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In The Marquise of O-, a virtuous widow finds herself unaccountably pregnant. And although the baffled Marquise has no idea when this happened, she must prove her innocence to her doubting family and discover whether the perpetrator is an assailant or lover. Michael Kohlhaas depicts an honourable man who feels compelled to violate the law in his search for justice, while other tales explore the singular realm of the uncanny, such as The Beggarwoman of Locarno, in which an old woman's ghost drives a heartless nobleman to madness, and St Cecilia, which portrays four brothers possessed by an uncontrollable religious mania. The stories collected in this volume reflect the preoccupations of Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) with the deceptiveness of human nature and the unpredictability of the physical world.

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