Read The Necromancer by Peter Teuthold Online


"The hurricane was howling, the hailstones beating against windows, the hoarse croaking of the raven bidding adieu to autumn, and the weather-cock's dismal creaking joined with the mournful dirge of the solitary owl..." The Necromancer consists of a series of interconnected stories, all centering on the enigmatic figure of Volkert the Necromancer. Filled with murder, ghost"The hurricane was howling, the hailstones beating against windows, the hoarse croaking of the raven bidding adieu to autumn, and the weather-cock's dismal creaking joined with the mournful dirge of the solitary owl..." The Necromancer consists of a series of interconnected stories, all centering on the enigmatic figure of Volkert the Necromancer. Filled with murder, ghosts, and dark magic, and featuring a delirious and dizzying plot that almost defies comprehension, The Necromancer is one of the strangest horror novels ever written. One of the earliest Gothic bestsellers, The Necromancer was first published in 1794, and after more than two centuries still retains the power to thrill and fascinate readers. This edition includes a new preface which reveals for the first time ever the true identity of The Necromancer's author, as well as an original critical essay by Jeffrey Cass, analysing the novel from a modern queer theory standpoint. The complete text of three contemporary reviews and helpful annotations are also included to further enhance this edition....

Title : The Necromancer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781871438208
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 246 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Necromancer Reviews

  • Dfordoom
    2019-01-07 18:49

    In her satire of the gothic novel, Northanger Abbey, one of Jane Austen’s characters recommends seven “horrid novels” to her friend. For many years it was assumed that Austen had made up the titles but in fact Austen knew her gothic literature (one suspects she was rather a fan) and all seven are real books. First published in 1794, Peter Teuthold’s The Necromancer; or, The Tale of the Black Forest was one of these seven books.Teuthold claimed the book to be a translation from the German of Lawrence Flammenberg (real name Carl Friedrich Kahlert). It had been assumed that Teuthold made this claim to give the book a more German flavour but apparently it really was a translation.There has been a certain amount of interest in these “horrid novels” and all are currently in print although information on the authors is hard to come by.The Necromancer has a bewilderingly complex structure. It is a series of tales within tales within tales. This can be seen as a flaw but 19th century gothic novelists liked to use similar structures to give the impression of a series of eyewitness accounts. To attempt to describe the plot in any detail would only cause more confusion. You just have to go with it.The central figure in all the tales is Volkert the Necromancer although this is not immediately apparent since he appears in various disguises and under several false names. After a while you learn to assume that any elderly man with a mysterious or sinister air to him is probably Volkert, and you’re usually correct.Volkert is a sergeant in the Austrian Army who has dabbled in the occult for many years. He has found it to be a profitable sideline but a dangerous one as he has found himself more and more deeply enmeshed in crime as a result. Volkert is both a necromancer and a con-man. While several of the narrators believe that Volkert really possesses supernatural powers it is clear that most if not all of the supernatural events in which he is involved are elaborate frauds.Of course there has to be a moral message, and that message is that a life devoted to such swindles will be a life of increasing moral degradation.Jane Austen’s heroines would have been well pleased with this novel. There are ruined castles, dungeons, hidden passages, haunted inns, executions, duels and numerous ghostly manifestations. There are thrills and chills. There’s gothic atmosphere laid on as thickly as anyone could possibly desire. Necromancers were seemingly much in demand in 18th century Germany, for purposes both honest and dishonest. Usually the latter.This is certainly not one of the classics of the genre but it has its own bizarre charm. Worth a read.

  • Dawn
    2019-01-16 19:59

    This is a great Gothic novel. It is full of creepy and ghostly aspects but (as I prefer) all has a rational explanation at the end. I was happy to see there were no fainting females in this particular Gothic novel (though it is fun to read those too) and while I found the story within the story within the story within the story (yes, there really is that many levels) a bit strange and the ending very moral, I really liked it.

  • Sotiris Karaiskos
    2018-12-28 20:10

    Ξεκινώντας την πορεία μου στα επτά Horrid Novels του Northanger Abbey ήξερα ότι θα πέσω και σε κάποια βιβλία που δεν διεκδικούν ιδιαίτερες δάφνες ποιότητας. Ένα από αυτά είναι και αυτό που ξεκινάει ως μία συλλογή αδιάφορων ιστοριών φαντασμάτων για να καταλήξει σε μία εξιστόρηση εγκληματικών ενεργειών, προς το τέλος όταν εξηγούνται όσα διαβάσαμε. Τίποτα σπουδαίο δηλαδή, αν και αυτό το τέλος που αναφέρω μετριάζει κάπως τις εντυπώσεις.

