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The Goose Man   By: (1873-1934)

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The Goose Man by Jakob Wassermann is a deeply moving and unsettling novel that delves into the human psyche, exploring themes of identity, social pressures, and the struggle for self-acceptance.

Set in late 19th-century Germany, the story follows the protagonist, August Korn, a young man haunted by his humble origins and anxious about the expectations placed upon him by society. Born as the son of a goose drover, Korn harbors an intense desire to transcend his lowly background and elevate himself to a higher social standing. This internal conflict serves as the driving force behind the narrative, as Korn finds himself torn between his aspirations for success and his profound love for his family and hometown.

Wassermann's writing is masterful and evocative, vividly capturing the intricacies of Korn's inner turmoil. The author skillfully portrays the psychological complexities of his characters, making them deeply relatable and multidimensional. Korn, in particular, undergoes a compelling transformation throughout the novel, as he grapples with his own ambition and the guilt that arises from leaving behind his humble roots.

Furthermore, Wassermann expertly paints a nuanced portrait of societal expectations and how they shape individuals' lives. The novel critiques the rigid class structure of the time, shedding light on the pressures faced by those who dared to defy social norms. Through Korn's journey, we witness the sacrifices one must make in order to pursue their dreams, often at the cost of personal relationships and inner peace.

As the story progresses, Wassermann introduces a cast of diverse and memorable characters, each adding depth and complexity to the narrative. From Korn's supportive but unambitious father to his ambitious love interest, Wassermann seamlessly weaves together their stories to create a rich tapestry of human emotions and experiences.

While The Goose Man is undeniably a thought-provoking and beautifully written novel, it is not without its flaws. At times, the narrative can feel slow-moving, and some readers may find certain passages overly descriptive or introspective. However, these minor shortcomings do not detract from the overall impact and power of Wassermann's storytelling.

In conclusion, The Goose Man is a poignant exploration of the human condition, delving into the universal themes of ambition, identity, and the search for meaning. Wassermann's exquisite prose and deeply empathetic characters make for a captivating read that will resonate with readers long after they have turned the last page. This novel is a true gem, reminding us of the enduring power of literature to illuminate the complexities of the human experience.

First Page:




Authorized translation by ALLEN W. PORTERFIELD

[Illustration: Das Gänsemännchen]

GROSSET & DUNLAP ~ Publishers by arrangement with HARCOURT, BRACE & COMPANY


The first chapter, "A Mother Seeks Her Son," and sections I and II of the second chapter, "Foes, Brothers, a Friend, and a Mask," were translated by Ludwig Lewisohn. The rest of the book has been translated by Allen W. Porterfield. The title, "The Goose Man" ("Das Gänsemännchen"), refers to the famous statue of that name in Nuremberg.





A Mother Seeks Her Son 1

Foes, Brothers, A Friend and a Mask 23

The Nero of To day ... Continue reading book >>

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