Die Rose von Ernstthal published from November 1874 by Hermann Oeser in
Neusalza, could have been the reason for publisher H. G. Münchmeyer to
visit May, whom he he had known since the 1860's. His editor Otto
Freitag quit after an argument; Münchmeyer needed urgently a
8th March: May moves as "Editor" to
Dresden-Altstadt; lives in Jagdweg, where the publishing firm is
situated. There he is editing a family journal "Der Beobachter an
der Elbe". Münchmeyer always calls May in front of his employees
"Doctor". This title which May later kept using, has not
changed anything on the fact that on the 24th March he was evicted from
Dresden. May, who for a good one year yet was under Police supervision,
was not allowed to leave Hohenstein and Ernstthal without permission!
May continues to edit the Münchmeyer's
"Beobachter" from Ernstthal. There appears from the end of May
his novel Wanda. Further he prepared for his publisher major parts of
the Buch der Liebe, a follow up of the notorious
"Venustempel" (A story of Prostitution and its Origin), which
was prohibited since December 1874 in Austria and later also in the
At the beginning of August May returns to Dresden; an
authorization for his stay there was approved. In the meantime he
travels, among other places to Essen, Dortmund and Berlin, to get subscribers at
the firm Krupp and Borsig for his newly founded journal for workers
Schacht und Hütte. From September May starts instead of the
"Beobachter" and concurrently runs with the Schacht und Hütte
a popular magazine Deutsches Familienblatt. From the middle of October
appears May's first Winnetou story Old Firehand. More stories from this
time: Der Gitano, Inn-nu-woh, Ein
Stücklein vom alten Dessauer, Die Fastnachtsnarren,
May's relationship to his publisher is familiar. For X-mas
he was presented with a piano from Münchmeyer's wife.
Emma Ros. Vogel, widow.
As from the beginning of
September 1875 Karl May lives at Muenchmeyer's residence. Minna Ey, sister of
Pauline Münchmeyer, takes care of May's private quarters. She should
become May's fiance; however the up and coming succesful author shows not
the least interest. 23rd February: House search at H. G. Münchmeyer. The
Police investigate because of unauthorized selling of the
"Venustempel" and the Buch der Liebe. 2nd May: With this
day finishes May's two years of Police supervision. At the beginning of
August May cancelled continuation of a novel 'Fürst und Junker', written
by Friedrich Axmann:
To the readers of
"deutschen Familienblattes", who wish to acquaint themselves
with the later fate of Dietrich von Quitzow until his death, the news
should not come unwelcome, because the author of this topic will start on
the contrary an even more fascinating and equaly moving novel:
"Dietrichs von Quitzow last Journeys", which will appear in
Number 20 of the current "Feierstunden am häuslichen Heerde",
one in the Münchmeyer Publishing Firm appearing literary magazine.
[Deutsches Familienblatt, No.49, p.770]
announced Quitzow-novel started however already in No. 10 of the
Feierstunden under the author's name 'Karl May.'
In summer May is charged with cooperation on the Buch der
Liebe. Further charged are Münchmeyer's brother Friedrich as
publisher, later also Otto Freitag as editor of the Venustempel. In this
situation Pauline Münchmeyer pushes for marriage with Minna Ey. May was
found not guilty; presumably he made in his Buch der Liebe the
deplorable places milder. At the end of October May leaves his position
but still writes some "necessary manuscripts". Supposedly at
first he wants his Quitzow-novel to continue, even if he no longer
is an editor with Münchmeyer. The hostility of Pauline because of May's
rejection of her sister, which he could not tolerate, makes these plans
impossible. Both May's Quitzow as well as Axmann's "Kurfürst"
(Axmann died since he left Münchmeyer) will be continued from March 1877
by Dr. Heinrich Goldmann.
After his editor's time May moves for a time into Hohenstein
and Ernstthal. There he falls in love with the attractive Emma Pollmer,
who celebrates on the 22nd November her twentiest birthday.
In the year passed May authored amongst other: Auf den Nußbäumen,
Unter den Werben, Leilet, Der beiden
Quitzows letzte Fahrten,
Ausgeräuchert and Im Wollteufel.
Pillnitzer Straße 72
in Pillnitzer St. 72 at widow Groh. During the next months he writes Die
beiden Nachtwächter, Der Dukatenhof, Die verhängnißvolle
Neujahrsnacht, Ziege oder Bock, Der Samiel,
On the 26th May Emma Pollmer follows him to Dresden. She
finds a position in the household of priest-widow Auguste Petzold in
Mathildenstrasse 18. Karl May becomes an editor with the publisher Bruno
Radelli for the 2nd year's edition of a popular magazine "Frohe
Stunden"; the first number appears at the end of June. From No. 10
May publishes regularly his own texts: Der Oelprinz, Die Gum, Ein Abenteuer
auf Ceylon, Die Kriegskasse, Aqua benedetta,
Auf der [hoher] See gefangen,
At Peter Rosegger appears Die Rose von Kahira. This
story was already published at Münchmeyer the year before under the
title Leilet. Because of the latest publication Rosseger
considers "Mr. Karl May ... to be a widely traveled man, who must
have lived in the Orient for a long time."
