These three novellas from the acclaimed German writer Gertrud von le Fort, newly translated for the first time into English for this volume, are from her later works of historical fiction, in which she displays her mastery as a dramatist of ideas. The Wife of Pilate imagines the slow, arduous transformation of an aristocratic woman, who is mentioned in the New Testament, fThese three novellas from the acclaimed German writer Gertrud von le Fort, newly translated for the first time into English for this volume, are from her later works of historical fiction, in which she displays her mastery as a dramatist of ideas. The Wife of Pilate imagines the slow, arduous transformation of an aristocratic woman, who is mentioned in the New Testament, from a pagan into a Christian saint, as she is now honored in the Byzantine Church. Plus Ultra takes us into the high politics of early 16th century Europe, and into the soul of a lonely young lady at court who knows she has attracted the intoxicating but dangerous attention of the Emperor Charles V himself. At the Gate of Heaven takes the clash between astronomical discoveries and the Roman Inquisition trial of Galileo as the backdrop for harrowing reflections about man’s place in the cosmos. In these novellas von le Fort vividly recreates scenes from distant places in bygone eras. Even more memorable are her lyrical portrayals of conflicts in the souls and minds of powerful people. These are thought-provoking stories by a keen observer of humanity....
|Title||:||The Wife of Pilate and Other Stories|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||175 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Wife of Pilate and Other Stories Reviews
This book consists of 3 novellas. (A novella is a short novel, even though the word is longer. ☺) I had to explain this to my family. Probably most people here on GRs know this already. ☺The Wife of Pilate is the first of the novellas. When you think of the crucifixion of Jesus, usually your thoughts run on as to what happened to the Christians after that polarizing, transformative event. But who wonders what happened to the man whose name gets mentioned week after week in the Nicene Creed, ‘and he suffered under Pontius Pilate...’? That is what Gertrud von le Fort explores in her first story. Claudia Procula is depicted mournfully on the cover of this 2015 reprint edition by Ignatius Press. The original story was published in 1970 as “Die Frau des Pilatus”. Indeed it is a tragic tale; how could it be otherwise? And yet it is also redemptive as only love can be.Le Fort explores much the same theme in her second story, Plus Ultra, set in the court of Emperor Charles V (ruler of the Spanish Empire, the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg Netherlands, at various times) Young Arabella is deeply ‘in love’ with the young emperor and has been removed from his presence for their own mutual good. Yet she hasn’t been punished in the usual way of the era—banishment to a convent—but rather has been taken on by the Emperor’s aunt, the Lady Regent, who for some mysterious reason has taken a fancy to her. As Arabella comes to terms with reality, she learns the spiritual power and value of real feminine love and how a woman can uphold a man through her unwavering support, asking nothing for herself. And even more how ‘God understands such a woman’s heart and accepts it as though it were offered to Him personally…’*The third story, At the Gate of Heaven, although it was my least favorite because it was a story within a story and that is a feat difficult enough to pull off in a novel—harder still in anything shorter—was still excellent because it helped me understand some of the issues surrounding the Galileo controversy. Or anyway, I think I understand them—as well as any non-scientific person can that is. Don’t ask me any questions though. Please. Fascinating book! I won’t part with this, although I am already making a list of friends I know will love to read it! *These dying words by the Lady Regent are thematic not only in this novella but throughout this book and I would venture to say Gertrude von le Fort’s underlying message in all her work. In this case the character was protesting against an all-male Church which did not seem to understand her almost worshipful love for her dead husband. In the story le Forte is able to show that God knows what is in each human heart even if we poor humans often express ourselves poorly and make a muck of things.
This edition contains three novellas, and I'm only rating the first and most well known, The Wife of Pilate. If and when I read the other two, I may re-assess the rating, but the title novella of the group was outstanding.The Wife of Pilate imagines what happens to Claudia Procula, the wife of Pontius Pilate, who in the Gospel of Matthew has a dream the night before Christ's condemnation that Jesus was a holy man and innocent and tries to persuade her husband to let Him free.von le Fort's novella goes deep into the lives of the Roman couple, imagining a marriage that has been irreversibly altered because of the encounter with Christ, Claudia's conversion into the Christians, and the climatic conflict she has with her husband, all told from the perspective of Claudia's servant. von le Fort recreates the Roman world beautifully, all in less than fifty pages. This is wonderful story telling.
I normally don't take the time to read or even review fiction. It's not that I look down on fiction. It's just that I enjoy reading non-fiction so much more. One recent Catholic fiction title caught my interest, so I decided to give it a shot. It is called The Wife of Pilate and Other Stories, and it was written by Gertrud von le Fort. Other works by her, which are also available from Ignatius Press, include The Eternal Woman and The Song at the Scaffold. The Wife of Pilate and Other Stories is made up of three novellas - "Plus Ultra," "At the Gate of Heaven," and the title feature "The Wife of Pilate."The three novellas are historical fiction in nature. "Plus Ultra" takes place in 16th century Europe, and revolves around a woman who has the attention of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlies V. "At the Gate of Heaven" takes place during the Roman Inquisition trial of Galileo. "The Wife of Pilate," which was by far my favorite, discusses Pilate's wife, Claudia, during and after the Crucifixion of Jesus. The story is told from the point of view of a servant girl. In it this slave girl tells us about history we already know, like Jesus being crucified and Claudia trying to warn Pilate not to crucify this innocent man. The rest of the story goes into the changing marriage between Pilate and Claudia. After the Crucifixion, Claudia and Pilate are both haunted by the death of Jesus. Claudia's changes are more obvious and external. Pilate, like a typical man, internalizes his feelings and thoughts and grows colder. The fact that their marriage is in shambles is sad enough, but they also have a stillborn baby, and never any other children. The ending is mixed, so keep reading if you want it spoiled. Claudia turns from paganism to Christianity, but dies in the end. Pilate blames himself and almost kills himself because of it, but the words of the slave girl that Claudia, like Jesus, died because of Pilate and for Pilate stays Pilate's sword. This leaves the reader with a glimmer of hope that maybe Pilate could have converted in the end.If I was judging this book on "The Wife of Pilate" alone, it would garner 5 stars. However, when taken as a whole, I have to give it 4 stars. "The Wife of Pilate" was compelling and gripping, but "Plus Ultra" and "At the Gate of Heaven" didn't hold my attention near as much. Also, the book cover quality left a bit to be desired. I'm very careful with my books, but this one warped from light reading, so that was a bit disappointing. Overall, I would recommend this book, especially if you like older historical fiction.
Surprisingly interesting and thought-provoking. Worth the read.
Three distinct stories, very different style from most of what I'm used to.The wife of Pilate was just great! Appropriately interesting, heartbreaking, haunting, etc. The other two were definitely food for thought, and the interesting takes on unrequited love certainly make me wonder about the baroness's own life, but they were worth reading, and the somewhat strange writing style is certainly worth the patience in order to get at her unique perspectives on things. This is definitely the kind of book that needs a discussion group, though!Nothing I'm likely to read again, except the Wife of Pilate itself, but I'll certainly pick up another book of hers when the chance comes up / when the mood strikes me.
The "Wife of Pilate" story was powerful. Didn't care for the other two novellas.
This collection of short but very intense and intriguing short stories is well worth reading.