Karl May Friends

History Of My Karl May Translations - Videos To The Books

During July 2012 I wrote a series of casual facebook posts about the evolution of my creative writing pursuits and the resulting books, including my English Karl May translations. I have put them together below, and augmented them with a few more explanations about my choice of titles.

My English version of "Holy Night!" (Karl May's "Weihnacht!"), for which I started translation in 2004, has seen two incarnations; the first with BookSurge a publisher who was later bought by Amazon, and is now known as CreateSpace; however, I wasn't entirely happy with both the formatting and quality of presentation by BookSurge, as well as the illustrations. The second edition for which I re-edited, and re-formatted the text, as well as re-designed the cover, and removed the illustrations, is now independently published, like all my creations, by Lulu.com. The working title for Karl May's "Weihnacht!" was "Christmas!"; however, he changed his mind and ultimately used the German term "Weihnacht!".

Weihnacht translates not to 'Christ's Mass', but to 'Holy, or Sacred, or Divine, Night', which is a much more poignent description for the two major scenes in this book, which both take place in the middle of winter, in deep snow, half a world, and half a life-time apart. I chose 'Holy Night', as that phrase most readily conjures up the notion of 'Christmas'. The double quotes, as well as the exclamation mark are a part of Karl May's original title. "Holy Night!" is a tale about a Christmas past, and a Christmas in the Rockies, and some not-so-holy intentions of a handful of villains. Actually, it's a story about a gold treasure, and about the damage grown-ups can do to children in the name of 'education'. Like I always say: Karl May's novels have many different purport layers.

In 2005, while I was working on completing "Holy Night!", I translated a short biographical work that Karl May wrote as a promotional piece, 'The Joys & Agonies of Being Karl May'; it stood alone, at first, and the initial version is still on the German Karl May Society website; alas, I've re-edited it in the meantime, and then translated a short story of the Wild West, and a brief tale of the Orient, which, in my opinion, go well with May's tongue-in-cheek biographical etude. And so, in 2008, the not-so-big book 'The Joys & Agonies of Being Karl May' was born. The German title: 'Freuden und Leiden eines Vielgelesenen', may be translated in many different forms; I have not found a sufficiently clear short English term to satisfactorily translate the title; instead, I've settled upon: 'The Joys & Agonies of Being Karl May'.

Then came 2006, and circumstances that prompted me to translate volume two of the Winnetou trilogy before any other; 'Winnetou II' was also first published under the BookSurge banner, but as was the case with "Holy Night!", CreateSpace simply wasn't quite 'me'.

I re-edited, and re-formatted the text of 'Winnetou II', adjusted the cover to fit in with the new design, which features Karl May's portrait on a rosette, and in 2008 (together with all others I had translated by then) published its new edition on Lulu.com.

But wait! There's more! 2006 was one of 'those' years. I started on the translation for 'Old Surehand - Book 1', but at the time, it was still called 'Old Surehand I'. Book titles are not copyright protected (unless trademark comes into play, but that's a different matter); yet, to appease sensitivities in that direction expressed by German source, I then titled 'Old Surehand II' to read 'Old Surehand Quest II'. Both volumes were published in 2007, also via BookSurge. Ultimately, when I left BookSurge/CreateSpace to utilize Lulu.com, I decided to also slightly re-design the covers, and give the two-volume edition of my Old Surehand translation a title that set them apart from any previous German or other language edition: 'Old Surehand-Book 1', and 'Old Surehand-Book 2'; this also prevents confusion with Karl May's own three-volume edition, titled 'Old Surehand I', 'II', and 'III' of 1894/95/96 respectively.

And while on the subject of 'Old Surehand - Book 2'...What about Karl May's own three-volume edition, titled 'Old Surehand I', 'II', and 'III'?

Some of the unrelated tales told in May's original 'Old Surehand II' of 1895, have been translated and incorporated into other, dedicated works: 'Old Shatterhand-Genesis', and 'Inn-Nu-Woh To Merhameh'. The sequence in the Jefferson City Hotel (the framework that May created to integrate said stories) has been left intact with minor adjustments where the individual texts had been inserted by May.