Pillnitzer Straße 72
beginning of the year May lives in a ground floor flat in
Dresden-Striessen, where Emma keeps the household for him; they were
considered to be a married couple. He writes there for the "Frohen
Stunden": Husarenstreiche, Der Africander, Vom Tode
erstanden, Die Rache des Ehri, Nach Sibirien. For
Peter Rosseger May wrote Die falschen Excellenzen.
26th January: Emil Eduard Pollmer, Emma's alcoholic uncle,
dies in Niederwürschnitz bei Stollberg; in a state of intoxication he
was run over by a horse carriage but managed still to drag himself into
a horse stable of a restaurant "Zum braven Bergmann". The
grandfather of Emma, the barber Christian Gotthilf Pollmer, does not
believe it was an accident. He talked May into investigating.
25th April: May inquires as a "higher, Government
appointed official". Even if he does not name any title or service
grade, he is accused of falsy claiming an official status. On the 11th
June he was because of that summoned to Dresden. At the end of June May finished his editor's time with Radelli. Emma Pollmer moves back to her grandfather in Hohenstein, Karl May to his parents. Temporarily May should have stayed in
Berlin. It is possible he was looking for a new editor's position.
6th September: Interrogation at the court office at
Hohenstein. 15th October: Interrogation in Stollberg and a confrontation
on the 25th October. May's attitude is indifferent; he forgoes legal
help. In summer and autumn he writes the tales: Des Kindes Ruf, Die
Universalerben, Die Laubthaler and Der Waldkönig.
Straße Nr. 4
On the 9th
January May is sentenced by the court in Stollberg for "unauthorized
practice of a public office" (in the meaning of paragraph 132 StGB
[German Law]) to three weeks of prison. This sentence is, as the lawyer
Erich Schwinge doubtlessly proved, an incorrect decision. The acts are
preserved. May had in no way undertaken any official business. Protest
(12th May) and clemency request (2nd July) were rejected. From 1st till
22nd September Karl May had to "sit out" his 'penalty' in the
jailhouse of the court office in Hohenstein. This disgrace has never
stopped being painful to him, as many examples in his work testify.
The relationship with Emma Pollmer became endangered due to
her unfaithfulness; Karl May stayed presumably with his parents.
His literary activity was shaping more luckily. First
contacts with the catholic weekly "Deutscher Hausschatz" in
Regensburg. In the travel story Unter Würgern comes for the first
time the name "Old Shatterhand". End of November appears in
Stuttgart publishing house Franz Neugebauer his book rework of the Ferry's
novel "Der Waldläufer", as well as his first book for the young
readers Im fernen Westen.
Further publications in this year: Ein Dichter, Der
Giftheiner, Three carde monte, Unter Würgen, Der
Girl-Robber, Der Boer van het Roer and the Stuttgart's
newspaper novel Scepter und Hammer. From the included chapter Der
tolle Prinz a serious break with Emma Pollmer could be concluded, whom
May immortilized there as Emma Vollmer, who was unfaithful to her
Dr. Karl ..." is mentioned for the first time in "Allgemeinen
19th February: The intended marriage announcement of Karl
May and Emma Pollmer was made public in Hohenstein. The notice was in
place from 20th February until 7th March.
May: The "Deutsche Hausschatz" reports for the
first time, that the "I narrator" of the travel adventures is
identical with the author Karl May - he experienced all himself.
26th May: Emma's grandfather Christian Gotthilf Pollmer
dies after a stroke in Hohenstein. And on the 27th May dies May's older
sister Auguste Wilhelmine, married Hoppe, of blood disorder. Because of
these fatal blows - probably also because of differences in opinions -
the official marriage of Karl May and Emma Pollmer does not take place
until the 17th August.
12th September: Church wedding in the Hohenstein church of
St.Christopheri, followed by moving into a house "Am Markt 2".
Publications worth mentioning from this year: Deadly Dust, Der Brodnik, Die Juweleninsel, Der Kiang-lu, Tui Fanua.
Am Markt 2
January: In the
Hausschatz - the travel story
- later the Durch die Wüste and volumes to follow - appears for the the
first time in a personal form [I narrator] Kara Ben Nemsi and his
servant Hadschi Halef Omar. This Orient cycle is literary only surpassed
by his late years works.
The "Deutsche Hausschatz" writes in No. 9 an answer to a
reader in Westfalen: "The author of the adventure travel stories
visited himself all the countries which are the scenes of his
narratives. He returned recently from a journey to Russia, Bulgaria,
Constantinopel etc., and even suffered a knife wound as a souvenir. He
however does not enjoy to travel with the red Bädecker [travel
guidebook] in hand and via railway compartment, but seeks the less known
routes.. - Many thanks for your greetings!"
1881: The newspaper "Le Monde" starts to print French
translation of May's books.
