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Peter Schlemihl is the title character of an 1814 novella "Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte" (Peter Schlemihl's Miraculous Story), written in German by exiled French aristocrat Adelbert von Chamisso.
In the story, Schlemihl sells his shadow to the Devil for a bottomless wallet (the gold sack of Fortunatus), only to find that a man without a shadow is shunned by human society. The woman he loves rejects him, and he himself becomes involved in guilt. Yet when the devil wants to return his shadow to him in exchange for his soul, Schlemihl, as the friend of God, rejects the proposal and throws away the bottomless wallet besides. He seeks refuge in nature and travels about the world in seven-league boots in scientific exploration. When overtaken with sickness, he is reconciled with his fellow men who take care of him and in his sickness do not look for his shadow. Finally, however, he returns to his studies of nature and finds his deepest satisfaction in communion with nature and his own better self.
The story, intended for children, was widely read and the character became a common cultural reference in many countries. People generally remembered the element of the shadow better than how the story ended, simplifying Chamisso's lesson to "don't sell your shadow to the Devil."
(From Wikipedia)

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  • We started tracking this book on February 18, 2019.
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