Bettina von Arnim

Bettina von Arnim (the Countess of Arnim) (4 April 1785 – 20 January 1859),[1] born Elisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano, was a German writer and novelist.

Bettina (as well: Bettine) Brentano was a writer, publisher, composer, singer, visual artist, an illustrator, patron of young talent, and a social activist. She was the archetype of the Romantic era's zeitgeist and the crux of many creative relationships of canonical artistic figures. Best known for the company she kept, she numbered among her closest friends Goethe, Beethoven, and Pückler and tried to foster artistic agreement among them. Many leading composers of the time, including Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johanna Kinkel, and Johannes Brahms, admired her spirit and talents. As a composer, von Arnim's style was unconventional, molding and melding favorite folk melodies and historical themes with innovative harmonies, phrase lengths, and improvisations that became synonymous with the music of the era. She was closely related to the German writers Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim: the first was her brother, the second her husband. Her daughter Gisela von Arnim became a prominent writer as well. Her nephews, via her brother Christian, were Franz and Lujo Brentano.

Bettina von Arnim
Bettina von Arnim as drawn by Ludwig Emil Grimm during the first decade of the 19th century
Bettina von Arnim as drawn by Ludwig Emil Grimm during the first decade of the 19th century
BornElisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano
4 April 1785
Frankfurt am Main
Died20 January 1859 (aged 73)
Resting placeWiepersdorf
Pen nameBeans Beor
OccupationWriter, publisher, composer, singer, visual artist
Literary movementRomanticism
SpouseLudwig Achim von Arnim
RelativesSophie von La Roche (grandmother)
Clemens Brentano (brother)
Gisela von Arnim (daughter)

Family and early life

Bettina von Arnim was born at Frankfurt am Main, into the large family of an Italian merchant. Her grandmother, Sophie von La Roche, was a novelist, and her brother was Clemens Brentano, the great poet known for his lyric poems, libretti, and Singspiele. He was a mentor and protector to her and inspired her to read the poetry of the time, especially Goethe. From an early age Bettina was called 'the kobold' by her brothers and sisters, a nickname that she maintained later on in Berlin society.

After being educated at a Ursulines convent school in Fritzlar from 1794 to 1797, Bettina lived for a while with her grandmother at Offenbach am Main and from 1803 to 1806 with her brother-in-law, Friedrich von Savigny, the famous jurist, at Marburg. She formed a friendship with Karoline von Günderrode. The two friends acknowledged only natural impulses, laws, and methods of life, and brooded over the "tyranny" of conventionalities. In 1806, Günderrode committed suicide on account of a passion for the philologist Georg Friedrich Creuzer.[2] In 1807 at Weimar Bettina made the acquaintance of Goethe, for whom she entertained a significant passion, which the poet did not requite, though he entered into correspondence with her. Their friendship came to an abrupt end in 1811, owing to Bettina's behaviour with Goethe's wife.[3]

In 1811, Bettina married Achim von Arnim, the renowned Romantic poet. The couple settled first at the Wiepersdorf castle, and then in Berlin.[4] They had seven children.

Achim died in 1831, but Bettina maintained an active public life. Her passion for Goethe revived, and in 1835, after lengthy discussions with the writer and landscape gardener Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, she published her book Goethe's Correspondence with a Child (German: Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde), which purported to be a correspondence between herself and the poet.[3] The book is in large part fictitious. Genuine sonnets of Goethe in it were addressed, not to her, but to Minna Herzlieb. As a work of fiction, the book has been praised.[5]

She continued to write, inspire, and publish until 20 January 1859, when she died in Berlin, aged 73, surrounded by her children. Her grave is in the Wiepersdorf churchyard.[4]


During the years of 1806 to 1808, von Arnim helped gather the folk songs that made up Des Knaben Wunderhorn, the collaborative work of her brother and her future husband, Achim von Arnim. Some of the songs were later put to music by a number of composers, among them Gustav Mahler. The collection became a touchstone of the Romantic musical and poetic style. From 1808 to 1809 she studied voice, composition, and piano in Munich under Peter von Winter and Sebastian Bopp. She published her first song under the pseudonym Beans Beor, which she occasionally used later as well.[6] Bettina sang briefly in the Berliner Singakademie and composed settings of Hellenistic poems by Amalie von Helvig.

Though domestic duties connected to her 1811 marriage to von Arnim diminished her productivity, several art songs from the period have been recovered and have been published in Werke und Briefe. Von Arnim was the first composer to set the poet Hölderlin's work to music.