Am Markt 2
intensively on his Orient cycle for "Deutscher Hausschatz". The
Reise-Abenteuer in Kurdistan as well as Die Todeskaravane make him very
succesful. The final chapters of his Juweleninsel for the Stuttgarter
publisher Goeltz & Ruehling he writes without enthusiasm; the novel
In late summer Karl and Emma May spend time on a holiday tour
in Dresden-Altstadt. In Renger's restaurant it comes to a predestined
meeting with an old acquaintance the publisher Heirich Münchmeyer. From
this meeting develops a several years lasting business relation. A
contract is cofirmed with handshake. May should write a gripping serial
novel for a remunaration of 35 Marks per delivery. As soon as the edition
reaches 20.000 prints, May should in addition receive a nice gratification,
and further the ownership's rights. May starts at first sporadicaly with
I shall be very thankful to you, if you could induce your dear husband,
whom I have the honour to call my trusted friend, to send to me the
manuscript, to be precise 3 numbers per week. Now is the best time to
publish the small work. I have the first number ready, yet I cannot
publish it as I cannot deliver more without a manuscript.
I have done well for your husband. I have given him about 500 Marks
already for this little work, and he is so ungrateful and lets me just sit
and yet he calls himself my best friend in his letters and promises me
pies in the sky, does not however keep a word of his promises.
I believe he listens to you, because he loves you, as he always claims. I
turn therefore with confidence to you and think of you as my saviour angel,
who should redeem me from my expensive and highly dangerous situation. My
wife sends her cordial greetings and is asking together with me for your
help. I send my very cordial greetings, and sign myself with familiar
respect, Your sincerest H.G.Münchmeyer
Dresden the 20 October 1882."
mediation is succesfull: Waldröschen oder die Rächerjagd rund um die Erde
started at the begining of December under the pseudonym "Capitain
Ramon Diaz de la Escosura" and became shortly a bestseller.
Further works: Die Both Shatters, Der
Krumir, Ein Fürst-Marschall als Bäcker,
Robert Surcouf, Christi Blut und Gerechtigkeit, In Damaskus
und Baalbeck, Ein Oelbrand.
Am Markt 2
confidence May travels at the beginning of February in Dresden to visit
Münchmeyer. Emma follows later. Between her and the publisher's wife
Pauline develops an intimate frienship.
6th April: Emma May's friend from youth Ida Metzer holds in
her Hohenstein's flat a seance.
7th April: Moving from Hohenstein to Dresden-Blasewitz. In
the Blasewitz local resident's list May is recorded as "Literat und
Redacteur". Most probably the "Redacteur"is editing
together with Münchmeyer the "Deutsche Wanderer". It should
be of the same quality as both the by me founded in 1875 popular
magazines. In the "Wanderer" appears at the end of September,
now for the fee of 50 Marks, Die Liebe des Ulanen.
May authored in this productive year further: Stambul, Im
"wilden Westen" Nordamerika's, Der Amsenhändler, Pandur
und Grenadier. He has to decline a cooperation with Joseph Kürschner
(Publisher of Literary Calender) for lack of time.
Am Markt 2
at the beginning of April May moves with his wife Emma in Prinzenstrasse
4. With the end of Waldröschen he starts in August another popular
novel for Münchmeyer:
Der verlorne Sohn oder der Fürst des Elends. The work for the
"Deutscher Hausschatz" gets on hold. Der letzte Ritt,
part of the Orient cycle, is from middle of December interrupted for half
a year; the readers and the editor's board are annoyed.
April: May's mother dies from a tumour, presumably a cancer. About a
month later May's father suffers a stroke. Delivery of manuscripts is
out during these misfortune blows. Die Liebe des Ulanen stays for
four weeks without a continuation. As a makeshift solution appear parts
of the des verlornen Sohn under the title Ulane und Zouave
as a fragment in the "Deutsche Wanderer". In June May's psyche
has recovered so far that he is able to carry on writing; he even
continues in summer for a few months his Orient cycle. His Ulanen-novel
finishes in October. At X-mas starts his fourth Münchmeyer novel
Deutsche Herzen, deutsche Helden.
February: May's former Prison Institution catholic teacher Kochta dies.
Towards the end of July finishes May's verlorner Sohn.
In order to publish immediately a follow up novel, about the middle of
June about 50 manuscript pages of the novel Delila came into
existence. Almost at the same time died under mysterious circumstances on
the 13th June King Ludwig II. of Bavaria - for a popular novels publisher
sensational news. May interrupts therefore Delila (a fragment
remains) and writes a novel about the fairy tale king:
Der Weg zum Glück. This should
be his last Münchmeyer novel. At the end of the year he begins a novel
for young readers Der Sohn des Bärenjägers for the Stuttgarter
8th January: The
boys-magazine "Der Gute Kamerad" starts with May's Sohn des Bärenjägers.
Meanwhile Münchmeyer has problems to print his issues on time:
"My dear doctor!
I expected you on Sunday evening with a big load of manuscripts, but in
vain. It upset me and made me worried as for me it is a question of my
existence. If you do not deliver enough and on time I will loose my with
difficulties subscribed readers which costs much money.
Engage a stenographer! If you dictate through one night, you have 4 - 5
numbers of a manuscript on paper and that will help me.
I have fulfilled almost every wish to you and beg therefore now you to
fulfill my wish. Please bring me luck tomorrow morning because then with
those already here will make circa 66 issues.
My greetings, sincerely H. G. Münchmeyer
Dresden 21st November 1887."
About beginning of
April: Moving to Schnorrstrasse 31. Middle August May starts to write Durch
das Land der Skipetaren; this travel story represents the end of the
Orient cycle in "Deutscher Hausschatz".
