The diary of Miss Idilia
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The front cover
|Original title||Das verschwundene Mädchen : die Aufzeichnungen der Idilia Dubb|
Published in English
The Diary of Miss Idilia: A Tragic Tale of Young Love Lost is a book edited by Genevieve Hill. It presents itself to be the original diary of a young girl who disappeared whilst on holiday with her parents in the German Rhineland in 1851.
First published under the title Das verschwundene Mädchen : die Aufzeichnungen der Idilia Dubb (The missing girl: the records of Idilia Dubb) by Bertelsmann in München in 2002, the diary was later translated into Dutch by Mistral in 2009, and published in English by Short Books in 2010.
The authenticity of the diary and the historicity of the events described in it have been challenged.
Idilia Dubb is a 17-year-old Scottish girl who disappears during a holiday, while on a family trip to Germany in 1851. After a lengthy search fails to find her, her parents return home. In 1860, work men at Lahneck Castle discovered her remains at the top of a tower. Lying next to her skeleton was a diary. In this diary Idilia records the horrors of her final days, due to a wooden staircase she climbed to the top of the tower had collapsed behind her, trapping her without help, food or water.
Questions have been raised about the authenticity of the diary. English publishers Short Books published the diary as non-fiction, but stated that its ‘authenticity can never be entirely verified’.
In their review of the English edition for The Spectator, Andrew Taylor wrote 'even the most credulous reader wouldn't get too far here without smelling several large rats', citing the use of foreshadowing devices, anachronistic language, and the action-packed narrative.
German historians pointed out that there are many historical mistakes in the book: For example, a church, near the Castle of Lahneck, is described having two towers - but one of them had already collapsed in 1844. Idilia Dubb hears the noise of a train - but the railroad through the Rhine-Valley was built some years after the described time, in 1859.
- Taylor, Andrew (17 February 2010). "I smell a rat". The Spectator.
- Peter Weller: Der Tod der Idilia Dubb - Wahrheit oder Legende?, Beiträge zur Rheinkunde 58, 2006, p. 55-63: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer:Peter_Weller#Der_Tod_der_Idilia_Dubb_–_Wahrheit_oder_Legende? (in german)
- Eddy, Beverly D., Abbeys, Ghosts, and Castles – A Guide to the Folk History of the Middle Rhine. Carlton Press, Inc. ISBN 0-8062-1205-5.
- Burg Lahneck website
- The Girl on the Tower at the Wayback Machine (archived December 12, 2007)
- Book: The Diary of Miss Idilia - edited by Genevieve Hill