She was a muse to the progressives of Prussia, linked to the socialist movement and an advocate for the oppressed Jewish community. She published two politically dissident works but evaded chastisement because of her friendship with the King of Prussia.

After the 1831 death of her husband, Bettina continued her dedication to the creative community. She published a collection of seven songs in public support of Prussian music director Gaspare Spontini, under duress at the time.


  • Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde, 1835 (Goethe's correspondence with a child – English translation)
  • Die Günderode, 1840 [Miss Günderode] (a fictionalized correspondence with her friend, the poet Karoline von Günderrode (1780–1806))[3]
  • Dies Buch gehört dem König, 1843 (This Book Belongs to the King)
  • Clemens Brentanos Frühlingskranz, aus Jugendbriefen ihm geflochten, wie er selbst schriftlich verlangte, 1844 (Clemens Brentano's Spring Wreath, woven for him from the letters of his youth, as he requested in writing) (genuine letters to and from her brother)[5]
  • Ilius Pamphilius und die Ambrosia, 1848
  • An die aufgelöste Preußische Nationalversammlung, 1849
  • with Gisela von Arnim: Das Leben der Hochgräfin Gritta von Rattenzuhausbeiuns, 1840
  • Enid Gajek and Bernhard Gajek, eds., Bettine von Arnim, Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, »Die Leidenschaft ist der Schlüssel zur Welt«. Briefwechsel 1832–1844 (“Passion is the key to the world.” Correspondence 1832–1844), with commentary, Cotta, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-7681-9809-X


The German-American settlement of Bettina in the state of Texas was founded in 1847 and named by its progressive, idealistic founders after Bettina von Arnim. Located near the juncture of Elm Creek and the Llano River, it lasted only a year. No trace of the Bettina community survives, though two of its three founders subsequently became prominent: Gustav Schleicher, later a U.S. congressman and namesake of Schleicher County, and Dr. Ferdinand Ludwig Herff, who in 1854 became the first surgeon to use anesthesia in Texas.[7] The community's third founder was Hermann Spiess.

Part of von Arnim's design for a colossal statue of Goethe, executed in marble by the sculptor Karl Steinhauser (1813–1878), was displayed in the museum at Weimar in 1911.[3]

From 1991 until 31 December 2001, her portrait was on the German 5-Mark bill.

In 2006, the German government turned Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf, the estate of the von Arnims, into a literary institute.[8][9] The institute contains a museum devoted to the von Arnims' literary legacy.


  1. ^ Kluckhohn, Paul (1955), "Arnim, Bettina von", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 2, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, p. 589; (full text online)
  2. ^ Wikisource Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Arnim, Ludwig Achim von" . The American Cyclopædia.
  3. ^ a b c d Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Arnim, Elisabeth (Bettina) von" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  4. ^ a b "Ludwig Achim and Bettina von Arnim". Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  5. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Arnim, Elisabeth von" . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
  6. ^ Hirsch, Helmut (1987). Bettine von Arnim (in German) (6th ed.). Rowohlt. ISBN 978-3-499-50369-6.
  7. ^ Lyman Wight's Mormon Colony in Texas excerpt from "Mormon Trails" chapter in Hill Country travel guide by Richard Zelade. Accessed 6 August 2007.
  8. ^ "Schloss Wiepersdorf" [Castle Wiepersdorf] (in German). Retrieved 2015-04-17.
  9. ^ "Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf" (in German). Retrieved 2015-04-17.

External links

Arnim (surname)

Arnim is a German surname, often preceded by the nobiliary particle "von", meaning "of". Notable people with the surname include:

Adolf Heinrich von Arnim-Boitzenburg (1803–1868), German statesman

Arnulf von Arnim (born 1947), German classical pianist and teacher

Bernd von Arnim (died 1917), German naval officer

Bettina von Arnim (1785–1859), German writer and novelist

Elizabeth von Arnim (1866–1941), British novelist

Ferdinand von Arnim (1814–1866), German architect and watercolour-painter

Gisela von Arnim (1827–1889), German writer

Hans Georg von Arnim-Boitzenburg (1583–1641), German Field Marshal, diplomat, and politician

Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (1889–1962), German World War II general

Iris von Arnim (born 1945), German fashion designer

Ludwig Achim von Arnim (1781–1831), German poet and novelist


Bettina is a female name of Latin origins predominantly found in the Italian and German languages. Pronounced depending on how it's spelled, this name has various interpreted meanings.

