No. 7 — May 2008

George Dibbern: His Life and Quest

Adventurer ~ Sailor-Philosoper ~ Free Thinker ~ Self-declared Citizen of the World

Due to uncertainty regarding the future of George Dibbern’s book Quest, this newsletter is later than I intended. As I mentioned previously, a new edition was planned for the first quarter of 2008. Unfortunately things did not work out as planned, so now there is a new plan – with a new publisher (me!), the target date for release being July 15, 2008. On the other hand, where you lose in one aspect you often win in another. Recently, to my great surprise and delight, Rüdiger von Fritsch, the godson of Doe von Fritsch, tracked me down and has generously provided some photos from his godmother’s collection. This will enable me to include newly acquired photos from the period covered by Quest. As soon as the new Quest is available, believe me, you will hear about it!

Through contact with Rüdiger von Fritsch and with Dr. Jutta Failing (biographer of Dorothée von Fritsch) it has been brought to my attention—much to my embarrassment —that the woman in the following photo included in Dark Sun is incorrectly identified as Doe von Fritsch—despite all my efforts to check and double check. It becomes obvious when one sees photos of the real Doe von Fritsch.

Te Rapunga with Dibbern, Mis-identified woman, Schramm

Te Rapunga with Dibbern, mis-identified woman, von Fritsch, Schramm

So now we have a new mystery: who is that woman?! From other photos it appears she was a friend of Doe’s from Germany, so perhaps Doe herself took this photo. With the way things work in the Dibbern saga, I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer appears some day…


According to Thomas Cazentre at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, from whom I received a surprise email, Professor René Étiemble (1909-2002), was the founder of comparative literature studies in France. He lived and taught in the US (Chicago) in the late 1930s and early 40s. There he was in touch with Henry Miller. In 1942 Étiemble moved to Alexandria, Egypt, where he stayed for about six years and created a review, named Valeurs: revue de critique et de littérature. When Miller discovered Quest in 1945, he must have written to Étiemble about Dibbern. This resulted in Étiemble writing and publishing an article about George Dibbern’s flag and passport, and sending a copy to Henry Miller.

Miller’s response from Big Sur, California dated 11/27/1947 was as follows:

Was more than delighted to get that clipping on George Dibbern—excellent ! I wish you could dig up a half dozen of them for me, could you ? I would pay the magazine for their service. (I see it came out in April !). To save time, should you get more, send one to Dibbern […] And another to M. Guy Josi—Éditions Denoël—12 rue Amélie, Paris. They may bring out Quest in French, should Girodias or Éditions du Chène fail to do so. I am now hoping to get a new publisher for the American edition of Quest. It is being translated for publication now in Dutch and in German.

Neither the French nor the Dutch versions materialized. It was only after Dibbern’s death that a German edition appeared, in 1965. As for an English language reprint, it’s been a long time coming, but there will be a new edition of Quest! I promise.

Erika G.

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