The famous Canadian pioneer novelist Frederick Philip Grove appeared in Manitoba in December 1912. He taught in the German speaking districts of Haskett and Winkler for about two years, during which time he married his fellow teacher Catherine Wiens from Saskatchewan. The couple then taught in various small places in the Manitoban Interlake and Riding Mountain regions until they moved to Ontario in 1929. Grove started publishing essays, novels, and articles in quick succession in the early twenties, and he never stopped writing at a truly manic pace until his death in 1948.
While Grove's Canadian career and biography is well-documented, his early years were kept in deliberate darkness during his life-time. In his two autobiographical novels A Search for America (1927) and In Search for Myself (1946), Grove claimed to be of Anglo-Swedish origin. But even his alleged cosmopolitan upbringing could not explain convincingly the notable lack of his Swedish "mother-tongue" when he was fluent in German, French, and English, and claimed mastery of several other languages as well.
In October 1971, D.O. Spettigue made the spectacular discovery that Grove spent his first thirty years as Felix Paul Greve. He was a minor literary figure in the orbit of Stefan George around 1900, and later became an immensely prolific translator of mostly French and English literature. In 1909, Greve removed himself from the German scene with a staged suicide. The three missing years between Greve's disappearance and Grove's well documented existence are likely to have been spent somewhat along the lines described in Grove's autobiographical novels. Catherine Grove affirmed furthermore that he "taught high school in Cincinnati and owned a farm in Kentucky", 1 and the evidence of Greve's companion Else confirms the Kentucky connection today. 2
The University of Manitoba owns Grove's archives which attest to his amazing productivity and vast culture. There is a large amount of unpublished short stories, fragmentary novels, articles, and poetry beyond various manuscript versions of published materials. They were donated by Grove's widow in the early sixties, but a substantial part of Grove's papers still remains in the hands of his son Leonard. 3 He recently donated the remains of Grove's library from the Simcoe residence, and a closer investigation of the author's readings and annotations offers prospects of exciting future studies. 4
In 1985, the Spettigue papers documenting his Greve/Grove discovery were acquired. 5 There are also the research results of Grove's early teaching career deposited in the Archives by Margaret Stobie in the early seventies. Her taped interviews with Grove's students in Haskett and Winkler confirm that his German origin was taken for granted by them, as it was by many others who knew him. Margaret Stobie's book on Grove was published in 1973 in the Twayne's World Authors series at about the same time as Spettigue's findings appeared as FPG: The European Years. She also unearthed Grove's lengthy article "Rousseau als Erzieher" in Der Nordwesten in late 1914, and the revealing, confessional letters to his colleague Warkentin. 6 Both provide further confirmation that Grove's proficiency in German went far beyond an acquired language ability.
Else Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven's Autobiography (ca. 1923-1926) in the University of Maryland was exchanged this spring for the mirror-image novel Fanny Essler by Greve (1905). Else was the wife of the later famous Jugendstil architect August Endell, and she and Greve eloped to Palermo in January 1903 - the distraught husband was allowed to come along as far as Naples. 7 She later joined Greve in Kentucky where he left her within a year,  and she is quite transparently the model for Grove's "bad" heroines as for instance Clara Vogel in his first novel The Settlers of the Marsh (1927).
The three research collections mentioned in combination with the Freytag-Loringhoven account assure that the University of Manitoba provides the single most important contingent of source material related to Grove alias Greve anywhere in North America or Europe.
Reading Stobie's account of Grove's career and Spettigue's book dwelling on Greve's childhood and youth side by side, one wonders what the stern, hardworking Canadian writer and the decadent German author have in common. In 1971, no documentary proof existed that Greve had come to North America as Grove. Only Else's Autobiography confirms today that he did not die in 1909, and that he did indeed move to America "via Canada", as she says (p. 33). The numerous striking correspondences between the two FPGs were literally buried in the strictly chronological coverage of Spettigue's book, which was produced in great haste only two years after the discovery, and which therefore suffers from several serious mistakes in the rendering of German sources. 9
Within a very short time after his discovery, Spettigue was in possession of an impressive array of biographical and literary documents concerning Greve. One of the most revealing pieces of evidence is the autobiographical account Greve submitted to the editor of Brümmer's Lexikon der deutschen Dichter und Prosaisten in 1907. 10 It reads like a blueprint to Grove's description of his early years in In Search of Myself. To convince Fritz Gruhne, his German collaborator of many years, who refused to recognize Greve in Grove's "autobiographical" description, 11 Spettigue prepared a comparative table of matching facts concerning the two FPGs. 12 An expanded version of it is shown here below:
In Searchof Myself (1947)
Brümmer's letter (1907)
"Russian-German border town"
Radomno, East Prussia
Castle Thurow in Sweden
Estate in Radomno
Charles Edward Grove
Carl Eduard Greve
Classical philiology, Archaeology,
Scientific interests for both
|Universities || |
Paris, Munich, 1890s
decadent "l'art pour l'art"
decadent "l'art pour l'art"
In addition to these biographical correspondences, there are numerous literary links. One of these is still the optimal, and sole direct evidence that Grove was Greve: Grove's untitled manuscript poem "Die Dünen fliegen auf..." in the Grove archives is nearly identical with "Erster Sturm" which Greve published in Die Schaubühne in 1907. This capital document will be discussed in more detail below, and it can be complemented with the Fanny Essler novel and poems (1904/5) as well as with Else's autobiographical accounts of him (1923-1927).
There is another rather explicit reference to a "college story with a multiple sexual theme" entitled Felix Powell's Career. Grove was fond enough of it to exclude it from an announced burning of his manuscripts in 1940. 13 It is believed to be no longer extant. Grove entrusted it to his wife who hated it, and who may have destroyed it. "Felix Powell" are, of course, revealing homophonic echoes of Greve's first names Felix Paul.
Biographical and literary self-references to his concealed past pervade Grove's works and correspondence in such accumulation that they may be interpreted as compulsive self-mirroring, or even an urge to be discovered - possibly with the unconscious motivation to invite punishment in order to find peace of mind.
