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POPICE U ZNOJMA | Rodný dům Ch.Sealsfielda



Who is Charles Sealsfield?

Charles Sealsfield, was the pseudonym of writer, traveler, journalist and theologist Karl Anton Postl, an exceptional personality of the Znojmo Region and the most significant native of Popice (Poppitz) near Znojmo.


He was born on 3rd March 1793 in Popice near Znojmo as one of eleven children of a farmer and reeve Anton Postl and his wife Juliana.


After completing the elementary school in Popice he attended grammar school in Znojmo in 1803-1807.


After graduation from the grammar school he entered the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star. In 1809 he graduated in philosophy and later theology from the Charles University; one of his professors was also Bernard Bolzano. He took the priestly vow in 1814 and became a secretary of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star.


In Vienna, he unsuccessfully applied for the position of a court secretary. In 1823, during a stay in a health resort in Karlovy Vary, he vanished without a trace.


We now know that he directed his steps via Stuttgart and Zurich to Le Havre. In autumn 1823 he landed in New Orleans in the State of Louisiana.


Here, the regular Karel Postl became an American citizen and the worldwide famous writer Charles Sealsfield (he allegedly created the name using the name of an old wine line in Popice – Siegelfeld); his early works, however, he published under the pseudonym C. Sidons. In 1826 he returned to Europe, but left for America again in the following year (1827-1830).


In America he wandered along the Mississippi and across the southwest of the United States, where he watched the life of Red Indians and settlers. During the civil war he also travelled across Mexico.


In 1829 he met Napoleon’s brother Josef Bonaparte and became his consultant. During that time he also wrote one of his greatest works - a two volume novel "Kniha o kajutě" ("Das Kajütenbuch").


Towards the end of 1830 Sealsfield left for Europe once again. He lived in Paris and in London and worked as a correspondent for the New York newspapers The Morning Courier and Enquirer. In 1831 he published five stories in a London magazine The Englishman’s Magazine; he later used the stories in his novels too. He returned to America when he was 30. His last stay in the USA dates back to 1853-1858. He spent the end of his life in his farmhouse in Switzerland.


He died in the Swiss Solothurn on 26th May 1864. His identity was only revealed in his testament, in which he left his legacy to his relatives in Popice near Znojmo.




In Stuttgart and in London he published a book “Die Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika” (1827) and also a fictional travel book “Austria as it is, or, sketches of continental courts, by an eye-witness” (1828) where he attacks the Habsburg Monarchy. The book couldn't be published in Bohemia until 1919. In January 1829 he published his most successful work, a novel called "Tokeah, or the White Rose". In Mexico he researched for his book "Der Virey und die Aristokraten oder Mexiko im Jahre 1812" (1834). Many readers all over the world find his books very interesting.


To the many admirers of his work belong among others the Czech writer Božena Němcová, American poet H. W. Longfellow and Italian film director Sergio Leone.





Matters of Interest

Over the valley of the Dyje River, there is a so called Sealsfield's Stone, a scenic overlook, where the young writer allegedly liked to rest.




In 1881, supporters of Ch. Sealsfeld placed a bust in the town park “Husovy sady”. After 1945, the memorial was moved to the courtyard of the Znojmo Castle. At present there are two Sealsfield's busts in Znojmo; the second one was returned to Husovy sady in the 1990s.



A Charles Sealsfield Foundation was registered in Znojmo in 1993. In the autumn of the same year, an international expert symposium to the life and work of Charles Sealsfield took place. The foundation already ceased to exist.


In March 1993, an exhibition "Charles Sealsfield - a Writer of Two Continents" took place in the Museum of South Moravia.


Znojmo became a member of an International Association of Charles Sealsfield in Mai 2002.


Znovín Znojmo in honor of Ch Sealsfield began producing wine and champagne with his name.




In 2011, an association called "Popice Charlese Sealsfielda, o.s.," was established; the association is actively participating in the reconstruction of the house, where Sealsfield was born and which will be turned into Sealsfield’s museum.