January finishes the Münchmeyer novel Deutsche Herzen, deutsche Helden.
May does not allow himself rest - he writes a story for young readers Der
Geist der Llano estakada. In the middle of January the
"Hausschatz" starts to print the Skipetaren-travel story.
Beginning February starts Der Geist der Llano ... in "Guten
On the 6th September dies after a long illness May's father.
Change of editor's board at "Deutscher Hausschatz" in
Regensburg: The towards May positively disposed Venanz Müller is followed
by Heinrich Keiter - a selfadmiring personality with his own writer's
about the novels of travel narrator Carl May is being hotly pursued by our
readers. Whilst one part complains to the editors with severe criticism
that the novels take such a large space which could be used more usefuly,
the others in no less certain terms say that right at the beginning of the
new year's edition a story by Carl May should start again. The editors are
then forced to go the middle golden way to satisfy both sides."
Moving from Dresden to Kötzschenbroda into a Villa Idylle, Schützenstrasse
12th October: May enters his name into the local resident's
list as "Dr. phil. Karl May, writer".
Further publications in this year: Kong-Kheou, das Ehrenwort, and
also Der Scout.
early in spring Karl and Emma May get to know the married pair Plöhn.
Richard Plöhn, the owner of a bandages manufacturing factory becames
May's best friend, and Plöhn's wife Klara - in the following years
Emma's best friend - will play an important role in May's life. Karl May
authored in this work-productive year about 3770 manuscript pages!
Publications: Die Sklavenkarawane, Im Mistake-Cannon, Sklavenrache, Lopez Jordan.
January: May's landslady charged him in local court in Dresden for
non-payment of rent. The outstanding quaterly rent (200 Marks) for the
expensive Villa Idylle stays unpaid despite May's intensive writing. His
household servant girl had to be dismissed on the 19th March.
Presumably at the beginning of April: moving to Niederlößnitz,
Lößnitzstrasse 11. Important publications: Christus oder Muhammed,
Der Schatz im Silbersee, Der Schatz der Inkas.
At the end of October appears in book edition Der Sohn
des Bärenjägers, according to the title page Die Helden des
Westens (included into the volume is Der Geist des Llano estakado),
at the Stuttgart "Union Deutsche Verlagsanstalt".
Moving to Oberlößnitz into Villa Agnes, Nizzastrasse 13.
28th May: "... the wife of Dr.May woke up because of
ground floor noise. She woke up her husband, who went immediately down
where he found to his surprise .... all the cupboards and drawers open
and the content partly strewn on the floor. The intruder also left an
axe on the bed. There was no trace of the thief himself who forced his
way into the room by bursting open a window shutter and breaking several
window panes ...". [Kötzschenbrodaer Zeitung from 30th May]
In late summer negotiated the publisher Friedrich Ernst
Fehsenfeld from Freiburg im Breisgau with May about the publishing of
"Hausschatz" stories in a book edition. A historical moment.
loveable, nice Lößnitzgrund
there sit two in solitude;
they enter into friendshipbond,
never part their ways again.
One sends the novels in,
The other has them printed
And the end is a happy note;
Both will be mightily lucky!
[Karl May to Friedrich Ernst
Karl and Emma May take into their home the nine-year old niece Clara
Important publications in newspapers: Das Vermächtnis
des Inka (Kamerad), Der Mahdi (Hausschatz).
Publisher H. G. Münchmeyer dies in Davos (Schweiz) from advanced lung
10th May: The first volume from the Fehsenfeld edition Durch
Wüste und Harem (In later editions Durch die Wüste) appears.
Following are Durchs wilde Kurdistan, Von Bagdad nach Stambul,
In den Schluchten des Balkan, Durch das Land der Skipetaren,
Der Schut. Karl May becomes now a wealthy man.
In summer Emma associates secretly with Army officers. May's
niece Lottel tells all to her uncle. It comes to marital discord. Further
life together of Emma and May's niece is not possible. In August Lottel is
taken home by her mother, May's sister Karoline.
From September the "Hausschatz" starts with
the 2nd part of Mahdi. At Union Publishers appears in October the
book edition Kong-Kheu, das Ehrenwort under the title Der
June: Karl and Emma
travel in Schwarzwald [Black Forest]. They take the opportunity to visit
publisher Fehsenfeld and his wife; together they go to Switzerland into Bönigen
am Brienzer See. On the 17th September May writes to his publisher
Your anger is
justified, however I am not that much at fault, as you think. The main
reason that I cannot finish anything is my present as to the previous very
much increased nervousness, to which my wife does not pay the slightest
consideration, and then a more familiar, about which I cannot write. My
wife became since the unfortunate trip completely different. ... I am as
the result of domestic quarrel now always so knocked down, that I often
look at the wall over my writing desk, where a loaded revolver hangs. One
needs after all peace, one way or the other!
On the 26th
November May writes to Fehsenfeld that because of his eye afliction he was
"shortly twice in Leipzig".
Book editions at Fehsenfeld: Winnetou der Rote Gentleman
(3 volumes, the postscript: "der Rote Gentleman" was later
omitted), Orangen und Datteln.
