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The Lost Manuscript

A Novel

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Author: Gustav Freytag
Published: 1887
Language: English
Wordcount: 278,957 / 795 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 73.2
LoC Category: PT
Downloads: 545
Added to site: 2010.10.15 29277

The motif of the story is the search for a manuscript of Tacitus, which the Professor, a rabid philologist, from finding its mention in an old account-book of a monastery, supposes to be concealed in a certain village. He goes there to pursue his search, but instead of the manuscript he brings back to the city a charming provincial wife, whom, in his leisure moments, he attempts to train. In the meantime he continues his quest. It leads him to the court of a certain Prince who falls in love with his wife and keeps the Professor there on the pretense of finding the manuscript while he pays court to the wife. The story is at times intensely exciting; it is at all times interesting in spite of its sometimes tedious descriptions; and the psychological idea of the expansion of the soul at death into a radiating influence and activity expressed upon future generations, which is in a measure its immortality, gives it a permanent value.

Show Excerpt

ere, the blue streaks of light pour down from the tree-trunks like streams of burning spirits; there, in the hollow, the broad fern-branches gleam from out the darkness in colors of emerald gold, and over the pathway the withered boughs tower like huge whitened antlers. But between and beneath, impenetrable, Stygian gloom. Round-faced moon in heaven, thine attempts to light this wood of ours are feeble, sickly, and capricious. Pray keep thy scanty light upon the highway leading to the city; throw thy faded beams not so crookedly before us, for at the left the ground slopes precipitately into morass and water.

Fie, thou traitor! Plump in the swamp and the wayfarer's shoe behind! But that might have been expected. Deceit and treachery are thy favorite pastimes, thou wayward freak of heaven. People wonder now that men of primitive times made a God of thee. The Grecian girl once called thee Selene, and wreathed thy cup with purple poppies, by thy magic to lure back the faithless lover to her door. But that



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