Readers may argue that May's original 'Old Surehand II' ought to have been translated as it had been assembled, it is a fair comment; however, the interruption to the 'Old Surehand' story (represented by 'Old Surehand II', 1895) between 'Old Surehand I', 1894, and 'Old Surehand III', 1896, in my opinion, is far too long, and many readers may lose interest, or at best, skip the unrelated stories. In the interest of 'Old Surehand', one of the best Wild West adventures May wrote, the alternative, two-volume treatment of the tale is the preferable choice - always noting that it is my personal opinion as translator. More about the change from the three original volumes of the 1800s to the modern two-volume presentation in the introductory section of 'Book 2'.

2006 was also the beginning of another adventure...an idea was born, the idea of Karl May's biography, enveloped within and charted via his tales and novels, focussing on Winnetou. The work didn't have a name as yet; two years later, it was going to become the first English language biography of Karl May, titled 'Savage To Saint: The Karl May Story', described by best-selling German author Walter-Joerg Langbein as 'the most important book' he had ever read. Like Walter-Joerg Langbein, a sincere Karl May aficionado, I also believe that Karl May's unbelieveable success story has not yet been fully explored.

The journey of translating Karl May is not simply one of 'churning through oodles of text', on the contrary, it is a fascinating event, during which I have made the acquaintance of some remarkable people.

Still in 2006 - a collaborative effort saw two other Karl May translations being published, both of which I would later re-translate to make them entirely my own work. About them a little later. Old Surehand - on hold in 2006 for the duration of the two works in question - would be published the following year.

In 2007 I was drawn to Karl May's plethora of short stories, and some of them are real gems; between the Wild West, and the first incarnation of Winnetou, when he was still known as Inn-Nu-Woh, the Sioux chief (he morphed into Winnetou soon after that publication, Inn-Nu-Woh never made another appearance), and the far-away Oriental desert, where the esoteric figure of Merhameh, the girl named Mercy, weaved her magic, I followed Karl May's globetrotting route through Russia and Siberia, the Mongolian Desert, China, to the South Seas, into the Bay of Bengal, to South Africa, up to the Aleutian, and a sleigh ride through Lapland beneath the wondrous Aurora Borealis.

I chose twenty short stories for 'Inn-Nu-Woh To Merhameh', and a selection of snippets from 'Geographical Sermons' (one of May's earliest works thought to be lost, but rediscovered after his passing), as well as other short interludes, with which the short stories are interspersed.

'Inn-Nu-Woh To Merhameh' was first also published with CreateSpace in August 2008, but moved to Lulu.com in 2009.

While the early part of 2007 saw the two-volume edition of 'Old Surehand' published, during the later part of the year, after most of the short stories for 'Inn-Nu-Woh To Merhameh' were translated, I once again looked towards one of Karl May's novels; this time, and because research into the origins of my family (which can be traced back to 1581 and the Black Forest) took me to South America, namely Chile, I decided to focus on Karl May's three South American adventures, 'The Inca's Legacy', as well as the double novel 'From The Rio De La Plata To The Cordilleras'.

I made a start on 'Inca' around November or December, 2007, but 2008 was just around the corner, and so was Murphy with his law. Inca would not be published until early 2009, with the double-novel even further down the track.

The Inca's Legacy, a delightful adventure novel, was also published on CreateSpace, before I moved it to Lulu.com.

The plan for 2008 was to head into the translation of 'From The Rio De La Plata To The Cordilleras' after 'The Inca's Legacy'. Karl May titled this double novel set in South America 'El Sendador' first, and then the book edition 'On The Rio De La Plata' and 'In The Cordilleras' (vol 1 and 2 respectively). A difficult choice for a title, as neither gives an immediate recognition of it's content, an action packed adventure set during turbulent, revolutionary times in several South American countries. Does anyone know what a 'Sendador' is? Do the individual titles convey the connection between the two novels, that volume two is the continuation of volume one?

