A German in Hull


The Oxford Companion to German Literature describes Harro Harring (1798–1870), revolutionary, writer, and painter, as ‘a stormy petrel of 19th-c. demagogy, [who] took part in the Greek War of Liberation in 1821, travelled restlessly in Europe, and in 1828,’  having been inspired by meeting Byron earlier in the decade, ‘was for a few months house dramatist in the Theater an der Wien, Vienna.  Later in that year he obtained a commission in a Russian guard regiment stationed in Warsaw, but returned to Germany when the July Revolution broke out in 1830.  Over the next twenty-five years he was repeatedly expelled as an agitator from various German states, from Switzerland, from Norway, and from Denmark.  His points of rest were the USA, South America (Rio), and London.’  His final years he spent in exile on Jersey, before finally committing suicide in 1870.


Another point of rest was evidently Hull, from where he wrote this embittered open letter on 29 November 1850, calling for his fellow republicans in northern Germany (Harring himself was from North Frisia) not to be subservient to Prussia.  Harring was at the time promoting a pan-Scandinavian union of free states, for which views he had been banned from Norway just months before.


I cannot find any German printing done in Hull in the nineteenth century, so perhaps this was actually printed in London.  It would certainly be interesting to compare the type used with contemporary German radical printing emanating from London.  It is not dissimilar to the Fraktur used by J. E. Burghard for the Communist Manifesto in 1848.


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For the fallen


This is the rather splendid cover vignette to The Last of the Brave; or Resting Places of our Fallen Heroes in the Crimea and at Scutari by Captains John Colborne and Frederic Brine, published by Ackermann & Co. in 1857.  In the introduction, they write: ‘Not quite two summers ago three mighty powers stood breathing defiance against one another on the shores of the Black Sea … [yet] few traces of our presence in the Crimea remain to this day, save those very cemeteries and monuments of which the present work humbly proposes itself to be a register’.  The book serves as an important source for these war graves, as many have long since fallen into neglect, as the recent Crimea Appeal testifies.  Included are men from regiments from all over the British Isles: English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish.

Colborne 1

The book also features 15 fine tinted lithograph plates by Walker (printed by Day & Son, ‘Lithographers to the Queen’), on thicker paper:

Colborne 2

Colborne 3

Colborne 4

Colborne 5



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Pride on a peacock


Johann Georg Zimmermann (1728–1795) was a Swiss doctor who, in 1758, was appointed ‘His Britannic Majesty’s Physician’ at Hanover.  He was also a writer, best known for his works of popular philosophy, which made a great impression in the German-speaking world and which were widely translated.  One of these, Von dem Nationalstolze, written during the Seven Years War and published in Zurich the same year Zimmermann became George II’s physician, distinguishes between true and false national pride.  It wasn’t published in English until some time later, in 1771 (Zimmermann’s first appearance in English), when it was pronounced by both the Critical and the Monthly Review as ‘entertaining’.



The book has this splendid allegorical frontispiece, done by Joseph Collyer the younger after the original title vignette in the German version, which depicts Pride riding a peacock whilst distorting the vision of all parts of the world (rendered as African, European, Oriental, and Native American) with spectacles.

For full details of this, and other recent acquisitions, please click here.


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Kipling in Russia


Later this week sees the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  So much has been written about Kipling, and his books, but there is very little published about his popularity in Russia, which began in the 1890s and continued well into the Soviet era.

As far as I can work out, his first appearance in Russian is a translation, by M. Korsh, of The Naulahka, issued at the end of the October 1892 number of Vsemirnaia biblioteka (‘The World Library’, a monthly which published serial translations of foreign literature, presumably for readers to then break up and bind as individual novels).  It’s only 35 pages, and although the final page reads ‘to be continued’, no more of the novel was in fact published at the time.  A full Russian translation, published by Pyotr Soikin, appeared in 1896.  The Naulahka, a Story of West and East was serialised in the Century Magazine from November 1891 to July 1892.  It was written together with Wolcott Balestier (the only time Kipling ever collaborated), but the young American died of typhoid fever in December 1891 and Kipling was left to revise the book edition alone (1892).


1895 saw two more translations.  The one pictured above is entitled Selected stories … with a biographical sketch and portrait of the author, translated by Lyudmila Shelgunova, which contains ‘The Phantom Rickshaw’, ‘The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes’, ‘My own true Ghost Story’ (from The Phantom Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales, 1888), ‘Wee Willie Winkie’, ‘His Majesty the King’, ‘The Drums of the Fore and Aft’ (from Wee Willie Winkie and other Child Stories, 1888), ‘Miss Youghal’s Sais’, ‘Lispeth’ (from Plain Tales from the Hills, 1888), ‘Without Benefit of Clergy’ (from The Courting of Dinah Shadd and other Stories, 1890), ‘Moti Guj, Mutineer’, ‘The Return of Imray’ (from Life’s Handicap, 1891), ‘In the Rukh’, and ‘The Lost Legion’ (from Many Inventions, 1893).  It was published as a supplement to the journal Zhivopisnoe obozrenie (‘Pictorial Review’).

