Monday, May 28, 2012

George Blink


George Blink (b. Warley Camp, Essex, about 1798; d. Brighton, Sussex, 4 January 1874)

British Post Office official (President, Islington), and occasional dramatist.  George Blink was one of the ten children of William Blink (b. c. 1760) and Sarah Lenham (b. c. 1765). In Islington on 17 April 1822, Blink married Mary Anne Cliffe (1802-1873). They had four children, two sons followed by two daughters.

Blink authored at least three plays that were performed and subsequently printed up as small pamphlets.  The dating of the pamphlets, as well as the dating of the first performances of any play of that time period, is extremely difficult. 

Blink’s most significant work is The Vampire Bride: or, The Tenant of the Tomb: A Romantic Drama, in Two Acts (London: J. Duncombe, [1830]).  This premiered as the opening piece at the Sadler Wells Theatre in London on 8 March 1830, followed by performances of “Paul and Virginia” and “The Flying Dutchman.”  “The Vampire Bride” was also staged elsewhere in England, and occasionally revived, such as at the Queen’s Theatre in Manchester on 28 September 1839. Blink’s play is based on the anonymous English translation of Ernst Raupach’s “Lasst die Todten Ruhen” (1822), published as “Wake Not the Dead” in Popular Tales and Romances of the Northern Nations (1823).  Raupach’s name is nowhere mentioned. A later edition, with slightly different text, appeared as The Vampire Bride: or, Wake Not the Dead: A Melo-Drama in Two Acts (London: T. H. Lacy, [1854]).

Frontispiece and title page of the 1854 edition.

Other plays by Blink include The Tiger at Large; or, the Cad of the “Buss”;  A Comic Burletta, in One-Act (London:  Chapman & Hall, 1837), first performed at the Strand Theatre on 8 May 1837; and Blind Man’s Buff:  or, Who Pays the Bill: A Farce in One Act (London:  John K. Chapman and Co., 1850).  A play of this latter title had debuted at the Royal Amphitheatre in September 1815, but this was probably an entirely different play. The Lord Chamberlain licensed another play with this same title on 18 August 1837, and this is probably the one by Blink.

NB: An earlier version of this entry appeared in my column “Notes on Neglected Fantasists”, Fastitocalon no. 1 (2010).  

16 comments:

  1. Good morning,

    I have a question concerning "The Vampire Bride": as you appear to have copies of the originals, could you please tell me whether its authorship is attributed to Ludwig Tieck?

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    1. The original story is “Lasst die Todten Ruhen” by Ernst Raupach, published in German in 1822 and translated into English in 1823 as "Wake Not the Dead" (with no author given). Over the years, "Wake Not the Dead" has become erroneously attributed to Tieck. Tieck had no involvement with either the German original or the English translation. I published an entry on Raupach in Fastitocalon no. 1 (2010)--the same place an earlier version of the above entry on Blink appeared. I'll reprint the 2010 piece below:

      Ernst Raupach (1784-1852)

      The name of the German dramatist Ernst Benjamin Salomo Raupach is unknown to most English readers, but devotees of vampire stories are likely to be familiar with one of his short stories because it has been hailed as one of the earliest and most historically significant vampire tales. In English is it usually misattributed to Ludwig Tieck, and it is claimed that it first appeared in German around the year 1800, making it the primary prose story of a vampire to pre-date Polidori’s 1819 watershed tale, “The Vampyre.” These claims are not true.

      The story first appeared in German in an annual miscellany for the year 1823, Minerva: Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1823, published in Leipzig in 1822. The Minerva series ran to twenty-three volumes, covering the years from 1809 through 1833. Raupach’s story, “Lasst die Todten Ruhen: Ein Mährchen,” is the third selection in the volume for 1823, running from pages 35 through 88. (In 1826, Raupach confusingly reused this title for a play, Lasst die Todten Ruhen!: Lustspiel in Drei Akten, which is completely unrelated to his short story.) “Lasst die Todten Ruhen” translates literally as “Let the Dead Rest.” The title was apparently chosen to echo a line in Gottfried August Bürger’s famous 1774 ballad “Lenore,” in which Lenore tells her ghostly lover Wilhelm, “O weh! Lass ruhn die Toten!” (line 216).