Conveying the journey in the title 'FROM The Rio De La Plata TO The Cordilleras', and including 'Karl May's South America Adventure' prominently on the cover, seemed the best solution to me. Each of my title choices undergoes lengthy considerations.

But the best-laid plans can go awry if Murphy has a hand in them. Because 2008 would become a year to be remembered. 'From The Rio De La Plata To The Cordilleras' (like 'The Inca's Legacy') would have to wait with translation and being published until later.

Murphy, in the disguise of a white elephant, came into my life early 2008. Nevertheless, putting aside the South America Adventures, to heed Murphy's call, wasn't so bad at all. I go by the principle of never putting my eggs all in the same basket, so while I toiled away for Murphy, for each of the eggs I put in Murphy's basket, I put one in my basket as well. The result?

In 2008, I became the first author/translator to have translated and produced the entire unabridged Winnetou trilogy from Karl May's last authorised version of 1909; it is the first publishing of the unabridged trilogy as a homogeneous work by a single translator in English (including editing and proof reading, design and formatting, as well as cover art).

In 2008 I also published 'Savage To Saint: The Karl May Story', the first English Karl May biography - the 2017 edition is listed on wikipedia. Murphy and his elephant, however, produced some waves, with the only consequence that I immediately decided forums are not for me.

By August 2008, the white elephant had turned very dull. I turned my back on Murphy and his law, and went by Frank Sinatra's tenet: "I did it my way", with my own basket of eggs. By the end of 2008, I had published almost all of my Karl May translations to that date on Lulu.com.

My translation of the 'Winnetou' trilogy is now available in three editions: The traditional three-volume set in paperback; the one-volume hard cover; the unique six-volume pocket size edition.

At last, in 2009, I was able to catch up on the translations I had planned for 2008: Karl May's South America Adventure 'The Inca's Legacy', and the first volume of 'From The Rio De La Plata To The Cordilleras' were published in 2009, and volume two in 2010. With Murphy gone, and Lulu.com to explore, 2009 became a joyful year; after finishing the South America translations, I revisited 'Winnetou', this time Karl May's very last novel: 'Winnetou-Book 4'. Again, the title was chosen to set my version of this enigmatic tale apart from others (of any language, past or present), and also apart from the actual 'Winnetou' trilogy. Although May writes in his introduction that it is the conclusion to his 'Winnetou' trilogy, he also states that 'Winnetou-Book 4' is, at the same time, the conclusion to 'Old Surehand', as well as his epic 'Satan & Ischariot'.

Karl May's last novel was first published in 1910. My English edition was published in 2010, one hundred years after it's first German language appearance. To celebrate its centenary, I not only issued it as a paperback, but also as an 'Expanded Edition' in hard cover, with a personal tribute to Karl May by recreating the reading of Winnetou's testament in the 'Passiflora Room'. More about Winnetou's testament in the introduction of 'Winnetou-Book 4, 100th Anniversary Expanded Edition'.

In the same year, I finished and published the translation of 'Black Mustang', which I had begun towards the end of 2009. To let the 'Jugenderzaehlungen', the 'boys adventures', or 'adventure novels' stand apart from May's 'travel fiction novels', I had re-designed the cover with the pale gold background for 'The Inca's Legacy'; at the same time, I decided to introduce Winnetou's portrait, as well as an extra by-line, 'An Adventure with Winnetou' (in the case of an adventure novel), or 'A Winnetou Story' (on the covers of the travel fiction novels) on all my translations that tell of Winnetou.

The years 2007, 8, and 9 had been rather busy with a plethora of Karl May projects, and 2010 was no different; and it began with a peculiar occurrence on wikipedia, as this wiki-shitstorm details. Once that was taken care of, I set about collecting those Karl May stories that charted the evolution of the 'young German greenhorn' in the Wild West; how he, the future Old Shatterhand, and Winnetou, his best friend and greatest chief of all Apache, developped into the blood brother pair of the later best-selling 'green books'. 'Old Shatterhand-Genesis' was published in May 2011, and is dedicated to Lex Barker, THE Old Shatterhand on the big silver screen.

