Thursday, 23 July 2015

wie ein wüstensohn

Happily after the absolutely brilliant regular podcast Futility Closet introduced a few weeks back to a large portion of its listening audience the German and Eastern European phenomenon bound up in the works and personality of the imaginative adventure writer Karl May—and re-introduced to others with the glad occasion to reflect and wonder a little bit how this author was no longer remembered in some of the exotic lands where his stories took place, the topic has become for the team and commentators a sustained and very productive one.
Branching off to a series of tales set in the Middle East, rendered all the more amazing since like his stories that took place in the American Old West came across as convincing and more culturally sympathetic than those who’d actually experienced those places first hand, another iconic character, akin to Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, comes on scene, in the faithful guide Hadschi Halef Omar Ben Hadschi Abul Abbas Ibn Hadschi Dawud al Gossarah. Notwithstanding that fictional character was the only naming-convention in the Muslim tradition studied and committed to memory by committed fans from a European background, the stories were a lens on the casbah and the souq, which all things considered was not a bad introduction for the 1890s. The German disco band Dschinghis (Genghis) Khan, EuroVision Song Contest contender probably most famous for their party hit Moscow, Moscow—celebrated this literary figure with a particularly catchy number in 1980 (or try here, depending on your location). I hope all the characters in this particular universe eventually get their own treatment and profiles.