Karl May (2169 words)

  • Nina Berman (Ohio State University)

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Karl May is the most widely read author of German-language popular fiction. The study of his works and their reception provides unique access to ideas central to nineteenth- and twentieth-century German culture and society. He wrote fictional travel narratives, short stories, novels, satires, poetry, plays, essays, and autobiographical texts. His best-known novels are the Winnetou tetralogy (I-III 1893; IV 1909/1910) and the six-volume Orientzyklus [Orient Cycle, 1881-1888].

May’s fictional world reflects key aspects of his early life. He was born on 25 February 1842 into a family of poor weavers in Ernstthal, Saxony, as the fifth of fourteen children. The dismal situation of the weavers at the time was d…

Berman, Nina. "Karl May". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 May 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5731, accessed 23 October 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Travel writing