      An English translation of Raupach’s story, as “Wake Not the Dead,” appeared very quickly after its German publication. It was published in the first volume of the three volume anonymously-edited collection Popular Tales and Romances of the Northern Nations (London: W. Simpkin and R. Marshall; and J.H. Bohte, 1823). Another slightly different translation appeared a few years later in a similar anonymously-edited production, Legends of Terror! and Tales of the Wonderful and Wild (London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper, 1826). In both collections “Wake Not the Dead” appears without any attribution of authorship. A short play titled “The Vampire Bride,” written by George Blink and based on the translated story, appeared on the London stage in 1830, and was published in as a small booklet. Here again there is no indication of Raupach’s authorship of the original.

      In the 1960s, probably commencing with Charles M. Collins’s mass market paperback anthology A Feast of Blood (New York: Avon, 1967), “Wake Not the Dead” began to be attributed to Ludwig Tieck, with the date of writing given as “about 1800,” and Tieck’s name and the erroneous chronology became attached to the story. Up to the present, Raupach’s story has never appeared in English with his name attached to it.

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    2. Hi Douglas,

      I appreciate your very thorough responses. We're both on the same page when it comes to giving Raupach due credit. Indeed, I've written about it twice before:

      http://doaav.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/not-tiecks-vampire.html

      http://doaav.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/tieck-time-again.html

      I apologise for not being more forthcoming about that. I have also been reading Heide Crawford's 'Ernst Benjamin Salomo Raupach’s Vampire
      Story "Wake Not the Dead!"' (Journal of Popular Culture).

      Oh, and if the article you're referring to is 'Notes on forgotten authors of fantastic literature' - I have a copy of that volume, too. :)

      My interest is in establishing exactly when Tieck started to get attribution as the author of 'Wake not the dead'. I think it stretched before Haining and Collins, for that matter, which is why I was curious about this particular play.

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    3. Hi Anthony:

      I actually came to look into this because of Tieck. In the early 90s, I was reading every Tieck story I could find, and thought "Wake Not the Dead", interesting though it is, didn't feel like Tieck. In the mid-90s I exchanged letters with Tieck's biographer Roger Paulin, and he didn't know of "Wake Not the Dead" as being attributed to Tieck, and suggested it (along with some other tales) had been misattributed to Tieck. I agreed with him, but it wasn't until some years later I read a thesis on Minerva that I found where the original appeared, and later I was able to see a run of Minerva and confirm it.

      I would suggest that the misattribution to Tieck is a result of mis-reading the National Union Catalog entry for _Popular Tales and Romances of the Northern Nations_ (1823), which gives the German author-names in brackets, when known. Since the entry for volume one lists four consecutive stories, "The Sorcerers", "The Enchanted Castle", "Wake Not the Dead" and "Auburn Egbert", with a "[by J.L. Tieck]" after the fourth title, together with the fact that "The Sorcerers" "The Enchanted Castle" and "Auburn Egbert" are in fact by Tieck, it's easy to assume that the other title, "Wake Not the Dead" was being attributed to Tieck as well.

      The earliest attribution of the story to Tieck that I found in an anthology was in Charles Collins's book. (One other of Collins's other anthologies, _Fright_ published in 1963, claims to have a translation of an early version of Hoffmann's "Ignaz Denner" (given under the title of "The Forest Warden") but the story is merely a modernized translation of "Ignaz Denner" with some bibliographical pseudo-details made up around it.

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    4. That's interesting. You may be onto something with the NUC thing: I've come across a book called, 'English prose fiction' (1892) which lists Tieck's authorship of 'Wake not the dead' (p. 139).

      The book was the Catalogue of the St. Louis Mercantile Library.

      But just to clarify, are you telling me that Tieck's name is not mentioned in conjunction with the 1830 and 1854 plays in the prefatory material, or anywhere else in their texts?

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    5. Interesting. The catalogue of _English Prose Fiction_ does the same thing as NUC in grouping the four tales together to make it seem as though they were all by Tieck (or all being attributed to Tieck). Perhaps this indicates that the source of the misattribution does indeed center on some library catalog--perhaps from the Library of Congress (being in the old catalogs which the NUC replaced), which the St. Louis Mercantile Library just repeated. In fact, the identifications of authors in the 1892 volume match with those in NUC, and they make better sense if they are considered only to attribute one relevant story to the stated author, and not groups of stories. Hmmm.

      Sorry for the not being clear about the Blink plays. Their authorship is given only as by George Blink, as if he were wholly responsible. There is no mention of Tieck or Raupach in any of them, anywhere.

