nichts mehr so sein, wie es war. Wer auf der Suche nach einem kritischen Gesellschaftsroman ist, sollte Unterleuten auf jeden Fall lesen.
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Juli Zeh is a German novelist. Her first book was Adler und Engel in English: Juli Zeh has lived in Leipzig since Zeh studied human rights law in Passau and Leipzig, passing the Zweites Juristisches Staatsexamen - comparable equivalent to the U. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. Feedback If you need help or have a question for Customer Service, contact us. Would you like to report poor quality or formatting in this book? Click here Would you like to report this content as inappropriate? Click here Do you believe that this item violates a copyright?
Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. View or edit your browsing history. Get to Know Us. Mary Shelley 33 her smiles and spent them upon us. She forgot even her own regret in her endeavours to make us forget. Clerval spent the last evening with us. He had endeavoured to persuade his father to permit him to accompany me and to become my fellow student, but in vain.
His father was a narrow-minded trader and saw idleness and ruin in the aspirations and ambition of his son. Henry deeply felt the misfortune of being debarred from a liberal education. He said little, but when he spoke I read in his kindling eye and in his animated glance a restrained but firm resolve not to be chained to the miserable details of commerce.
I threw myself into the chaise that was to convey me away and indulged in the most melancholy reflections. I, who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, continually engaged in endeavouring to bestow mutual pleasure—I was now alone. In the university whither I was going I must form my own friends and be my own protector. My life had hitherto been remarkably secluded and domestic, and this had given me invincible repugnance to new countenances.
Such were my reflections as I commenced my journey; but as I proceeded, my spirits and hopes rose. I ardently desired the acquisition of knowledge. I had often, when at home, thought it hard to remain during my youth cooped up in one place and had longed to enter the world and take my station among other human beings. Now my desires were complied with, and it would, indeed, have been folly to repent.
At length the high white steeple of the town met my eyes. I alighted and was conducted to my solitary apartment to spend the evening as I pleased. Krempe, professor of natural philosophy. He was an uncouth man, but deeply imbued in the secrets of his science. He asked me several questions concerning my progress in the different branches of science appertaining to natural philosophy.
I replied carelessly, and partly in contempt, mentioned the names of my alchemists as the principal authors I had studied. You have burdened your memory with exploded systems and useless names. In what desert land have you lived, where no one was kind enough to inform you that these fancies which you have so greedily imbibed are a thousand years old and as musty as they are ancient? I little expected, in this enlightened and scientific age, to find a disciple of Albertus Magnus and Paracelsus. My dear sir, you must begin your studies entirely anew. Waldman, a fellow professor, would lecture upon chemistry the alternate days that he omitted.
I returned home not disappointed, for I have said that I had long considered those authors useless whom the professor reprobated; but I returned not at all German alchemists: Mary Shelley 35 the more inclined to recur to these studies in any shape. Krempe was a little squat man with a gruff voice and a repulsive countenance; the teacher, therefore, did not prepossess me in favour of his pursuits.
In rather a too philosophical and connected a strain, perhaps, I have given an account of the conclusions I had come to concerning them in my early years. As a child I had not been content with the results promised by the modern professors of natural science. With a confusion of ideas only to be accounted for by my extreme youth and my want of a guide on such matters, I had retrod the steps of knowledge along the paths of time and exchanged the discoveries of recent inquirers for the dreams of forgotten alchemists.
Besides, I had a contempt for the uses of modern natural philosophy. It was very different when the masters of the science sought immortality and power; such views, although futile, were grand; but now the scene was changed. The ambition of the inquirer seemed to limit itself to the annihilation of those visions on which my interest in science was chiefly founded. I was required to exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur for realities of little worth. But as the ensuing week commenced, I thought of the information which M. Krempe had given me concerning the lectures. And although I could not consent to go and hear that little conceited fellow deliver sentences out of a pulpit, I recollected what he had said of M.
