WESSELSKI, Albert

WESSELSKI, Albert. Vienna 3.9.1871 — Prague 2.2.1939. Austrian Journalist and Folklorist in Czechoslovakia. Son of gymnasium professor Franz W. and Franziska Reinkenhof. Gymnasium in Vienna, then studied there history of literature, but soon switched to engineering. Engineer 1897 Technische Hochschule Wien. In 1902-06 worked in Landesbauamt in Graz, but then turned to journalism. In 1907-13 editor of Tetschen-Bodenbacher Zeitung. He had kept his literary interests and now made an attempt to become private scholar, but war marred his plans. In 1915-16 chief editor of Neueste Nachrichten in Salzburg. In 1919-35 Chief Editor of the Deutsche Zeitung Bohemia in Prague. Honorary Ph.D. 1931 Prague German University. PD 1935 Graz for comparative literature, lost his habilitation on racial grounds in 1938. Married Maria Salzmann.

Wesselski can be characterized as “historical folklorist”. He was not much interested in oral traditions, but derived material from old literature all over Europe and Asia for his comparative studies. He knew many languages (but did not speak them), Latin, Greek, Italian, Old German, Sanskrit, Islamic languages,, but hardly any Slavic.

Publications: Translations, e.g. from Latin, Italia (e.g. Decamerone. 1-3. Lp. 1909), French and Dutch.

– Der Hodscha Nasreddin; türkische, arabische, berberische, maltesische, sizilianische, kalabrische, kroatische, serbische und griechische Märlein und Schwänke. 1-2. Narren, Gaukler und Volkslieblinge  3-4. Weimar 1911.

– Translated Somadewas “Kathasaritsagara” oder Ozean der Märchenströme. Teil 1. Berlin 1914 (all published).

Märchen des Mittelalters. 23+272 p. B. 1925.

Der Knabenkönig und das kluge Mädchen. 46 p. Sudetendeutsche Zeitschrift für Volkskunde 1, Beiheft. Prag 1929; other writings, much on European folk tales.

– “Einige Brücken zwischen Orient und Okzident”, ArO 1, 1929, 77-84; “Der Gott ausser Funktion”, ArO 1, 1929, 300-311; “Der Gottgefällige Mord”, ArO 2, 1930, 39-53; “Alters-Sinnbild und Alters-Wettstreit”, ArO 4, 1932, 1-22; “Narkissos oder das Spiegelbild”, ArO 7, 1935, 37-63, 328-350; “Die gelehrten Sklavinnen des Islams und ihre Byzantinischen Vorbilder”, ArO 9, 1937, 353-378; “Das Geschenk der Lebensjähre”, ArO 10, 1938, 79-114.

Versuch einer Theorie des Märchens. 204 p. Prager deutsche Studien 45. Reichenberg 1931.

– “Quellen und Nachwirkungen des Haft Paikar”, Der Islam 22, 1935, 106-119.
– Much on early German literature.

Sources: V. Petrbok, Ö.B.L. 16, Lf. 70, 1919, 154f.; J . Rypka, ArO 11, 1939, 155-165 with photo and bibliography (57 numbers); German Wikipedia.

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