During December of 2010, I prepared my next translation, the Karl May novel for 2011, 'The Treasure In Silver-Lake'.

As the translation took its course, 'The Treasure In Silver-Lake' developed into a truly international creation. Karl May friends from Europe, America, Indonesia, as well as Australia, turned Karl May's most acclaimed novel into a special work, and a worthy publication for the 2012 Karl May anniversary year. It was published in March, 2012, to mark the centenary of Karl May's last public appearance, a speech in Vienna - his victory over his adversaries, eight days before he passed on.

Because the English version of the movie, 'Der Schatz im Silbersee' carries the title 'The Treasure of Silver Lake', or 'Treasure of Silver Lake', it has been suggested that an English language translation of Karl May's novel ought to also carry the title '...of Silver Lake'. I disagree; the novel title is 'Der Schatz im Silbersee' about a treasure submerged in the lake. 'Silbersee', a German compound word (silver + lake) may be translated in two ways: Silver Lake, or Silver-Lake; because  the word 'silver' (in itself a common noun, requiring no upper case initial) attains proper noun status by being used as the name of a lake, a hyphen in this case is simply personal choice, to more closely resemble May's one-word German compound name of the lake in question, 'Silbersee', as is my preference for the preposition 'in', denoting the treasure's true location, 'in the lake'.

'The Treasure In Silver-Lake' is the twelfth full-length Karl May novel I have translated since 2004; 'Savage To Saint: The Karl May Story', is the first English language Karl May biography; 'Inn-Nu-Who To Merhameh', 'Old Shatterhand-Genesis', and 'The Joys & Agonies of Being Karl May', the three short story collections (counting thirty-three short stories in all, including those contained in 'Savage To Saint'), complete the count for 2012 - for the time being, as a large new project was already well underway.

The multi-volume novels are also available in one-volume hard-cover editions, with the Winnetou trilogy in an additional, six-volume, pocket-sized edition. 'Savage To Saint' and 'Inn-Nu-Who To Merhameh' combine to create 'Karl May: His Story-His Stories', which offers a unique overview of Karl May's life and work.

Later in 2012, two bereavements highlighted how fragile life is. I was very close to both, my brother and my best Karl May friend, and they, in turn, were two sincere supporters of my endeavour to translate Karl May's Winnetou novels. There would be no new Karl May translations published in 2013. However, the months were filled with work on 'Satan und Jsharioth', which received the English title of 'The Travels of Winnetou & Shatterhand'.

Again, the title choice has been considered at length, as the words 'Satan und Jsharioth' slightly over-emphasize the religious teint of the work; it has no more, and no less, religious content than any of Karl May's travel fiction novels. The English title points out that the novel features the Apache chief,  Winnetou. Also in 2013, I completed the translation for 'The Bear Hunter's Son', and 'The Phantom of Llano Estacado'. The two boys' adventures (or adventure novels) would be published at the same time as 'The Travels of Winnetou & Shatterhand', during the second half of January, 2014. In 'The Phantom of Llano Estacado', the intrepid, tetchy, travelling scholar and pseudo scientist, Hobble-Frank, takes the opportunity to correspond with his fans on a personal basis, and to recount one of his own adventures.

For Easter 2014, I presented a small, pocket-sized translation of four stories with a difference. Karl May wrote short adventures for a group of catholic publications, end-of-year calendars. Of course, they have a greater religious teint, however, the calendar publications were one of May's most widely distributed promotional tools, they even took his works to America. Faraway Fables contains three Winnetou stories, and one story set in South America, where his fictional character, his alter ego, travelled under the name of 'El Rastreador' - contemplations for a peaceful Easter period.