Waldman, whom I had never seen, as he had hitherto been out of town. Partly from curiosity and partly from idleness, I went into the lecturing room, which M. Waldman entered shortly after. This professor was very unlike his colleague. He appeared about fifty years of age, but with an aspect expressive of the greatest benevolence; a few grey hairs covered his temples, but those at the back of his head were nearly black.
His person was short but remarkably erect and his voice the sweetest I had ever heard. He began his lecture by a recapitulation of the history of chemistry and the various German annihilation: Vorlesend, Einen Vortrag haltend. He then took a cursory view of the present state of the science and explained many of its elementary terms. After having made a few preparatory experiments, he concluded with a panegyric upon modern chemistry, the terms of which I shall never forget: The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted and that the elixir of life is a chimera but these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles.
They penetrate into the recesses of nature and show how she works in her hidingplaces. They ascend into the heavens; they have discovered how the blood circulates, and the nature of the air we breathe. They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows. As he went on I felt as if my soul were grappling with a palpable enemy; one by one the various keys were touched which formed the mechanism of my being; chord after chord was sounded, and soon my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose.
So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein—more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation. I closed not my eyes that night. My internal being was in a state of insurrection and turmoil; I felt that order would thence arise, but I had no power to produce it.
There only remained a resolution to return to my ancient studies and to devote myself to a science for which I believed myself to possess a natural talent. On the same day I paid M. His manners in private were even more mild and attractive than in public, for there was a certain dignity in his mien during his lecture which in his German ascend: Aufstand, Rebellion, Volksaufstand, Volkserhebung, Erhebung.
I gave him pretty nearly the same account of my former pursuits as I had given to his fellow professor. He heard with attention the little narration concerning my studies and smiled at the names of Cornelius Agrippa and Paracelsus, but without the contempt that M. They had left to us, as an easier task, to give new names and arrange in connected classifications the facts which they in a great degree had been the instruments of bringing to light.
The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind. I requested his advice concerning the books I ought to procure. Chemistry is that branch of natural philosophy in which the greatest improvements have been and may be made; it is on that account that I have made it my peculiar study; but at the same time, I have not neglected the other branches of science.
A man would make but a very sorry chemist if he attended to that department of human knowledge alone. If your wish is to become really a man of science and not merely a petty experimentalist, I should advise you to apply to every branch of natural philosophy, including mathematics. He also gave me the list of books which I had requested, and I took my leave. Thus ended a day memorable to me; it decided my future destiny.
I read with ardour those works, so full of genius and discrimination, which modern inquirers have written on these subjects. I attended the lectures and cultivated the acquaintance of the men of science of the university, and I found even in M. Krempe a great deal of sound sense and real information, combined, it is true, with a repulsive physiognomy and manners, but not on that account the less valuable. Waldman I found a true friend.
His gentleness was never tinged by dogmatism, and his instructions were given with an air of frankness and good nature that banished every idea of pedantry. In a thousand ways he smoothed for me the path of knowledge and made the most abstruse inquiries clear and facile to my apprehension. My application was at first fluctuating and uncertain; it gained strength as I proceeded and soon became so ardent and eager that the stars often disappeared in the light of morning whilst I was yet engaged in my laboratory.
As I applied so closely, it may be easily conceived that my progress was rapid. My ardour was indeed the astonishment of the students, and my proficiency that of the masters. Professor Krempe often asked me, with a sly smile, how Cornelius Agrippa went on, whilst M. Waldman expressed the most heartfelt exultation in my progress. Two years passed in this manner, during German abstruse: Triumph, der Jubel, Jubel, Frohlockung. Mary Shelley 39 which I paid no visit to Geneva, but was engaged, heart and soul, in the pursuit of some discoveries which I hoped to make.
None but those who have experienced them can conceive of the enticements of science. In other studies you go as far as others have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder. A mind of moderate capacity which closely pursues one study must infallibly arrive at great proficiency in that study; and I, who continually sought the attainment of one object of pursuit and was solely wrapped up in this, improved so rapidly that at the end of two years I made some discoveries in the improvement of some chemical instruments, which procured me great esteem and admiration at the university.
