The Holy Sinner

The Holy Sinner

3.9 (804 ratings by Goodreads)
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 129 x 198mm | 196g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140016252
  • 9780140016253

Review Text

This stands alone in the roster of Thomas Mann's creative writings and its poetic license will baffle many of his readers. For here- told as interpreted by a garrulous old priest- is the legend of a certain Pope Gregory whose "origin is shameful, his life sinful, his atonement ruthless, his end transfiguration by divine mercy". The period trappings place the story in the Middle Ages, when chivalry was in full stream of history, and Mann gives credit for his source to a certain German poet who wrote a verse epos, entitled Gregorius vom Stein. But bits of the legend, as Mann has embellished it, lead here to the sixth century Gregory I, and there to the Armenian pope, Gregory the Illuminator, but nowhere to a pope who rightfully belongs to the Age of Chivalry or the feudal state of the Europe of this story. So write it off as an imaginary figure, whose "shameful" story had its roots in the thinking and the moral standards of the Middle Ages, and release your spirit and imagination to enjoy a unique story of symbolic value, glorifying the divine mercy above the pettiness of man. Catholics may find it banned, but others may find there is a spiritual and positive message beyond the venery which cost the perpetrators dear.... There is not in our opinion- the strength of his story of Joseph or the profundity of his Magic Mountain. Book-of-the -Month selection will add the seal of popular endorsement to the stature of Mann's name. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

804 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 30% (244)
4 38% (308)
3 24% (195)
2 6% (46)
1 1% (11)
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