The other important early translation from 1895 was this:


The title translates as Tales from the life of children and animals in India, but we know it, of course, as The Jungle Book (1894).  As with The Naulahka from 1892, the translation is by Korsh.  Other editions, under different titles (and sometimes just one chapter published separately), by different translators, followed, with The Second Jungle Book (1895) finally appearing in Russian in 1905.

The first time both Jungle Books were translated together in anything approaching completeness was in 1908:

Kipling 1    Kipling 2

The translator here is Nadezhda Giliarovskaya (1886–1966), who worked at the Historical Museum in Moscow.  She also produced translations of Ada Negri and Goethe, and published a number of books, both before and after the Revolution, including a volume of her own verse in 1912.

Kipling’s popularity continued after the Revolution, largely thanks to the ‘fathers’ of modern Russian children’s literature, Kornei Chukovsky (1882–1969) and Samuil Marshak (1887–1964).


Here’s the first edition of their translation of ‘How the camel got his hump’ and ‘The cat that walked by itself’ from the Just So Stories, published in 1923.  This was one of the first of their collaborative translations of Kipling (they had translated ‘The Elephant’s Child’ in 1922; others would follow).  ‘Chukovsky recalled that, in the early 1920s, he and Marshak would “wander through the empty streets during Petrograd’s White Nights …, reciting the verses of Shevchenko, Nekrasov, Robert Browning, Kipling, Keats and pitying the rest of mankind because they were asleep and did not know what beauty exists in the world”’ (The Firebird and the Factory: Modern Russian Children’s Books, University of Virginia exhibition catalogue, 2007, p. 40).


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Gushing and fabulous

Labyrinte 1

This is the first edition of a rare illustrated guide from 1682—in French, English, German, and Dutch—to Louis XIV’s Labyrinth at Versailles, a maze with thirty-nine fountains depicting Aesop’s fables.

The Labyrinth began in 1665 as an unadorned hedge maze, but was later redesigned to serve the Dauphin’s education.  The impetus in this came from the poet Charles Perrault, who at the time was senior civil servant in the Superintendance of the King’s Buildings.  Between 1672 and 1677 the King’s gardener Andre Le Nôtre redesigned the maze to feature thirty-nine brass fountains: water jets from the animals’ mouths were conceived to give the impression of speech, and each fountain bore a plaque with a caption and a quatrain written by the poet, Isaac de Benserade.  The Sun King specifically commissioned the quatrains, and it was allegedly from these plaques that his six-year-old son, the Grand Dauphin, learned to read.

Booksellers wasted no time cashing in on the new attraction.  The first guide (Paris, 1677) was in French only, and unillustrated; another followed in 1679, with engravings by Sébastien Le Clerc.  The present version presents short prose summaries, in four languages, of the thirty-nine fables, with descriptions of each fountain beneath:

Labyrinte 2

These are followed by engravings by the Dutch artist Willem Swidde, with Benserade’s quatrains (and the three translations, also in verse) on the facing pages:

Labyrinte 4

Labyrinte 5

The English translations are by John Morrison, presumably the eponymous translator of Jan Struys’ Reysen door Moscovien … (The perilous and most unhappy Voyages of John Struys, 1683).

Full details of this, and other books, can be found in my recent list of Illustrated books.


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A new audience for Pope

Alexander Pope’s brilliant mock-heroic poem, The Rape of the Lock (1714)—‘the most attractive of all ludicrous compositions’, as Samuel Johnson called it—has always been popular, and not just in England.  French translators, largely thanks to the efforts of Voltaire, first got hold of it, and it was through them that Pope gained a Continental audience.  (Voltaire always had praise for Pope, though he managed to offended Pope’s mother the first time he came to dinner in London with swearing and indelicate conversation.)  A little later and the poem found popularity in Germany:

Pope 1

This is the first edition of the first German verse translation of the poem, produced by Luise Gottsched (1713–1762), Germany’s first prominent woman of letters, in 1744.  It is dedicated to Princess Luise Dorothea of Saxe-Meiningen (1710–1767), wife of Frederick III, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, and correspondent of Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau etc.

‘Gottsched began her translation in the late 1730s, working from a French version because she could not lay her hands on the text in English.  When she obtained a copy of the original a few years later, she went back to her translations and revised it completely.  Her Lockenraub was published in 1744 in a handsome edition, complete with copperplate engravings by Anna Maria Werner, the court painter in Dresden’ (Hilary Brown, Luise Gottsched the Translator, 2012, p. 144).

Pope 2

Pope 3

Pope 4

Pope 5


The first German translation, Der merckwürdige Haar-Locken-Raub (1739), was in prose, via a French prose version from 1728.  The anonymous translator, rather grandly, admitted at the time that the translation ‘in no way matches the original, as the German language is understandably somewhat too serious for comic poetry’.  This can’t have helped sales, and the edition is now particularly rare.

