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Letters of a Dead Man


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Linda B. Parshall is an independent scholar.


Letters of a Dead Man, by Prince Hermann von Puckler-Muskau, first published in 1831-32 in a heavily expurgated edition, records the travels of this minor German nobleman through England and Wales, and is full of acute and entertaining observations of English society and mores. Now it has been issued in a new translation by the Germanist Linda Parshall (in the Dumbarton Oaks Library series from Harvard University Press), with the cuts restored and the author's own illustrations--including many that testify to his interest in parks and gardens--all reproduced in a sumptuous, large-format single volume: a treat and a treasure.-- (11/18/2016)
[A] classic of travel literature... Von Puckler-Muskau writes with an engaging intimacy, charm and eye for detail. At times he almost resembles his contemporary Stendhal, vivaciously describing Britain instead of Italy... Superbly edited, translated and annotated by Linda B. Parshall, this richly illustrated edition of the Letters of a Dead Man is one of those books that bring an era to life... Letters of a Dead Man, especially in this gorgeous edition, is a book you can happily live in for weeks.-- (05/04/2016)
Linda Parshall's elegant new translation provides the first complete English edition...It is in Puckler's observations of the society he encounters that the Letters really come into their own. His impressions of the English, especially the upper classes, are relayed with an anthropologist's detachment...The success of the letters is more than the result of a happy accident. They are a joy to read: lively, well observed, imbued with gentle self-irony and a good eye for a story--even, and perhaps especially, when the author is the butt of it.-- (09/07/2016)

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