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Otto Julins Bernhard Von Corbin Wiersbitzki

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Published : 4 Articles
Pen Names : None
Date of Birth : N/A
Death : N/A
Views : 1055

Journalist and author. Born in East Prussia; educated in Prussian cadet-schools. Commissioned lieutenant in Prussian army, 1830; resigned from army, 1835, to devote himself to writing. In revolutionary movement of 1848-49, took prominent part in the Baden uprising; as prisoner of war, after surrender of Rastatt, tried by court-martial, sentenced to death; shortly before its execution, sentence commuted to imprisonment; six years in solitary confinement. Went to London, 1856; in time became connected with the press. To the U.S., 1861, as Civil War correspondent for London Times and Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung. In 1867, to Berlin as correspondent for New York Times. During Franco-Prussian War, correspondent for Vienna Neue freie Presse and other journals. Contributed to Temple Bar, among English periodicals. Author of Abriss der Geschichte der Niederlande, 1841; Illustrirte Weltgeschichte, with F. W. Held, 1844-51; Historische Denkmale des christlichen Fanatismus, 1845 (later retitled Pfaffenspiegel). His autobiography published as Aus dem Leben eines Volkskämpfers, 1861; in revised and enlarged edition, including account of his later years, as Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben, 1880; abridged English translation, 1871, titled A Life of Adventure.


Von Corvin was acquainted with Dickens and admired him. In "Eine Vorlesung von Charles Dickens," Gartenlaube, 1861, he gave high praise to Dickens as a reader, although he had, before hearing him read, felt that Dickens was demeaning himself by appearing on the platform. In "Charles Dickens," Europa, 1870, published shortly after Dickens's death, Von Corvin paid tribute to Dickens as the literary artist, but stressed particularly his influence as social reformer and as champion of the common people.

H.W. played a dual role for Von Corvin - as his English instructor and as repository of his first English composition. Von Corvin taught himself English during his imprisonment by reading what English works were allowed him, among which were some thirty volumes of the Tauchnitz Edition of H.W. His first contribution to the periodical he submitted in German; this the editorial office returned with the request that he write its substance in English as well as he could (A Life of Adventure, Ill, 403). He did so, stating in one of his articles, "This is now the first time, that I try to express my thoughts by writing in the English language; it is to me as if I must walk with a hundred weight attached to my foot." Van Corvin's articles were of course revised to conform to English idiom; but H.W. printed also some paragraphs of unedited Von Corvin to let readers see "what English style was compassed by this energetic German gentleman in his solitary cell."

Von Corvin contributed also to A.Y.R. His Life of Adventure was the subject of an A.Y.R. article, March 4, 1871, which described the autobiography as entertaining and exciting, and Van Corvin himself as "a very dashing sort of adventurer."  

Author: Anne Lohrli; @ University of Toronto Press 

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