The same doubts attended the travel writings of Herman Melville, Daniel Defoe, and, as the story goes, Dante. In his autobiography, he cites two books as having been most influential in his life: one was a collection of folktales that his grandmother read to him; the other was a tale of a split soul, given to him by a good priest while he was in prison.
Neither book exists, it turns out, though both almost certainly were big influences on him. Just ten days before May died, he travelled to Vienna and gave a lecture attended by thousands. Only now, I want to approach the actual work of my life. It goes without saying that both Buffalo Bill and Karl May purveyed farragoes of historical misrepresentation. She explained the distinction between the Ho-Chunk tribe of the Winnebago and the tribe known simply as the Winnebago; she had had visitors from both tribes over for a barbecue. She went on to tell me that certain battles from the Indian wars that May presents as having taken place in the eighteen-sixties actually happened in the eighteen-tens.
A housewife from Koblenz pointed out to me that the two totem poles marking the entrance to the outdoor amphitheatre were problematic, because Winnetou was a Plains Indian and Plains Indians did not make totem poles. Of course, as an Apache Winnetou was not even a Plains Indian. Part of being a Karl May fan, it seems, is correcting Karl May. A number of German and Austrian towns have Karl May festivals, but the festival in Bad Segeberg is the largest, the most magnificently staged, and probably the most financially successful.
It began in , a year after the Wagner festival was revived in Bayreuth. After the war, occupying Brits staged boxing matches. A few classics were put on. Thienel is from Bad Segeberg, but for many years she lived and worked in Munich and Berlin. I asked her about the actors, most of whom are famous from German movies or television. Thienel said that Native American actors had performed in the festival, but it was hard to find people willing to be away from home for the whole season.
I attended with Ingrid Altner, a woman in her sixties who has lived in Bad Segeberg for thirty years and is now the chairperson of the city council.
Winnetou: Why so many Germans fell in love with the unrealistic 'Indian'
This show is really a comedy, but it has a little bit of everything. We all cheer. His long black hair is held off his olive-skinned face with a thick red headband; he is not smiling. Finally, Old Shatterhand—in fringed but not beaded leather—rides in; again we cheer. Old Shatterhand announces that his heart is full of joy, because he is meeting his brother again.
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Conflict is briefly averted; we see early bits of a Romeo and Juliet story of Indian lovers from the opposing tribes. There is a burst of Prokofiev. Then the German settlers arrive on the scene, unaware that they have entered hostile territory. Lisa Fitz, the Bavarian cabaret star playing Rosalie, also gets a cheer. There are other settlers, too, and, just as they start to sing and dance, bandits arrive, there are gunshots and the scent of gunpowder, the stagecoach is set on fire, Old Shatterhand and Winnetou return, there is a musical reprise.
This is the first ten minutes of the show. A couple of months earlier, I had visited Radebeul, a small town in the former East Germany which suffers from a problem all German towns seem to have: the overwhelming number of notable Germans.
He was wearing a white button-up shirt with an Indian-head bolo tie, Wranglers, a mustang belt buckle, and leather moccasins. Two is that there was too much Christianity in the books. Albert Einstein also liked Karl May, and so did many of the Communist leaders, but no one ever bothers to mention that. I hate that. The G.
She also remembered smuggling the pieces for a Winnetou jigsaw puzzle in a box for a puzzle of a picture of rabbits. But gifts went from East to West as well.
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In an expression of empathy for people they saw as victims of capitalist imperialism, some East Germans sent care packages of food and clothing to Native Americans living on reservations in the United States. On the walk over, he told me how the May museum regained its original name. They came up with new ways of thinking about these people, officially.
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May wrote about the West, so that could be problematic, but they said, Here was this impoverished Saxonite; he came from the oppressed class and he rose to glory. And he wrote about the Indians, an oppressed people who resisted. There were fresh flowers there. Nazi officials were expected to attend. Wagner, an honorary citizen of Tombstone, Arizona, took off his cowboy hat to sit down and talk with me.
He showed me the building plans for a new visitor center. I asked Wagner if he had a favorite exhibit or event from all his years. When the G. The line to get into the exhibition went down to the end of the street. People waited in the cold for three hours.
Native Americans in German popular culture
Now Germans can go and travel to the real America. During the G. A native of the tiny Kaska tribe of the Yukon told me of recently visiting a classroom of German primary-school students who greeted him in his native tongue. Native Americans in the United States buy them. He went there to teach people how to make them. But it can make people angry if a German hobbyist sells his work in a Native American craft fair. The relationship was more simple during the G.
Of the relation between Native Americans and Germans today, the historian H. So in the nineteen-sixties this thinking had a lot to do with political protest, with the image of Indians as resisters. In the anti-nuclear protests of the nineteen-seventies, they flew in a lot of Indians from the Pine Ridge Reservation. Then, in the nineteen-eighties, the esoteric Indian was hot—the idea of the medicine man, of a deep knowledge of nature. A few weeks before my visit to Radebeul, a professor and students at a university in nearby Mittweida had put together a seven-week around-the-clock reading of the entire corpus of Karl May.
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Product Details About the Author. In addition, he wrote stories set in his native Germany, in China and in South America. Karl May's total number of copies published is about millions, half of this are German copies Wikipedia. Karl May is outside the German-speaking area with more than 30 languages the most translated writer.
His most famous titles are the Orient Cycle and the Winnetou-Trilogy. May's musical version of Ave Maria became very popular.
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Many of his works were filmed, adapted for the stage, processed to audio dramas or transcribed into comics. Average Review. Write a Review. Dream Land Publishing. Karl May Gesammelte Werke ,