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Trump Is the Star of These Bizarre Victorian Novels

Time:2017-10-09 03:09Shoes websites Click:

Trump These Bizarre Star novels

The first thing to know about Baron Trump is that he can’t stop talking about his brain. While meeting with the Russian government, he talks about his glorious gray matter. As foreign women fall for him, he mentions his superior intelligence before casting them off. He once sued his tutors, alleging that they owed him money for everything he had taught them. He won.

This Trump does not exist, except in the dusty stacks of a library, digital archive or Reddit thread near you. He’s not a member of the first family, but instead the entirely fictional protagonist of a series of somewhat satirical Victorian novels for kids.

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In July, a flock of internet detectives discovered the books. The Travels and Adventures of Little Baron Trump and His Wonderful Dog Bulger was published in 1889, and quickly forgotten thereafter, as was its sequel, Baron Trump’s Marvelous Underground Adventure. They are not timeless, and were quickly overshadowed by more compelling contemporary entries in the fanciful-travel-stories-for-children genre, like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The Wizard of Oz. Their author, lawyer Ingersoll Lockwood, appears in history mostly for his role in a financial tangle that occurred in the aftermath of an elderly woman's death on the railroad tracks near Philadelphia.

The most pertinent detail for modern readers, of course, is that his books are Trump-adjacent, a coincidence that somehow led a few web denizens to conclude that they were not a mere curiosity, but compelling proof that our president might just be a time traveler.

In these books, the young German protagonist, Wilhelm Heinrich Sebastian Von Troomp, better known as Baron Trump, travels around and under the globe with his dog Bulger, meeting residents of as-of-yet undiscovered lands before arriving back home at Castle Trump. Trump is precocious, restless, and prone to get in trouble, with a brain so big that his head has grown to twice the normal size—a fact that, as we have seen, he mentions often. No one tells Trump that his belief that he looks great in traditional Chinese garb—his uniform for both volumes—is unwarranted.

Lockwood’s books are spring break meets Carmen Sandiego meets Jabberwocky; at the start of each story, Trump sets out eager to find new civilizations—and manages to get distracted by more than one lady along the way. One of the first places he visits in Travels and Adventures is the land of the toothless and nearly weightless Wind Eaters, who inflate to beach-ball size after a meal. They are generous hosts until Trump starts a fire. The intrigued Wind Eaters draw near, and promptly explode after the air they have ingested expands thanks to the flames. As Captain Go-Whizz, “a sort of leader among them,” chases the murderer, the dog Bulger bites one of the Wind Eaters until he deflates like a punctured balloon. The pair eventually escape, leaving the briefly betrothed Princess Pouf-fah without a mate, and Chief Ztwish-Ztwish and Queen Phew-yoo with many a funeral to plan.

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This sequence of events—anthropological study, jilting, disaster, escape—is repeated for much of the two books, like when Trump meets the Man Hoppers, who have biker calves and puny T-rex arms, and soon runs away from their crying princess after first acquiring a book with centuries of priceless knowledge. A variation on this plot recurs when Trump visits the Round Bodies. (Perhaps a wandering life such as his was inevitable; as the book explains, he was born in the land of the Melodious Sneezers, whose alphabets consists of achoos of different length and tone.) Marvelous Underground Adventure is a slight twist on the theme, as all the societies are found deep below the dirt in Russia: the land of Transparent Folk, the ant people, and the Happy Forgetters, who dread remembering anything and will, like history, forget Baron Trump soon after he goes above ground.

Suzan Alteri, curator of the Baldwin Collection of Historical Children’s Literature at the University of Florida, could only say that the titles are “really strange. I can’t think of a better word than that.” They are not well-known in the world of children’s books. Alteri hadn’t heard of them until I asked her for a comment.

One Baron Trump reviewer wrote in 1891, “The author labors through three hundred pages of fantastic and grotesque narrative, now and then striking a spark of wit; but the sparks emit little light and no warmth, and one has to fumble for the story.” That’s, if anything, too generous: There are plenty of things that were better left forgotten in the 19th century that people are determined to keep alive in 2017. Baron Trump seems to be one of them.

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