When I had arrived at this point and had become as well acquainted with the theory and practice of natural philosophy as depended on the lessons of any of the professors at Ingolstadt, my residence there being no longer conducive to my improvements, I thought of returning to my friends and my native town, when an incident happened that protracted my stay. Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed?
It was a bold question, and one which has ever been considered as a mystery; yet with how many things are we upon the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries. I revolved these circumstances in my mind and determined thenceforth to apply myself more particularly to those branches of natural philosophy which relate to physiology. Unless I had been animated by an almost supernatural enthusiasm, my application to this study would have been irksome and almost intolerable. To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death.
I became acquainted with the science of anatomy, but this was not sufficient; I must also observe the natural decay and corruption of the human body. In my education my father had taken the greatest precautions that my mind should be impressed with no supernatural horrors. I do not ever remember to have trembled at a tale of superstition or to have feared the apparition of a spirit. Darkness had no effect upon my fancy, and a German anatomy: Now I was led to examine the cause and progress of this decay and forced to spend days and nights in vaults and charnel-houses.
My attention was fixed upon every object the most insupportable to the delicacy of the human feelings. I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain. I paused, examining and analysing all the minutiae of causation, as exemplified in the change from life to death, and death to life, until from the midst of this darkness a sudden light broke in upon me—a light so brilliant and wondrous, yet so simple, that while I became dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it illustrated, I was surprised that among so many men of genius who had directed their inquiries towards the same science, that I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret.
The sun does not more certainly shine in the heavens than that which I now affirm is true. Some miracle might have produced it, yet the stages of the discovery were distinct and probable. After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter. The astonishment which I had at first experienced on this discovery soon gave place to delight and rapture.
After so much time spent in painful labour, to arrive at once at the summit of my desires was the most gratifying consummation of my toils. But this discovery was so great and overwhelming that all the steps by which I had been progressively led to it were obliterated, and I beheld only the result.
What had been the study and desire of the wisest men since the creation of the world was now within my grasp. Not that, like a magic scene, it all opened upon me at once: Detail, Details, die Details, die Einzelheiten, Einzelheit. Mary Shelley 41 I was like the Arabian who had been buried with the dead and found a passage to life, aided only by one glimmering and seemingly ineffectual light. I will not lead you on, unguarded and ardent as I then was, to your destruction and infallible misery.
Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow. When I found so astonishing a power placed within my hands, I hesitated a long time concerning the manner in which I should employ it.
Although I possessed the capacity of bestowing animation, yet to prepare a frame for the reception of it, with all its intricacies of fibres, muscles, and veins, still remained a work of inconceivable difficulty and labour. I doubted at first whether I should attempt the creation of a being like myself, or one of simpler organization; but my imagination was too much exalted by my first success to permit me to doubt of my ability to give life to an animal as complete and wonderful as man. The materials at present within my command hardly appeared adequate to so arduous an undertaking, but I doubted not that I should ultimately succeed.
I prepared myself for a multitude of reverses; my operations might be incessantly baffled, and at last my work be imperfect, yet when I considered the improvement which every day takes place in science and mechanics, I was encouraged to hope my present attempts would at least lay the foundations of future success. Nor could I consider the magnitude and complexity of my plan as any argument of its impracticability. It was with these feelings that I began the creation of a human being. As the minuteness of the parts formed a great hindrance to my speed, I resolved, contrary to my first intention, to make the being of a gigantic stature, that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionably large.
After having formed this determination and German aided: Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs.
Pursuing these reflections, I thought that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time although I now found it impossible renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption. These thoughts supported my spirits, while I pursued my undertaking with unremitting ardour. My cheek had grown pale with study, and my person had become emaciated with confinement. Sometimes, on the very brink of certainty, I failed; yet still I clung to the hope which the next day or the next hour might realize.
One secret which I alone possessed was the hope to which I had dedicated myself; and the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places. Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay?