Bettina can be found in the Italian language originating from the name Benedetta. Benedetta is the feminine form of Benedict which means blessed. (M-Benedetto/L-Benedictus/E-Benedict). The German version of Bettina comes from the Hebrew name Elizabeth. In its older form Elizabeth was known as Elisheba and Elisheva.There are several variants for the name Bettina: Battina, Betiana, Betina, Bettine, Ina and Tina. However, the common nicknames for Elizabeth and Benedetta such as Betty, Bette and Beth are also used for Bettina.

Bettina, Texas

Bettina is a vanished community founded in 1847 by German immigrants as part of the Adelsverein colonization of the Fisher–Miller Land Grant in the U.S. state of Texas. It was located on the banks of the Llano River in Llano County, and no trace of the settlement remains today. The community was named after German artist and social activist Bettina von Arnim and was one of five attempted by the Darmstadt Forty. It was also known as the Darmstaedter Kolonie. The community was sponsored by the Adelsverein, and founded on idealistic philosophies of European freethinkers of the day. It is notable for the community's camaraderie and mutually respectful relations with local indigenous tribes. Lack of a formal community framework caused Bettina to fail within a year of its founding.


Bettina-von-Arnim-Preis is a literary prize of Germany.


The Bettinaschule (English: Bettina School) is a Gymnasium in Frankfurt am Main (Westend), Germany.

The eponym is Bettina von Arnim (1785–1859). The school has approximately 71 teachers and 1,028 students.


Brentano is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Antonie Brentano

August Brentano, bookseller

Bernard von Brentano, novelist

Christian Brentano

Clemens Brentano, poet and novelist, brother of Bettina von Arnim (b. Brentano)

Franz Brentano, philosopher, influenced phenomenology and gestalt psychology

Franz Funck-Brentano, French historian and librarian

Heinrich von Brentano di Tremezzo, politician Christian Democratic Union (Germany)

Lorenzo Brentano, politician

Lujo Brentano, economist, reformer

Marianne Ehrmann-Brentano, novelist

Maximiliane Brentano, befriended Goethe; dedicatee of some of Beethoven's compositions

Robert Brentano, American historian

Theodore Brentano, attorney, judge, and first U. S. ambassador to Hungary, son of Lorenzo

Théophile Funck-Brentano, Luxembourgian-French sociologist

Christian Brentano

Christian Brentano (24 January 1784, Frankfurt – 27 October 1851, Frankfurt) was a German writer and Catholic publicist. He was the brother of Clemens Brentano and Bettina von Arnim, famous German writers of the Romantic school, and the father of the philosopher Franz Brentano.

Brentano is noted for editing and releasing nine volumes of his brother's work in 1851–55. He survived Clemens, who actually died in 1842 while visiting Christian in Aschaffenburg.

F-A-E Sonata

The F-A-E Sonata, a four-movement work for violin and piano, is a collaborative musical work by three composers: Robert Schumann, the young Johannes Brahms, and Schumann's pupil Albert Dietrich. It was composed in Düsseldorf in October 1853.

The sonata was Schumann's idea as a gift and tribute to violinist Joseph Joachim, whom the three composers had recently befriended. Joachim had adopted the Romantic German phrase "Frei aber einsam" ("free but lonely") as his personal motto. The composition's movements are all based on the musical notes F-A-E, the motto's initials, as a musical cryptogram.

Schumann assigned each movement to one of the composers. Dietrich wrote the substantial first movement in sonata form. Schumann followed with a short Intermezzo as the second movement. The Scherzo was by Brahms, who had already proven himself a master of this form in his E flat minor Scherzo for piano and the scherzi in his first two piano sonatas. Schumann provided the finale.

Schumann penned the following dedication on the original score: "F.A.E.: In Erwartung der Ankunft des verehrten und geliebten Freundes JOSEPH JOACHIM schrieben diese Sonate R.S., J.B., A.D." ("F.A.E.: In expectation of the arrival of their revered and beloved friend, Joseph Joachim, this sonata was written by R.S., J.B., A.D.").The composers presented the score to Joachim on 28 October at a soirée in the Schumann household, which Bettina von Arnim and her daughter Gisela also attended. The composers challenged Joachim to determine who composed each movement. Joachim played the work that evening, with Clara Schumann at the piano. Joachim identified each movement's author with ease.The complete work was not published during the composers' lifetimes. Schumann incorporated his two movements into his Violin Sonata No. 3. Joachim retained the original manuscript, from which he allowed only Brahms's Scherzo to be published in 1906, nearly ten years after Brahms's death. Whether Dietrich made any further use of his sonata-allegro is not known. The complete sonata was first published in 1935.

