Hallo Leute! (Es tut mir Leid) It’s been a while.
Anyway, today is the anniversary of the battle of Leuthen so I had to post something:
A very enjoyable film, and no obvious dodgy propaganda, given the time it was made…
I particularly enjoyed the little cameo obviously intended to portray Johann Friedrich Adolf von der Marwitz (Friedrich August Ludwig’s uncle) at Hubertusburg.
“Wählte Ungnade, wo Gehorsam nicht Ehre brachte”. Indeed.
Another acquisition this month; Leuthen (Gedicht) by Christian Friedrich Scherenberg.
I have yet to read it all, but the first verse seems to fit well with the famous painting of Fritz after the battle of Kolin.
In Nimburg am Brunnen, die Schatten über sich,
Auf einem alten Röhrstamm sitzt König Friedrich,
Von seiner Zeit schlechtweg der König titulirt,
Wiewohl noch mancher König zu seiner Zeit regiert,
Und malt mit seinem Krückstock, der aller Welt bekannt,
Versunken in sich selber, Figuren in den Sand.
Or indeed the one below, which I’ve never seen before, both painted before the book was written (1852).
To finish, a Zungenbrecher:
Der Leutnant von Leuthen befahl seinen Leuten nicht eher zu läuten, bis der Leutnant von Leuthen seinen Leuten das Läuten befahl.
Does anybody still say this after all these years?
I’m having great fun reading “Noth- und Hülfs-Büchlein für Bauersleute” from 1788, only a 1980 Taschenbuch at the moment but I think I’ll have to get an original copy.
I became aware of it’s existence after reading Pfarrer Köhler’s account of meeting the author in 1813/14 (Tagebuchblätter eines Feldgeistlichen), apparently in the late 18th Century it was second only to The Bible in popularity in Germany. It’s easy to see why.
Little anecdotes such as the Hauptmann’s wife’s grisly fate and the vicar keeping the elders out of the pub after Church by reading the book aloud (to the disgust of the landlord and delight of their families) are quite wonderful to read a couple of hundred years later by a foreigner like me, they must have seemed amazing at the time.
I wonder if the fate of the Hauptmann’s poor wife, buried alive in the crypt, inspired von der Marwitz’s fear of being buried alive? The book would no doubt have been known to him, or perhaps it was just a common fear before modern medicine got better at detecting these things? Much better I hope.
On a slightly lighter note, I loved the little poem about Beer and Wine, together with it’s charming illustration, particularly appropriate to me after the pubs here opened again last weekend.
I was amused by Dr. Köhler’s description of caricatures of Napoleon in Tagebuchblätter eines Feldgeistlichen from 13th December 1813:
Unter allen Karikaturen, die ich gesehen habe, ist die gräßlich schönste in Berlin herausgekommen. Sie stellt Napoleons wohlgetroffenes Bild dar; allein wenn man es näher betrachtet, so ist das Gesicht aus Leichen zusammengebaut, die um seinetwillen das Leben verbluteten. Der Hut ist ein Adler, der sich in den Kopf des Eroberers eingekrallt hat; das Auge desselben bildet die dreifarbige Kokarde. Der rote Kragen ist ein Blutstrom, der diesen Kopf umfließt. Die grüne Uniform ist eine Landkarte, auf der seine verlorenen Schlachten stehen, und auf dem roten Ordensbande steht: Ehrfort. Das Epaulett ist eine Hand, die sich in den Arm einkrallt, und auf dem Herzen webt eine Spinne ihr Netz und bildet den Stern.
Die Unterschrift heißt: “Der Triumph von 1813, den Deutschen zum Neujahr 1814”.
Unrelated, but today I received my copy of the latest Berliner Extrablatt from www.berliner-schloss.de and enclosed was a miniature copy of an old key to the front door. A nice surprise. Possibly the closest I’m ever going to get to Berlin if this current Schwachsinn continues.
Firstly, today is the 281st anniversary of Frederick the Great’s accession to the throne of Prussia. We could definitely do with leaders of his calibre at the moment.
