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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

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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10 Anonymous 1 (1832)

Extract

Although the catalogue of the German Library Institute, Berlin, gives the author’s name as the professor of geography Friedrich A. Klebe, it is not known for definite who wrote the Sketches from Ireland. Andreas Oehlke [see Oehlke 1993, 343f.] puts a strong case for the Austro-Moravian author Karl Anton Postl (1793-1864), alias Charles Sealsfield and Charles Siddons, who took on the Anglo-Saxon-sounding pennames while in America from 1823 to 1831. In that year he returned to Europe and spent two years writing political corre- spondences from Paris and London. This would fit to the year in which the account of Ireland – 1832 – was written. Oehlke also draws attention to the fact that Postl was Catholic, as was the author of Sketches from Ireland, and that he was to write a story called Der Fluch Kishogues oder der verschmähte Johannestrunk (The Curse of Kishogue or the Spurned Parting Cup) – a “wild sketch of Irish life and death” out of the mouth of an Irishman called Phelim – in a collection of short stories entitled Nationale Charakteristiken of the year 1841. The Charles Sealsfield biographer Alexander Ritter, however, considers it more likely that the author of Skizzen aus Irland was S.A.L. Ernst Zander, the Ireland correspondent for the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung. Whoever it might have been, the anonymous author used his day-to-day experiences while travelling through Ireland to express his severe criticism of the legacies of colonialism. 10.1 Cork Harbour The harbour of Cobh is one of the loveliest I have ever...

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