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«Poor Green Erin»

German Travel Writers’ Narratives on Ireland from Before the 1798 Rising to After the Great Famine- Texts Edited, Translated and Annotated by Eoin Bourke

Edited By Eoin Bourke

The area of 19 th -century German travel writing on Ireland has received widespread scholarly attention over the years in treatises in both English and German, but these efforts were directed largely at fellow-scholars and formed part of an academic discourse on travel, interculturality and alterity. This book, on the other hand, is conceived of more as a reader for the general public than as an academic treatise, presents a surprisingly extensive body of comments drawn from German and Austrian sources from between 1783 and 1865 and lets them «talk for themselves». Some of these remarkably empathetic and well-founded eye-witness accounts were translated into English already in the 19 th century by people like Sarah Austin and Sir Lascelles Wraxhall, but the editor has re-translated them to remove varying degrees of antiquatedness of formulation and has added other accounts that were hitherto largely unknown to the non-German-speaking reading public.
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9 Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1828)

Extract

Of all German travel writers who are quoted in these chapters, Prince Hermann Ludwig Heinrich von Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871) was arguably the most colourful. By the time he set foot in Ireland on 11 August 1828, he had earned the reputation of a notorious philanderer, which brought with it numerous duels, and a flamboyant and attention-seeking dandy. To send love messages to the society ladies of Berlin, he employed Germany’s fastest sprinter, Ernst Mensen. He made himself conspicuous by such acts as riding along the fashionable boulevard Unter den Linden to the Café Kranzler in a carriage drawn by four stags, earning him the double-meaning nickname “Graf Hirsch” (Duke Stag), or in Dresden by leaping over the parapet of the Elbe Bridge on horseback and plunging together with his steed eight metres into the water below. The purpose of his journey to Great Britain in 1826 was to find a rich dowager with the purpose of marrying her in order to solve the acute financial problems accruing from his improvident lifestyle and the lavish design of his famous gardens at Muskau, Upper Lusatia. To make himself an eligible bachelor he had divorced his wife Lucie von Hardenberg shortly before setting off on his journey. This was done on her suggestion, on the understanding that she should be kept by him and be able to continue living in the castle at Muskau along with the hypothetical new wife. Apart from the fact that he had caused a stir in high society...

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