My limbs now tremble, and my eyes swim with the remembrance; but then a resistless and almost frantic impulse urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit. It was indeed but a passing trance, that only made me feel with renewed acuteness so soon as, the unnatural stimulus ceasing to operate, I had returned to my old habits. I collected bones from charnel- houses and disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame.
In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation; my eyeballs were starting from their sockets in attending to the details of my employment. The dissecting room and the slaughter- house furnished many of my materials; and often did my human German acuteness: Orkan, Hurrikan, Taifun, Wirbelsturm.
Schlachten, abschlachten, erschlagen, Gemetzel, Schlachtung. Mary Shelley 43 nature turn with loathing from my occupation, whilst, still urged on by an eagerness which perpetually increased, I brought my work near to a conclusion.
It was a most beautiful season; never did the fields bestow a more plentiful harvest or the vines yield a more luxuriant vintage, but my eyes were insensible to the charms of nature. And the same feelings which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me also to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I had not seen for so long a time. I knew my silence disquieted them, and I well remembered the words of my father: You must pardon me if I regard any interruption in your correspondence as a proof that your other duties are equally neglected.
I wished, as it were, to procrastinate all that related to my feelings of affection until the great object, which swallowed up every habit of my nature, should be completed. I then thought that my father would be unjust if he ascribed my neglect to vice or faultiness on my part, but I am now convinced that he was justified in conceiving that I should not be altogether free from blame. A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquillity.
I do not think that the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind. If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquillity of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved, Caesar would have spared his country, America would have been German affections: Legierung, Legieren, Metallverschmelzung, Metallegierung, Metallverbindung.
My father made no reproach in his letters and only took notice of my science by inquiring into my occupations more particularly than before. Winter, spring, and summer passed away during my labours; but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leaves—sights which before always yielded me supreme delight—so deeply was I engrossed in my occupation.
The leaves of that year had withered before my work drew near to a close, and now every day showed me more plainly how well I had succeeded. But my enthusiasm was checked by my anxiety, and I appeared rather like one doomed by slavery to toil in the mines, or any other unwholesome trade than an artist occupied by his favourite employment.
Every night I was oppressed by a slow fever, and I became nervous to a most painful degree; the fall of a leaf startled me, and I shunned my fellow creatures as if I had been guilty of a crime. Sometimes I grew alarmed at the wreck I perceived that I had become; the energy of my purpose alone sustained me: Sklaverei, Sklavenarbeit, Knechtschaft, Sklavenleben. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.
It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs. How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.
The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had German accidents: Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room and continued a long time traversing my bed-chamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep. At length lassitude succeeded to the tumult I had before endured, and I threw myself on the bed in my clothes, endeavouring to seek a few moments of forgetfulness.
But it was in vain; I slept, indeed, but I was disturbed by the wildest dreams. I thought I saw Elizabeth, in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt. Delighted and surprised, I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms; a shroud enveloped her form, and I saw the graveworms crawling in the folds of the flannel.
I started from my sleep with horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed; when, by the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it forced its way through the window shutters, I beheld the wretch—the miserable monster whom I had created. He held up the curtain of the bed; and his eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on me.
His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped and rushed downstairs. I took refuge in the courtyard belonging to the house which I inhabited, where I remained during the rest of the night, walking up and down in the greatest agitation, listening attentively, catching and fearing each sound as if it were to announce the approach of the demoniacal corpse to which I had so miserably given life.
No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. I had gazed on him while unfinished; he was ugly then, but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived. I passed the night wretchedly. Sometimes my pulse beat so quickly and hardly that I felt the palpitation of every artery; at others, I nearly sank to the German chattered: Mary Shelley 47 ground through languor and extreme weakness.
Mingled with this horror, I felt the bitterness of disappointment; dreams that had been my food and pleasant rest for so long a space were now become a hell to me; and the change was so rapid, the overthrow so complete! Morning, dismal and wet, at length dawned and discovered to my sleepless and aching eyes the church of Ingolstadt, its white steeple and clock, which indicated the sixth hour. The porter opened the gates of the court, which had that night been my asylum, and I issued into the streets, pacing them with quick steps, as if I sought to avoid the wretch whom I feared every turning of the street would present to my view.