Some of the more noteworthy biographical pointers of that sort and several more general literary hints are presented below. They have in common an artful element of transformation, condensation, projection, and other almost dream-like mechanisms described by psychologists of the subconscious like Freud, Adler, and Jung - all of whom were Greve's widely discussed contemporaries. 14 Elements of Grove's compulsive self-representations are evident already in Greve, as will be later demonstrated in the light of his Fanny Essler poems of 1904/5.
The name Rutherford which Grove attributed to his mother points to Greve's friend Herman Kilian's grandfather, a famed Scottish jurist called Andrew Rutherfurd-Clarke. Grove proposed the name Andrew R. Rutherford as a pseudonym to McClelland & Stewart for his first book publication Over Prairie Trails in 1922, 15 and it also features in a notebook of manuscript poems in the Grove archives, where Grove scribbled "Jane Atkinson by Andrew R. Rutherford". 16
Jane Atkinson is an unpublished novel Grove never completed. It contains an intriguing cameo which coincides with a minor episode in Greve's Fanny Essler (1905): Fanny lives in Berlin with her maiden aunt Adele Blaurock who runs a variety store on the major shopping avenue Friedrich-Strasse. One of the items in her store are tortoise-shell combs. Jane Atkinson's aunt Miss Marlowe also has "an array of tortoise-shell combs" which happen to be "unsalable remnants from a store on Yonge Street, Toronto". 17
Like Greve's heroine Fanny Essler, many of Grove's characters read Baudelaire and Flaubert, and enjoy listening to Beethoven and Wagner. In the unpublished short-story "Radio Broadcast", the German immigrant Karl Amthor is clearly a persona of Grove through his background in classics and archaeology, and the aesthete's fascination with the beauty of hoar frost and sand dunes, even though they are threatening his land and livelihood. His unrealistic attitude is a transparent symbol for the decadent "art over life" preference, which Greve professed and lived at the time of his intense preoccupation with Oscar Wilde until his downfall in 1903. Karl enjoys Wagner's Meistersinger on the radio, and dies listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. 18
In a letter to Lorne Pierce of Ryerson Press in 1925, Grove requests twelve personal copies of his first Canadian novel Settlers of the Marsh which he wants to send to "personal or correspondence acquaintances". 19 H.G. Wells and the Mercure de France (an implicit reference to Gide, who was connected to the famous literary magazine), stand out in the list of nine local and international names enumerated. Greve translated several works by these two authors whom he also knew personally.
No direct correspondence with Wells has been found to date. Greve secured the rights for his first translations from prison, and autographed copies in the Urbana Champaign Wells-Collection of the six Wells books he translated strongly suggest a personal acquaintance. Shortly after his release from prison, Greve went to England where he likely contacted Wells, and possibly Meredith. 20 Grove's explicit wish to send a personal copy of his first Canadian novel to this author whom Greve introduced to the German public is therefore a clear attempt to either continue or to rekindle an old prestigious relationship.
The personal Gide-connection dates from June 2, 1904. The initial encounter was recorded by Gide, and published as "Conversation avec un allemand" fifteen years after the fact in La Nouvelle Revue Française (1919), and later in Incidences (1924). Pacey's collaborator Mahanti discovered about fifty of Greve's letters to Gide which are still in Catherine Gide's possession today. One of them, written in June 22, 1908, was published in Grove's correspondence in 1976, and contains a curious allusion to Greve's future disappearance. 21 Also in 1976, two more letters of even greater importance appeared in the Bulletin des amis d'André Gide. They were appended to a critical edition of the Conversation from Gide's original notes of June 1904. 22
This version contains several important clarifications. For one, Greve's identity is not hidden behind the initials B. R. as in the published texts. The same applies to the common friend "von M." who established the contact, and who is here openly identified as Karl Vollmöller. 23 A third one puts the lie to facile speculations that Grove came to offer Gide a homosexual relationship. 24 Gide asks: "Etes-vous pédéraste?", and Greve's immediate response is: "Absolument pas!" The first of Greve's letters was introduced by Gide himself at the end of the Conversation with these words: "Quelques jours après mon retour ici, je reçois de lui cette lettre". 25 It is dated June 7, 1904, and was sent from Cologne. Greve announces that he will be in London for two weeks. As mentioned before, it is likely that he met with H. G. Wells and Meredith on this occasion.
Grove's references to Gide are plentiful, and most conspicuous in his In Search of Myself. The reading of Gide's biography led him to indulge in personal reminiscences, and encouraged him to publish his own. In accordance with Grove's familiar habit, Gide is rarely mentioned explicitly. Greve's contacts with him from 1904 onwards are presented, in further intentional "Verfremdung", as if they had occurred ten to fifteen years earlier. Thus, Gide and other famous personalities like Stefan George, whom Greve tried to impress in 1902, did in fact participate in Mallarmé's famous "mardi-soirs" at a time when Greve was still in his early teens. Grove's reference to the oasis Biskra, where Gide became aware of his homosexual leanings as described in L'immoraliste (1901), evoke Greve's preoccupation with Oscar Wilde, 26 Gide's real-life, decisive encounter with this author, and Greve's translation of Gide's novel as Der Immoralist in 1905.
Greve and Thomas Mann both were active in literary circles in Munich in 1901 and 1902. No personal links between them have been discovered so far, and may simply not have existed. Even though Mann is strangely absent from Grove's correspondence, Grove sent him a "de luxe" copy of Two Generations, and also A Search for America in 1939. The accompanying letters seem to be lost, but they were obviously written in German, since Mann's replies are also. 27 Mann had recently arrived in Princeton at the time, and he was suffering from culture shock and problems like his difficulty with the English language. He expresses empathy with the German immigrant experience, and believes that Grove's novel reflects his own Nietzschean conflicts between life and art, reason and nature. Any judgement regarding A Search for America is unfortunately lacking, since Mann was still looking forward to reading it.
Greve's last article in 1909 was a descriptive travel essay entitled "Reise in Schweden" in Neue Revue und Morgen. It featured a Roman numeral I, suggesting that more was to follow. Grove's first publications were collections of very similar nature essays, namely Over Prairie Trails and The Turn of the Year in 1922 and 1923, framing quite nicely in scope and style Greve's last and Grove's first literary expressions.