In July 2004, I started my first translation of a Karl May novel; it was "Holy Night!". Ten years later, in July 2014 I was celebrating the milestone -- translating Karl May's Winnetou and South America novels, as well as a large number of short stories -- with two special publications of my Karl May art. Drawings, sketches, paintings, photography, as well as extensive digital work accompanied my translation endeavours throughout the decade. The 2015 calendar 'Karl May Art 2004 - 2014' features the riders that grace many covers; the publication is no longer available; however, a 'perpetual calendar' is permanently available here. The second publication, a 'picture book' titled 'Old Shatterhand & Friends: Karl May Art 2004-2014' comprises thirty-five pages of my Karl May art: sketches that have never before been published, digitally coloured costume photos of Karl May 1895/6, and a sneak peek at Old Shatterhand in a different guise - a small indication of the 2015/16 projects.

August 2014 saw the publication of 'Captured at Sea'; in movie terms, this story could be described as a 'costume drama' or 'period drama'. The timing of the adventure can be placed during the American Civil War. Winnetou becomes involved in a chase to bring murderers and pirates to justice; the hunt takes the Apache chief to Germany for the first time, on board the sailing vessel 'Swallow'.

The last of my Karl May 'Winnetou' translations was published in January 2015: 'The Oil Baron'. Winnetou, Old Shatterhand, Hobble-Frank, Aunty Droll, Sam Hawkens, and his side-kicks, Will Parker and Dick Stone, guide settlers through the Wild West, and foil the plans of the evil oil baron, who intends to defraud an unsuspecting banker with a massive oil swindle.

During the decade between 2004 and 2014, I have translated all Winnetou stories that Karl May ever wrote; they are:

Captured at Sea, The Bear Hunter's Son, The Phantom of Llano Estacado, The Treasure in Silver-Lake, Winnetou (1,2,3), The Oil Baron, Old Surehand (Book 1 / 2) Black Mustang, The Travels of Winnetou & Shatterhand (Satan & Jsharioth; combined in one volume), "Holy Night!", Old Firehand (1875), Winnetou (1878, re-write of Inn-Nu-Woh), An Oil Fire (The story with Red Olbers), A Blizzard (An American Double-Duel), The Scout, Old Cursing-Dry, A Mother's Love.

In 2012, I began making notes about an idea I had. Gradually, the notes grew into a manuscript; during the ensuing three years, I would gradually research the project, which would enable me to create an adventure featuring Winnetou and Old Shatterhand in Australia, accompanied by Frick Turnerstick and Hobble-Frank, in an authentic setting of Australian colonial culture, with life depicted as it might have played out during the early to mid-70s of the 19th century. In 2016, Out Of Vandaemonia then underwent extensive editing, and in December of the same year, has become the latest addition to the expanding Karl May universe.

During 2014 and 2015, I created colour illustrations to accompany the new Winnetou adventure (I am an artist, after all); however, print-on-demand cannot accommodate colour page inserts. A book would have to be printed on the more costly paper in its entirety. Therefore, the paperback novel features the black and white renditions of the illustrations, and the colour images are available either in the companion booklet, also from Lulu.com, or as individual prints from my RedBubble presence (@ 'My Karl May art' below).

A large Karl May project is on my 'Karl-May desk', which will take up much time during 2017.

All translations are available directly from my lulu.com author spotlight http://www.karl-may-friends.net.

Karl May Friends is also on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KarlMayFriends

My Karl May art: http://www.redbubble.com/people/tasmanianartist

On facebook http://www.facebook.com/KarlMayFriends

On twitter http://www.twitter.com/karlmayfriends

Excerpts of my translations http://karlmayfriends.wordpress.com

New Youtube Channel @ CoppingHeights https://www.youtube.com/user/CoppingHeights/videos

December, 2016


Note about ISBN:

My Karl May translations (and all other publications) carry no ISBN.

There are two answers to the question 'why not?'.

One is long and involves explanations about the expenses, obligations and unpleasant consequences of attaching an ISBN to a publication.

The other is the short answer: Personal choice.

I created these Karl May translations primarily for my own enjoyment; ultimately I made them available to other Karl May friends and fans, which meant twelve years of disciplined effort yielded over 30 english Karl May books. My lulu.com author spotlight is the only place from which readers can purchase them; it is also the closest thing to purchasing them from the author directly - Lulu.com is the only 'man in the middle'.

Thank you for your interest in my work.

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