The Count Florian von Banier, 1643-16581, popularly known as "Florian the Sunderer", served as a General in the Royal Legion of the Lawielczien Empire. Among the many feats attributed to this recklessly noble soldier, the most historically significant was his translation of the stories comprising The Book of Yelps and Growls. In the months that the learned nobleman was not scribbling away at various texts, he accomplished such glorious exploits as the conquering and burning of the bejeweled city Kharmstrenka, which was later rebuilt and named Dnipropetrovsk, the introduction to Austria and Prussia of the Japanese martial arts Daito-ryu Aiki-jutsu and Koppo2, which he learned during his travels to Japan on the Pirate ship Sivka-Burka, and the invention of a primitive form of regimental matchlock musket, as well as countless improvements to the tack and accoutrements of 17th (or 18th) century Lawielczien cavalry.

In fact, all of the count's writings were most probably penned during a two-year period, shortly before his travels to the Orient and his subsequent devotion to the martial arts that he studied in Japan. According to several sources, after returning from the far east, von Banier violently denied authorship of all texts attributed to him, claiming that the act of putting pen to paper (save for the purpose of drawing up military plans and diagrams) was an affront to both God, and all of God's thirteen sisters, whom, he could personally attest, were comely beyond all belief.

Though the well-bred youth was imprisoned for a time as a punishment for unnatural and unappealing behavior, he managed to escape by the means of a clever and imaginative ruse. While locked in his cell, the count noticed that a grey fungus flourishing in the fissures of his stone wall was curiously fire-repellant. Aware of the practice of the prison to heap dead prisoners onto the plague-fires to burn with the diseased corpses, he coaxed the fungus into the threads of his by now dirty and dank clothing and, when he was sure that the fabric was thoroughly sown with mold, played dead. For more than 28 hours he lay motionless on the floor of his cell, and was eventually carted out into the town for burning. The young count survived under a smothering pile of smoldering corpses until night fell and he was able to slip away under cover of darkness, suffering serious burns only to his scalp, face, and hands.

Von Banier was an ardent scholar of negative theology, and with his numerous writings on the subject, earned the respect of both the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church, the latter of which awarded him an honorary Cardinalship.

1. Most historical evidence points to these years, but there is a small possibility that the correct dates of von Banier’s birth and death were actually March 28th, 1780 and August 1st, 1798, respectively.
2. These were combined in Europe into was was known as Jitte, or the Gypsy Blade Fighting Style.

Florian von Banier Bibliography

Note: owing to the difficulty in dating these texts, and the life of von Banier himself, the following dates are by no means authoritative. See the footnote below for an explanation of this fact.1

  • The Book of Yelps and Growls (TBYG), translation of folkloric fables, probably his most famous work. Date of initial translations probably around 1795, though some evidence points to a more long-term project involving the years 1789-1795. (These texts could have been published in 1658.)
  • The Art of Writing Translations, published 1789, or 1655.1. Little known Vonbanierean text in which he expounds a radical thesis of the interpretive origin of grammars, semantics, and rhetorics. Adopting an almost Wittgensteinean and behaviorist approach to the theory of meaning, Von Banier propounds that the meaning of a text is as much a function of its being read as the authors' care in writing it. This leads him to the famous assertion that, "Translations are original works in their own right." A text much revered by the Yale professor Paul de Man, though he wrote about it very little.
  • Fantasy Tales, or the Absence of God. Lost work, probably first written in 1795, or 1658.1 This text was apparantely very short, no longer than 40 pages, including ten full-page illustrations by Von Banier himself. It was probably Von Banier's most ardent exposition of negative theology. Due to its unfortunate loss, we have little of Von Banier's writings on this religious subject other than what we can derive from his translations in TBYG and the Collected Papers found on him at his death.
  • The Commissioner of Concepts. Probably written in 1795 also, or 1658.1 This surprising little text has a very modernistic tone, which confuses the dating of von Banier's works even further. It has been called "the first work of science fiction" (Johannes Schroeder, "Von Banier to Vonnegut", Science Fiction in the Academy, Buffalo Small Press, 1975). This work was never published by von Banier himself and was found among his Collected Papers found on him at the time of his death.
  • Collected Papers of Florian Von Banier is the name commonly used to refer to the stories, fragments, translations, sketches, and autobiographical notes found on Von Banier's person at the time of his death. These papers could even be apocryphy attributed to Von Banier by one of his many enemies. They were first published in 1908 by the Berlin publishing house Gewalt, which may have been owned by a close descendent of Franz Gevalter, the son of Von Banier's foe Frank Gevalter, vanquished by the Count himself around 1794. Impressions of this work are exceedingly rare and the last known publication was the second printing by Gewalt Bucherei in 1911.

1 - Why are von Banier's texts so difficult to correctly date? A short digression. 1) Because of the absence of any time-telling clues such as technological, geographically-telling, or reference to famous persons of the time. 2) Because of von Banier's peculiar style of dating his own texts by means of a mathematical equation, the key to which was only published as appendix to his famous translation of The Book of Yelps and Growls under the title of Clavis, which is of course the Latin word for the English "key", which carries many of the connotations of our own word. The text printed in his Clavis indicates a highly-sophisticated dating scheme in which a process of number selection decrypts the dates printed (in Roman Numerals) in von Banier's texts. Cryptologists have settled on two possible decryptions, though conclusive evidence is not to be found. One key results in von Banier's texts being published around the years 1657-1658, the other results in their publish around the years 1789-1796. This author is of the opinion that the latter key must be correct, though I will not proffer that opinion here, only offering the reader knowledge of the openness of the issue.

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