The crimson Methuselah

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First page of the first edition as a serialized novel under the title Kong-Kheou, the word of honor , 1888/89
Fourth edition of the book with illustrations by Oskar Herrfurth , 1904

The blue-red Methuselah , first published in 1888/89 in the magazine Der Gute Kamerad as a serial novel Kong-Kheou, the word of honor , is a youth novel by Karl May . It bears the subtitle "A funny student trip to China" (edited by Karl May Verlag) and has been listed as volume 40 in Karl May's catalog raisonné since 1914. The book edition with the new Methuselah title appeared for the first time in 1892 in the "Union-Verlag". Methuselah is the nickname of Fritz Degenfeld, one of the main characters who received this addition due to his blue-red nose.


The "eternal fraternity student " Fritz Degenfeld undertakes an adventurous journey to and through China with the young Richard Stein in search of his missing uncle. They are accompanied by Degenfeld's factotum Gottfried von Bouillon and a huge Newfoundland dog who always carries Degenfeld's beer glass in his mouth. On the trip they are also joined by the fat Dutch Mijnherr Willem van Aardappelenbosch and the captain Heimdall Turnerstick , who claims that he can speak perfect Chinese by simply adding the endings -eng, -ing, -ong, -ung to all words and is surprised that he is not understood.

On this trip, the friends experience some adventures, including with a beggar king. In the end, however, they manage everything they set out to do before the trip.


The novel was to be filmed twice, but both attempts failed.

Bavaria Filmkunst GmbH made the first attempt to film it in 1939 , after a failed attempt to film the first part of the novel Winnetou by Luis Trenker .

In 1964, at the height of the Karl May films , a script was completed for the CCC film production by producer Artur Brauner . The film was to be shot in the remaining sets of the large-scale production “In the Empire of Kublai Khan” ( La Fabuleuse aventure de Marco Polo , 1965). For the title role were u. a. OW Fischer , Fernandel , Joachim Fuchsberger , Heinz Rühmann and many others in conversation. The costing for the film was over DM 1.7 million. After various revisions of the disappointing script, CCC boss Brauner threw in the towel in frustration at the end of 1964, even though Nora film distribution had already announced the film in its distribution program. No other Karl May film project was canceled so close to implementation.

See also


  • Karl May: The blue-red Methuselah , Karl-May-Verlag, Bamberg - ISBN 3-7802-0040-6 (edited)
  • Karl May: Kong-Kheou, the word of honor , Franz Greno, Nördlingen 1988 (Karl May Works, Department III, Volume 2)
  • Raimund Lang: Gaudeamus in the Wild West. On the 100th anniversary of Karl May's death; in: Acta Studentica. Austrian Journal for Student History, Volume 43, Volume 181, September 2012, pp. 1ff
  • Raimund Lang: Funny student trip. Karl May's "Blauroter Methuselah" appeared 120 years ago; in: Studentenkurier, No. 2/2012, p. 4ff
  • Raimund Lang: Again Karl May: Did the "Blue-Red Methuselah" exist in person? in: Studentenkurier, No. 3/2012, p. 17

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