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After Achim von Arnim's death in , Bettine von Arnim began publishing her works. In Goethe's Correspondence with a Child , she presented a compilation of letters that she had exchanged with the poet, beginning when she was Goethe had been dead for three years when the book appeared, and the work caused an immediate stir in literary circles for the very erotic way in which Arnim portrayed the relationship between the much older poet and the younger woman.

Several critics were quick to point out that Arnim had altered letters to place herself in a more favorable light than Goethe would have wanted. Despite the prevailing gossip, the book was an enormous literary success. Scholarship has now proven that Arnim did alter many of the original letters between herself and her correspondents when she published her letter books. To try to assemble an exact inventory of those changes, as many scholars attempted in the 19th and early 20th centuries, can lead to condemnation of the works as "untrue" without recognizing the boundaries between truth and fiction, between biography and literature that Arnim was blurring.

Such investigations do not consider the innovative literary techniques Arnim was attempting. Arnim's epistolary works are able to stand on their own with their imaginative combination of letters, poetry, dialogue, reflection, and narration. The persona of the child that Arnim adopts in Goethe's Correspondence with a Child allows her to enter into discussions on love, friendship, nature, music, and writing.

Arnim thought the book so successful that she, as she recounts later, sat down and translated the entire piece into English herself in just a few days. The two women read works of philosophy, literature, history, and the natural sciences, sometimes together, sometimes separately as they followed their own interests and discussed their views with each other. Arnim's work conveys the two women's differences—Bettine being more prone to spontaneous wanderings in nature and free-flowing bouts of writing, while Karoline preferred contemplative study in her room—and the resulting tolerance they have for each other.

Within the confines of their individual houses, they imagined a world in which they could travel together to distant places, sometimes real, sometimes imaginary utopias. Together, they created their own "floating religion" Schwebereligion that could carry them above the confines of their sometimes stifling lives. My soul is a passionate dancer, it jumps around to an inner dance music that only I hear and not the others. Everyone cries, I should be calm, and you too, but out of the desire to dance my soul does not listen to you, and if the dance were over and done with, then I, too, would be over and done with.

The book is both a tribute to his encouragement of her as a young writer as well as a revealing portrait of the constraints his demands represented to her. Still, in her later years, Arnim did not live for the past, but found new friends and issues in the changing times leading to the Revolution.

Arnim, Bettine von (–) | ogozoqosolym.tk

The last 20 years of her life are characterized by political struggles, many of which are documented by private correspondence and official reports. Between and , she wrote her strongest political epistles to the crown prince, later, Prussia's king Friedrich Wilhelm IV, on behalf of acquaintances who had been indicted or dismissed for their subversive actions.


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In , she conducted numerous interviews with poor working families living in the Prussian province of Silesia, published under the title of Armenbuch Book of the Poor. In and , she wrote on behalf of Ludwig von Mieroslawski who was sentenced to death in for his involvement in Poland's independence struggle. In , she pleaded against the death sentence of the former Storkow mayor Tschech who had attempted to assassinate the king in In , she tried to persuade the king to acquit the theologian and art historian Gottfried Kinkel, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for his participation in the Revolution.

From to , she engaged in an involved correspondence with the Berlin magistrate to defend her actions in publishing Achim von Arnim's and her own works privately. The magistrate had ordered her to purchase her citizenship, which she needed to continue her own private publishing "business" that she had begun in She stated that she would not pay for the honor of citizenship, but would accept it, if conferred upon her.

Arnim, Bettine von (1785–1859)

The magistrate was insulted by her remark and brought suit against her. During her later political years, Arnim also ran a well-known salon. One of the most famous portraits of her shows a contemplative, white-haired woman in a large easy chair, head leaning into her hand, listening to a string quartet in her living room. Although she appears rather sedate here, we know from letters and documents that her salon offered a lively place where the various political factions sought mediation before and after the failed democratic revolution. Bettine von Arnim has not been a forgotten writer, but her works and activities have often been misrepresented.

Her connections with famous men have loomed in critical studies and biographies. Questions of truth and fiction have obscured close textual readings of her works and appreciation of her ideas on their own terms. Now and again, however, she has been "rediscovered.

Recent feminists on both sides of the Atlantic have looked into her writings and salon. Since , the International Bettina-von-Arnim Society in Germany has published a yearbook and newsletter.

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In , an organization of the "Friends of Wiepersdorf Castle" was founded to commemorate the literary tradition associated with the country estate of Bettine and Achim von Arnim. With a reevaluation of Bettine von Arnim's literary and social works have come analyses of her musical and artistic compositions as scholars delve into more little explored territory in the life of an extraordinary, multitalented woman. Edited by Werner Vortriede. Goethe's Correspondence with a Child.

Auf den Spuren von Karoline von Günderrode

Anonymous translation [presumably by Bettine von Arnim]. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, Kleist also ended his life in a suicide pact with the cancer-stricken Henriette Vogel. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Translated by Joey Horsley. Retrieved from " https: Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public.


  1. Karoline von Günderrode - Wikipedia.
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