Tall Tales of the West: The Stories of Karl May

Tall Tales of the West: The Stories of Karl May

Nineteenth-century German writer Karl May molded an image of the American West and Southwest built from his imagination and his study of scientific, historical and literary works. European audiences devoured his prolific works of more than 100 books, several of which are set in New Mexico. Widely translated in languages other than English and adapted for the screen, his works were action-packed stories of a “wild” West that imprinted itself on generations of readers. Incredibly, May never saw the American West, having visited the United States only once when touring New York state in 1908. This exhibit invites you into the world of an author whose creation of the West still inspires hobbyists and re-enactors to tell the stories of Winnetou, Old Shatterhand, and a mix of sometimes improbable supporting characters.

Collection of 33 Books shown as a group

 Collection of 33 Books shown as a group

Karl May’s Reiseerzählungen describe adventures in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. More than 100 of his works were published during and after his lifetime.
Karl May. Reiseerzählungen (Travel Narratives). 33 volumes. 1962. Reprint. Bamberg-Radebeul: Karl-May-Verlag, 2003.


Portrait of Karl May at 64, 1906.
Courtesy Karl-May-Museum, Radebeul, Germany.