In April 1926, Grove sent a hasty disclaimer to The Canadian Bookman concerning his involvement in continental Swift editions which he had alleged in verbal communications to Kirkconnell: "My own work was restricted to a re-location of early editions and the South Kensington Ford MSS. As a result of these labours I was instrumental (though not directly engaged) in bringing about the publication of two, perhaps three continental editions of Gulliver's Travels, my aim being to rescue the work from dying as a literary masterpiece to become a 'children's classic'." 28 Greve's last translation venture was a scholarly edition of Swift's Prosa Werke in four volumes. The first volume came out in the year of Greve's disappearance as Gullivers Reisen. The remainder was, so to speak, posthumous. Kippenberg's elegant suggestion to the "grieving widow" Else that not only tremendous debts to the Insel-Verlag and others, 29 but also the threat of legal consequences for offering a translation to two publishers and draw payment from both could be a compelling reason for Greve's hasty disappearance, probably refers to Greve's Swift translations. 30
Greve keenly absorbed modern and classical, as well as French and English literary influences. His awareness and knowledge of German cultural trends of his times was equally well developed. It is therefore not surprising to find, along with a vast array of world literature, an abundance of common German literary models reflected in Grove's work. They can be seen as a somewhat more elusive kind of self-reference to his former existence as Greve on the same grounds as the barely veiled biographical pointers described above. But the clever falsifications Grove applied to both kinds tend to be more complicated, multi-layered, and difficult to decode in these cases. Allusions to Goethe or Nietzsche are so common-place for anyone of his generation that they in themselves would be insufficient for pinning Grove down to his German background, let alone to Greve. However, the combination of general and more obscure sources mentioned by Grove, and an awareness of his preoccupations as Greve exposes deliberately vague, yet invited connections. 31
Goethe features prominently in Grove's works. 32 The most impressive document is the fragment of the epical poem "Konrad the Builder" in Grove's notebook of manuscript poetry. The promethean Konrad, who is determined to build a masterpiece in form of a Gothic Cathedral, is another transparent self-depiction of Grove himself. The medieval setting, a pact with the devil to achieve his ambitions, the presence of a blond and blue-eyed Margaret who is sacrificed to his designs are all obvious parallels to Goethe's Faust, pt.I. Grove also states explicitly that he used Goethe's autobiography Dichtung und Wahrheit as a model for his own autobiographical novel In Search of Myself. 33
Nietzsche, whose influence cannot be overestimated for anyone of Greve's generation, 34 is most obviously emulated in the fragment of aphorisms "The Life of Saint Nishivara", 35 in which Grove casts himself along the lines of Zarathustra. Nietzsche's way "mit dem Hammer zu philosophieren", his prophetic stance as "Der Seher" (adopted by Stefan George and others), and his biting "Zeitkritik" are furthermore imitated in Grove's essays which deal with topics like history, science, progress, life, etc. 36 The aphorisms, essays, and a significant portion of Grove's unpublished poetry reflect an intimate knowledge of Also sprach Zarathustra, and the Unzeitgemäßen Betrachtungen in particular. They link Grove to Nietzsche's pervasive general influence as evidenced in the writings of major contemporary Neo-Kantian philosophers such as Vaihinger's Die Philosophie des Als-Ob, or the decadence apostle Spengler's Der Untergang des Abendlandes. 37 Greve's initial publication was a review of Nietzsche's works, volumes 11 & 12, in 1901, 38 in which he deplored that the aphorisms related to Zarathustra had not been separated from others in v. 12, and thus obscured insights into the genesis of this masterpiece. One of the four "masters" honoured in Greve's poetry collection Wanderungen of 1902 is, not surprisingly, also Nietzsche. 39 The other three are Stefan George, the painter Böcklin, and Beethoven.
Grove's very first Canadian publication is the article "Rousseau als Erzieher" which appeared in four lengthy instalments in the German newspaper Der Nordwesten in Winnipeg between November and December 1914. 40 Beyond its special importance as Grove's earliest public manifestation in Canada, it is an impressive demonstration of Grove's proficiency in German which cannot be justified with an acquired fluency no matter how persuasively argued. Indirectly, both the title and the topic of this article make a triple-layered, hidden reference to Goethe, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche whose third Unzeitgemäße Betrachtung "Schopenhauer als Erzieher" already echoed Schopenhauer's "Goethe als Erzieher". Around 1900, numerous publications used the title "[so-and-so] als Erzieher" in Das literarische Echo and other periodicals, and Grove's opening remarks show that it was in fashion around 1914 with Canadian German teachers as well.
Hebbel's Gyges und sein Ring was the inaugural lecture presented to the English Club in Simcoe, Ontario on December 12, 1932. Grove had suggested it to Mrs. Jackson, the secretary/treasurer of the Club. His notes assisting her in the preparation and her address itself are in his archives, as are her reminiscences of the event on the tape recordings of the Simcoe Grove Colloquium in 1977. A buried self-reference here once again leads to Gide who wrote a play on the same topic entitled Le roi Candaule in 1901. It was not translated by Greve, but by Franz Blei (Insel,1905) who rivalled with Greve for Gide's translations on several other occasions. It is hardly a coincidence that Gide read Hebbel's drama immediately after his initial encounter with Greve in June 1904, and reflected on it in his journal entries at precisely that time. 41
Hofmannswaldau is a relatively obscure German poet of the Barock period who was revived in two partial editions in 1907. The diligent editors were again Blei and Greve. While Blei dwelled on more licentious aspects, Greve intended to restore forgotten German heritage. 42 In the poem "The Palinode" Grove proudly parades his knowledge of classical poetry with a reference to the Greek poet Stesichorus who is credited with the creation of this genre. In the typescript Poems: In Memoriam Phyllis May Grove, his name features above the counter-ode, in the Canadian Forum printing it is omitted. However, only the published version reveals the typical structure of a palinode by placing ode and counter-ode side by side, thus creating a special effect which is lost in the linear arrangement of the unpublished typescript. Palinodes were particularly popular during the Barock, and they often revolved around the antinomy of praise or contempt of the world which is precisely the topic of Grove's poem. At first glance, the subtitle of Grove's poetry collection seems to emulate Tennyson's cycle In Memoriam A.H.H. (1850) which was composed in memory of a friend as much as Grove's was dedicated to his daughter. But a more significant, if oblique link with Hofmannswaldau's Hundert in kurtz-langmäßigen vierzeiligen Reimen bestehende Grabschriften (1663) 43 is provided through a cycle-within-a-cycle called The Dirge: in these "funeral songs" Grove addresses his grievous loss most directly, and not without the tempered, abstract distancing which is also characteristic of Greve.
