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Moritz Benjowsky – ein (mittel)europäischer Held

Materialien der internationalen wissenschaftlichen Konferenz, Wien, 22.–26. Mai 2019


Edited By Alois Woldan and Katalin Blaskó

Die Beiträge dieses Bandes untersuchen das große Erbe, das der Abenteurer und Weltreisende Moritz Benjowsky (1741–1786) in Literatur, Theater und Film vieler europäischer Kulturen hinterlassen hat. Benjowsky ist Autor berühmter Memoiren und Held literarischer Werke in einem. Die Autoren dieses Bandes analysieren Werke über Benjowsky in deutscher, ungarischer, polnischer, slowakischer und russischer Sprache vom 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert, sie untersuchen die Verflechtungen innerhalb dieser Texte und die Bedingungen ihrer Entstehung. Sie zeigen, wie in diesen Texten ein Mythos von Benjowsky geschaffen wird, der auch als nationaler Erinnerungsort von Bedeutung ist. Ethnische Stereotypen in diesen Texten werden aufgezeigt, koloniale Mythen dekonstruiert.

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Moritz Benjowsky, Ethnograph der Kamtschatka aus (Selbst)Gefälligkeit

Dieter Stern (Gent)


Abstract: The present paper aims at assessing Count Benjowsky’s travel report as an ethnographic source of information for Kamchatka. When taken in its entirety his travel account was obviously not designed to satisfy the needs of an enlightened reading public interested in accumulating reliable knowledge on the natural and ethnic history of a newly discovered region of the world, yet it still pretends to play this role in individual chapters. Benjowsky’s report being an early account dealing specifically with Kamchatka, might in principle be of great historiographic and ethnographic value, if the little it has to tell us can be shown to be based on thoughtful and thorough original observation. A detailed scrutiny of his report’s ethnographic remarks and observations on Kamchatka and its native residents however shows Benjowsky once again as the careless adventurer everyone knows him to be instead of providing his reader with rich firsthand knowledge about the region in question, he tries to trick his audience into believing him to be not only a reckless adventurer but also a competent ethnographer. To do so he puts together a pastiche made of scraps of often misrepresented and unconfirmed information from contemporary, generally accessible ethnographic sources in print, glossing these over with guesses of his own. Benjowsky’s ethnography thus turns out to form just another piece in his project of personal self-aggrandizement.

Keywords: Benjowsky, ethnography, natural history, Kamchatka, travel literature

Jeder, der einigermaßen mit dem abenteuerlichen Leben des Grafen Moritz August von Benjowsky...

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