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    6. And so the plot thickens! The reason I ask, is because I believe the story's attribution to Tieck was established long before Haining. Tieck's 'authorship' is so well-known, it's almost legendary. It's hard to buy that such a thing happened so recently.

      But you're right - it does seem the attribution began by either faulty cataloguing or misreading catalogue records. I'd be very curious to see whether older entries crop up.

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    7. Actually "The Sorcerers" was not by Tieck either. I read it because it was listed by Andrew Barger as a story that he set aside when compiling his wonderful little anthology "The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849." Far more than "Wake Not the Dead" it seemed to be completely misattributed, with its heavy-handed Christianity.
      It took several days of off-and-on searching, but I finally tracked it to Ludwig von Baczko under the title Der Zauberer. It appeared in book form around 1800 in "Legenden, Volkssagen, Gespenster- und Zaubergeschichten"—at least that is the date given it by Indiana University, a copy of which is digitalized by Hathi Trust. The original has no date, but another impression, when it is noted to be the first of three volumes, is dated 1815.
      I am unsure whether either one of you might be interested in another conundrum, for I have finally given up hope of finding an answer by myself. It has to do with a short story also listed and rejected by Barger: Charles Pigault-Lebrun: “The Unholy Compact Abjured.” I have been unable to trace it to Pigault-Lebrun at all; I'm quite certain he never published it separately under any related title, but it may be embedded in another story as an aside--I have no expertise in his writings at all. It seems first to have been anthologized in English by Peter Haining in his 1972 "Gothic Tales of Terror: Classic Horror Stories from Great Britain, Europe and the United States 1765-1840;" Haining writes that it appeared translated from the French around 1825 in a London weekly entitled The French Novelist. I can find evidence of this weekly, but that doesn't mean it does not exist, for I've found Haining usually reliable with regard to the scholarship available to him.
      In the March 10, 1827 issue of the New-York Mirror, and Ladies’ Literary Gazette this text appears under the title of “The Heroism of Love,” listing no author or translator, and with different names for the main characters. But otherwise it is the same rendition in English. Therein it is considered in the context of another Faust story, which seems appropriate. At any rate, there is nothing to lead me to the conclusion that the story is original to the Mirror, and everything to point to its source as elsewhere. Where that may be, must remain a mystery.
      I have never done anything like this on the internet before, so I'll include my email address: doddblair@bellsouth.net.
      At any rate, thanks to both of you for this ‘Blog on Blink.’ Haining has become something of an easy target on whom to place a number of errors, especially since there is so much doubt that Elizabeth Grey would have written anything like "The Skeleton Count Or, The Vampire Mistress" as he asserts in his The Vampire Omnibus and some have concluded that he himself forged it. I’m probably one of the few that thinks that if it is finally proved to be fabricated, that Haining likely just made an honest mistake.

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    8. See honest mistakes abound. Beside a few grammatical errors in my response there is the glaring one of Der Zauberer--it's Die Zauberer, as any two-week student of German would know.

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  2. Kevin: Thanks for writing in. You are completely correct about "The Sorcerers" not being by Tieck. I had noted that in the past, and that's what happens when I write off the top of my head without looking into my notes. I did not know who the real author was, and am pleased now to have that information. I'm afraid I can't give Haining the benefit of the doubt on anything---just too many bold lies about his texts and sources. Anything he wrote that isn't attested elsewhere must be checked. I have looked into "The Skeleton Count" and while I don't know where the text first appeared, I can confirm that it is NOT in the source that Haining says it is. The fact that Haining (and no one else) has attributed "The Unholy Compact Abjured" to Pigault-Lebrun really makes me think this is another of his fabrications (I've written about a few others of them on Wormwoodiana).

