Supplementary Appendix: Karl Friedrich August Grosse

Concerning Karl Friedrich August Grosse
(pseudonyms Marquis von Parnusa, Count Edouard Romeo Vargas, Count Vargas-Bedemar)

See Das gelehrte Teutschland oder Lexikon der jetzt lebenden teutschen Schriftsteller, ed. Georg Christoph Hamberger, cont’d by Johann Georg Meusel, vol. 2, 5th ed. (Lemgo 1796) 679–81:

Grosse, Karl, Magister der Philosophie, Dr. der AG, from 1789 Hofrath and from 1790 Forstrath for Count Stollberg-Wernigerode; otherwise spending time sometimes in Göttingen, sometimes in Magdeburg; from 1791 lived in Strasbourg, then claims to have lived in Spain from 1792 [fn: He also calls himself Marchese von Pharmusa, Cadet Sgt. of the Guard and Chamberlain at the Sardinian Court, and Canon of Halberstadt. He allegedly admits to his aberrations in the preface to his most recent publications.] Born in Magdeburg 176?[illegible]. [Publications, here a selection:] Ueber das Erhabene (Göttingen 1788); Helim, oder über die Seelenwanderung (Zittau, Leipzig 1789); Der Genius; aus den Papieren des Marquis C* von G* (Halle 1791–94), 4 parts in 8; Memoiren des Marquis von G***, vol. 1 (Berlin 1792); vol. 2 (Berlin 1795); Novellen von E. R. Grafen von Vargas (Berlin 1792); E. R. Grafen von Vargas vermischte Blätter, vol. 1, Erzählungen, with the author’s portrait (Berlin 1793); vol. 2 (Berlin 1794).

In 1797, the real Count Vargas, living in Siena, in Italy (Tuscany), had the following to say about the fake Count Vargas in the Intelligenzblat of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1797) 163 (Saturday, 16 December 1797) 1352:


Only very recently did I learn how several reviewers — I know now for what reasons — found it acceptable to confuse the short German essays that I myself have published with those of a different writer by the name of Grosse, or to attribute them to his authorship. Because scholarly German newspapers never find their way to my own place of residence, I, wholly uninformed concerning the scope of this blunder, would never have come upon the idea of wasting words on such a ridiculous mistake, one that could not but refute itself on its own initiative, had not the suspicious character with which Herr Grosse has burdened himself before the public, and his silence concerning this very confusion, made me rather nervous that he himself was rather enjoying maintaining that confusion, perhaps even allowing the persons for be mistaken one for the other and in that way to share his ill name with me. Hence I herewith entreat the Herr Critics, for their own good, to conduct a more precise inquiry next time before passing judgment on what is perhaps an intentionally disseminated rumor and thereby mistake the names of people who can have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Because I live so far removed from the literary arena in which these things take place, I cannot always know exactly which writings are being attributed to me, or are not being so attributed, hence let me add here an index of those published under my name and which I acknowledge as my own. . . . Should anyone yet be curious to learn something more about me personally, Herr Maurer in Berlin will be so kind as to present to such persons the papers that I myself have left in his care for precisely this purpose.

Siena, 11 September 1797

Ed. R. Count von Vargas
Palatinate Count and Knight of Lateran
Full Member of the Royal Academy of Siena, Florence, Cortena, etc.

Translation © 2012 Doug Stott