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Seven Legends   By: (1819-1890)

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Transcriber's Note: 1. Page scan source: http://www.archive.org/details/sevenlegends00kelle

2. The diphthong oe is represented by [Oe] and [oe].

THE CAVIARE SERIES

This series, of which Keller's "Seven Legends" is the opening volume, will contain books that have become standard in the literatures of foreign countries.

The title which has been chosen is not intended to convey the impression that none of the books in the series will make a general appeal (for it is hoped that some of them will become as well known in this country as the standard works of our own literature); but rather to suggest that they will have characteristics and beauties, which can be most fully enjoyed by the reader of wide culture and cultivated taste.

The series will be issued at varying prices, according to number of pages, and the forthcoming appearance of each new volume will be announced through the usual medium of the literary periodicals.

The Caviare Series, No. 1

SEVEN LEGENDS

SEVEN LEGENDS

GOTTFRIED KELLER

AUTHORIZED (AND FIRST) TRANSLATION FROM THE 56TH GERMAN EDITION BY MARTIN WYNESS, WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY RICHARD M. MEYER, PROFESSOR OF GERMAN LITERATURE IN BERLIN UNIVERSITY

GOWANS & GRAY, Ltd. 5 Robert St., Adelphi, London, W.C. 58 Cadogan St., Glasgow 1911

INTRODUCTION

Gottfried Keller, the greatest German narrative writer of recent times, was born in a suburb of Zurich on 19th July, 1819. The life of this remarkable man suggests comparisons with novels of development, such as Goethe taught him to write: from the romantic confusion of youthful dilettantism he brought himself, by strict self discipline, to take his place in everyday social life. Left, together with his mother and sister, in poverty by a hard working but unsuccessful father, the child dreamed away the first years of his development, and the youth was still a stranger to the world of reality when, with the aid of some friends in his native place, he went as an art student to Munich. There, after a promising start, he sank into hopeless lethargy, which continued even after his return home. Prudent helpers then took the half painter, half poet, once more in hand, recognizing that his deficiency consisted in imperfect education and knowledge of the world. He went to study at Heidelberg (1848 50), and received an important stimulus from the well known literary historian Hettner; thence he proceeded to Berlin (1850 55), where Varnhagen von Ense, the admirer of Goethe and husband of the prophetess Rahel, made him welcome. Here the germs of his most important works awoke within him. He had already, at an early age, published poems, which showed the influence of the revolutionary Tendenzlyrik ; now there appeared the romantic autobiographical novel "Green Henry" (1854 5) which he afterwards recast in very characteristic fashion (1879 80). This was followed in 1856 by the first part of the charming, fantastically instructive tales, "Seldwyla People" (the second part, 1874). In spite of praise from many competent judges, success did not come immediately. Keller once more sat at home a dreamer, although now in intellectual correspondence with the best minds; still, it was a bold resolution when, in 1861, the writer, who had never followed any definite avocation, was chosen by his canton as Staatsschreiber, or Secretary to the Canton, and an important and well remunerated office was entrusted to an untried man. However, he proved a thorough success, and felt the acceptance of the post a deliverance from the occupation of "writing man" so much despised by the Romantics... Continue reading book >>




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