  • Arnstein H. Pettersen
    2018-12-24 22:01

    A famous German Gothic novel and ghost story that still survives, mostly through this unfaithful English translation; review covering both volumes.The novel (or perhaps antinovel) known as Der Geistbanner, translated as The Necromancer, number amongst the most well known early Gothic novels, and as one of the most important Schauerromanen. It has in time become the object of a notably large amount of rumours, yet despite its notoriety seem to remain unexplored even by most of whom have heard of it.In the mountainous area of Southern Germany known as the Black Forest, where the towering woodlands ensnares the sunlight and condemns the ground to a dusky gloom, one will find a natural breeding ground of supernatural figments, where hauntings abound and revenants roam; here, amongst the wondrous and fantastical there resided a man during the Seven Years' War (1756-63), and the years following it, who had the dark knowlegde necessary to salve or condemn those who would traverse this cursed land. Covering the pages of this book are several narratives – separated from one another by time, and each with their own protagonists and plots – who endeavour to shed light on this enigmatic man and villain that is known as the Necromancer; collectively they will enable the reader to acquaint themselves with his story and purpose, which, due to this unusual style of narration, yields a characterization which is equally unusual in its depth. Expect, haunted castles, dark rituals, and geists of surprising violence and apparent malevolence; do also expect a mode of storytelling that is almost unheard of as the book breaks with the conventions of what a novel should be, most importantly in the sense that it puts more emphasis on exploring the villain than the protagonists despite retaining their perspectives.In the social circles where Gothic novels feature as regular curriculum, Der Geistbanner/The Necromancer holds some notoriety as the object of a notably large amount of rumours, perhaps due to its elevated status as one of seven books grouped as the Northanger Horrid Novels. This top seven list of the most frightening novels was voiced by Isabella Thorpe in Jane Austin's Northanger Abbey – this list seems to be heeded by many still, despite the two centuries that has since passed – and several of these titles were thought lost or made up by Austin. The Necromancer was one of these. An additional accusation was that Peter Teuthold, that translated the novel to English, had written it himself. Well, the Deutche Digitale Bibliothek contains a digital copy of the German first edition, which should put all of these worries to rest. What is true, however, is that Teuthold made many changes to the text as he translated it, including stealing parts – seventy-five pages of largely irrelevant banditry, actually – from another novel (F. Schiller's The Criminal of Lost Honour), and that Kahlert himself apparently approved of this as he re-translated it back with these alterations for the German second printing. There were also some notable clamour regarding how offensive the translation allegedly was towards either Germans or the British, or both; this reviewer, though, found it hard to find anything of the sort in the text itself.This unusual piece of Gothic fiction would probably have been largely forgotten if not for Austin as well as its unintentional notoriety, and even then it remained a footnote until it was 'rediscovered' much later. Fortunately this gem is still with us and has been printed in several editions in recent times. The edition on which the review is based, the Gale ECCO Print Edition, is a faximilie of the original volumes as released by Willian Lane in 1794, allowing everyone to peruse the text exactly as it was presented to the readers of the era; the reproduction is in relatively large letters who are so well preserved that there is almost no loss of legibility. It is also worth noting the Valancourt edition with its highly informative introduction, both editions have their beneifits but no real drawbacks which should make the choice between them nothing but a matter of preference.Due to The Necromancer's unorthodoxy as a novel it does not cater to anyone who unfamiliar with its ilk yet who wishes to sample it, rather it is a tale for those who already have an interest in ghost stories, old Gothic fiction, bandit novels, or the like. It holds no heroines, nor any true hero, and absolutely no elements borrowed from romantic fiction as was so common at the time. This allows the connection to the horror genre to shine through more strongly, thus it is an indication of how the genre came to evolve during the following century, i.e. away from being a subgenre of the romance novel and into its own niche. More concisely, the allure of this novel lies primarly within the terrible as opposed to the mushy, not forgetting its fascinating otherness and ghost story charm.

  • Jesse
    2019-01-05 17:07

    A strange curiosity, a tortured plot told in tortured antiquarian prose, whose interconnected threads seem to be willfully indecipherable. There are times when the language seems to shift, from something fairly straightforward, into an antique style that's mildly mind-numbing. The characters aren't entirely compelling, especially the bland protagonists, the "Lieutenants" (whose actual names are redacted). This lack of defined characters improves marginally at the end of the book, as three characters -- John the servant, Volkert, and Wolf -- suddenly come into focus, and provide a little more flesh to a generally obscure and obtuse narrative.What makes the novel interesting, and perhaps worth reading if you have the patience for it, is the convoluted shape of the plot and its telling. The plot centers around a series of incursions into a haunted castle, whose reputation and ominous character overshadows the local villages. This has overtones of both mysticism and classic banditry, and most of the plot's complications are the connective tissue between these incursions.For such an old novel, The Necromancer ends up being surprisingly non-linear. The involvement of various characters, the intersections of mistakes and motives, and the final slow revelation of the mechanisms behind these events: it's worth reading to see it get tangled up and then unfold again, even if it's sort of awkward and ungainly in its construction. It isn't cohesive or economical, but it's got its thrilling moments, and it's grotesque enough that it's worth some of your time, just to poke at it and see how it responds.