All three composers also wrote violin concerti for Joachim. Schumann's was completed on 3 October 1853, just before the F-A-E Sonata was begun. Joachim never performed it, unlike the concertos of Brahms and Dietrich.

Steven Isserlis, the English cellist and Schumann aficionado, has transcribed the F-A-E Sonata for cello and piano.

Gesänge der Frühe

Gesänge der Frühe (Songs of Dawn), Op. 133, is a composition in five movements by Robert Schumann for solo piano. A performance takes about 13 minutes.

Composed in October 1853, it is one of Schumann's last compositions, composed three years before his death. By the time he began work on these pieces, he was suffering from mental and emotional decline. The set was composed just five months before Schumann's attempted suicide and confinement to a mental institution. The set is dedicated to "the high poetess" Bettina von Arnim.

Schumann's wife, Clara Schumann, wrote in her private diary, "dawn-songs, very original as always but hard to understand, their tone is so very strange."The Swiss composer Heinz Holliger wrote a work for orchestra, choir and tape in 1987 under the same title, Gesänge der Frühe, which quoted Schumann and the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin.

Giovanni Morelli

Giovanni Morelli (Verona 25 February 1816 – 28 February 1891 Milan) was an Italian art critic and political figure. As an art historian, he developed the "Morellian" technique of scholarship, identifying the characteristic "hands" of painters through scrutiny of diagnostic minor details that revealed artists' scarcely conscious shorthand and conventions for portraying, for example, ears.

Morelli studied medicine in Switzerland and Germany, where he taught anatomy at the University of Munich. During this time he also studied Goethe's morphology, Lavater's physiognomy, F. Schelling's natural philosophy and befriended Bettina von Arnim. With his return to Italy he acted as a conduit for intellectual life of the North. His fully developed technique was published as Die Werke Italienischer Meister, ("The work of the Italian masters") in 1880; it appeared under the anagrammatic pseudonym "Ivan Lermolieff".The Morellian method is based on clues offered by trifling details rather than identities of composition and subject matter or other broad treatments that are more likely to be seized upon by students, copyists and imitators. Instead, as Carlo Ginzburg analysed the Morellian method, the art historian operates in the manner of a detective, "each discovering, from clues unnoticed by others, the author in one case of a crime, in the other of a painting". These unconscious traces— in the shorthand for rendering the folds of an ear in secondary figures of a composition, for example— are unlikely to be imitated and, once deciphered, serve as fingerprints do at the scene of the crime. The identity of the artist is expressed most reliably in the details that are least attended to. The Morellian method has its nearest roots in Morelli's own discipline of medicine, with its identification of disease through numerous symptoms, each of which may be apparently trivial in itself.Morelli's connoisseurship was developed to a high degree by Bernard Berenson, who met Morelli in 1890. The first generation of Morellian scholars also included Gustavo Frizzoni, Jean Paul Richter, Adolfo Venturi and Constance Jocelyn Ffoulkes. Morellian scholarship penetrated the English field from 1893, with the translation of his master work. The Morellian technique of connoisseurship was extended to the study of Attic vase-painters by J. D. Beazley and by Michael Roaf to the study of the Persepolis reliefs, with results that further confirmed its validity. Morellian recognition of "handling" in undocumented fifteenth and sixteenth-century sculpture, in the hands of scholars like John Pope-Hennessy, have resulted in a broad corpus of securely attributed work. At the same time, modern examination of Classical Greek sculpture, in the wake of pioneering reassessments by Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway, has also turned away from attributions based on broad aspects of subject and style that are reflected in copies and later Roman classicising pastiche.

The complementary field of document-supported art history traces its origins to the somewhat earlier work of Joseph Archer Crowe and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle.

The Morellian method of finding essence and hidden meaning in details had also a much wider cultural influence. There are references to his work in the works of Sigmund Freud. Like Morelli, Freud had a medical background.

The Morellian method was re-examined by R. Wollheim, "Giovanni Morelli and the origins of scientific connoisseurship", On Art and the Mind: Essays and Lectures, 1973.

Gisela von Arnim

Gisela von Arnim (also Giesela; August 30, 1827 in Berlin – April 4, 1889 in Florence) was a German writer, mainly of fairy tales.


