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The Duel

Translated by Annie Janusch

Part of The Art of the Novella

One of the few novellas written by the master German playwright, The Duel was considered by Thomas Mann and others to be one of the great works of German literature. The story of a virtuous woman slandered by a nobleman, it is a precise study of a subject that fascinated von Kleist: That people are sometimes seemingly punished for their very innocence.

Melville House HybridBooks combine print and digital media into an enhanced reading experience by including with each title additional curated material called Illuminations — maps, photographs, illustrations, and further writing about the author and the book.

The Melville House Illuminations are free with the purchase of any title in the HybridBook series, no matter the format.

Purchasers of the print version can obtain the Illuminations for a given title simply by scanning the QR code found in the back of each book, or by following the url also given in the back of the print book, then downloading the Illumination in whatever format works best for you.

Purchasers of the digital version receive the appropriate Illuminations automatically as part of the ebook edition.

Illuminations for The Duel by Heinrich von Kleist includes writings by:

  • Miguel de Cervantes
  • Sir Walter Scott
  • Paul the Deacon
  • J.G. Millingen
  • Johann Ludwig Uhland
  • Andrew Lang
  • John Carl Blankenagel
  • The twelve laws of chivalry.
  • And more


As an added bonus, each book in The Duel x5 series contains a “Duelist’s Supplement,” a fascinating compendium of the art, history and literature of dueling.

The Duel by Giacomo Casanova contains “Duels, Duelists and Dueling Grounds: A Survey of the Infamous and Bizarre” – Included are brief biographies of the ten greatest duelists in history, accounts of four bizarre duels and lore concerning history’s most notorious dueling grounds.

The Duel by Anton Chekhov contains “Against The Duel: Writing in Protest of Dueling” – Included is the trial records of Sir Francis Bacon’s oration against dueling, as well as the Council of Toledo’s official ban on dueling.

The Duel by Joseph Conrad contains “The Code Duello: A Diverse Anthology for Personal Use” – The French, Irish, American South code duellos are included, as well as Queensbury Rules and a profile of the Viking code of dueling, known as the Holmganga.

The Duel by Heinrich von Kleist contains “The Art of Dueling: How to Shoot and Slash Your Way to Satisfaction” – A compendium of fencing and pistol technique, including descriptions of two-handed sword wielding tactics and a complete edition of a facsimile edition of the famous Italian fencing manual, The Flower of Battle.

The Duel by Alexander Kuprin contains “The Other Duel: Fiction and Poetry Concerning Duels” – Contains “The Duel” by Guy de Maupassant, Emily Dickinson, Alexander Pushkin, Thomas Hardy and O. Henry, and selections from many other dueling stories and poems.

HEINRICH VON KLEIST (1777–1811) is best known for his revolutionary plays and stories, such as Michael Kohlhaas, embracing realism and rejecting the ideals of eminent German humanists such as Goethe.

ANNIE JANUSCH is associate book review editor at Translation Review.

“A rousing, cinematic read — and a fine sample of Melville House’s new HybridBook series, which offers electronic bonus material (such as illustrated dueling instructions).” —Flavorwire

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