Every Stuttgart citizen knows the Max-Eyth-See. But who knows anything about the person of Max Eyth?
Since last year, the artist Ulrich Bernhard has been researching and working on Max Eyth, the steam engineer, writer of travel and adventure novels and functionary of DLG living in the 19th century. Within the conversation with the scientist of literature, Ute Harbusch and Ulrich Bernhard will talk about the leap in time between now and then, as well as the uncertain relation between science and art. The conversation will be accompanied by the presentation of some of Bernhard’s works, historical photographs and reproductions of drawings by Max Eyth.
Max Eyth studied mechanical engineering in Stuttgart and became a pioneer of agricultural industrialisation. As sales representative of an English steam-engine manufacturer, he travelled nearly every continent, to introduce new techniques of ploughing and inland navigation, using steam engineering. His years of travel and apprenticeship were followed by the years of his mastery in Germany: the foundation and direction of the Deutsche Landwirtschaftsgesellschaft (DLG). Finally, he settled down as writer and wrote novels and tales like the best seller Hinter Pflug und Schraubstock (1899) based on his experiences. This year Eyth’s 100. day of death will be celebrated, as well as his 170. anniversary.
Ulrich Bernhardt followed the settings of Max Eyth’s work and books. For instance, to New Orleans, where Eyth arrived right after the American civil war – today, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, the citie’s duty is to reinvent herself, considering/in spite of the advancing mechanisation. Or to Egypt: in times of colonisation, the engineer profited of a huge, but short, cotton boom. Today, Nidelta is victim of urban sprawl and Cairo stands in front of big problems, whereas the agricultural level wandered to the times of Pharaohs.
Ute Harbusch: Mit Dampf und Phantasie – Max Eyth – Schriftsteller und Ingenieur, Kirhcheim u. Teck, 2006