As mentioned before, the optimal literary proof for Greve/Grove's identity is Greve's poem "Erster Sturm" (1907), which also exists in an untitled version in Grove's manuscripts. Both consist of five quatrains, and feature an allegorical Fall whose approach is announced by a hurricane-like messenger giving the threatening advice to submit to his master's irrevocable passing. Fall, symbolized by the colours gold, brown, and red, represents time, a natural force whose ruthless course nobody can escape.
Grove's "Die Dünen fliegen auf..." differs from Greve's Erster Sturm in the following details: stanzas three and four are reversed; "Fahnen" were originally "Banner"; "gelb" for the colour of a horse is more aptly rendered as "falb", "grün" has become "wirr", and "heulen schwer" replaces "tönen wild". Just as archaic terms and abstract colour adjectives are replaced with less precious and more concrete options, so are several of the stilted, pre-placed adjective structures 44 relinquished in favour of more natural German syntax. Overall, the discrepancies are minor, considering that Grove wrote his poem down some twenty or thirty years after its initial publication. They reveal, however, a systematic intention to neutralize precious elements in view of a simpler artistic ideal.
This trend is even more manifest in Grove's translation of this poem as "The Dying Year", and it becomes strikingly obvious in "Arctic Woods", which is Grove's translation of "Dies ist der Wald...". The German original describes a somber, spooky forest with images of decay and death. The water in the ditches resembles ghostlike, iridescent eyes, and the protagonist is torn between fear and a morbid kind of attraction. The mid-day heat and light are screened from this supernatural forest by a mysterious grey wing, which lends it the appearance of a living grave. A white horse, immobilized in flight, is seen beyond the tree-tops. In typical neo-romantic terms, the theme is death, the white horse being related to the apocalyptic riders. Once again, the English translation remains very close to the original, but a few slight changes adapt both tone and setting to the English title: the ghostlike, iridescent eyes are now simply large eyes. The association of decaying flesh and pallid white birch trunks is replaced with the suggestion of vulnerable, bare skin. The white horse is now significantly "snow-white", and it is "frozen" in flight. The simple shift from a general you to a personal I in confrontation with his environment completes the powerful transformation from a neo-romantic, supernatural setting to the concrete threat of a Canadian winter landscape.
Neo-romantic and symbolist elements are a common denominator in Greve's poetry. They are equally present in all six of Grove's German poems. 45 "Die Dünen fliegen auf..." ("Erster Sturm"), " Dies ist der Wald...", and "Kopfschmerz" emphasize these elements. The tension between ambitious dreams and everyday life are the theme of the other three which have confessional character ("Sag, hebt sich dein Herz...", "Das Fieber...", and "Apokalypse")." Das Fieber..." advocates the ruthless rights of the "special" individual, and contains some unsavory, martial glorifications. "Die rote Lust der Kriege" rhymes there with "Mutter aller Siege" - a Nietzschean and Darwinistic imagery unfortunately common in Greve's time. Similar metaphors being absent in the remainder of Grove's poetry, it may be assumed that this poem was created before the horrors of two World Wars.
Apart from several legends and Konrad, supernatural elements are virtually non-existent in Grove's English poetry which on the whole is "Gedankenlyrik". Man's ontological position is the focus, as exemplified by the opening and closing lines of Questions reasked: "What are we? Whence? And whither are we bound?" The impetuous ego of the gifted individual prevails in Greve's and Grove's German poetry, while a disillusioned world-view, depicting man as a wave in the ocean, or a worm on earth, dominates Grove's. 46 The discrepancy between the two outlooks can be explained first by a natural maturing process, and by the different realities of a young aesthete living in Germany around 1900, and those of a writer embittered by year-long struggles for literary acceptance in a quite different natural and cultural setting. Grove's German poems provide a direct link with Greve's, and his translations document the transition from one to the other most convincingly.
