Karl-May-Forum

The first English language forum dedicated to one of the most enigmatic and successful German writers of all time
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:03 am 
I am awaiting Mr Kimmelman's reply to the reply received from the media liaison of the Museum - which I have forwarded to Mr Kimmelman.

I'm amazed at your linguistic skills, Philip, I only 'do' English well, apart from my native 'Swiss', and, of course 'May's German' :-)

Yes, Pierre Brice's autobiography was written in a very 'human' style - I liked it. It goes well with the 'persona' of Winnetou he portrayed for so many decades.
:D


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:23 am 
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 12:05 pm
Posts: 168
Location: U.S.A.
Actually, my language skills pale next to your own, Marlies.:oops:

You are absolutely right about “Winnetou und Ich”. I think that one reason that Pierre Brice’s portrayal of Winnetou is so superb is that he personally embodies many of Winnetou’s virtues (though he is a splendid actor, too, as can be seen from other roles, where he is very different than Winnetou). Gojko Mitic, too, stands for what he has expressed in his Indian roles. This is what is needed in a new film Winnetou, if there ever is one.:idea:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:43 pm 
Before I call it a day ...

Reply from Mr. Kimmelman
quote:
Again, thank you for explaining. It is my understanding and a basic
part of Karl May's history, which the exhibition makes clear, that he went
to jail because of his activities as a con-man. The term con-man has
nothing to do with his writing. It is simply a description of the cause
of his imprisonment before he went to jail. Does that clarify anything?
unquote

response to Mr. Kimmelman
quote:
The fact that he suffered from severe mental illness may not have been taken into consideration in the 1800s, but has today been diagnosed and accepted on a broad level, and this would not see him condemned as a 'con-man' but in the care of medical professionals.
...
My objection is seeing May called 'con-man' WITHOUT any further details, leaving the reader to believe that he was a 'con-man' all of his life (as you rightly point out below, he wasn't), that is the objectionable part. So who benefits from this embellishment, or rather, lack of clarity?
unquote

...and it's good night from me
:wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:21 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:58 am
Posts: 100
Location: Melbourne Australia
Hello Marlies - Thank you for the above (Letter to M. Kimmelman and to the Exhibition people in Berlin). It is most unfortunate that the German Tradition of vilification of the name of Karl May (criminal, Hochstapler, ..., etc.) is still going on in Germany - this should be strongly opposed!

My e-mail to M.Kimmelman is so far unanswered. If he does answer I shall report.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:23 am 
my last email to Mr Kimmelman has also remained unanswered - as far as I'm concerned, we made our point. I have received feedback from other sources in USA that he: '...heard alot in response to the article...'

It only means one thing ... Karl May is beginning to be noticed in the 'New World' :wink: he advanced to the respectable 'rag' The New York Times :lol: ... just as he has advanced to 'Museum' worthyness in his 'Heimat' - a checkmark against his 'validity' as a German icon.

Onya Sharlih ... :!:


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 Post subject: Re: Article about Karl May in New York Times
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 6:20 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:25 am
Posts: 12
Location: Pierpont SD USA
One should be thankful for MICHAEL KIMMELMAN’s NY Times article “In Germany, Wild for Winnetou” published on the 12th September, 2007. At the very least, Karl May gets another mention on the East Coast where a century ago his works were avidly read, albeit in colportage form.

As expected, Karl May is once again labeled a fantasist like Kaiser Wilhelm II and almost apologetically, he is claimed to be the favorite author of Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer, Kafka, Fritz Lang and of course … Adolf Hitler.

Does anyone really care which well-known person read Karl May’s Traveler’s Tales? Certainly not the readers who admire his work and inventiveness! What then is the purpose of this special mention that seems to be exclusively reserved for Karl May? It is sickening how journalists, who should know better, are beguiled by sensationalism. Considering that the Traveler’s Tales were penned in the late 1800’s, it follows that most Europeans of that century read Karl May’s narratives.

It is also a pity that we can not honor Germany’s most prolific and beloved author without sensationalizing the errors of his youth. Less is written about Winona Ryder’s theft and vandalism conviction for her $5,500 shoplifting spree, but much is made out of Karl May’s “candle wax and tobacco affair”. He is even called a ... because some of his readers could not separate fact from fiction.

Would Karl May’s narratives have had the same impact if they were written in the third person rather than the first person, which became his signature style? Of course not! Any reader will tell you that because of this first person style they see and feel the action. They are enveloped in the story, they are a part of all that is going on because they are not uninvolved observers like most couch potatoes are today. The same can be said of “A Popular Account of Discoveries at Nineveh” by Austen Henry Layard and J. C. Derby published in New York in the year 1854. It too was written in the first person, but it is a factual report. That it gave Karl May ideas for his Oriental Odyssey can not be denied, but that does not make Karl May a ...!

Neither can the photographs of Karl May dressed in Western and Oriental garb be presented as proof of his attempting to deceive his readers. Go to the Black Hills of South Dakota and there you too can dress in Western regalia and have a sepia picture taken that would suggest you were a notorious gunslinger or famous scout. Dressing in this fashion you would no doubt feel what a person of that period might have felt. If you are an author, you could also describe your attire much better.

Did Karl May daydream of being the hero of his stories? To answer this question one should consult Keats and his ‘Ode to a Nightingale`. It should be noted that in this ode, the author’s mood fluctuates between realism and fantasy. Should Karl May’s mood not also take flights of fancy as he writes his narratives? Any author worth his salt must have the ability to immerse himself into the character he is writing about. That is also true for an actor. Could Sir Laurence Olivier have beguiled his audience had he simply been himself?

No one would dare to call Sir Laurence a ...! No one would dare to label Keats a fantasist! Yet for Karl May, such labels seems to be acceptable!

Allow me to quote Karl May’s own words in answer here;

“I hold no grudge against you, for I know it had to be this way. It had been my task to bear every heavy load and to taste all bitterness, which was to be borne and tasted here; I have to use this in my work now. I am not embittered, because I know my guilt. And what others have been forced to do to me, I do not hold against them. I am just asking for that one thing: Finally, finally, let me have the time to start this work!”

And thus our work continues too. The original tales that have been heavily edited over the years are reborn anew. Many a dedicated translator has worked tirelessly to translate the original works of Karl May into Modern English. Our desire to give the real Karl May to the English speaking world and to disseminate the message of tolerance and peaceful co-existence embodied in the Traveler's Tales can not be defeated by mere innuendo.

_________________
Michael M. Michalak MACS
Nemsi Books


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