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Wilhelm Busch pages title image
Wilhelm Busch self-portrait
W.B. 1832-1908

Wilhelm Busch, painter, early cartoonist, and most beloved of all German poets, was born April 15, 1832, in the village of Wiedensahl near Hannover in Lower Saxony, Germany. His greatest ambition was to emulate the Dutch and Flemish masters - Rubens, Hals, Brouwer, Ostade. Instead, he "stumbled into immortality", as the first German Federal President, Theodor Heuss, once put it, through a few caricatures he was asked to do for the satirical magazine "Fliegende Blaetter" that was founded in Munich in 1848. He soon started to add his own humorous verses, and his cartoons became longer and more elaborate; he can be regarded as the father of the modern comic strip, and wherever an Englishman would quote Lewis Carroll's "Alice", a German is likely to quote Busch. Although famous in his later years, he lived quite withdrawn and despised the fuss he thought was made about him. The "Hermit of Wiedensahl" died a confirmed bachelor on January 9, 1908, but his slapstick humour and his unforgettable characters live on forever.

- Gabriele Kahn.

Impending Doom

by Wilhelm Busch

Impending Doom art
Es machen sich die Fliegen
Ein luftig Tanzvergnügen.
Der Frosch, der denkt: Nur munter!
Ihr kommt schon noch herunter!

Up high, the flies are playing,
And frolicking, and swaying.
The frog thinks: Dance! I know
You'll end up here below.

- translated by Gabriele Kahn

More Busch Comic Poetry

Max & Moritz

130 year old Beavis and Butthead - sampled

translated by Gabriele Kahn

The Miller's Bold Daughter


translated by Gabriele Kahn

The Mole

the epic cartoon that launched 10,000 Disney imitations

translated by Gabriele Kahn

Finch & Frog

soar on the wings of a frog

translated by David Fogg

Hans Huckebein

the world's most dangerous raven

translated by Gabriele Kahn

© Brian Thomas, 2009
All Rights Reserved

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