While both content and tone differ considerably in Greve's and Grove's poetry, the form remains constant throughout, and reveals the clear imprint of the "George-Mache" 47: apart from the occasional sonnet, quatrains are the reigning form. The verse tends to employ the iambic metre, and to enclose syntactically relevant units. The rhyme usually coincides with full words like verbs and nouns, enjambments and rhymed particles as in Hofmannsthal and Rilke are avoided. Another characteristic provides a significant connection between the two poetic expressions: Adorner's "pathetic Distant", or a distance from pathos, was coined in relation to the George-circle. 48 It refers to an intellectual, abstract attitude which aims at typical representation, and at emotional moderation through formal control. Greve already reflects it, but it is especially present in Grove's poetry where a certain sobriety tempers even the most painful emotions, notably the grief over the sudden death of his twelve year old daughter in The Dirge. It is at an exact antipode to expressionist aesthetics, such as practiced by Else in the late teens and early twenties. 49
When Grove left her in Kentucky around 1912 to become a virtuous, if somewhat boring Canadian author, she made her way to New York to adopt a flamboyant life as the scandalous Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven in Greenwich Village. Her artistic endeavours are manifold, and always received widespread critical attention. Between 1919 and 1926, the Little Review published twenty-five of her expressionist or dadaist poems, several of which were in German. Her importance here, however, lies in her ties with Greve in Germany, and later in Kentucky. She seems to be unaware of Greve's whereabouts after their separation. At least, there is no evidence in her extant papers that she ever tried to contact him, whereas she attempted establish relations with old lovers or friends in Germany. 50
Her autobiography, entirely mute on questions of time and place, confirms that Greve appropriated her life experience for his two novels, and he possibly did more than that, since he discouraged her in her tentative literary self-expressions. 51 The presence of a somewhat shortened version of the last Fanny Essler poem in her papers 52 increases the suspicion that Greve claimed to be author when he, as she explains with regard to his novels, mainly assumed polishing and marketing functions: "It was my life and persons out of my life. He did the executive part of the business, giving the thing the conventional shape and dress. He esteemed Flaubert highly as stylist...so he tried to be Flaubert...He took it all outwardly as mere industry, except for the material in it. They must be fearful books as far as art is concerned." 53
Greve wrote to Gide that he was using the name of his fictional heroine as a pseudonym for some poetry publications: "And now about me. I must work in rather strange ways. I am not one person anymore, I am three: 1. Felix Paul Greve. 2. Madame Else Greve. 3. Madame Fanny Essler. The latter whose poems I shall send to you shortly, and which - this is still a secret - are addressed to me, is a poet already well regarded in some parts of Germany..." 54 This amazing revelation also confirms that he used the name Else Greve as alleged translator for some of Flaubert's correspondence. As he specifies, Italian is the only foreign language she knows at that time, in other words: he is doing all the work. He furthermore intends to publish her autobiography anonymously. 55 This plan did not materialize: Fanny Essler clearly features as the title of Else's biography and roman-à-clef of the Stefan George circle, Greve is presented as the author, and the genre is fiction. 56
The seven Fanny Essler poems appeared before the novel, 57 and the name of Greve's heroine features as the author. They are carefully structured as a triptych, like a medieval altar-piece: first, the fictitious author Fanny/Else bewails in two untitled poems the absence of her lover (Greve) while alone in the Southern climes of "Tunis" during the fall of 1903. The absent lover is the focus of her adoration in the centre piece: Drei Sonette: ein Porträt gives a timeless, static description of his hands, eyes, and mouth. The impression of coldness and rigid control matches the depiction of Reelen or Greve in the Fanny Essler novel, and Else Freytag-Loringhoven's account of him in her Autobiography. The final two untitled poems evoke a Northern setting in much the same way as the initial ones referred to Southern surroundings: the only flaw in an otherwise perfect winter day is that her lover is not there. The perfect symmetry of these seven poems is only disturbed by the reversal of biographical and chronological givens: the final, Northern landscape ("Husum", and "der Friesen flaches Land" are specific references) corresponds in fact to the Frisian island Föhr where Else Endell longed for Greve before they eloped in January 1903. The initial Southern flank describes her loneliness in Palermo (not Tunis) after he was unexpectedly jailed in Bonn in May 1903.
The narcissistic element pointed out earlier in relation to Grove is particularly strong in this poetic mini-cycle in which Greve is mirroring himself through Else's eyes. This holds true even if Greve's role was limited to forming and publishing functions as Else von Freytag-Lorinhoven's poem "Du" strongly suggests.
Many of Else's poems in the University of Maryland archives feature explicit references to Felix Paul Greve whether in Germany, Italy, or Kentucky. "Wolkzug" is inspired by her situation in 1903/1904, and provides the most detailed, biographical note: "Das war in Palermo - als Felix Paul Greve in Deutschland im Gefängnis war, meint- d.h. seinetwegen! Ich holte ihn ein Jahr später in Kölln [sic!] ab. Ein Engländer "Freund" (Kilian, gd) hatte ihn hineingebracht. Aus Eifersucht. Von da machte er seine Übersetzercarriere. In Kentucky - verliess er mich - in der Einöde - schickte mir - verborgen - $20 von da -- nichts. Ich konnte kein Englisch - kannte keine Arbeit - war hochmütig - wurde für verrückt gehalten. Else." "Haideritt" describes an excursion of two lovers on horseback, an event which took place most likely on Föhr in late 1902. 58 Such an outing is also described in Greve's novel Fanny Essler, and a similar passage occurs in Flaubert's Madame Bovary - as shown earlier, Flaubert was Greve's avowed model for his novels. 59
The version "Herbst" of her poem "Schalk" (meaning "buffoon") specifies as location "Sparta, Kentucky, am Eagle Creek". This poem is therefore very likely a later reminiscence of the couple's final phase between 1910-12. At the bottom of "Schalk" is stated: "Der Herbst ist - als Bild - ein Porträt Felix Paul Greves". This note identifies the poem as a bitter double parody of Greve's poetry: in close analogy to the static and timeless centre piece of the Fanny Essler triptych "Drei Sonnette: ein Porträt" (emphasis mine; note the significance of the purely descriptive quality of "portrait" in both cases!), it addresses in somewhat different order the eyes (steely-blue), mouth (poppy leaf-shrill), and hands (chalk-white and murderous) of her lover Greve. These physical and symbolic characteristics are supplemented with further descriptions of his thighs (alabaster-dead), face (chiselled, Cain-like), hair (golden-metallic), and spear-rigid heart. The old and new attributes are then cleverly linked to the allegorical Fall in Greve's poem "Erster Sturm", alluding to brutality, destruction, and death. 60
With this unflattering depiction of Greve, Else is squaring the account of her decade-long association with him, and his abandonment of her. 61 The "Schalk" version still adheres largely to the conventional form of Greve's two original poems. Other variants of it illustrate her typical method which aims at timely adaptation rather than spontaneous creation: a German poem of traditional form and origin undergoes a systematic, progressive reduction (basically, by eliminating all syntactical or adverbial links), until they result in amazingly expressive word columns of nouns and adjectives. These are then translated, and sometimes published. Her keen awareness of German expressionist poetry is manifest in this particular case and elsewhere.
