Read The Travels and Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Rudolf Erich Raspe Free Online
Book Title: The Travels and Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen|
The author of the book: Rudolf Erich Raspe
Edition: Dedalus, Ltd
Date of issue: August 28th 1995
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.51 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.6
ISBN 13: 9781873982358
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The restored, unbowdlerized text of Raspe’s slapstick travel epic featuring the classic illustrations from Strang & Clark (1895)
No one has journeyed to as many foreign lands as Baron von Munchausen. Nor, when it comes time to fire a cannon, will you find anyone more accurate. The comfort of courtly life is as natural to him as the harshest polar desert. On the subject of politics and science he has no equal. And all discussion of the moon must start and stop with the only man who has ever been there. His feats of prowess are famed the world over. Who else could leap a hedgerow with a carriage and horse on their back? No one. And then of course there are the bears. . . My god the poor bears!
Written at a time when science was replacing religion, and explorers were mapping the globe, and in our own time made into an acclaimed movie by Terry Gilliam, The Travels and Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen unleashed the quintessential madman upon the Age of Enlightenment—and it remains the tallest of tall tales to this day.
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Read information about the authorRudolf Erich Raspe was a German librarian, writer and scientist, called by his biographer John Carswell a "rogue". He is best known for his collection of tall tales, The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, originally a satirical work with political aims.
Raspe was born in Hanover, studied law and jurisprudence at Göttingen and Leipzig and worked as a librarian for the university of Göttingen. In 1762, he became a clerk in the university library at Hanover, and in 1764 secretary to the university library at Göttingen. He had become known as a versatile scholar and a student of natural history and antiquities, and he published some original poems and also translations, among the latter of Leibnitz's philosophical works and of Ossian's poems. He also wrote a treatise on Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.
In 1767, he was appointed professor in Cassel, and subsequently librarian. He contributed in 1769 a zoological paper to the 59th volume of the Philosophical Transactions, which led to his being selected an honorary member of the Royal Society in London, and he wrote voluminously on all sorts of subjects. In 1774, he started a periodical called the Cassel Spectator. From 1767, he was responsible for some collections of Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel). He had to flee to England in 1775 after having gone to Italy in 1775 to buy curios for the Landgrave. He was found to have sold the Landgrave's valuables for his own profit.
In London, he employed his knowledge of English and his learning to secure a living by publishing books on various subjects, and English translations of German works, and there are allusions to him as "a Dutch savant" in 1780 in the writings of Horace Walpole, who gave him money and helped him to publish an Essay on the Origin of Oil-painting (1781). But Raspe remained poor, and the Royal Society expunged his name off its list.
From 1782 to 1788, he was employed by Matthew Boulton as assay-master and storekeeper in the Dolcoath mine in Cornwall. At the same time, he also authored books in geology and the history of art. The Trewhiddle Ingot, found in 2003, is a 150-year-old lump of tungsten found at Trewhiddle Farm. This may predate the earliest known smelting of the metal (which requires extremely high temperatures) and has led to speculation that it may have been produced during a visit by Raspe to Happy-Union mine (at nearby Pentewan) in the late eighteenth century. Raspe was also a chemist with a particular interest in tungsten. Memories of his ingenuity remained to the middle of the 19th century. While in Cornwall, he seems to have written the original version of Münchausen, which was subsequently elaborated by others.
He also worked for the famous publisher John Nichols in several projects, among which was a descriptive catalogue he compiled of James Tassie's collection of pastes and casts of gems, in two quarto volumes (1791) of laborious industry and bibliographical rarity. Raspe then went to Scotland, and in Caithness found a patron in Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, whose mineralogical proclivities he proceeded to impose upon by pretending to discover valuable and workable veins on his estates. Raspe had "salted" the ground himself, and on the verge of exposure, he absconded. He finally moved to Ireland where he managed a copper mine on the Herbert Estate in Killarney. He died in Killarney, County Kerry, of typhoid, in November 1794.
The Baron Münchausen tales were made famous when they were "borrowed," translated into German, and embellished somewhat by Gottfried August Bürger in 1786 — and have been among the favourite reading of subsequent generations, as well as the basis of several films, including Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Today it is not known whether anyone during Raspe's lifetime was aware of his authorship of the Adventures, other than his friend