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Spinoza (1882) a novel by Berthold Auerbach

Spinoza (1882)  a novel 

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Historical novel about Spinoza by Berthold Auerbach, who was a German-Jewish poet and author. He was the founder of the German "tendency novel", in which fiction is used as a means of influencing public opinion on social, political, moral, and religious questions


Excerpt: 

On a Friday afternoon at the end of April 1647, in an obscure corner of the Jewish cemetery at Oudekerk, near Amsterdam, men were shovelling quickly to cover a sunken coffin with earth. No mourners stood by. 

The people present stood in groups, and conversed on the events of the day or of the life and death of him now given to the earth, while the gravediggers hurried over their work in silence and indifference; for already the sun sinking in the west showed that it would soon be time "to greet the face of the Sabbath." At the head of the grave stood a pale youth, who watched the brown clods fall into the hole with thoughtful looks. 

With his left hand, he unconsciously plucked the buds from the well-cut beech hedge. "Young friend," said a stranger to the youth in Spanish, "are you the only kinsman here of him who rests beneath? I perceive that you knew him well, and could tell me who he is, that he should be shovelled over like one plague-stricken without a sigh or word of mourning or lamentation. I am a stranger 


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