Karl May was a German author of adventure and travel novels who lived from 1842 to 1912. He is pretty much solely responsible for bringing The Western
to Germany. He was also something of a modern Münchhausen, as he exaggerated, lied and committed petty crime along the way.
His novels are full of noble savages, Mighty Whitey
and other tropes that makes us cringe now, but his novels can still be enjoyed for the insane attention to detail, even though lots and lots of it was made up.
Tropes associated with Karl May's works:
- Dan Browned: Karl May is well-known today for having created mostly fantasy versions of the settings of his novels, be it Kurdistan, be it The Wild West. They're far from accurate. However, back in his days, the U.S. Midwest was too far away both for him to do some research for his novels and for most of his readers to discover how utterly wrong he was in many points by seeing the real deal.
- Gratuitous English: Naturally crops up from time to time in his Wild West stories.
- Ideal Hero/Marty Stu: Old Shatterhand and Winnetou are so perfect — this level of pure awesomeness is impossible in real life, but his characters are no less amazing for it.
- Self-Insert Fic: One of the lies May tried to pass around was that he really went to America and experienced what Old Shatterhand did. Old Shatterhand is also called Charlie. Karl, Charles, Charlie — get it?
- At some point in the early stories, before getting his nickname, the character admits to be a German immigrant.