In Else's judgement, Greve was a talented craftsman with a gift for mimetic imitation, but devoid of creative inspiration. The same can be said about Grove. He is at his best in autobiographical expressions, or when he applies Flaubert's aesthetics to his nature essays, or Swift's satirical mode to Consider her ways. His eloquence and his immense knowledge are consistently impressive wherever he reacts to literary or cultural phenomena. But when he relies on himself to create fiction, a curious lack of imagination pervades his works. His novels are uninspired romans-à-thèse, his characters are two-dimensional, flesh- and bloodless abstractions. He remains as traditional and conservative in his creative attempts as he is in his Canadian existence, whereas Else anticipates and incorporates the most innovating trends of her time in artistic expressions as well as in a highly unconventional life.
In conclusion, the Canadian author Frederick Philip Grove and his glamorous, but equally shady life as Felix Paul Greve have acquired an additional dimension with the light thrown on them by the fascinating Freytag-Loringhoven evidence. The rich materials united in the University of Manitoba Archives provide a singularly important opportunity for present and future scholars from North America or abroad to pursue original research concerning all three facets.
1 Notes by D.O. Spettigue of a conversation with Catherine Grove, 27.7. 1970.
2 Pacey identified her correctly as Else Endell, née Ploetz in his edition of Grove's correspondence, p.552, n.1. The link between her existence as the Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven in New York (1913-1923) and Greve's Else was first made by Lynn DeVore in 1983. Paul Hjartarson compared her autobiography and Fanny Essler in 1986. Although Greve calls her his wife already in 1903, and she signs "Else Greve" in 1909, it is unlikely that they were married in the official sense of the word. Greve's correspondence with O.A.H. Schmitz (14.12.06, in Marbach) indicates that they were not in December 1906. However, in June 1908, Greve writes to Gide about impending "divorce" (Pacey, p. 547-548. Both Greve and Else were bigamists in North America, if they ever were married.
3 The programme of the Simcoe Grove Colloquium in 1977 refers to his "extensive collection of original manuscripts, both published and unpublished".
4 Processing of these roughly 800 books has begun in June 1992.
5 The author of this paper had the opportunity to curate them during 1989-1990.
6 They were published in Canadian Literature , Winter 1974, p.67-80, and some feature in Pacey's edition, p. 3-15.
7 Freytag-Loringhoven's Autobiography, p.64. The date can be ascertained through Greve's correspondence with the Insel publisher von Poellnitz (now in Weimar), and a distraught postcard to Else's friend Marcus Behmer from Gmelin's Sanatorium near Wyk auf Föhr in late December 1902 (Stadtarchiv München).
8 She is still listed in Berlin address-books during 1910, and she refers to her reunion with Greve in Kentucky as a year-long venture (her Autobiography, p. 72). She therefore either joined him at some time in 1910, or in early 1911. Since Grove came to Winnipeg in December 1912, he may have taught at the Kentucky Christian College during 1911/12 as was suggested to Spettigue in November 1968. A biographical note on her poem "Wolkzug" states that he sent her money "from there" (see below, p.14-15)
9 To mention just two factual ones: Albert Verwey was hardly a disciple of Stefan George (p.117), but his Dutch equivalent; nor was he ever editor of the Blätter für die Kunst (p. 71, 73). Greve's review of Lucien Leuwen in 1901 cannot be evidence of his preoccupation with German literature (p.63), since it is a novel by Stendhal. The worst language lapsus is the confusion of German "schlank" (correctly cited on p. 49) with "schlimm", in parentheses," slender" on p. 120. It is an obvious interference with English "slim".
10 Sent to Spettigue by the Deutsche Staatsbiobliothek, Berlin. Printed in Pacey, p.538-541.
11 Gruhne, 5.12.1971: "Ich halte es für ganz unmöglich, Frederick Philip Grove mit Felix Paul Greve gleichzusetzen. Da stimmt doch überhaupt nichts mehr...".
12 Spettigue, 11.4.1972.
13 Grove to Lorne Pierce, 5.4.1940, and to Desmond Pacey, 30.1.1945 (Pacey, p.386 and 462). The title is also a parallel to Meredith' Beauchamp's Career . Greve offered its translation to Bruns in 1904, but it was refused as too daring (this information is from an old Bruns catalogue in the Spettigue papers; see also fn. 21).
15 Their reception in the literature of the time is documented in many works discussing the decadence movement. See, for example, Fischer's Fin de siècle , and Worb's Nervenkunst .
15 Pacey, p.xxv.
16 Though I cannot recall where I saw it, I believe that Kilian's mother's first name was Jane. - It is a curious coincidence that William Carlos Williams, whom Else ardently pursued in New York, lived in Rutherford, New Jersey.
17 Fanny Essler , p. 69. Jane Atkinson , p. 34.
18 The first name refers to Greve's father; Amthor means "am Tor", "at the gate", suggesting the aporia of being neither on one side nor the other. Thor, or in more modern spelling Tor, has furthermore the meaning of "fool". The choice of names is also highly metaphorical in the Fanny Essler novel, where many of George's admirers are satirized. A good example is Ernst Hardt, Else's lover in the 1890s, who is named Ehrhard Stein in allusion to his immoral and cold treatment of her. Wagner features prominently in the novel ( Tristan und Isolde , p.313, and Meistersinger 530), and Beethoven is one of Greve's "Meister" he honoured in his Wanderungen .
19 This letter from the Spettigue collection is absent in Pacey's edition of Grove's correspondence.
20 Letter to Gide, June 7, 1904: "Je partirai pour Londres, et je compte être de retour à Cologne dans quinze jours." - Greve translated three novels by Meredith, and probably also Beauchamp's Career (see fn. 13). Meredith died in 1909.
21 "Ça court sa routine. Mais il y aura une grande lacune dans quelques mois. Encore une nouvelle: je serai divorcé!" (Pacey, p. 547-548).
22 The dates are: 7.6.1904 from Cologne, and 17.10.1904 from Wollerau, Switzerland. - The credit for this exemplary edition goes to Claude Martin who modestly declined to be listed as the editor. His contribution was acknowledged in a telephone conversation in November 1990. He is also responsible for many excellent editions of Gide's correspondence, and has published a multitude of scholarly works about this author.
