"[T]he curious name of the protagonist, Aue (which looks like the Latin word for hail or hello), certainly didn’t strike me immediately as German, but did seem vaguely familiar. Then memory works: Hartmann von Aue, the mediaeval German narrative poet, whose major poem, Gregorius, tells the story of brother-sister love, and their incest, from which a child is born who will go on to find himself, ignorant as Oedipus, years later in bed with his mother. This is, of course, the story that Thomas Mann renewed for our time in his late novel, The Holy Sinner. So meeting Aue’s name already makes the unconscious mind of the translator, and of the reader, stir with anticipations of incest and outrage — the very emotional core of The Kindly Ones, in fact." Charlotte Mandell writes about translating TKO over on

Readers Comments

  1. Many thanks for this link. As a tiny footnote, there is a German word 'Aue', meaning 'water meadow'. But of course the reference to Hartmann is spot on.

  2. I've never read the Gregorius narrative poem before but it seems quite interesting.I've heared a same story before. The main character unknowingly fell in love with his mother who abandoned him when he was still a baby because of a prophecy.

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