Somewhat of a bitter sweet entry today, as it’s been quite a few months since I’ve been “allowed” into a pub, but the below passage in “Tagebuchblätter eines Feldgeistlichen” made me chuckle. Good old days…
Ich sitze in der Stube eines Wirtshauses, die ängstlich niedrig ist, deren Wände mit allerlei Phantasievögeln bunter gamalt sind, als ich je etwas Ähnliches gesehen habe. Der Künstler mag in Italien, der Wiege der Kunst, seinen Geschmack nicht gebildet, mag aber auch kein großes Honorar für sein Werk empfangen haben.
Ein Tisch, zwei Stühle und eine am Ofen ausgebreitete Streu sind meine Möbel. In malerischer Unordnung liegen meine Sachen umher. Mich trennt ein winzig kleiner Flur von meinen Wirtsleuten, welche in einer noch kleineren und ängstlicheren Stube wohnen.
Mein Wirt ist 23 Jahre alt und hat in dieser harten Zeit den Mut gehabt, sich vor drei Monaten dies Wirtshaus zu kaufen. Er führt die Wirtschaft mit seiner jüngeren Schwester, einem hübschen, großbusigen Mädchen.pg. 116/117
Sounds delightful, I miss the pub…
Is this particular Wirtshaus still there I wonder?
A nice quote from close to the end of Carlyle’s History of Frederick, I now have one volume left to read.
Prussia has been a meritorious Nation; and, however cut and ruined, is and was in a healthy state, capable of recovering soon. Prussia has defended itself against overwhelming odds,–brave Prussia; but the real soul of its merit was that of having merited such a King to command it.
Without this King, all its valors, disciplines, resources of war, would have availed Prussia little. No wonder Prussia has still a loyalty to its great Friedrich, to its Hohenzollern Sovereigns generally.
Without these Hohenzollerns, Prussia had been, what we long ago saw it, the unluckiest of German Provinces; and could never have had the pretension to exist as a Nation at all.
Without this particular Hohenzollern, it had been trampled out again, after apparently succeeding. To have achieved a Friedrich the Second for King over it, was Prussia’s grand merit.
Sad that within 60 years of writing this (1865 or so) Prussia as a nation would be no more and the Hohenzollerns in exile.
I wonder about the Windsors…
Another acquisition, I found a reference to this in a very interesting modern book about the Finckensteins (thanks Maria!); 1813/14 Tagebuchblätter eines Feldgeistlichen.
It contains a collection of letters and diary entries of an army chaplain during the Freiheitskrieg/Befreiungskrieg of 1813/1814.
I’ve yet to read it but on the back of the title page is a nice dedication from 1917:
I hope that little Theo and his aunt Emma got through the war OK…
Sorry for the long delay, I’ve had, and still have, a lot of letters to write, amongst other stuff.
I wonder how long since copies of these two books have sat together?
Don’t tell anyone butt I had to cut the pages on the military account, no doubt the resale value was affected, but books are intended to be read, and there’s a guilty pleasure in knowing that in 172 years I’m the first person to see those pages.
Trying to get a grip on what happened during the Polnisch Aufstand in Posen in 1848 is not easy.
Willisen’s account, which I read first (although it’s an answer to the military account) because I acquired it first, sounds perfectly reasonable, especially I imagine to modern ears more used to calls to freedom and anti-imperialism. Basically the Poles are just looking to get some autonomy back after years of double dealing and germanisation by the Prussians, and all they need is a little more time to gain trust before they disband the various armed groups that had formed. Rumours of atrocities by the Poles are of course just exaggerations or downright fabrications by the Germans and the Jews. Even before reading the military account though I must admit to wondering if Willisen was not being a bit naïve.
The military account takes the more cynical view that the Poles just want total control over the country, not the promised reörganisation, and that all the negotiations are just buying them time to build up arms and train their fighters. Looked at from the Army’s point of view the accusations of attacks and atrocities by the Poles also sound a lot more credible.
Looking at events later in the year, and subsequent centuries, I think the military might have had a point, but it’s hard not to have some sympathy for Poland.
The conclusion? I think I’ll leave it to the reader to decide who was in the right, I don’t want to get involved. It reminds me too much of us English and the Irish, and nobody wants to go down that road…