23 That Gide was impressed with Greve, if not entirely positively, is manifest in his published correspondence with Ruyters (6.7. and 14.7.1904), and in a letter to Vollmöller (26.3.1905). To the latter, whom he addresses as "Cher Sorrentin", he says: "Depuis que je vous ai vu, j'ai fait de F. P. Greve la très inquiétante connaissance. Il serait curieux d'en parler, et n'en puis bien parler qu'à vous-même." He also mentions that Greve's translation of L'immoraliste is excellent. In November 1904, Vollmöller writes to Ernst Hardt about Greve's lodging in a Roman "pensione" while he was on his way to Bonn. He adds: "Er hat mir bei der Entlassung einen komischen und sehr bösen Brief geschrieben, den ich aufbewahre." (Both of these letters concerning Greve are in Marbach). Vollmoeller's autographed copy of Greve's Wanderungen is in the University of Manitoba Archives.
24 Spettigue in FPG , p. 126: "He is offering himself by playing on Gide's known homosexual tendencies...", etc.
25 "Some days after my return I received this letter" (transl. gd).
26 It is not likely that Greve ever met Oscar Wilde, who died in 1900 in Paris. During 1900-1901, Greve was possibly involved in archeological field-work in Athens and Rome.
27 Leonard Grove sent these letters to D.O. Spettigue in April 1968, along with three German poems by his father. They are dated 19. 4. and 5. 6.1939.
28 Pacey, p. xiv, and Grove, in Pacey, p. 39. The April issue had also included a biographical sketch, according to which Greve "actively co-operat[ed] in London in the eighteen-nineties with H.G. Wells, Wilde, and their group", that he had been married twice, and that he had two sons beside his daughter Phyllis May Grove.
29 Kippenberg specifies 4000.-M, and says: "Ich weiß, daß wir nicht der einzige Verleger sind, der große Forderungen an ihn hatte;...[die Tatsache seines wirtschaftlichen Zusammenbruchs]...wird das eigentliche Motiv seines Entschlusses gewesen sein, und die Tatsache, daß er in der jüngsten Zeit dieselbe Arbeit zwei Verlegern gegeben und sich von beiden hat honorieren lassen, vielleicht dazu beigetragen haben." (21.9.1909, in Pacey, p.548-550; a good English translation features on p.550-552)
30 Gulliver's Reisen appeared with Oesterheld imprint, the remainder was published by Reiss; modern editions exist in the Insel-Verlag.
31 The same holds true for world literature references which are utterly meaningless in themselves. But one wonders when Grove not only compares Goethe and Flaubert, but also passes an aesthetic judgement about more obscure figures like Lesage and Walter Pater as he does in his conclusion to "A Writer's Classification of Writers and their Works" : "There are writers who are in love with art and yet are not...artists. Let me mention Lesage, or Walter Pater, or Gustave Flaubert. In their productions, these are inevitably stylists. They scrupulously avoid the trite...; they will never fall to the level of the mediocre; but neither will they attain the heights [of Goethe, gd]."). The fact that Greve translated all three of the foreign authors he evokes makes all the difference!
32 In Grove's published correspondence alone, he features no less than eighteen times.
33 This specification features in an early manuscript version of In Search of Myself . "Dichtung und Wahrheit" can be translated as "fabulation and facts", a combination which is indeed reflected in Grove's self-depictions.
34 Recently, Knönagel has finally made this point clear, and with specific references to Greve/Grove. But even a German "anglicist" falls short of rendering justice to Nietzsche's all-encompassing importance for German intellectuals of Greve's time. Kaufmann remains still the most comprehensive and reliable source of information in this regard. Knönagel also is mistaken in the real-life identity of several characters in Greve's Fanny Essler novel: Fanny's lover Nepomuk Bolle, for instance, is definitely not Stefan George, but the circle's admired artist Melchior Lechter who features as "Mello" in Else's Autobiography.
35 They were published in A Stranger to My Time (1986), p.83-87. Strangely enough, the introductory note refers to Gide and Flaubert, but not to Nietzsche.
36 Many of these extremely revealing essays remain unpublished, but the most important ones are included in Henry Makow's Ph.D. thesis An Edition of Selected Unpublished Essays and Lectures by Frederick Philip Grove Bearing on His Theory of Art (University of Toronto, 1982). "Rebels All" is reproduced in A Stranger to My Time (p. -82, without clear reference to its presence in Makow's edition which is also available in the University of Manitoba Archives.
37 Grove placed Spengler's The Decline of the West high above Well's Outline of History in a letter to R. Crouch in May 1943 (Pacey, p.430).
38 "Nachgelassene Werke von Friedrich Nietzsche, Bd. XI & XII, Beilage zur Allgemeinen Zeitung, Nr. 235 (1901), S. 6-7.
39 The theme of "the wanderer" alone, prominent in Greve's poetry, but also present in several of Grove's poems such as "Ahasuerus" ( Poems: In Memoriam ), is reminiscent of Nietzsche's Der Wanderer und sein Schatten (1880), additions to which were published in v. 11 of his works, which was reviewed by Greve.
40 A typed version in the Stobie papers has seventeen pages single-spaced. The article was based on a paper presented at the Konferenz english-deutscher Lehrer on November 6, 1914 in Plum Coulee, the dates of publication were 25. 11., 2. 12., 16. 12., and 25. 12. 1914.
41 It was staged in Vienna in 1906, and had a single performance in Das Kleine Theater, Berlin, on January 9, 1908 (Gide/Ruyters, v.2, p.349). Greve lived in Berlin at that time.
42 J. Ettlinger passed a devastating judgement on Greve's attempt, but thought even less of Blei's choice in Das Lustwäldchen ( Das Litterarische Echo X (1907), col. 19-23).
43 Twelve of these are included in Greve's selection. Many other of Hofmannswaldau's poems are sonnets.
44 All three are typical characteristics of the "George-Mache" (see Kluncker for an excellent description of particular aesthetic ideals and techniques; see also fn. 48).
