May, Karl

Karl May, German writer, 1842-1912

Karl Friedrich May is best known for his adventure novels set in the American Old West. His main protagonists are Winnetou and Old Shatterhand (1893). May set similar books in the Orient and Middle East (in which the main protagonists were Kara Ben Nemsi and Hadschi Halef Omar), Latin America and Germany. May also wrote poetry, a play, and composed music; he was a proficient player of several musical instruments. Many of his works were adapted for film, stage, audio dramas and comics. Later in his career, May turned to philosophical and spiritual genres. He is one of the best-selling German writers of all time, with about 200 million copies worldwide.