  • Brittany
    2018-12-30 18:45

    An adventurous tale of mystery and robbers, and inn keepers and old friends. Many reviews complain that this story is hard to follow as a tale within a tale within a tale but I found it straightforward and intrinsically written so as to include all of Volkert's adventures. Additionally, Volkert himself is not as much a mystery as other readers claim, even when not named as such, his appearance doesn't change and the formula of this gothic adventure is such that he is obviously present in the center of all necromancy-lit ghost stories. The novel begins as a chilly set of ghost tales and ends in a whimsical adventure taking into account the love, misfortune, guilt, pride, and grandeur of Volkert's very interesting life.

  • Helen
    2019-01-06 19:07

    I found the book quite interesting, inspired by Schiller´s The Ghost-Seer a little bit. I recommend it.

  • Becci
    2019-01-07 21:08

    You really need to concentrate to follow the story within a story within a story that connects to a story that then tells a story.

  • Kirsten
    2019-01-14 14:50

    another trashy novel of the late eighteenth century. This was just about unreadable, I thought - no plot, just a series of loosely connected tales about spooky things happening that may or may not involve ghosts. As in Radcliffe, everything that seems spooky and supernatural and otherworldly has a very plausible rational explanation. This had the most contrived and laborious frame narrative I have ever encountered - at one point, Person A gives Person B a manuscript by Person C, who then tells some of the story in the words of Person D who further quotes Person E's tale. That's too many iterations of nested narrative for me. If I had to put down the book - when I picked it back up, it was almost impossible to figure out who was talking.

  • Peter
    2018-12-29 16:48

    One of the fabled Northanger abbey novels, this book is often reputed to be confusing but fascinating.I would agree with that, to some degree. The narrative is definitely distinct, a narrative embeded in a narrative embeded in a narrative. Like the opening essay implies, this is most definitely an examination of society, more specifically, the society of men. Different groups make their appearances, military, bandits, and adventurers. There is definitely a suggestion of homosexual ideology, but I feel that this story does a good job of presenting the gothic image. I enjoyed it, but at times it felt too much like numerous fables, tales, etc., bound together by a looser frame. Still, an interesting read.

  • Kate Stone
    2019-01-04 20:43

    Another book for my Gothic Literature class, and this one was...pretty good. I will say that at times I was a bit confused by who was talking or what relationship they had to one another, but that could be since I read it in one day and was distracted by a toddler. It was not nearly as disturbing as The Monk, the gothic aspect of this text was more mental and emotional rather than gory or just...mean.

  • Matthew
    2019-01-07 16:45

    Meh ... This book is like "The Italian" in that it utilizes the "explained supernatural." Essentially, anything that you think is awesome (spirits, magic, etc.) are all explained in rational terms. For me, that ruins a book. If you like that sort of thing, you might like this book. The plot is a little muddled, although you can figure it out without too much effort.

  • Tiffany
    2018-12-28 21:54

    You have to really love 18th century gothic trash or be a huge fan of Jane Austen (specifically Northanger Abbey) to read this. But if you are, you might like it. Not my favorite of the Northanger septet as the plot is super convoluted.

  • Kay Robart
    2019-01-01 22:56

    See my review here:

  • Nancy Hammons
    2019-01-01 16:54

    Well, I have to admit my Kindle had that I had read this...I sure didn't remember it. Maybe at some point in the future I'll try it again.

  • Joanna
    2018-12-26 20:00

    This was kind of funny but also pretty boring.Also if you meet a weird, old dude in the middle of the woods, and he tells you he is a necromancer, you probably shouldn't encourage him.

  • Paul Yoder
    2019-01-12 14:53

    This one took a long time to get through. It's a very back-and-forth story, very confusing. I liked it enough though. Good classic Gothic horror, though pretty lean on the horror.

  • John Lawson
    2019-01-09 16:52

    Too slow and boring to finish.

  • Chris
    2019-01-13 16:09


  • Sarah
    2018-12-18 21:43

    This is one of the worst books I've ever read. Maybe it's a poor translation, or maybe it's the awkward form. Would not recommend.

  • Colin Campbell
    2019-01-15 16:55

    You can see how he inspired writers like Lewis and Radcliffe, but ultimately the patched together narrative of essay and notes comes up a little short.