Wednesday, April 09, 2008

NoirCon, Part VI: Philadelphia's own George Lippard

At least one suggestive and unexpected connection emerged between NoirCon's (mostly) American subjects and this blog's (mostly) non-American ones.

Ed Pettit's presentation early in the program focused on a mid-nineteenth-century Philadelphia journalist, author, social reformer and outsize character named George Lippard and his 1844-5 gothic/crime novel The Quaker City; or, the Monks of Monk Hall. Two days later, Pettit mentioned over coffee that Lippard had sued over pirated German translations of his work published in Philadelphia — and Germany. That sounds to me like an early and little-known instance of crime fiction crossing borders. That it crossed into Germany and not into France is especially interesting.

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks for this very interesting series of posts from NoirCon.
In 1844-1845 presumably there would have been a very large number of German immigrants to the USA who could not speak English and perhaps these translations were a service to them.

April 09, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're welcome. The posts and the conference were my pleasure.

I'm sure you're right about the German population in the U.S. at the time, and it's good to know those immigrants were reading exciting stories. It's especially interesting that these translated stories made their way back to Germany.

I'm probably done with direct posts about NoirCon, but I suspect that ideas and observations from the conference will find their way into future posts. Among other things, the gathering was the most intensive burst of schmoozing I had ever done. I gave out so many business cards from my blog that I had to order more. I also took other people's cards, which could come in handy if I ever decide to look for a responsible job.

April 09, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

There were towns in Texas where German was the primary language in the mid-1800s, or so I've read.

April 10, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And then there's the statement one will read from time to time that German was once on the verge of being named the U.S.'s official language. That was never the case, but the belief does indicate how widespread German was.

Pennsylvania, with its strong German presence (the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch are descendants of German immigrants), would have been a natural market for German fiction, pirated or otherwise.

April 10, 2008  

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