Sealsfield’s British Pirates and Promoters

  • Gerhard K. Friesen


From July 1843 until July 1846, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in almost every monthly issue published rifacimenti (listed below in Section III) based on the original German works of Charles Sealsfield. No name is attached to these sketches dealing with life in the New World, and until February 1845 there is not the slightest hint of their German origin. In that issue, under the heading German American Romances, a concise characterization of the „German school of romance“ is given by an anonymous writer, who now introduces „a nameless personage, known among German reviewers as Der Unbekannte or the unknown, and who has broken ground that no German writer had hitherto ventured into.“ (251) This brief introduction is followed by another adaptation from Sealsfield. The publication of more such selections continues without further identification until the July 1846 issue, where these remarks are appended to the final rifacimento:

We here finally conclude our extracts from the already published work of our German American friend — extracts comprising, as we believe, the cream of the twenty volumes, or thereabouts, which he has given to the world. The incognito behind which this clever original writer has so long shrouded himself, is at length abandoned; and to a new edition of his works, now in course of publication, stands prefixed the name of Charles Sealsfield. (55)


German Author American Scene German Writer Slight Hint Magazine Paper 
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  1. 793.
    Frederick Hardman, ed., Scenes and Adventures in Central America (Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1852) p.ii.Google Scholar
  2. 795.
    American aspects are dealt with by Nanette M. Ashby, The Sealsfield Controversy. A Study of Publication Conditions Affecting the Reception in America of the Works of Charles Sealsfield, diss., Stanford Univ, 1939Google Scholar
  3. Karl J. R. Arndt, Charles Sealsfield, ‚The Greatest American Author‘, Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 74 (1964): pp.249–259Google Scholar
  4. Walter Grünzweig, Das demokratische Kanaan. Charles Sealsfields Amerika im Kontext amerikanischer Literatur und Ideologie (München: Fink, 1987).Google Scholar
  5. 802.
    Karl Gutzkow, Gesammelte Werke, 13 vols. (Frankfurt a. M.: Literarische Anstalt, 1845–52) vol.1, p.285.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard K. Friesen
    • 1
  1. 1.WaterlooCanada

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