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The Rider on the White Horse (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – January 27, 2009
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From The New Yorker
About the Author
James Wright (1927–1980) was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, the son of a factory worker. After graduating from high school in 1946, he was stationed with the United States Army in occupied Japan. He attended Kenyon College on the G.I. Bill, then traveled as a Fulbright fellow to Austria, where he studied the work Theodor Storm and Georg Trakl at the University of Vienna. In 1957, Wright’s first book of poems, The Green Wall, was chosen by W.H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series. Wright was elected a fellow of the Academy of American Poets in 1971 and in 1972 he received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his Collected Poems.
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Top Customer Reviews
Like Goethe, Storm spent much of his energy in public life. He was a jurist by training. As a young 'nationalist' on behalf of the German-speaking population of Danish-governed Schleswig, Storm was vociferous enough to get exiled to Prussia, and then to a mountain village in Thuringia, where he worked as a judge and wrote many of his novellas. In 1864, Prussia seized control of Schleswig and Storm hurried home to be acclaimed as "Landsvogt" in his native region, an administrative position responsible for civil order and justice. Eventually, despite personal tragedies, he rose to the position of Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals.
No one ever wrote love stories more redolent of spring blossoms and sunshine than Theodor Storm. His prose in such tales is as mellow as vintage Riesling. For a man with feet planted stoutly in the running of life in the present, Storm had a musician's ear for the language of nostalgia. The closest comparison in American literature might be to Washington Irving or Nathaniel Hawthorne, without the nagging Puritan guilt.Read more ›
In the Great Hall (1848)
A Green Leaf (1850)
In the Sunlight (1854)
In St. Jurgen (1867)
Aquis Submersus (1875-76)
The Rider on the White Horse (1868-88)
Most cultural circles with a literary tradition based on folk tales have ghost stories among their classics. That is very much the case in Germany.
Theodor Storm, who died in 1888, was a practical man in real life. He was a judge and a public administrator. His mindset has been categorized as 'bürgerlicher Realismus', which reflects on his social status more than on his politics. Politically, one would classify him as a Prussian liberal.
Storm was interested in the sagas and fairy tales of his homeland in North Germany. His Schimmelreiter was his last work, his longest story, and in several ways his most lasting master piece. It is a story of the sea and of the people on the coast who struggle against the sea for their livelihood. Storm has most artfully combined elements of a ghost story with motives of superstitions and religious fanaticism. On the more practical level the story deals as much with engineering challenges as with commercial interests and questions of 'big' government.
The smart narrative device, that does the trick of combining a realist world view with a ghost, is a rational narrator, who reports the superstitions of his fellow men without quite believing them. He leaves us with a healthy impression of definitely maybe....
Like most Storm stories, it starts in a frame with himself. He remembers how he read a story as a child in his great grandmother ' s house. That takes us back to the early 19th century.
He can't find the book or magazine any more, but here is what he remembers: We shift to the next level of narration, in earlier times.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This novella length story is huge on atmosphere but not so much characterization. The novella has a distinctly "Gothic" tone. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Cphe