Important newspaper publications: Der Oelprinz, Die
Felsenburg (later Satan und Ischariot I). And one more book
edition at the Union: Die Sklavenkarawane.
suffers from influenza with inflammation of the rip cartilages. Also his
eyes make him worried. Beginning of May he travels with Emma for rest into
Harz. His state of health is not good; because of that he has to use the
services of a secretary. (May in a letter to Fehsenfeld from 9th May).
Presumably in summer May writes about himself as "Old
Shatterhand" the following part for Old Surehand I:
I was born as a sick, weak child, who still at the age of six
years crawled on the ground, not being able to stand or run ... I was
blind three times ... [S. 41f.]
This is most probably a small poetic exaggeration, but behind this could
be hidden May's fear from new blidness.
From September appears in "Deutsche Hausschatz" Krüger
Bei (later Satan und Ischariot II); there the readers at X-mas
learn about Winnetou's visit at the Dresden's choir! A 440 manuscript
pages containing a chapter In der Heimath is crossed out by
October: In the house of Münchmeyer's widow May asks for the
long outstanding settlement of his five Münchmeyer's novels. Later he
receives a set of bound volumes of the published novels. The original
manuscripts of the Münchmeyer's novels are no longer in existence, they
were destroyed as superfluous.
27th November: Pauline Münchmeyer pleads for a new novel, if
possible the Delila (1886) should be continued. May refuses!
Fehsenfeld book editions: Am Stillen Ocean, Am Rio
de la Plata, In den Cordilleren, Old Surehand I.
Further book editions: Die Rose von Kairwan (Wehberg, Osnabrück), Der
Schatz im Silbersee (Union).
the in Lawrence/USA living Ferdinand Pfefferkorn visits with his wife the
former schoolfriend Karl May.The Pfefferkorns are dedicated spiritualists.
Seances are held at May's house, at which most probably were present the
befriended pair Plöhn's.
23 December: Bought a new Villa! [for 37.300 mark] Yesterday
moved in with new furniture! Day and night to write manuscripts! [May to
3oth December: The official sales contract for the Villa
"Shatterhand" in Radebeul, Kirchstrasse 5, (today Karl-May-Straße)
Book editions: Old Surehand II. (Fehsenfeld), Das Vermächtnis
des Inka (Union).
Karl May takes possession of the "Silberbüchse" [Silver rifle]
and the "Bärentöter" [Bear Killer] from Dresden gunsmith Max
Fuchs made to order. He will document with these the genuineness of his
travels, to forget at the same time his sad past. May could use publicity
exercise like a modern showstar.
Easter: The amateur photographer Alois Schießer, who arrived
from Linz, took 101 costume shots with Karl May as "Old
Shatterhand" and "Kara Ben Nemsi". The "Old
Shatterhand Legend" reaches its highest point; many Karl May Clubs
In summer, presumably in July, Heinrich Keiter visits the
succesful writer. He apologises personally for crossing out the Heimath
chapter in Krüger Bei. May declared previously that he will not
supply the "Deutscher Hausschatz". At the end of September
appears in "Hausschatz" May's Freuden und Leiden eines
The night, often
two, three nights one after the other, without then being able to sleep
during the day, is in general my working time, because of the many
visitors, coming daily, to personally get to know "their" Old
Shatterhand resp. Kara Ben Nemsi Effendi.
"Guten Kameraden" is from September published May's last novel
for young people Der schwarze Mustang.
Book editions at Fehsenfeld: Der Mahdi (3 volumes), Old
Surehand III, Satan und Ischariot I - III.
"Herr Keiter, who will in the future abstain from any literary
interference in your manuscripts, begins in the 8th issue of
"Hausschatz" with your new and so keenly expected travel story
'Im Reiche des silbernen Löwen' ... Hopefuly you will please us soon with
a continuation of the most interesting manuscripts." [Friedrich
Pustet jun. to Karl May]
Presumably in early spring May composed music to Ave Maria of
Winnetou's dying wish. From May until July Karl und Emma travel through
Germany and Austria. Places they visit are: Leipzig, Hamburg, Deidesheim (they
pay a visit there to the family of befriended wine merchant Seyler),
Stuttgart, Bodensee, Innsbruck, Achensee, Munich, Regensburg, Böhmen. The
stay in Munich turned out to be the highlight of the publicity tour:
first day over 900 visitors, second day over 600, third again 800. Towards
the evening I went out through the side door and ran away. The high school
students who were after an autogram stood in such great numbers before the
hotel, that the tramway could not get through and they had to be sprayed
away with a water hose. It's a fact! [Letter to Fehsenfeld from 27th
editions: Auf fremden Pfaden, Weihnacht (Fehsenfeld), Der
February: Her Imperial Highness Archduchess Maria Therese gives an
audience to Karl May.
6th May: In Gartow (Lower Saxony) May was seized by two
Policemen; he is not to leave his hotel room. He is considered to be a
swindler, because he gives for smallest services rich tips. In the end
news came from Radebeul: "Karl May domiciled here, likes to
On 30th August dies Heirich Keiter; Dr.Otto Denk takes over
his editorial position at "Deutsche Hausschatz.. At this time it
also comes to a nine years split with "Wochenblatt"; a
catholic opposition against May comes into existence.
