By Gustav Freytag (1855)
The best description I can mount over this long-winded novel....is that it was originally written in 1855....as a six-piece novel. It's best described in the same arena as Uncle Tom's Cabin, and designed in some way.....to reflect Prussian ethics, slam Polish folks....slam Jews....slam market speculation....and slam bad financial judgements of any type.
Yeah, on the measurement of a classic....it's a marginal piece of fiction. If you used it as a training tool for ethical decisions or financial accountability....then it might be worth something. Otherwise, it's a fictional piece which goes into different directions....with some kind of lesson at the end of the entire series.
Here's the thing.....the book was written by Freytag who would be described as a lecture series guy.....and went into various additional publications later. Freytag would be hired for a upscale hotel establishment in the 1879 period....to bring some type of entertainment to the VIP guests who came in (German, Austrian, French, British, etc).
Debit and Credit was widely read....by the intellectual class of Prussia at the time...and considered a strong topic device for periods after dinner or during parties. It likely was used to a great degree in colleges all the way through the 1930s. I would speculate that ten percent of German society from 1855 and 1940.....likely read the book. After the Bible and Hitler's little book....this might be number three in this era.
The English version of the book is available via Amazon, and worth the read. But I would caution you....it's a fictional piece....which often slams bad ethical decisions. If you were expect classic writing.....it won't deliver.
I should add.....this is THE MOST READ fictional German book of the 1800s....and was destined in the 1970s to be made into a mini-series....until the public got wind that it was anti-Pole and anti-Jew. At that point in 1977.....the project fell apart, and will never be pulled out for public entertainment purposes. Note: if really mundane chapters over financial screw-ups are unexciting.....forget about this book.