Criticism about FPG & FrL

Greve/Grove & Else von Freytag-Loringhoven

Greve's last Publication "Reise in Scheden" (1909)
Grove's alleged Swedish Heritage
PowerPoint Presentation
Gaby Divay
UM Archives & Special Collections
Originally prepared for
The First Umeå University / UM Partnership Conference
"Sweden and Canada"
February 15-18, 2009

[see a List of Text- and Image Slides]

FPG's last German publication was the article "Reise in Schweden" in the journal Neue Revue und Morgen in late 1909.
Frederick Philip Grove (1879-1948) came to Manitoba in 1912, taught in mostly Mennonite areas for ten years, and then emerged as a writer of biographically neutral nature essays in 1922.
When pressed for biographical details, he claimed to be born in 1872 in a "German-Russian border town" to Anglo-Swedish parents, who were passing through on their way to Sweden.
In his two autobiographies A Search for America (1927, ASA) and In Search of Myself (1946, ISM), he described his affluent family, their ancestral mansion in Sweden, and a cosmopolitan upbringing. From the many languages he mastered, Swedish was conspicuously absent.
By adopting a Swedish background, adding seven years to his real age, and twenty to his arrival in Manitoba, Grove managed to hide his true identity well beyond his death in 1948.
Twenty-five years later, in 1973, D. O. Spettigue revealed in his seminal book FPG: The European Years, that Grove had been German born and bred as Felix Paul Greve, a minor literary figure, and a very prolific translator of both contemporary and classical literature. He had spent the year 1903/4 in Bonn prison for defrauding his Anglo-German friend Herman [Rutherford-] Kilian.
Having double-sold his latest book translation of Swift's Prose Works, he left Germany abruptly with a faked suicide in 1909. He was THIRTY YEARS OLD.Greve's 1909 travel essay "Reise in Schweden" resembles in genre and style the nature essays in Grove's first Canadian book Over Prairie Trails in 1922.The University of Manitoba Archives not only hold Grove's papers, but also several FPG related research collections. The Spettigue files document the spectacular discovery of Grove's identity, and contain the following two family anecdote, which were reported by Grove's son Leonard: when travelling in Sweden, "Grove" was treated like royalty, because of his name. The English title "Count" (German "Graf") in Swedish is "Greve." Whule crossing the Canadian birder, the officials were uncertain how to record the passport name: Grove confirmed, that it was indeed an "o" and not any other vowel - like an "e" perhaps? - in his last name.
the Nietzsche-like essay "Rousseau als Erzieher" which appeared in four parts from November to December 1914 in the German-Canadian newspaper Der Nordwesten. "Fred Grove", a teacher in Winkler, signed for the rambling account discovered by Margaret Stobie in preparation for her 1973 Twayne's World Authors book on Frederick Philip Grove. Also in 1973, D. O. Spettigue published his seminal FPG: The European Years, where he documented his discovery of Grove's identity with Felix Paul Greve. His findings included young Greve's first known publication in 1901, a review about Nietzsche's posthumous works in a Munich newspaper. Neither Grove scholar was aware of the other's FPG-Nietzsche connection, nor did they draw pertinent conclusions from their respective interesting finds.

Although flagged in several unpublished papers and presentations since 1986, and in at least two publications since 1992, the obvious, but sly reference to Nietzsche's Third Untimely Meditation "Schopenhauer als Erzieher" (1874) in Grove's 1914 title had largely gone unnoticed. Then, on occasion of the 1995 exhibition about German-Canadian culture in Manitoba in the Winnipeg Legislative Building's "Pool of the Black Star", welcome public attention was drawn to it. The FPG panel had referred to Greve/Grove's keen reception of the German philosopher. When The Right Honorable Ed Schreyer, in his Opening Address, questioned the presence of Nietzsche's portrait on the FPG display, he could be duly enlightened about Greve's 1901 Nietzsche review, and the multi-layered Nietzsche reference in Grove's 1914 publication "Rousseau als Erzieher".

Combining his early admiration for Nietzsche, who had been a student at Bonn University where Greve also studied classical philology since 1898, with a real-life "back to nature" experience after leaving Europe in 1909, Grove's first essay sets a life-long trend manifest in all his subsequent English works. Key concepts like CHANGE being the nature of all things, LIFE, the TRAGIC, DECADENCE, etc. find expression from his earliest landscape sketches of 1922 & 1923, his novels since 1925, his poetry and essays around 1930 to his late autobiography in 1946.

Of particular interest is a fragment of sixty-one manuscript aphorisms entitled The Life of Saint Nishivara, a transparent imitation of Nietzsche's Thus spoke Zarathustra (1888ff). It has confessional character and can be internally dated to 1939, when Grove turned sixty and started composing his autobiography.

Grove's essays, with their pronounced cultural criticism and titles like Rebels All, Of the Interpretation of History, Of the Interpretation of Science, and Civilization, bear a strong resemblance to Nietzsche's Unzeitgemäßen Betrachtungen (1873ff), the second of which, for instance, dealt with "Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben" (Of the Advantage or Disadvantage of History for Life) . Greve's essays about Oscar Wilde, art and life, and decadence, drew heavily on Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy (1872), and in his 1902 poetry collection called Wanderungen, Nietzsche is hailed as one of four "Meister" [next to the painter Böcklin, Beethoven, and the poet Stefan George)

With the UM Archives' recent acquisition of a remarkable collection of early bound manuscript poems by Greve, the importance of Nietzsche in FPG's intellectual development has come into sharp focus: completed in November 1901, Das Jahr der Wende starts out with no less than four poems devoted explicitly to the late philosopher, including the one printed some three months later in Wanderungen. While the published collection adheres to the "George-Mache" both in form and in content throughout, the manuscript shows the marked influence of Nietzsche's often unrhymed "Dionysos Dithyramben", which Nietzsche added to his Zarathustra in late 1888, shortly before the psychotic break-down that ended his career. As late as in his In Search of Myself in 1946, two years before his death, Grove acknowledged a great admiration for Nietzsche when he says namely of the Unzeitgemäßen Betrachtungen, the Morgenröte and the Fröhlichen Wissenschaft: "Even today I consider (them) as of the greatest importance". Obscuring his debt with regard to the Zarathustra, though, he claims to have disliked this most literary late work of Nietzsche's because of its violence and German focus (ISM, 146). And yet, it is precisely on the Zarathustra that FPG drew on the most.


