This selection contains all Kleist's stories, including the notorious `Marquise von O' and the almost novel-length 'Michael Kohlaas', as well as three of his plays (The Broken Jug, Amphitryon and Prince Friedrich of Homburg) and a selection of anecdotes and letters. Much of Kleist's effect is produced by his highly idiosyncratic and expressive syntax and language. David Constantine's translation brilliantly reproduces his strangeness in English.
Kleist grew up in the optimistic faith of the Enlightenment but moved as a writer into a much less comfortable world. He is both deadly serious and grotesquely comic. In his radical scepticism and longing for love, he reaches beyond his time into ours.