The Marriage Blacksmith is the translation of a short story written in 1830 by a German writer, Ludwig Achim von Arnim (1781-1831). Set in Inveraray and Gretna Green, it describes a fictional visit to Scotland by a German natural scientist. Arnim’s writing is characterised by a grotesque mixture of the realistic and the outrageous, and in this story he embroils the family of the Duke of Argyll and its Shakespeare-loving servants in the adventures of a German U-Boot inventor, a beetle-catcher, an Indian princess who happens to be riding through the Scottish countryside on an elephant, and a German femme fatale who brings everyone together at the end over the blacksmith’s anvil, before herself flitting off alone into the sunset.
The book was translated by Dr Sheila Dickson of Glasgow University, with illustratons by Stephan Klenner-Otto
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