Greve, Felix Paul. Das Jahr der Wende, Nov. 1901. Facsimile e-Edition by Gaby Divay. Winnipeg: UM Archives & Special Collections, ©2008.

Greve, Felix Paul. "Nachgelassene Werke von Friedrich Nietzsche, Bd. XI und XII." Beilage zur Allgemeinen Zeitung. (München), 1901.

Greve, Felix Paul. "Reise in Schweden" in Neue Revue & Morgen Jahrgang 2 (1908/9), 22/23. Heft, 29. MAI 1909, S. 760-766. -- Centennial e-Facsimile Ed/ ny Gany Divay, cMay 2009.

Greve, Felix Paul. Wanderungen (Feb. 1902). e-Edition, Gaby Divay. Winnipeg: UM Archives & Special Collections, ©2007.

Grove, Fred. "Jean Jacques Rousseau als Erzieher". Der Nordwesten, Nov. 25 - Dec., 1914.

Grove, Frederick Philip. "The Life of Saint Nishivara" [60 Aphorisms]. Ms. Notebook, Grove Collection, UMArchives & Special Collections.

Grove, Frederick Philip. "Of the Interpretation of Life, History, & Science: Three Related Unpublished Essays on Art in A. L. Grove's Possession". In: H. Makow, An Edition of Selected Essays and Lectures by Frederick Philip Grove, [Toronto: Ph.D. Thesis, 1982].
Grove, Frederick Philip. A Search for America. Ottawa: Graphic Publishers, 1927.

Grove, Frederick Philip. In Search of Myself. Toronto: Macmillan, 1946.

Brümmer, Franz. Lexikon der deutschen Dichter und Prosaisten. 6. Aufl. 8v. Leipzig: Reclam, 1913.

Drache, Hiram. The day of the Bonanza : a history of Bonanza farming in the Red River Valley of the North..Danville, Ill. : Interstate Printers & Pub., 1989.

Essler, Fanny. "Gedichte. Ein Porträt: drei Sonette. Gedichte." Die Freistatt 6-7 (1904/5), pp. 700-701, 840-841; 185-186. Also in: Grove, Poems, 1993, pp. 39-46.

Freytag-Loringhoven, Else Baroness von. Autobiography [typescript, 205p.]. University of Maryland, College Park. [Also: University of Manitoba].

George, Stefan. Stefan George, Friedrich Gundolf: Briefwechsel. Hrsg., Robert Boehringer mit Georg Peter Landmann. München: H. Küpper, 1962.

Gide, André. "Conversation avec un allemand." Bulletin des amis d'André Gide no. 32 (Oct., 1976), p. 23-41. (Two letters by Greve, 7.6. & 17.10., 1904, pp. 39-41).

Hamsun, Knut. Knut Hamsun Remembers America: Essays and Stories, 1885-1949.: Tr., R. N. Current. Columbia, Mo. : UMissouri Press, 2003.
Hamsun: 2x in Grove's personal Library Collectiion
147. Hamsun, Knut, 1859-1952. Growth of the Soil. Translated from the Norwegian of Knut Hamsun by W. W. Worster. New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1921, c1917 2 v. : front. (port.) ; 20 cm.
NOTES: "Knut Hamsun, by W. W. Worster": v. 2, p. 257-276. --
The title of Grove's novel Fruits of the Earth (1933) is reminiscent of Hamsun's Markens Grøde, 1917, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1920; (German transl., Segen der Erde). It also points to Gide's Les nourritures terrestres (1897) which Greve claimed to have translated in 1905. The only known German translation of Gide's novel is Uns nährt die Erde (tr., Hans Prinzhorn. Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1930).

148. Hamsun, Knut, 1859-1952. Hunger. Translated from the Norwegian by George Egerton. London : Duckworth & Co., 1921.  

Kippenberg, Anton to Else Greve, 21. 9. 1909. In: F. P. Grove, Letters, 1976, pp. 550-552.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. "Schopenhauer als Erzieher" (Dritte unzeitgemässe Betrachtung), In Nietzsche, Werke, v. 1, 287-365.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Werke in sechs Bänden. Hrsg., K. Schlechta, München: Hanser, 1980.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Also sprach Zarathustra. In: Nietzsche, Werke, Bd. 3, pp. 275-561.

Pacey, Desmond. Introd. in: Grove, F.P., The Letters of F. P. Grove, 1976, pp. ix-xxvi.

Spettigue, Douglas O. F.P.G.: The European Years. [Ottawa]: Oberon Press, 1973.

Stobie, Margaret. Frederick Philip Grove. New York: Twayne, 1973.

Wolfskehl, Karl und Hanna. Briefwechsel mit Friedrich Gundolf. 2. Aufl. 2 v. Amsterdam: Castrum Peregrini, 1977.

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