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Prose Versions of the Story of John Maynard

 

Before the poetic versions of the "John Maynard" story appeared in print, various prose versions were published. The early versions, usually entitled "The Helmsman of Lake Erie," were published in newspapers in 1845 and later with no attribution to any author. Norman Barry, a retired Gymnasium teacher from Bad Schussenried, Germany, has made a chart of all of the early (pre-Gough) versions he has found, and he has responded to speculations about their authorship. In the 1860s, new versions of the story, with various titles and attributed to John B. Gough, began appearing in newspapers, school books, and collections of readings. The links below will take you to Norman's chart, a comparison he made of three of the early stories, some other examples of these prose versions of the story, and more.

 

ANONYMOUS

Norman Barry's chart of all of the pre-Gough versions of the story that he has found.

Norman Barry's comparison of three newspaper versions of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie."

The Two Basic Textual Variations of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" in Light of the Discovery of the Poughkeepsie Journal & Eagle, the Maine Cultivator & Gazette, and the Mohawk Courier, an essay by Norman Barry.

Der „JOHN MAYNARD” URTEXT aus dem Jahre 1845 ins Deutsche übersetzt:

a) Deutsch ohne Englisch

b) Deutsch und Englisch (zum Vergleich)

Another comparison by Norman Barry that includes two more newspaper versions of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie."

The text of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" with NUMBERED LINES for quoting.

The earliest printing of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" found so far (August, 2011). It appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal and Eagle on July 19, 1845.

An early printing of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" that appeared in the Maine Cultivator and Hallowell Weekly Gazette on July 26, 1845.

A printing of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" with an editorial comment about the lack of information on its origin. Sun Weekly of New York City for the week ending October 11, 1845.

Who Wrote "The Helmsman of Lake Erie?" An Examination of Two Candidates: Charles Dickens and James Fenimore Cooper, an essay by Norman Barry.

The front page of the Baltimore Sun of August 30, 1845, containing a prose version of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie."

The front page of the The Wisconsin Argus of September 2, 1845, containing a prose version of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie."

"The Helmsman of Lake Erie" published in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser on September 12, 1845 (there's an obvious misprint in the newspaper header).

An account of the story of John Maynard in the "Editors Drawer" of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 52, September 1854, held at Cornell University Library.

An account of the story of John Maynard with an interesting preface from The Standard, of Clarksville, Red River County, Texas, October 27, 1860, Vol. 17, No. 41.

An interesting partial account of the story from the New London Democrat, of New London, Connecticut, Saturday, February 12, 1848, Vol. III, No. 48, Whole No. 152, p. 1, c. 2.

An attempt to find out whether "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" is a true story, from The Portage County Advocate, Wednesday, September 13, 1854, Ravenna, Ohio, New Series: Vol. I, No. 24, p. 2, c. 6. Transcription by Norman Barry. An image of the actual article.

An image of a page of the Cleveland Daily Plain Dealer of September 10, 1845 (Vol. I, No. 134), showing the publication of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" by B. B. French, followed by the anonymous prose version.

"THE HELMSMAN OF LAKE ERIE" IN LIGHT OF THE ROLE PLAYED BY RELIGION IN THE FICTIONAL WRITING OF JAMES FENIMORE COOPER -- OR, THE SECRET WHY THE GOOD MAN, WHEN DYING, DOES NOT GROAN, an essay by NORMAN BARRY.

NEW! THE POUGHKEEPSIE FACTOR: THE LINK TO JAMES FENIMORE COOPER? an essay by Norman Barry.

 

GOUGH

Norman Barry's survey of the first John Bartholomew Gough Texts in 1860.

"Brave John Maynard!" by John B. Gough in The British Workman, No. 107, November, 1863

"The Pilot" by John B. Gough in The Royal Gallery of Poetry and Art: An Illustrated Book of the Favorite Poetic Gems of the English Language, the Choicest Productions of Authors, Living and Dead, for the Uncrowned Kings and Queens of American Homes (New York : N. D. Thompson Publishing Co., 1886), including images of the cover of the book, the dedication page, and the title page.

"John Maynard!" by John B. Gough in The Child's World Fifth Reader, by W. K. Tate, Sarah Withers, and Hetty S. Browne (Richmond, VA: Johnson Publishing Company, 1917)

"DER STEUERMANN, Ein spannender Vorfall" by John B. Gough. This translation from one of the original English versions appears in George Salomon's "Wer ist John Maynard? Fontanes tapferer Steuermann und sein amerikanisches Vorbild," Fontane Blätter, (Potsdam, Germany: Fontane Archives, 1965), No. 2, pp. 25-40.

"A Hero," a report on an anecdote from a lecture by John Gough in the Albany Evening Journal, September 28, 1860. A copy of the original article. Norman Barry's translation of the article into German, with interlinear English.

Norman Barry's comparison of three Gough texts from 1860, 1863 and 1886.

Norman Barry's comparison of a typical 1845 anonymous "John Maynard" text with John Gough's 1860 version of the story.

Ein Vergleich - Die zwei amerikanischen Vorlagen der Legende von John Maynard: Der anonyme Urtext von 1845 und die stark gekürzte Fassung von J. B. Gough aus dem Jahre 1860.

 

BARTON

NEW! 24 Years Afterwards: William H. Barton's Rendering of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" - Commented on by Norman Barry

 

EINWAECHTER

An interesting version of the story written by a German pastor in 1937, presented in German with an English translation by Ziggy Rein.

 

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