The Grüneburgpark is a park in the Westend district of Frankfurt, whose name derives from the "Green castle", which stood on the site in the 14th century. In 1789 the banker Peter Heinrich von Bethmann Metzler acquired the property and designed the park. In the following years the great thinkers of the day met here, among them Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Bettina von Arnim.

In 1837, the park was bought by the Rothschild family, who had a palais constructed in the manner of a French Loire castle. The Rothschild family had a 29-hectare-large landscaped park developed in this location. The English-style park itself was finished in 1877 by Heinrich Siesmayer.

In 1935, after the Nazi rise to power, Albert von Goldschmidt-Rothschild, who committed suicide in emigration five years later, had to "transfer to the municipality" (quote from a letter to mayor Krebs) what had been the home of his family. The "New Palais" was destroyed in an air raid in 1944.

After the Second World War, the park was expanded to 29 hectares. It has since been a popular place for recreation among the Frankfurters, especially in the summer months. The park's northwest corner is now a botanical garden, the Botanischer Garten der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. Another major botanical garden, the Palmengarten, is just across the street.

The park is also home to the 4,800-square-metre Korean Garden. This was a gift to the city as part of South Korea's presentation as the guest of honour at the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair. It has been designed in the style of traditional Korean scholars' gardens.

Joseph Abraham Stargardt

Joseph Abraham Stargardt (17 June 1822 – 30 April 1885) was a German bookseller and business partner of Paul Julius Reuter.

Stargardt was born in Märkisch Friedland, West Prussia, Kingdom of Prussia (Mirosławiec, Poland). He started to work as a bookseller at Asher & Co. in Berlin in 1838. From April to September 1844 he worked at "Amelangschen Buchhandlung" in Berlin and from October to December 1845 at A. Franck in Paris. In 1846 Stargardt worked in Halle (Saale) at "J. T. Lippert" and in 1847 he and his affiliate Paul Julius Reuter (1816–99) purchased Johann Carl Klage's book and music store in Berlin.Stargardt applied for Berlin citizenship in August 1847 but on 8 December 1847 he refused to swear the special form of oath provided for Jews. He received the official citizenship finally on 28 May 1852.In the German revolutions of 1848-49 the Reuter & Stargardt publishing house publicized several "radical-democratic" pamphlets and booklets and Stargardt came in contact with philosophers like Max Stirner (1806–56). In 1849 P. J. Reuter was accused of distributing democratic literature and fled to London, where he founded his Telegraphic Office in 1851. Stargardt became the sole proprietor of Reuter & Stargardt, now operating as "J. A. Stargardt".In the early 1850s the store was regularly searched by the Prussian police and several publications and posters were confiscated. Stargardt then specialized on antiquarian and autographic bookselling. Alexander von Humboldt, Bettina von Arnim, Karl August Varnhagen von Ense and Crownprince Friedrich Wilhelm became regular clients.Stargardt died on 30 April 1885 in Berlin, the "J.A. Stargardt" autograph store still exists today.

Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf

The Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf is a literary institute in Germany housed in a stately manor house.

Originally the manor house was the home of Ludwig Achim von Arnim and Bettina von Arnim, well-known figures from Germany's Romantic Period. After their deaths the future role the manor house was unclear, but eventually it was decided to turn it into a literary institute, where leading scholars and writers would receive grants for extended stays, where they could have creative exchanges with other scholars and writers.

The institute is in Brandenburg, south of Berlin.The institute offers book readings, exhibitions, concerts, and other events, for the General public.

It also houses a museum, commemorating the Von Arnims, and their role in Germany's literary history.

Ludwig Achim von Arnim

Carl Joachim Friedrich Ludwig von Arnim (26 January 1781 – 21 January 1831), better known as Achim von Arnim, was a German poet, novelist, and together with Clemens Brentano and Joseph von Eichendorff, a leading figure of German Romanticism.

Philipp von Nathusius

Philipp Engelhard Nathusius, since 1861: von Nathusius (November 5, 1815 in Althaldensleben – August 16, 1872 in Luzern) was a German publisher and founder of a charitable organization in Neinstedt.

Thomas Rusch

Thomas Rusch (born October 10, 1962 in Freiburg im Breisgau) is a German photographer living in Berlin, Hamburg and Paris.


The Wetterau is a fertile undulating tract, watered by the Wetter, a tributary of the Nidda River, in the western German state of Hesse, between the hilly province Oberhessen and the north-western Taunus mountains.

Bettina von Arnim writes of Wetterau in her text Diary of a Child in the chapter "Journey to the Wetterau".

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