I did not dare return to the apartment which I inhabited, but felt impelled to hurry on, although drenched by the rain which poured from a black and comfortless sky. I traversed the streets without any clear conception of where I was or what I was doing. My heart palpitated in the sickness of fear, and I hurried on with irregular steps, not daring to look about me: Like one who, on a lonely road, Doth walk in fear and dread, And, having once turned round, walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread.
Continuing thus, I came at length opposite to the inn at which the various diligences and carriages usually stopped. Here I paused, I knew not why; but I remained some minutes with my eyes fixed on a coach that was coming towards me from the other end of the street. As it drew nearer I observed that it was the Swiss diligence; it stopped just where I was standing, and on the door being opened, I perceived Henry Clerval, who, on seeing me, instantly sprung out. I grasped his hand, and in a moment forgot my horror and misfortune; I felt suddenly, and for the first time during many months, calm and serene joy.
I welcomed my friend, therefore, in the most cordial manner, and we walked towards my college. Clerval continued talking for some time about our mutual friends and his own good fortune in being permitted to come to Ingolstadt. By the by, I mean to lecture you a little upon their account myself. I walked with a quick pace, and we soon arrived at my college. I then reflected, and the thought made me shiver, German allude: Mary Shelley 49 that the creature whom I had left in my apartment might still be there, alive and walking about.
I dreaded to behold this monster, but I feared still more that Henry should see him. Entreating him, therefore, to remain a few minutes at the bottom of the stairs, I darted up towards my own room. My hand was already on the lock of the door before I recollected myself. I then paused, and a cold shivering came over me. I threw the door forcibly open, as children are accustomed to do when they expect a spectre to stand in waiting for them on the other side; but nothing appeared.
I stepped fearfully in: I could hardly believe that so great a good fortune could have befallen me, but when I became assured that my enemy had indeed fled, I clapped my hands for joy and ran down to Clerval. It was not joy only that possessed me; I felt my flesh tingle with excess of sensitiveness, and my pulse beat rapidly.
I was unable to remain for a single instant in the same place; I jumped over the chairs, clapped my hands, and laughed aloud. Clerval at first attributed my unusual spirits to joy on his arrival, but when he observed me more attentively, he saw a wildness in my eyes for which he could not account, and my loud, unrestrained, heartless laughter frightened and astonished him. Do not laugh in that manner. How ill you are! What is the cause of all this? What must have been his feelings? A meeting, which he anticipated with such joy, so strangely turned to bitterness.
But I was not the witness of his grief, for I was lifeless and did not recover my senses for a long, long time. During all that time Henry was my only nurse. He knew that I could not have a more kind and attentive nurse than himself; and, firm in the hope he felt of my recovery, he did not doubt that, instead of doing harm, he performed the kindest action that he could towards them.
The form of the monster on whom I had bestowed existence was forever before my eyes, and I raved incessantly concerning him. Doubtless my words surprised Henry; he at first believed them to be the wanderings of my disturbed imagination, but the pertinacity with which I continually recurred to the same subject persuaded him that my disorder indeed owed its origin to some uncommon and terrible event. By very slow degrees, and with frequent relapses that alarmed and grieved my friend, I recovered. I remember the first time I became capable of observing outward objects with any kind of pleasure, I perceived that the fallen leaves had disappeared and that the young buds were shooting forth from the trees that shaded my window.
It was a divine spring, and the season contributed greatly to my convalescence. I felt also sentiments of joy and affection revive in my bosom; my gloom disappeared, and in a short time I became as cheerful as before I was attacked by the fatal passion. This whole winter, instead of being spent in study, as you promised yourself, has been consumed in my sick room.
How shall I ever repay you? I feel the greatest remorse for the disappointment of which I have been the occasion, but you will forgive me. Mary Shelley 51 I trembled. What could it be? Could he allude to an object on whom I dared not even think? They hardly know how ill you have been and are uneasy at your long silence. How could you suppose that my first thought would not fly towards those dear, dear friends whom I love and who are so deserving of my love? Lieb, liebe, teuer, lieber, wert, Himmelsbewohner, liebe Person, liebes, hold, Himmlische, Gottgesandte.