Book editions at Fehsenfeld: Im reiche des silbernen Löwen
I-II. Further appear Ernste Klänge, a publication with both
May's music compositions Ave Maria and Vergiß mich nicht!
During the months
January till March May finishes his novel Am Jenseits; he finds
himself on the best way to fine literature. Do you read the printer's
proofs of Volume 25? Yes? Than you would have noticed, that Karl May
starts now to come out with his own intentions. It is a question of well
prepared, great movement from the religious - social field ... The volumes
up to now were written only for one purpose, to gather as many as possible
readers as working field. [May to Fehsenfeld, 13th March]
16th March: Pauline Münchmeyer sells the Publishing firm to Adalbert Fischer,
who is interested in particular in May's popular literature novels.
March: Departure for Orient. Importen visited places: Genua (4th April -
farewell from Emma and the Plöhn's couple because of health reasons),
Port Said (9th April), Cairo (30th April - May hires there little later
the Arab servant Sejd Hassan), Beirut (26th June), Haifa (18th July),
Jerusalem (30th July), Jaffa (21st August - 2nd September), Aden/South
Arabia (15th September). Many liked me on the ship ["Gera"] even
if I am just now the opposite from the previous Karl. He was with a great
ceremony drown by me in the Red See, with ship's coal, which took him
right to the bottom ... [Letter to Plöhn's from 16th September].
November: Arrival in Padang on Sumatra. May suffers from emotinal outbursts, refuses all nourishment and should have acted insane - it is possible he suffered from dysentery. Nothing is known for sure. This state lasts for about a week.
November: May sends a telegram from Padang to Radebeul; he asks Emma to
come with the Plöhns to Port Said.
Dezember: May is quarantined because of danger of diseases and suspicion
of plague. On the 18th December he is allowed to leave Port Said. His
friend Richard Plöhn, who suffers from Bright's kidney disease, becomes
in the meanwile seriously ill and stays with Klara and Emma in Arenzano
(20 km west of Genoa).
Germany in the meantime began fierce press attacks against May; in
particular Dr.Fedor Mamroth (Frankfurter Zeitung) and Hermann Cardauns (Koelnische
Volkszeitung) criticised May's selfpromotion and the connected with it Old
Shatterhand legend. The argument, started somewhat objectively at first,
became in following years polemic, upright malicious: a witch hunt to
edition: Am Jenseits [Fehsenfeld], Der schwarze Mustang
Emma May as well as Richard and Klara Plöhn stay in Arenzano until the
14th March; then the journey takes them to Pisa, Rome, Naples, Port Said.
Cairo, Gizeh, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Hebron, Jericho, Tiberias, Nazareth,
Haifa, Lebanon, Baalbek, Damascus amd Cyprus. In Instanbul May suffered
again from emotional outbursts. Klara Plöhn was worried that "one
would have to take him into a mental institution"! May's later wife
certainly possessed a flair for colorful description of events and might
have here a little exaggerated.
The conclusion of the trip was: Coprinth, Bologna, Athens,
Corfu, Venice and Bozen.
25th March: The Münchmeyer's successor Adalbert Fischer
disregards May's author's right and puts a new edition of Die Liebe des
Ulanen on the market.The other four Muenchmeyr's novels should follow
shortly, partly reworked by writer Paul Staberow.
17th June: May says tearful goodby to his servant Sejd
31st July: Arrival in Radebeul after 15 months of absence.
Karl May became a new person - the Old Shatterhand legend is dead. Only
love of humanity and reconciliation of nations are from now his great
ideals; also in private life he is restrained: the sexuality of Emma is
not capable to have an hold on him.
All my writings so far are just an introduction, only
preparation. What I really want, no person knows except myself ...only now
I start my proper task... [May's letter to his publiher Fehsenfeld from
In time for X-mas festivities appears May's volume of poems Himmelsgedanken.
February: May's friend Richard Plöhn dies of renal disease. His wife
Klara is shattered; she is now a permanent guest in the Villa
For Joseph Kürschner May writes his pacifist novel Et in
terra pax. With that May undermines the imperialistic tendency - the
hurrah-patriotism of the collected work "China" in which his
End of September May travels with Emma and Klara in
Switzerland to Vierwaldstaetter See. In autum he writes as an answer to
polemic press attacks an anonymous pamphlet "Karl May als
Erzieher" and "Die Wahrheit über Karl May".
10th December May is sueing Adalbert Fischer for unauthorized
reprint of his Münchmeyer novels.
At the beginning of the year
the editor from Cologne Hermann Cardauns holds several anti-May lectures,
in which he describes May's Münchmeyer novels as "abysmally immoral."
10th March: Karl May takes to court Pauline Münchmeyer,
against the will of his wife Emma who is her intimate friend. On the 16th
March May engaged barrister Rudolf Bernstein to ask the accused Pauline
Münchmeyer for the following:
- to state the number of
copies of Karl May's works, which were printed and circulated by
Münchmeyer Publishing House to the 16th March 1899
- the account of net
- to pay a gratification,
if more than 20.000 numbers were printed.
