03/17 - Karl May

03/17 - Karl May

A shot, a scream. That was Karl May.

Undoubtedly Karl May belongs to a plant of around one hundred published books to the most diligent writers of all time. With a total circulation of over 200 million copies (of which alone 100 million in Germany) is it the same rank of the most widely read author safely. However, to call him a "travel writer", as he likes to be titled in his lifetime itself would be exaggerated shamelessly. In fact, Karl May, travels the country, where most of his stories are based only decades later himself. His knowledge of the Wild West and the Far East comes mostly the encyclopedic reference books of its time.

In this respect (and still refer) whole generations of readers on their knowledge about the Wild West and the "wild Kurdistan" from his books. In particular, his three-volume Winnetou cycle around the brave chief of the Mescalero Apaches has the image of the "noble savage" lasting influence. But before Karl May could erschreiben a place in the League of immortal authors, his life was anything but orderly. To learn how fate has sometimes buffeted him, and why he had to settle for long prison terms several times, we take a look at the man who is behind the legendary writer Karl May.

Childhood and youth

Karl Friedrich May comes on 25 February 1842 Ore Ernstthal born. He is the fifth of fourteen children, nine of whom die within the first months after birth. The Mays are a family of weavers and destitute. Shortly after his birth loses Karl unexplained reasons eyesight and spends the first years of life in the fantasy realm of stories that told him his linguistically gifted grandmother. When Karl is five years old, he can after treatment a doctor suddenly see again and briefly enrolled on it. He is the only son of the family and his ambitious father Heinrich August May will give him a better chance than he had in his childhood. Karl will write off forced all books and stopped for independent study of scientific works. In addition, he is sponsored by Ernst Thaler Kantor Bush and given private lessons in music and composition.

According to the company Karl earned his first money at the age of twelve as a cone Young. He stands at the end of the bowling alley, is the overturned cone again and rolls back the balls. He listens to the sometimes very hearty discussions of cone brothers and strikes the first returnees from the "New World". Your stories from America fascinate and impress the boys sustainable.

Talent versus crime

At just fourteen Karl 1856 begins to study in Waldenburg as Proseminarist at teacher training college. The first four years he is regarded as ambitious and hardworking candidates to the teaching profession, but in 1860 it is excluded from the study because of embezzlement of six candles. A minor offense, doubt, and yet it seems to make him his future plans to naught. In desperation Karl submits a request for clemency and has succeeded. Shortly afterwards, he can continue his studies at the teacher training college in Plauen, where he composed his final exam in September. 1861 He works on a transitional basis to the charity school in Glauchau and takes a teaching job at the factory school of Altchemnitz in November 1861.

However, his teaching career ends abruptly after a few weeks with the display of a roommate because of "unlawful use of foreign things". Karl had used with permission his roommate whose replacement pocket during class, but taken without consultation with the Christmas holidays. Likewise undoubtedly a minor offense, such as the embezzled in Lehrerseminar candles, but with far-reaching consequences: Karl has to serve a six-week prison sentence and is deleted as a convict from the list of student teachers. Over five years of training time have become useless because of a narrow-minded roommates overnight.

The following two years trying to keep May be more bad than good by legal means afloat. He is in his home private lessons and composed various pieces of music. These activities make it though joy, but throw off so little profit that May tried with little frauds increase his meager livelihood something. But the crooks craft does not seem to lie to him. Presently he is steckbrieflich wanted for theft, fraud and imposture. In an attempt to put a fur coat, which he surreptitiously under false names in the pawn shop, he is arrested. The penalty imposed by the court sentence coincides with four years workhouse disproportionately from hard. He is serving three and a half years of his sentence and placed in this time more than 100 titles and abstracts of novels on. After prison to be his foundation for a planned career as a writer. But it will initially different.

All attempts Mays, to fail to establish a bourgeois life after his release. He soon reaches back to Trick fraud whose possible gain is often out of proportion to the risks involved. It comes, as it must, and May was arrested again in 1869, but managed to escape during a prisoner transport. After an odyssey across the country, he was arrested in January 1870 for vagrancy in Bohemia. After the arrest, he poses as Albin Wadenbach. He claims the son of a wealthy plantation owner on the island of Martinique to be and to have lost his papers on the trip to Europe. The dizziness flies on for several weeks a thorough identity check and he is recognized as the petty criminals Karl May. After his transfer to the Saxon Waldheim he served again a four-year sentence in the local penitentiary.

The conversion

After his release from prison May 1874 returns to his home and began to write. The historical development engages him in his plans under the arms: The increasing literacy of the population, with the industrialization shoot new publishers like mushroomed and the need for texts is constantly growing. In the same year May can sell a story to a newspaper and replaced shortly afterwards a job as an editor at the Dresden publisher Heinrich Gotthold Münchmeyer. This May's livelihood is secured for the first time in his adult life. He is responsible for the care of various entertainment and music itself published numerous articles. But this happiness is short-lived: May announces, as the publisher urges him to marry his sister to permanently bind it to the publisher. 1878 attracts May with his girlfriend Emma Pollmer to Dresden and tried with limited success as a freelance writer.

The turn comes for May 1879, as the editor of the Catholic weekly "The Treasure House" offers him his stories to publish regularly. Henceforth, he adds the newspaper for eight years with Travel stories from his Orient cycle and writes alongside still under various pseudonyms for other publishers. The regular income allows him to move to Oberlößnitz into Villa Agnes, where he comes into contact with Friedrich Ernst Fehsenfeld. The young publisher is enthusiastic about Mays stories and offers him to publish his Orient cycle in book form. Shortly after appearing "Karl May's Gesammelte Reiseerzählungen" and overnight literary bestseller. Money and fame fly to him and to say it with Fontane: After "trials and tribulations" Karl May has finally arrived at its destination.

Creeping loss of reality

But where there is light, there is also ample shade. With increasing success, Karl May loses deeper into the fiction of his stories. He goes so far as to claim that he himself was the one who had experienced all the adventures in his books and Old Shatterhand is to his alter ego. In his obsession he can even customize from a gunsmith the legendary rifles of his hero and posing for photographers in Trapper costume with the "hunting rifle" and the "silver box" at the ready. In a lecture in 1897 he overstepped the mark when he says to a large audience to control more than 1,200 languages ​​and dialects, and in addition, as a direct descendant of Winnetou be commander over 35,000 Apaches. Critics and people who could refute him, he goes from now on out of the way and pulls into its "Villa Shatterhand" in Radebeul back.

The last years

After the turn of the century in 1900 May will be gathered by the transgressions of his youth. A journalist published the truth about his convictions and prison sentences and May is increasingly coming under public criticism. He tried with his literary work late to write against the accusations and to be recognized as a serious author. But just two weeks before his death him absolution the public should be granted: "Empor into the realm of noble people" His presentation is on 22 March 1912 in Vienna a triumph unparalleled who can fade into the background all the allegations against him. With the crowd the way sits the unsuccessful painter Adolf Hitler.

On March 30, 1912 Karl May dies at Villa Shatterhand. The cause of death heart failure or chronic lead poisoning is suspected. Probably Karl May this secret with in the happy hunting grounds has taken. Hugh.

"Victory, great win! I see everything rosy! "

Karl May's last words on his deathbed

Copyright Photo: © National Széchényi Library - Flickr.com

Products link

Categories : Men of the month

Published : 03/1/2017 07:25:08