So The Long-Lost Friend is proceeding along, slowly but surely. I’m delving into some of the particular incantations or recipes in the book, with the help of the Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, a massive ten-volume work on German traditions and superstitions. M. and I hauled nine out of the ten out of a local library (“each one of these is as big as a dictionary, Dan!” “I know! Isn’t it great?”), and I’m working my way through the entries on various herbs. I might delve more into the other elements later – it’s really a wonderful and comprehensive resource on all manner of topics.
The other mini-project was going through Der Readinger Adler, a weekly Reading paper for 1819-1820, which I got on microcard. The goal was to narrow down the potential date of publication of Der lange verborgene Freund – the oldest known copies are supposedly of the second print, and the introduction is dated 1819 and not 1820. I was hoping that Hohman, who my research is revealing as quite the self-publicist, would run ads for the book when it appeared. I came up with absolutely no mentions. Oddly enough, there were plenty of ads throughout this period for another of Hohman’s publications – the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus – and that publication even had subscribers, unlike Freund. I’m left to wonder whether Hohman simply chose not to advertise it, or if the Adler wouldn’t run his ads. I don’t think there’s any way of finding out.
I’ll keep you updated as I find more.