In summer travel Karl
May, Emma and Klara through Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig and Munich to Bozen
and finally to Mendel. In the Hotel Penegal on 21st August ends the
marriage of Karl May with Emma words: "You take the guy, I've had
enough of him!" More detailed circumstances which in the end led to
the divorce, so far are not satisfactorily researched. One can suppose
that the way Emma behaved through her change of life years, turned out to
be difficult; also signs of increasing psychological disturbance are
possible (Emma died on 13th December 1917 in an Institution). She was also
prone to fits of rage, which were directed against Karel May and were
making the survival of the marriage impossible. Unquestionably Klara
Plöhn willingly chose the favourable time. Finally however in Karl and
Klara two people found each other who suited better together.
19th August: Emma May signs divorce papers.
10th September: May lodges in Radebeul the divorce documents.
Fehsenfeld's book edition: Im Reiche des silbernen Löwen
January: May's marriage was dissolved.
4th March: The divorce became legally valid.
30th March: Wedding of Karl May and Klara Plöhn at
registrar's office. A day later follows a church wedding in the Lutheran
church at Radebeul.
25th May: At Adalbert Fischer [Publisher] appears May's Erzgebirgische
3rd November: Emma receives from May a yearly income of
3000 Mark; for that she has to live at least 100 km away from Dresden -
she moves to Weimar.
Beginning November the Münchmeyer's lawyer Dr. Gerlach
succeds in bringing in May's criminal records. The result comes on 8th
November. May becomes seriously ill: High fever with heart weakness.
Fehsenfeld's book edition: Im Reiche des silbernen Löwen
March: Karl and Klara May visit in Meißen the artist painter Sascha
Schneider. He should provide the whole Fehsenfeld's edition with
different title pages, to stress in particular the artistic, pacifist
values of his writings - a clear turn away from the so called "Author
for young people".
Middle of September appears Et in terra pax in
Fehnsenfeld's enlarged book edition under the title Und Friede auf
26th September: Pauline Münchmeyer is obliged to
produce accounts, as soon as Karl May provides a sworn statement.
X-mas: As a revenge for refused loan, which the
unscrupulous press-bandid Rudolf Lebius sought to get from May, shout
from the shopwindows of Dresden's bookshops big placards, on which is
from far visible announcement in red huge letters: "The Previous
Convictions of Karl May".
Early in the year
appears as a private print May's view on the [Münchmeyer's] affair Ein
Schundverlag. There he reports on his time with Heinrich Münchmeyer.
In 1909 will also appear as a private print Ein Schundverlag und seine
On the 3rd October is May's complaint of slander by Lebius
dealt with before the Dresden' country court. Through a tactical mistake
of May's lawyer Klotz, public reading from previous convictions record of
Karl May was allowed.
In the same month May visits in Dresden a lecture by the
Nobel peace prize winner Bertha von Suttner, a friendship develops between
May wins the Münchmeyer process in 2nd session.
30th June: Rudolf Lebius calls May a hereditary criminal.
1st September: May's drama Babel und Bibel. Arabische
Fantasia in zwei Akten appears at Fehsenfeld in one edition of 1200
9th January: May wins
at the [German] Reich court in Leipzig the Münchmeyer process in 3rd
session. About the repayment of damages is yet to be decided. May's legal
representative Rudolf Netcke put a sum to the Waldröschen alone to
250.000 Mark! On 11th Februar May gave the following sworn statement:
I swear in the name
of the Omnipotent and Omniscient God
1. I have, after I accidently met in 1882 the deceased Heinrich Gotthold
Münchmeyer in a restaurant in Dresden, promised to write a novel for him,
namely the WALDRÖSCHEN under following conditions:
The novel should appear under a pseudonym and should be printed and
distributed only up to 20.000 prints. As compensation I should receive for
every issue 35 mark and apart from that, when the authorized number of
prints is reached, once more a fine gratification.
Besides I should keep the right to include the novel into my collected
2. These stipulations were carried over later to the novels DEUTSCHE
HERZEN UND HELDEN, DER VERLONERE SOHN und DER WEG ZUM GLÜCK, however with
the stipulation that the remunaration for each print of the named novels
will be not only 35, but 50 Mark.
3. With regard to the novel DIE LIEBE DES ULANEN I agreed in 1883 with
Münchmeyer that I will allow him to print the novel only in the 1884
edition of "Deutscher Wanderer".
4. The same has been agreed with Münchmeyer about six stories from 1875
and 1884 AUS DER MAPPE EINES VIELGEREISTEN (INN-NU-WOH and OLD FIREHAND),
EIN STÜCKLEIN VOM ALTEN DESSAUER, DIE FASTNACHTSNARREN, UNTER WERBERN,
DER GITANO and DIE POLIN [WANDA] that one print only in one particular
year's edition is to be published.
5. I have not agreed with Münchmeyer in regard to 1 - 4 of my works that
he after once only payment will get unrestricted publishing rights.
In this help me God.
The Münchmeyer's successor Adalbert Fischer dies. On the 15th April 1907
reports the Münchmeyer's lawyer Dr.Gerlach May and his associates for
perjury. The reproach is proven untenable.
8th October: Inheritors of the publisher Fischer declare in a
settlement, "that the in the publishing house H. G. Münchmeyer
printed novels of writer Karl May suffered over a period of time through
insertions and changes by a third hand such changes, that in their present
form cannot be considered any longer as to be authored by Karl May."
