THE MONK AND THE HANGMAN’S DAUGHTER

THE MONK AND THE HANGMAN’S DAUGHTER

by Ambrose Bierce, G. A. Danziger

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Overview

A romantic fantasia quite unspoiled by its satiric purpose.

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Introductory:

Many years ago—probably in 1890—Dr. Gustav Adolf Danziger brought to me in San Francisco what he said was a translation by himself of a German story by that brilliant writer, Herr Richard Voss, of Heidelberg. As Dr. Danziger had at that time a most imperfect acquaintance with the English language, he asked me to rewrite his version of Herr Voss's work for publication in this country. In reading it I was struck by what seemed to me certain possibilities of amplification, and I agreed to do the work if given a free hand by both author and translator. To this somewhat ill-considered proposal, which I supposed would make an end of the matter, I was afterward assured that the author, personally known to the translator, had assented. The result was this book, published by F. J. Schulte & Company of Chicago. Almost coincidentally in point of time the publishers failed, and it was, so far as I know, never put upon the market.

Never having seen the original story, and having no skill in German anyhow, I am unable to say what liberties Dr. Danziger may have taken with his author's text; to me he professed to have taken none; yet, in recent books of his he is described on the title-pages as "Author of The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter"—a statement that seems to justify, if not compel, this brief account of a matter which, though not particularly important, has given rise to more discussion than have cared to engage in.

By a merely literary artifice the author of the German tale professed to have derived it from another writing, and in the Schulte version appeared the note following :

"The foundation of this narrative is an old manuscript originally belonging to the Franciscan monastery at Berchtesgaden, Bavaria. The manuscript was obtained from a peasant by Herr Richard Voss, of Heidelberg, from whose German version this is an adaptation."

I have always felt that this was inadequate acknowledgment of the work of Herr Voss, for whom I have the profoundest admiration. Not the least part of my motive and satisfaction in republishing lies in the opportunity that it supplies for doing justice to one to whose splendid imagination the chief credit of the tale is due. My light opinion of the credit due to any one else is attested by my retention of Dr. Danziger's name on the title page.

Ambrose Bierce.
Washington, D. C., November 19, 1906.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940014924153
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 08/04/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 362 KB

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