Objekt, Gegenstand, Ding, glad: It was from my own Elizabeth: You are forbidden to write—to hold a pen; yet one word from you, dear Victor, is necessary to calm our apprehensions. For a long time I have thought that each post would bring this line, and my persuasions have restrained my uncle from undertaking a journey to Ingolstadt. I have prevented his encountering the inconveniences and perhaps dangers of so long a journey, yet how often have I regretted not being able to perform it myself! I figure to myself that the task of attending on your sickbed has devolved on some mercenary old nurse, who could never guess your wishes nor minister to them with the care and affection of your poor cousin.
Yet that is over now: Clerval writes that indeed you are getting better. I eagerly hope that you will confirm this intelligence soon in your own handwriting. Feder, Kugelschreiber, Verschlag, restrained: You will find a happy, cheerful home and friends who love you dearly. How pleased you would be to remark the improvement of our Ernest! He is now sixteen and full of activity and spirit.
He is desirous to be a true Swiss and to enter into foreign service, but we cannot part with him, at least until his elder brother returns to us. My uncle is not pleased with the idea of a military career in a distant country, but Ernest never had your powers of application. He looks upon study as an odious fetter; his time is spent in the open air, climbing the hills or rowing on the lake.
I fear that he will become an idler unless we yield the point and permit him to enter on the profession which he has selected. The blue lake and snow-clad mountains—they never change; and I think our placid home and our contented hearts are regulated by the same immutable laws. My trifling occupations take up my time and amuse me, and I am rewarded for any exertions by seeing none but happy, kind faces around me.
Since you left us, but one change has taken place in our little household. Do you remember on what occasion Justine Moritz entered our family? Probably you do not; I will relate her history, therefore in a few words.
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Madame Moritz, her mother, was a widow with four children, of whom Justine was the third. This girl had always been the favourite of her father, but through a strange perversity, her mother could not endure her, and after the death of M. Moritz, treated her very ill. My aunt observed this, and when Justine was twelve years of age, prevailed on her mother to allow her to live at our house. The republican institutions of our country have produced simpler and happier manners than those which prevail in the great monarchies that surround it. Hence there is less distinction between the several classes of its inhabitants; and the lower orders, being neither so poor nor so despised, their manners are more refined and German amuse: A servant in Geneva does not mean the same thing as a servant in France and England.
Justine, thus received in our family, learned the duties of a servant, a condition which, in our fortunate country, does not include the idea of ignorance and a sacrifice of the dignity of a human being. My aunt conceived a great attachment for her, by which she was induced to give her an education superior to that which she had at first intended. This benefit was fully repaid; Justine was the most grateful little creature in the world: I do not mean that she made any professions I never heard one pass her lips, but you could see by her eyes that she almost adored her protectress.
Although her disposition was gay and in many respects inconsiderate, yet she paid the greatest attention to every gesture of my aunt. She thought her the model of all excellence and endeavoured to imitate her phraseology and manners, so that even now she often reminds me of her. Poor Justine was very ill; but other trials were reserved for her.
The conscience of the woman was troubled; she began to think that the deaths of her favourites was a judgement from heaven to chastise her partiality. She was a Roman Catholic; and I believe her confessor confirmed the idea which she had conceived. Accordingly, a few months after your departure for Ingolstadt, Justine was called home by her repentant mother. She wept when she quitted our house; she was much altered since the death of my aunt; grief had given softness and a German chastise: Mary Shelley 55 winning mildness to her manners, which had before been remarkable for vivacity.
The poor woman was very vacillating in her repentance. She sometimes begged Justine to forgive her unkindness, but much oftener accused her of having caused the deaths of her brothers and sister. Perpetual fretting at length threw Madame Moritz into a decline, which at first increased her irritability, but she is now at peace for ever.
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