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  3. Yes, it was nice solving the author of The Sorcerers. It was Heide Crawford who taught me how to use a search engine to try to find the original sources to unattributed English translations. With reference to “The Unholy Compact Abjured” I am hoping to find a French scholar or two who can help me. I have used every technique I can to track it to a French, English, or German source and have turned up empty-handed. If you know, in your broad circles of scholars and enthusiasts anyone who can help, please refer them to me. Unfortunately I read French and German with all the finesse of one trying to use sledge hammers as chopsticks.
    Regarding Haining, I said I would probably be numbered among only a few who would give him the benefit of a doubt. I am familiar with some of your criticisms and I respect them—I have no idea what the final judgment on him shall be, but I think he’ll fare better than he is currently. On “The Sorcerers” and “Wake not the Dead” (better translated as “Leave the Dead Alone”), Hogg’s careful investigation so far demonstrates that the misattribution of these to Tieck may either predate Haining or stem from him making a premature judgment from reading ambiguous bibliographic material. Concerning “The Unholy Compact Abjured,” it is clear from the 1827 issue of the N-Y Mirror that this is a real story dating back to the time he said it would. The fact that I can’t trace it back to the putative French author or to the original translation to which Haining refers, doesn’t have to lead to the conclusion of a deliberate falsehood. I can’t speak to “The Vow on Halloween,” but I can say that last month I was sure I had caught him red-handed. In The Vampire Omnibus, he refers to a so-called Shilling Shocker by the name of “The Bride of the Isles: A Tale Founded on the Popular Legend of the Vampire,” (circa 1820) and his only evidence for its existence was a copy in his own collection. I was able to trace his assertions to an earlier, more serious study of his entitled The Shilling Shockers: Stories of Terror from the Gothic Bluebooks and there he includes a reproduction of the cover, which gives him a little more credibility. Subsequent searching led to the UCLA library which appears to be the only library in the world that has a copy of the book, with much the same information Haining had asserted would be found. So I’ve had to temper my own judgment on the man and the veracity of his judgments.

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  4. Finally you write of Haining: “Anything he wrote that isn't attested elsewhere must be checked.” Well, as you and your readers know, that’s true of anyone. I’m currently trying to compile a reader on the 19th century literary vampire and I have found an almost alarming willingness of quite careful researchers to accept the assertions of other ones that precede them. Most of these I have been able to correct, but look at the one that I have yet to resolve. Otto Penzler, in his marvelous volume, The Vampire Archives, has written that Hume Nisbet’s two short stories, “The Old Portrait” and “The Vampire Maid,” “were published in magazines in 1890; they were first collected in book form in Stories Weird and Wonderful (London: White, 1900).” You can see how this would concern me for it makes a world of difference to me whether they are pre-1900 or 1900 and later. Especially if “The Vampire Maid” actually appeared in 1890, it would be the first piece of literature I am aware of tying the vampire and the bat together in such a way as clearly to anticipate Stoker. If it postdates Dracula the story is of far less significance. Since Penzler, it seems every site and anthology I find duplicates his claim that the two pieces “were published in magazines in 1890.” I have searched and searched for evidence for this claim and to this point have found absolutely nothing to substantiate it. I have contacted Mr. Penzler himself and he was nice enough to respond, but could only say that the claim was made several books ago and there is no way now to trace back the original source(s) for his assertion. The only thing he could say, then, was that he was following a secondary source or sources, and that he himself had never located the magazines in which they were originally published. It may or may not be the case, but it’s surprising how little investigation has ensued Penzler’s claim and how great the readiness with which it has been accepted.

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  5. I've read "Wake not the Dead" just last night in Michael Sims Anthology Dracula's Guest, where it is also misattributed to Tieck (whom I haven't read very much of just yet, so I'll take your word for it that this particular story isn't his style). I have, however, been unable to find the German original of the story anywhere online - just Raupach's play which, despite the name, doesn't have anything to do with vampires. So, if any of you have the story in German, and possibly the articles you mentioned above as well it would be nice if you could let me know.

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  6. I know this is an older post, but I am a German major doing a research paper on the novella "Wake not the Dead". I have been doing much research on this subject and until recently, have believed it to be the work of Ludwig Tieck. Heide Crawford's article is what began my doubt, but I still have yet to find another short story that was written by Raupach in order to compare the works. If anyone knows of another example of his work, I would greatly appreciate it. However, if there is not another known story by Raupach, then I must ask why? Why write just one story and never another? If anyone has any thoughts on this I would be so happy to hear them!

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    1. Hi Rachel: In the original appearance in German in _Minerva: Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1823_, published in Leipzig in 1822, the authorship is credited to Ernst Raupach. It's only with the 1823 English translation, published without an author, that the problems began. Raupach published a huge amount in German, but very little ever got translated into English. He wrote other stories (I read one translated into French called The Journey), but they just aren't available in English. German scholarship on vampire literature (like Stefan Hoch's interesting book, _Die Vampyrsagen und ihre Verwertung in der deutschen Litteratur_; Berlin, 1900) discuss Raupach and his vampire story. It's only in English that the misattribution to Tieck came about, and the confusion. I hope that helps.

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  7. Thank you very much! This has really been very helpful.

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