Who is Rudolf Erich Raspe? Information on Rudolf Erich Raspe biography, life story, works and books.
Rudolf Erich Raspe; German author and mineralogist: b. Hannover, Germany, 1737; d. Muckross, County Kerry, Ireland, 1794.
Educated at the Universities of Göttingen and Leipzig, he became in 1767 professor and then librarian at Kassel and curator of the landgrave’s museum there. He also wrote articles on mineralogy and geology. Accused of theft from the landgrave’s collection, he fled to England in 1775. Later, in 1791, again under suspicion of cheating a patron, Sir John Sinclair, he went to Ireland. Meanwhile, he published anonymously in English Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of His Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia (1785), based partly on the fantastic, mendacious hunting tales of Baron Karl Friedrich Hieronymus von Münchhausen, partly on similar German stories collected in the 16th and 17th centuries. Many editions, expanded by others, followed, but Raspe’s tales are considered superior. In 1786 the German poet Gottfried August Bürger published an enlarged German translation, Des Freiherrn von Münchhausen wunderbare Reisen und Abenteuer. Raspe also wrote stories, articles on antiquity, and A Descriptive Catalogue of a General Collection of Ancient and Modem Engraved Gems (1791), and he was one of the first to call the attention of Germans to the newly “discovered” Celtic bard Ossian.