Annette Von Droste-Huelshoff and the Biedermeier Narrative


"Annette von Droste-Huelshoff and the Biedermeier Narrative" relates the aesthetics of the German Biedermeier period (1815-1848) to the life story of writer Annette von Droste-Huelshoff (1797-1848) and to her texts "Ledwina" (fragment/1820), "The Marl-Pit" (poem/1841), "The Jew's Beech" (novella/1842) and "The Spiritual Year" (poetry/1851). Before all else, the Biedermeier cultivated the inner self through domesticity and its associated spaces and enclosures; for Droste, they were her ancestral home Huelshoff Castle, with its memories of generations past, and her mother's widow-seat Rueschhaus, with its collections of stones and fossils, in themselves a form of compressed memory. Moreover, the Biedermeier also cultivated letter writing as part of its emphasis on introspection and closeness, and Droste told stories of her daily life (which included reading, writing, walking, and collecting) in the correspondence with her mother Therese von Haxthausen, her sister Jenny von Lassberg, her uncle Carl von Haxthausen, and her friends Elise Ruediger and Levin Schuecking. Some of Droste's letters may well lay claim to being literary accomplishments themselves, but especially in her poetry Droste masterfully manages a jerky syntax and a dense barrage of words in a rigid grid of rhyme and meter. Regardless of the narrative, however, be it that of the Biedermeier itself, Droste's life story as conveyed in her letters, or her literary works, stones appear throughout: in the shape of tomb stones in "Ledwina," as minerals in "The Marl-Pit," as a quarry in "The Jew's Beech," and as boulders in "The Spiritual Year." They bind the narratives together.

Author Information
Anne-Kathrin Wielgosz, Walsh University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: LibrAsia2017
Stream: Literature - European Literature

This paper is part of the LibrAsia2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon