Hohman Comments

A few of you had a number of comments about my last post on Hohman, so let’s get started with them.

I should point out one detail I didn’t note in my previous post:  Neither the Kunst-Stücke nor the Freund I’ve viewed bear Hohman’s name.  That’s unusual, given his usual talent for self-promotion.

Adelword states:

I was wondering if there is any conection between Hohman’s “Der Freund in der Noth” and Tobias Hirte’s (Ed.) “Der Freund in der Noth” printed in Germantaun(town)in 1793.

I have a copy of Hirte’s book on the floor next to me, and I’ve only given it a cursory glance.  Nonetheless, that cursory glance shows that these two books are entirely different works.

As we can see Hohman is not alone there a other “friends” around, for example: Baptista Libertus’ “Freund in der Noth : darbietend bewährte und offt versuchte Artzney-Mittel vor allerhand inn- und äusserliche Gebrechen deß menschlichen Leibes aus … geheimen Schrifften … hinterlegt u. getreulich an Tag gegeben”, Franckfurt, 1710. Friends in times of trouble were apparently not uncommon. As in christian writings the friend for clerical matters was Jesus.

I’d be curious as to the support for the last statement – not because it’s unlikely, but because there’s another theory running around that the “Friend” of The Long-Lost Friend is supposedly a familiar of some sort, possibly a staff of some plant.

You mentioned the “Kunst-Stücke” as ordered for printing by Hohman in 1812. Bötte and Tannhof in “The first century of German language printing in the United States of America” identify the only known printing of “Kunststücke” on the basis of typographical characteristics as printed in Reading between 1803 and 1805 by Gottlob Jungmann and Carl A. Bruckmann…  But the imprint of the “Kunststücke” read 1790 in Offenbach am Mayn with an english remark “copy-right secured”. So if the book has been published between 1803 and 1805 than it can hardly be his own work as we know he arrived in 1802. Then thinking about why Hohman should give his own work in comission with a fake imprint and a faked publication year that only dates back a bit more than 20 years it lets me dare the conclusion that he maybe makes business with reprinting books that are not in his own authorship.

Dare?  Hell, Hohman reprinted other people’s works all the time.  In doing so, I should note that this was not so different from what other publishers of the period were doing themselves.

Another remark is, where does a redemptioner has so much money ordering 1000 copies of a book.

Another good question – and where does he get the money to do it twice?  For other works, Hohman would recruit subscribers, but I see no sign in the viewed copy of Der Freund in der Noth that this was the case.

Along similar lines, DJG93 says:

I wonder if maybe the second printing job isn’t actually the same order as the first. The first being canceled, for whatever reason, and the work being retitled (once again) for whatever reason.

It’s quite possible – I can also see a scenario in which the original printing was destroyed in a fire or accident and had to be replaced.  and I think a look at the account books for the Readinger Adler might be illuminating here – was Hohman charged twice, or was the second printing for free?

Published in: on February 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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