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God Head

A Novel

Leonard Cline

Publication Year: 2012

Lavished with praise at the time of its 1925 publication, Leonard Cline’s phantasmagoric God Head is being republished so a new generation of readers can marvel at its dark magic. Cline’s mesmerizing debut follows the journey of Paulus Kempf, a fugitive labor agitator who takes refuge with a colony of Finns on the remote shores of Lake Superior in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Kempf, a former surgeon, poet, writer, sculptor, and hyper-intellectual, is at first deeply impressed by the folklore and traditions of the quiet, gentle Finns, not to mention their generosity and hospitality. But he soon begins to play upon their superstitions and exploits their kindness through the power of his cunning and imagination, manipulating them into seeing him as a kind of a god. As Cline’s novel hurtles toward its unforgettable climax, Kempf’s capacity for compassion or mercy swiftly falls to the wayside as he seduces his host’s wife and then murders the man in cold blood. Soon thereafter he carves a giant God Head into the side of a nearby mountainside, which the villagers look upon with awe and fear, held in the thrall of Kempf’s mysterious intimations of its malicious power. Having achieved complete domination over the Finns, Kempf ultimately tires of their gullibility and returns to civilization, his quest for self-mastery complete. God Head’s descent into the dark void of the human heart will thrill modern readers who are sure to cherish this lost literary artifact from the shadow canon of American fiction.

Published by: Northern Illinois University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 1-6


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pp. vii-10

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Part One—Kullervo

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pp. 3-74

It seems to me now that from the time I slipped out of the back door at Imatra Hall that night and dodged away behind the houses, with the queer howl of the woman still shuddering in my ears, up to the time I found myself on top the mountain and all the quiet stars overhead, I was not once conscious....

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Part Two—Lemminkainen

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pp. 75-136

Midafternoon, and the sun slanting across the bright water. I sat at the tiller of the little boat. Oskar perched jubilant in spite of his weariness in the prow; and Aino on the thwart in the middle. Aino all in white with a new straw hat, gay with red and blue ribbons, gazed steadily past and beyond me, meditatively...

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Part Three—Väinämöinen

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pp. 137-168

From my aerie working place—putting aside my mallet and chisel from time to time and letting my mind subside on the certainties of the present, like a lark from the clouds returning to his tree—I could look down on all the messuage from end to end; and I could think, all that is mine....

E-ISBN-13: 9781609090333
Print-ISBN-13: 9780875806754

Page Count: 221
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 868220345
MUSE Marc Record: Download for God Head