Criticism about FPG & FrL

Greve/Grove & Else von Freytag-Loringhoven

Greve's last Publication "Reise in Schweden" (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]

Felix Paul Greve's last German publication was the article "Reise in Schweden" in the journal Neue Revue und Morgen in late May, 1909. Two months later, he would fake his own suicide, and move to America.

As Frederick Philip Grove (1879-1948), he 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), Grove described his affluent family, their ancestral mansion in Sweden, and a cosmopolitan upbringing. From the list of 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, and had, as Felix Paul Greve, translated an impressive amount of both contemporary and classical world literature.

With Else, the wife of his friend, the Jugendstil architect August Endell, he started a scandalous affair in December 1902. For a few months, the two were living in style in Palermo, when Greve's Anglo-German friend Herman [Rutherford-] Kilian lured him to Bonn. There, he was arrested on arrival, tried, and sentenced for defrauding his friend. He spent the year 1903/4 in prison. Five years later, having just double-sold his latest book translation of Swift's Prose Works, he left Germany rather abruptly.
Greve was THIRTY YEARS OLD [not twenty, as Grove repeatedly insists in ASA ] when he started his new life abroad with various odd jobs in Buffalo, New York, Pittsburgh, Sparta, Ky, Madison, IN, and finally, Amenia, near Casselton and Fargo, ND.

It is not known, if FPG wrote, translated, or published anything during the three poorly documented years he spent in the United States.
He crossed the Canadian border into Manotoba by train at Emerson in September 1912,, and soon settled in Winkler as a teacher. His first Canadian publication was the sprawling Nietzsche-like *** article "Jean Jacques Rousseau als Erzieher" (R. as Educator), which appeared in four parts from November to December 1914 in the German-Canadian newspaper Der Nordwesten. It was signed "Fred Gtove."

Margaret Stobie had discovered it in preparation for her 1973 Twayne's World Authors book, entitled simply Frederick Philip Grove. (M. Stobie Collection, University of Manitoba Archives).

It is worth recalling, that one of young Greve's earliest publications in 1901 was a review of Nietzsche's posthumous works: "Nachgelassene Werke von Friedrich Nietzsche, Bd. XI und XII." It appeared in the "Beilage" (Supplement) to Munich's Allgemeinen Zeitung (D. O. Spettigue Collection, University of Manitoba Archives).. Neither one of the eminent Grove scholars was aware of the other's interesting FPG-Nietzsche find, nor did they draw any pertinent conclusions from their respective documents.
The very title of Grove's essay is a loud echo of Nietsche's 1874 Third Untimely Meditation "Schopenhauer als Erzieher" [which, in turn, imitated Schopenhauer's essay "Goethe als Erzieher"].

It is equally noteworthy that synchronous with Greve's review, his two slim volumes of poetry Das Jahr der Wende (mss., Nov. 1901) and Wanderungen (publ. Feb. 1902) devote several poems to Nietzsche.

Despite flagging this connection in presentations and two publications, it went unnoticed for nearly ten years. Then, in 1995, on occasion of an 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 several references to Greve/Grove's keen reception of the German philosopher on display. The Right Honorable Ed Schreyer, Canada's Govenor General at the time, questioned why Nietzsche's portrait was pinned on Grove's panel in his Opening Remarks, and could be duly enlightened about Greve's 1901 Nietzsche review, and the multi-layered Nietzsche references in Grove's 1914 essay. [Three years later, in 1998, he was an invited Banquet Guesr at the International International Anniversary Symposium In Memoriam FPG: 1879-1948-1998, thus elevating the memorable evemi, so to speak, to a State's Affair].

Grove's first Canadian book Over Prairie Trails (1922) also, like almost all of his work, reflects Nietzsche's influence. It is a collection of nature essays, and closely resembles Greve's 1909 travel essay "Reise in Schweden" in genre and style.

Grove's main model was probably Flaubert, whose travel impressions Greve had translated as "Reiseblätter" (Travel Notes) in 1905. The actual trip took place in 1908. FPG writes to Gide from Berlin on June 22: "Now, I'll escape to Norway. I shall leave on the first of July." And he ominously seems to hint at his disappearance act "in a few months."

Though there is no evidence, and Greve did not have him on his long list of translations, I believe that he may have hoped to pay Hamsun a visit in "Sweden." In the 1880s, Hamsun had lived altogether five years in the USA, and much like FPG would describe his own experiences in A Sestch for America., In fact, especially his hobo wanderings "in the Dakotas" mimic Hamsun's stay on one of the enormous Bonanza Farms (the Dalrymple's) near Fargo. In 1995, on my way to Omaha to present a paper on FPG's relations with Thomas Mann, I obtained archival information about these large land corporations, and was soon able to identify Grove's as the Chaffee-owned Amenis & Sharon Land Co, It turned out that all of the rather fantastic-sounding details in Grove's account corresponded exactlly to the trith: there were the 35 square miles of fertile land, reaching all the way up to the Canadian border, the hundreds of horses, the railroad spur right up to the large grain silos, etc. Even the family situation is accurately drawn: the widow was Carrie Chaffee, who had barely survived her husband in the 1912 Titanic tragedy earlier in the year, and the "young owner" H. L. Chaffee was indeed an avid hunter.Given Hamsun's popularity, it is quite possible that Greve read his Auf der Prärie (On the Prairies, 1903) and Vagabundentage (Vagabonds' Days, 1905).

FPG: the quintessential Imitator
Once again, the sly references to Hamsun show to what extent FPG was imitating admired literary models
He started with the decadent Oscar Wilde, then turning to the austere Flaubert after prison in 1903/4
He used Nietzsche for his cultural criticism, and Goethe for his autobiographies
He ended up partially imitating Hamsun with his Manitoba nature essays, & substantially, as chronicler of the Dakota Bonanza Farms

FPG speaks only vaguely of the "Young Owner" & his widowed mother: They are L. H. Chaffee & Carrie Chaffee, her husband, the financial genius H. F. Chaffee, had drowned in the Titanic Tragedy of April 1912 For a long time, only a shot of a middle-aged "young owner" with a slain antelope
The University of Manitoba Archives not only hold Grove's papers, but also several FPG related research collections, including both D. O. Spettigue and Margaret Stobie's research files. They also contain seemingly minor, but important documents. The following two family anecdote 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."
- while crossing the Canadian border near his home in Simcoe, Ont., officials were uncertain how to record the name on FPG's passport, Grove insisted, that the middle vowel was indeed an "o" and not an "e."


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. by Gany Divay, cMay 2009.

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

Grove, Frederick Philip. Fruits of the Earth. Toronto, Dent, 1933,

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

Grove, Frederick Philip. "The Life of Saint Nishivara" [60 Aphorisms, 1939]. Ms. Notebook, Grove Collection, UMArchives & Special Collections.

Grove, Frederick Philip. The Master of the Mill. Toronto: Macmillan, 1944.

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. 840-841. Also in: Grove, Poems/Gedichte, 1993, pp. 39-46.

Flaubert, Gustave. Reiseblätter: Briefe aus dem Orient ; Über Feld und Strand. Minden, J.C.C. Bruns, [pref. 1905].

Freytag-Loringhoven, Else Baroness von. Autobiography [typescript, 205p.]. University of Maryland, College Park. [Also: University of Manitoba, & e-Ed. c2007].

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; (gd: German transl., Segen der Erde, 1918, by Pauline Klaiber). 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. Introduction, 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, (Twayne's World Authors )

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

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