The book "Baron Munchausen" was published for the first time in 1786 and since then it was republished many times. When Gottfried August Bürger published it for the first time the full title "Singular Travels, Campaigns, Voyages, and Sporting Adventures of Baron Munnikhouson, commonly pronounced Munchausen; as he … [Read more...] about Baron Munchausen
Gottfried August Bürger
Gottfried August Bürger was born in Germany in 1747. His father was a pastor and he was, from a young age, prone to writing verses in solitude. Since he was 12 he was raised by his maternal grandfather which sent him away to Halle to study. He had a hard time studying Latin so he went to study theology in 1764 and he ended up studying law. He started to be interested in writing and living a wild life. He had disagreements with his grandfather and he decided to settle down and enroll to another university.
He kept on living the way he wanted and his grandfather disinherited him. Bürger had to find a way to survive. He started teaching literature by reading the French, Italian and Spanish classics and studying the English and Scottish ballads.
Bürger published his first poem in 1771 and he became a famous poet the year later. When his grandfather took him back in he paid off all of his debts. In 1773 he published one of his best poems "Lenore". In 1778 he became an editor and stayed one until he passed away. He got married but he also fell in love with his wife’s sister to which he refers to as Molly in manyof his poems. When his wife passed away he married Molly but she passed away while giving birth only two years later. It left a great impact on him. Even though he was a professor and had a PhD in psychology he lived off of low paid book translations.
Despite his poems being considered the best ones written in German, he was well known for his translations of "Baron Munchausen" by Raspe. Bürger admitted to adapting and expanding Raspe’s work which he translated from English. Even though he was only a translator, he started to be perceived as the true author and creator of the Munchausen character. Raspe even started hiding the fact that he had written the book.
Bürger died in poverty in Gottingen where he worked as a professor in 1794. "Baron Munchausen" kept his name in the world literature and not his poems.