Full details of Gottsched’s translation, and other books, can be found in my recent list of Illustrated books.


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A cat-headed goblin


Published in 1844, this is a delightful illustrated tale of a mischievous goblin—‘in form as a small and dwarfish Man, but his Head was as that of a Cat’—who one night leads a miller, worse the wear for drink, through a stream, a thicket, and a bog, before leaving him breathless, tattered, and muddy come the morning.  ‘Now, ye who list, a Moral read and learn, / That through this World ye do walk Soberly, / Lest Goblin Sprites your Steps with Malice turn, / From Paths of Peace to Paths disorderly …’ (p. 9).  The miller was easily charmed by the goblin, as was I by the book itself:

Gulston 1

Gulston 3

Gulston 4

Gulston 2

Gulston 5

Gulston 6

All the lithograph illustrations, as well as the tale, are the work of Josepha Heath Gulston, from Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, who went on to publish a handful of novels in the 1850s under the name ‘Talbot Gwynne’.

This book, and others like it, appears in my recent list of Lithographic books.


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Songs for the pocket (and the pub)

I have a soft spot for glees, a peculiarly English genre of unaccompanied part-song which developed from the madrigal in the eighteenth century.  Percy Young, in his introduction to The English Glee, notes that ‘such music was in the first instance cultivated by lay clerks and vicars choral as respite from the rigours of professional duty’, by which he means these were the songs sung by the men of cathedral choirs after evensong, in the pub.

You see published collections of this kind of music on the market, but I’d never come across this format before:

This is a copy of The Vocal Pocket Companion being a Select Collection of the most Favorite Catches, Glees and Duetts, for Two & Three Voices (London, c.1785), which consists of 52 engraved cards, each 82 × 125 mm; each song takes up one card.  It is dedicated by the editor, George Smart, to the political hostess Fanny Crewe (1748–1818).  The pieces themselves include works by earlier composers such as Thomas Brewer, William Byrd, John Hilton, Henry and William Lawes, and Henry Purcell, as well as eighteenth-century musicians, both well known (Thomas Arne, William Boyce, Maurice Greene, William Hayes, John Travers) and less so (Luffman Atterbury, Joseph Baildon (‘an excellent composer of glees and catches’, according to David Baptie in his Sketches of English Glee Composers, 1896), Michael Festing, Edmund Gregory, Henry Harrington, Charles King).

Smart brought out a follow-up set in 1789/90: The Vocal Pocket Companion, being a new Collection of the most favorite Catches Cannons Glees and Duetts for Two Three and Four Voices, but no other publisher appears to have followed his lead in issuing glees in this way.


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Moscow: an Ode


A couple of months ago, I wrote about the novelist Barbara Hofland’s response to Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, Iwanowna; or, The Maid of Moscow.  I recently came across another piece of English literature inspired by the events in Russia, this time a poem by a Yorkshireman called William Margetson Heald (1767–1837), published the same year as Hofland’s novel, 1813.

by John Richardson Jackson, after  George Richmond, mezzotint, mid 19th century

William Margetson Heald

Heald was a surgeon and apothecary, who abandoned medicine for the church.  No stranger to neo-classical poetising, as a student he had published a mock-heroic account of the medical eccentricities of the doctor John Brown (The Brunoniad, 1789), but the present work shows far more ambition, aligning the siege of Moscow with the epic battles of myth and antiquity.  So it is that Napoleon, ‘the Gallic vulture’, is cast as Xerxes, and the Russians gain a noble Alexandrian gloss.

Heald 2

Heald moved in the same ecumenical circles as Patrick Brontë, and Heald’s children William and Harriet were friends with the parson’s prodigious offspring.  Indeed, William—who would succeed his father—was ‘the prototype of Cyril Hall in Shirley’ (Oxford DNB).


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Taking pictures, talking pictures

Just over a year ago, I wrote about the first photographic manual in the world, written in 1839 by the Austrian writer Karl von Frankenstein (1810–1848).  I’d love to find another copy of that book, but I shall have to content myself for the moment with this, a complete run of the first year of a journal Frankenstein edited called the Innerösterreichisches Industrie- und Gewerbs-Blatt:


As one might expect, Frankenstein advertises his book for sale in his journal, in the number for 21 August.  Later, we find advertisements for daguerreotype plates from F. Machts & Comp. in Vienna (6 November) and Franz de Crignis in Graz (4 December).

But the real interest here is an article Frankenstein published across two numbers of the journal, 29 May – 1 June, predating his little book by about three months: ‘Ueber die Darstellung der Daguerre’schen Lichtbilder durch die Cammera obscura.  (Daguerrotypie.)’.  In it, he recounts the birth of photography, discusses the chemical processes involved, and the possibilities which the invention opens up.  He ends by citing two early German photographers, in Dresden and Nuremberg, who have already achieved good results.

In the rare book world, we use the term incunabula (literally, ‘things in the cradle’) to refer to the earliest printed books (i.e. printed before 1501).  This work by Frankenstein is an incunable of photographic literature.


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