The Song at at the Scaffold

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9780911845518: The Song at at the Scaffold

Gertrud Von Le Fort wrote The Song at the Scaffold in 1931 five years after converting to the Catholic Faith. At that time she was considered Germany's most influential Catholic poet and novelist. The Song at the Scaffold is a novelette set in the time of the French Revolution, an epoch that vividly demonstrated man's capacity for both heroism and brutality. It is a very intense story dealing primarily with the Carmelite Convent at Compiegne but also encompassing the Paris mob, the Reign of Terror, Women Revolutionists, etc., climaxing in the martyrdom of sixteen Carmelite nuns. Excellent reading for both students and adults! 111 pages, softcover.

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About the Author:

Gertrud von le Fort (1876-1971), who wrote so movingly in The Song at the Scaffold about Carmelite nuns who gave their lives for the Faith during the French Revolution was herself no stranger to religious persecution. Her ancestors, who were French Protestants, fled to Germany for religious freedom, and it was in the small town of Minden in Westphalia that she was born in 1876.

Von le Fort attended the Universities of Heidelberg and Berlin and was a student of the Protestant philosopher Ernst Troeltsch, whose works she edited. In 1925, she converted to the Catholic Faith. Key to her own conversion and in the characters and themes in her books is the importance of self-surrender. In Mary's humble fiat at the Annunciation ("Be it done unto me according to thy word"), in particular, von le Fort sees self-surrender not only as a symbol of the metaphysical aspect of woman, but as an example of the humility and reverence all creatures owe to God. Her philosophical treatise The Eternal Woman elaborates this theme.

In her novels, particularly in The Song at the Scaffold and The Veil of Veronica, her lowly, despised, inward-turning characters reveal the power of the inner life over the tumultuous, selfish ways of the world. "Through these quiet, unassuming women, through their weakness and cosmic fear, [von le Fort] indicates the spot at which grace may gain admittance to the soul of the modern man."

The call to self-surrender and humble reverence toward God, which shines forth in Gertrud von le Fort's writing, is as important for today's readers as it was two thousand years ago for the lowly maiden whose fiat raised her to be Queen of Heaven.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Gertrud von Le Fort
Published by The Neumann Press (1993)
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