Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Chamisso, Adelbert von

(1781-1838) Adoptive name of French-born Prussian poet, soldier and botanist Louis Charles Adélaide, Vicomte de Chamisso (1781-1838), sometimes identified as Adelbert von Chamisso de Boncourt. Although on the fringes of German Romanticism, Chamisso was influential through his friendship with E T A Hoffmann, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué and Clemens Brentano (1778-1842), and made his mark with his novel Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte (1814; trans Sir John Bowring [1792-1872] as Peter Schlemihl 1824 UK, mistakenly attributed to Fouqué; vt The Shadowless Man 1843 UK; new trans as The Wonderful History of Peter Schlemihl by Falck-Lebahn 1851 UK; vt The Marvellous History of the Shadowless Man 1914 dos UK; new trans as Peter Schlemihl by L von L Wertheim 1970 UK). The eponymous hero sells his Shadow to the Devil in exchange for a bottomless purse (see Pact with the Devil), but riches do not replace identity and he becomes an Accursed Wanderer. Schlemihl finally disposes of the purse and rejects the devil and thereafter, with the aid of a pair of seven-league boots, dedicates himself to scientific research. The story, apparently written for amusement, has its parallels in Faust. [MA]

Adelbert Von Chamisso


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.