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Ewers, Hanns Heinz

Entry updated 28 November 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1871-1943) German author, spy in Mexico and the USA in World War One, and early member of the Nazi Party, though he soon alienated its leaders through his insistence that his and their obsession with matters of Blood led inevitably (and properly) to psychic and literal vampirism (see Decadence; Vampires). Supermen predominate in his fiction, much of which remains untranslated. He is noted mainly for a series of novels about Frank Braun – anthropologist and Ubermensch – some of which are sf. The young Braun, hero of Der Zauberlehrling oder die Teufelsjäger (1907; trans Ludwig Lewisohn as The Sorcerer's Apprentice 1927), hypnotizes his "inferior" Italian mistress into a spurious sainthood – complete with stigmata – which in the end he makes real by helping crucify her. In Alraune (1911; cut trans S Guy Endore 1929; full trans Joe E Bandel 2010), which was filmed five times 1918-1952 (see Alraune), Braun uses artificial insemination to breed from the dregs of society – by impregnating a whore with the semen of an executed criminal – the eponymous soulless female whose name reflects in German her likeness to a mandrake root, and whose vampirical powers prove almost fatal to the Ubermensch experimenter (see Frankenstein Monster). In Vampir (1921; trans Fritz Sallagher as Vampire 1934; vt Vampire's Prey 1937) Braun appears as a macabre alter ego of the author, spying in Mexico during World War One – which Ewers depicts in sado-erotic terms as an ecstatic transport of civilization – while at the same time becoming a Vampire as part of a world-transformative blood rite. Ewers is in fact a central figure in the history of Horror. [JC]

Hanns Heinz Ewers

born Dusseldorf, Germany: 3 November 1871

died Berlin: 12 June 1943

works (selected)


Frank Braun

  • Der Zauberlehrling oder die Teufelsjäger (Munich, Germany: Georg Müller, 1907) [Frank Braun: hb/]
    • The Sorcerer's Apprentice (New York: The John Day Company, 1927) [expurgated trans by Ludwig Lewisohn of the above: Frank Braun: illus/hb/Mahlon Blaine]
      • The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland: Side Real Press, 2019) [coll: text restored to the above translation: also included are a screenplay and some critical responses: Frank Braun: illus/hb/Mahlon Blaine]
  • Alraune (Munich, Germany: Georg Müller, 1911) [Frank Braun: hb/Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald]
    • Alraune (New York: The John Day Company, 1929) [cut trans by S Guy Endore of the above: Frank Braun: illus/hb/Mahlon Blaine]
    • Alraune (Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland: Side Real Press, 2010) [trans by Joe E Bandel of the above: complete text: Frank Braun: illus/Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald and Mahlon Blaine: hb/]
  • Vampir: (Ein Verwilderter Roman in Fetzen und Farben) (Munich, Germany: Georg Müller, 1921) [Frank Braun: hb/]
    • Vampire (New York: The John Day Company, 1934) [trans by Fritz Sallagher of the above: Frank Braun: hb/]
      • Vampire's Prey (London: Jarrolds, 1937) [vt of the above: Frank Braun: hb/]

individual titles

  • Das Grauen (Munich, Germany: Georg Müller, 1908) [coll: hb/]
    • Blood (New York: Heron Press, 1930) [coll: incomplete trans by Erich Posselt and Sinclair Dombrow of the above: hb/Edgar Parin d'Aulaire]
  • Nacht-Mahr: Seltsame Geschichten ["Nightmare: Strange Stories"] (Munich, Germany: Georg Müller, 1922) [coll: hb/]
  • Der Geisterseher ["The Ghost-Seer"] (Munich, Germany: Georg Müller, 1922) with Friedrich Schiller [Schiller's unfinished novel, originally published in 1789: Ewers adds his own conclusion together with a lengthy afterword: hb/]
  • Strange Tales (Smithville, Texas: Runa-Raven Press, 2000) [coll: trans by various hands, including the author: pb/]
  • Nacht-Mahr: Strange Tales (Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland: Side Real Press, 2009) [coll: trans Hubert van Calenbergh and others: contents differ from previous colls: hb/]


  • Edgar Allan Poe (Berlin: Schuster and Loeffler, 1905) [anth: including essays by other writers: Edgar Allan Poe: hb/]
    • Edgar Allan Poe (New York: B W Huebsch, 1917) [nonfiction: chap: trans by Adele Lewisohn of the Ewers essay in the above: hb/nonpictorial]


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