45 Three are in Grove's collection, three are in Spettigue's papers. The latter were sent to Spettigue by Leonard Grove in April 1968 at the same time as Thomas Mann's letters (see fn. 28 above). Spettigue was not aware of the three German poems in the Grove collection until the Grove Symposium in Ottawa, May 1973. This explains why the capital correspondence between Greve's and Grove's "Erster Sturm" is receiving scant attention in a nine-line paragraph on p. 144 of his FPG . It appears that he received these poems in 1977 through E. M. Raudsepp (Spettigue correspondence).
46 There are exceptions, and those are no doubt early creations belonging to similar strata as Grove's German poems. "The Eagles", "The Rebel's Confession", and "Ahasuerus", to mention just a few, would fall into this category.
47 For a detailed description of the formal and semantic characteristics of the "George-Mache", I am indebted to Kluncker's pertinent analysis (see also fn. 45 ).
48 Kluncker, p.122.
49 A good account of her avant-garde body-art which anticipates the punk fashion of the seventies and eighties features in Dictionary of Women's artists (1985).
50 Marcus Behmer, Richard Schmitz, Ernst Hardt, and even August Endell, who features in the "unidentified German correspondence" file as Tse, which is Chinese for "master". She was known as Else Ti, a female equivalent for Tse (see also Freytag-Loringhoven's Autobiography, p.37-38, for a description of these addresses). - Incidentally, Grove called his wife Catherine "Tee". Pacey explains: "This endearment, which Mrs. Grove states, her husband told her meant "mistress" in Chinese, he uses only in letters addressed to her, and , very occasionally in reference to her elsewhere." (p. 83, n. 2). - The tone of Else's letters suggests that she ignored the distance of some twenty years, pretending that the old ties never have been interrupted by time or worse happenings.
51 In particular, with regard to her writing "the story of [her] childhood", which he regarded "shoulder shruggingly contemptuous" - it was published as his second novel Maurermeister Ihles Haus in 1907. (Freytag-Loringhoven's Autobiography, p. 105).
52 It exists in five versions with titles like "Natur", "Naturbild", "Freude", or simply "Du". The latter version has seven stanzas, the corresponding Fanny Essler poem has twelve. Eliminated are stanzas with explicit references to the precise geographical location. - It may be one of her earliest attempts at poetic expression, all of which were prompted by her relationship with Greve (her Autobiography, p. 30). The setting is the island Föhr were she underwent treatment in late 1902 for hysterical symptoms (described both the Autobiography, and in Fanny Essler . The comparison of "Du" with Greve's poem would have been impossible without the discovery of the Fanny Essler poems a year earlier.
53 Freytag-Loringhoven's Autobiography, p. 34.
54 Translation mine; Greve to Gide, 17.10.1904, Bulletin , p. 40: "Et de moi-même. Il me faut travailler d'une façon bien singulière. Je ne suis plus une personne, j'en sommes trois : je suis 1. M. Felix Paul Greve; 2. Mme Else Greve; 3. Mme Fanny Essler. La dernière dont je vous enverrai prochainement les poèmes, et dont les poèmes - encore un secret - sont adressés à moi, est un poète déjà assez considéré dans certaines parties de l'Allemagne."
55 "Jusqu'à présent elle n'a publié que des vers. Mais moi, F. P. Greve, son patron et introducteur, prépare la publication de deux romans qu'elle a écrit dans la prison de Bonn sur Rhin...Personne ne se doute de cet état des choses...l'un des romans de Mme Essler, qui paraîtra sans nom d'auteur et que M. l'éditeur croit une autobiographie, aura pour titre: Fanny Essler .
56 Fanny Essler: ein Roman von Felix Paul Greve; Entwurf des Umschlags vom Verfasser. 2. Auflage. Stuttgart: Axel Juncker Verlag, . His claim to the cover-design may be yet another appropriation of her talents, since she designed book-covers in Dachau even before she met Endell. Spettigue's English edition (1984) was based on this particular printing.
57 "Gedichte", "Drei Sonette: ein Porträt", "Gedichte", Freistatt , 1904 and 1905. The first instalment is preceded in the same volume by Greve's poem "Die Hexe". I can only speculate that these crucial poems escaped discovery until early 1990 (in Marbach) because of the rarity of the journal, and the absence of an index to all volumes but one.
58 This particular version just features "Felix" next to the title; there is mention of dunes, "Watt", and the sea, but also of a "Hünengrab". In a shortened variant entitled "Ruf", the explicit dedication "Erinnerung an Felix Paul Greve" is given, and dikes, dunes, etc. are set in the "Friesenland". Another version in English called "Kinship, In memory of F.P.G." was sent to Djuna Barnes in the 1920s.
59 Freytag-Loringhoven, Autobiography , p. 34. There is also horseback-riding mentioned in Palermo (p. 68).
60 In her Autobiography, Freytag-Loringhoven refers to Greve's farming attempts and his struggle for life in Kentucky. She specifies that he lost sexual interest in her over these concerns, and that he revived his former ideal of virginity (p. 72). She also mentions Cincinnati as a stop on her way to New York, and there is a satirical poem concerning the art-scene in "Cinci" in her Maryland papers.
61 It is possible that they remained in touch in one way or another in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Grove may have seen her in December 1913. In a letter to Warkentin, he mentions that he went to Arkansas (which might be Cincinnati, or even New York), where he was hospitalized for "a raging fever". He then says: "As for my marriage, that has gone to smash: something I have been working on for the last five years. I don't blame the girl - I merely don't understand her. Difference of age was considerable: she was my pupil before she went to college." (10.2.1914; in Pacey, p.13). Else was five years older, than Greve, but in way she was his pupil. - The five years Grove worked on his marriage leads back to late 1908, when Greve announced to Gide that he would be divorced (see also fn. 22). There is also an intriguing anecdote that Kippenberg was approached by Greve from a New York hospital (F. Michael to Spettigue, 31.4.1972), but no time-frame is given here. If Greve saw Else in New York in late 1913, this call for help may have occurred then. It is also possible that Else tried to solicit support from Kippenberg at a later time. She returned to Germany in 1923.
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How to cite this e-Version:
Divay, Gaby. "Frederick Philip Grove's German Heritage:
the Evidence in the UM Archival Collections
." rev. e-Edition, ©November 2005