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The Song at the Scaffold af Gertrud von Le…
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The Song at the Scaffold (original 1931; udgave 2014)

af Gertrud von Le Fort (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1724122,193 (3.81)7
This is a classic novelette set in the time of the French Revolution, an epoch that vividly demonstrated man's capacity for both heroism and brutality. It is an intense and compelling drama based on the true story of the Carmelite nuns at Compeigne beheaded during the last few days of the Revolution, but also encompassing the Paris mob, the Reign of Terror, women revolutionists, etc., climaxing in the heroic martyrdom of sixteen Carmelites. This story unfolds around Blanche de la Force, who enters the Carmelite convent amid the horror of the French Revolution. Blanche is so timorous that she seems unsuited to the rigors of religious life even at the best of times - and badly misplaced as the Reign of Terror begins to stain France with the blood of martyrs.Sister Marie, one of the leading nuns in the convent, receives with joy the death threats of the revolutionaries: the sisters are going to be awarded the crown of Christian martyrdom! Sister Marie prepares the other nuns for this fearsome sacrifice, all the while harboring doubts about Blanche's ability and willingness to join them in dying for Christ. Blanche's life thereafter and the story of the nuns take several unexpected twists, leaving you not only with the inspiring, true witness of their martyrdom, but also with a penetrating insight into the nature of holiness. As our world is engulfed anew in terror and hatred for the Christian faith, The Song at the Scaffold will inspire us with a renewed and fervent love for God.… (mere)
Medlem:KristRuth
Titel:The Song at the Scaffold
Forfattere:Gertrud von Le Fort (Forfatter)
Info:TAN Books (2013), 136 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Song at the Scaffold af Gertrud von Le Fort (Author) (1931)

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The Song at the Scaffold is a novella written in 1931 fictionalizing the martyrdom of Carmelite nuns during the Reign of Terror. The faith displayed by long-time Nuns is portrayed alongside the fear and confusion of a new initiate to the order. The French Revolution is playing out all around them. Decrees come down that no new initiates should be added to any religious order, and even that all such orders should be disbanded. This era of extreme violence brought about swift changes and those who refused to conform, or those in the nobility or ruling class, were often put to death by guillotine in a bloody public spectacle. Priests, nuns and other religious leaders were not safe from execution. This book tells the story of 16 Carmelite nuns who were condemned to die.

The story is told in the form of a fictionalized letter from a witness who was at the execution on July 17, 1794 to a friend who has fled France for safety. It is a short book - only 122 pages - but it clearly tells the story of the 16 Nuns who died for their faith.

I don't normally read religious books, but when I read a description of this novella, I really wanted to read it. It was a quick read, and I became much more engrossed in the tale than I thought I would. The title of the book comes from the fact that the Nuns sang religious hymns as they rode in a cart through the screaming crowds to their place of execution. The narrator tells the haunting story, adding that the song got quieter and quieter, until there was only one person left singing, a former initiate who had been brought to witness the executions. While the story based on real events, the initiate is a fictional character added to embody the fear and uncertainty felt by so many during the revolution.

I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't really what I expected. It was more of a narrative blending fact and fiction than a true account of the executions. I did enjoy how they contrasted the solid faith of the Nuns against the unsure fears of the initiates. The initiates would have to join the order in secret, as the revolutionaries had declared that no new members could be added to any religious order. As it became apparent that staying true to their order and Catholicism could result in their martyrdom, it became a true test of faith that not all the new members would be able to handle. The mental anguish and fear really played out in the simple narrative.

When I finished the book, I had to sit for a few minutes and just think. Would I pass such a test of my own personal convictions? I'm not Catholic, but I'm not sure my faith in my beliefs could be strong enough for me to face public execution with the grace and bravery of those Nuns. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be publicly humiliated like that....to be driven through the streets in an open cart through crowds of people that are there just for the pleasure of seeing me killed for my religious beliefs. And for them to sing out songs of praise to God while going to their death. What powerful women. Even after centuries, their faith and strength still have power.

A magnificent novella. Even if you don't ascribe to any religious beliefs, it is still worth a read. A very powerful, well-written, interesting peek into the Reign of Terror.

My rating: 7/10
( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
5316. The Song at the Scaffold, by Gertrud von Le Fort translated from the German by Olga Marx (read 3 Oct 2015) This is a 1931 novella based on the guillotining on July 17, 1794, of 16 Carmelites in Paris. The Reign of Terror ended a few days later--maybe by reason of the horror of seeing these unoffending sisters cruelly decapitated. The book tells of a fiercely afraid novice who flees the convent when she knew what was in store for her fellow sisters. but when they singing went to their deaths one by one the fleeing novice lifted her voice in song and suffered the fate of the others. This is a moving account inspired by an awful event in French history. ( )
  Schmerguls | Oct 3, 2015 |
The story of 16 Carmelite nuns guillotined during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. Olga Marx's 1933 translation does not hold up well to the passage of time making the book less accessible to the modern reader. A fine, but one-sided, portrayal of the nuns' story, their motivation, and faith. Interesting use of a fictional character, the nun Blanche, to contrast the fear an average person would feel in this situation with the conviction and courage of these historical martyrs. ( )
  orionpozo | Dec 27, 2008 |
The true story of the martyrdom of the Carmelite nuns during the Reign of Terror in France.
  maryanntherese | Mar 26, 2008 |
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This is a classic novelette set in the time of the French Revolution, an epoch that vividly demonstrated man's capacity for both heroism and brutality. It is an intense and compelling drama based on the true story of the Carmelite nuns at Compeigne beheaded during the last few days of the Revolution, but also encompassing the Paris mob, the Reign of Terror, women revolutionists, etc., climaxing in the heroic martyrdom of sixteen Carmelites. This story unfolds around Blanche de la Force, who enters the Carmelite convent amid the horror of the French Revolution. Blanche is so timorous that she seems unsuited to the rigors of religious life even at the best of times - and badly misplaced as the Reign of Terror begins to stain France with the blood of martyrs.Sister Marie, one of the leading nuns in the convent, receives with joy the death threats of the revolutionaries: the sisters are going to be awarded the crown of Christian martyrdom! Sister Marie prepares the other nuns for this fearsome sacrifice, all the while harboring doubts about Blanche's ability and willingness to join them in dying for Christ. Blanche's life thereafter and the story of the nuns take several unexpected twists, leaving you not only with the inspiring, true witness of their martyrdom, but also with a penetrating insight into the nature of holiness. As our world is engulfed anew in terror and hatred for the Christian faith, The Song at the Scaffold will inspire us with a renewed and fervent love for God.

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