The author's name Karl May is taken away from the famously notorious five
Münchmeyer's novels and can be from now on printed solely anonymously.
succesor ... has made such changes that between the old and his new
edition a difference of hundreds of pages appeared. This is after all
just horrible! If some person would dare to cut and paintbrush pictures of
a painter or to hack and chisel statues of a sculptor and offer such
mutilations for sale as originals, the whole Presscorp would take the
cause of the injured artist and brand the falsificator in such way that he
would not be able to show his face again. [Karl May: Ein
Schundverlag, p. 852f.]
September: Meeting with the Hausschatz editor Otto Denk. After nine years
May is ready to write again for the "Deutscher Hausschatz".
Immediately he starts with a draft for "Mir von Dschinnistan".
By this he makes a move into fine literature. With the readers of
"Hausschatz", who expected the old travel stories full of action
as before, this novel finds little approval.
At the end of the year May writes Frau Pollmer, eine psychologische
Studie, in which he tries in vain to write himself free from his first
wife. This text stays unprinted. Fom October appears in the Regensburg
newspaper "Efeuranken" the travel tale Schamah.
In his last will May establishes a charitable foundation.
23rd March till 23rd April: In "Grazer Volksblatt"
appears Abdahn Effendi.
The anthropologist and sexual researcher F. S. Krauss visits
May and names him "a blessing for humanity".
In this year Karl May with his Klara undertake the first and
only trip to America. The places visited: Bremen (5th September), New York
(16th September), Albany (22/23rd September), Buffalo (end of September),
Niagara Falls (beginning of October), Lawrence/Massachusetts at school
friend Pfefferkorn (October), Boston and New York (November). On 4th
November Mays are presumably again in Radebeul. Beginning of December they
stay for a short time in London.
May's Merhameh appears in "Eichsfelder Marienkalender
September: Dr.Adof Droop publishes a study: "Karl May.
An analysis of his travel stories".
22nd November: Rudolf Lebius write to a friend of Emma the
opera singer Selma vom Scheidt that he considers Karl May "to be a
17th December: Karl May lodges a complaint at the magistrate
court Berlin-Charlottengurg against Lebius for slander.
8th December: May has a lecture in Augsburg Sitara, das
Land der Menscheitsseele.
Fehsenfeld book editions: Ardistan und Dshninnistan I and
Karl May starts a legal prosecution against Rudolf Lebius for the worst
kind of slander because of his article "Hinter den Kulissen" [Behind
the Scene] published in the weekly magazine "Der Bund" on 19th
Dcember 1909. Lebius claimed May had for years lived in a forest as a
chief robber, commited daily breakings, raids on market women, sexualy
misused his nine years old niece and strangled the grandfather of his
first wife Emma!
May's frequent illnesses, made worse by the character
assassinations, led in the end to the writer's death. Main court
proceedings never eventuated. According to law experts Lebius would have
been sentenced to jail term.
On 12th April Lebius was found firstly not guilty with regard
to slander action (complaint from 17 December 1909) in the letter to Selma
vom Scheidt; May appealed.
12th May: I do not deny that I came into conflict with the
law 40 or 50 years ago and was punished for it; but what I did then in the
deepest mental depression and coerced state [of mind] would be in the
present, more enlightened time heard not by a judge, but a physician. My
opponents bring this up and put cunning lies to it. There are five legal
proceedings underway from which the truth will come out. [May in a letter
to Peter Rosegger]
In August of 1910 Dr. E. A. Schmid was a guest for a few days
at the "Villa Shatterhand." After May’s death, as a Director of the
'Karl-May-Verlag' [Publishing House], he widely and with great effort made
generally known May’s views.
Fehsenfeld book editions: Winnetou IV, Mein Leben
und Streben. Almost simultaneously with May's autobiography Rudolf
Lebius published "Die Zeugen Karl und Klara May", - a pamphlet
of the worst kind! Because of reciprocal objections both May's
autobiography and also the Lebius pamphlet were banned.
8th May: Again
very sick, I write to you only very shortly. I have overestimated my
strength, lung inflammation and physical strain of wittness proceedings
made me completely 'kaputt' ... I must go to a spa, I leave already on
Thursday. [Karl May to lawyer Haubold].
11th May: Departure in Joachimsthal. Dr. Gottlieb ordered
bathing. From the middle of June till end of July Karl and Klara May spent
in South Tirol on recreational holiday. On the Mendel his state of health
becomes worse again.
18th December: In an appeal proceedings (complaint from 17th
December 1909) Rudolf Lebius is found guilty of slander and given 100 Mark
penalty to pay.
celebrates his seventies birthday.
March May travels for the last time in Hohenstein-Ernstthal. He visits
there his sister Wilhelmine Schöne; their niece Ilse receives from him for
the beginning of school a large cone full of lollies.
22nd March: Karl May delivers a lecture in Vienna at the invitation of
"Akademischen Verbandes für Literatur und Musik" in front of
over 2000 listeners, his big peace address is entitled Empor ins Reich der
Edelmenschen. Amongst the present is Bertha von Suttner.
30th March: Karl May dies around 8 PM in his Villa "Shatterhand." His
breathing stopped, presumably as a result of lung disease. The big heart
became still. May's funeral follows on 3rd April at Radebeul's cemetery.