The Convent or the Queenship: Gisela von Arnim’s Struggle to Follow the Path in Gritta

Julie L. J. Koehler (Wayne State University)

The authorship of nineteenth-century fairy-tale novel, Das Leben der Hochgräfin Gritta von Rattenzuhausbeiuns (The Life of the High Countess Gritta von Ratsinourhouse) has been debated for decades. Due in part to its references to the life of Bettina von Arnim, known for her politically-critical novels and activism, Arnim was listed as an author for years, but evidence now shows Gritta belongs to her daughter, Gisela von Arnim. These references to Bettina’s life weaved together with fairy-tale motifs, are not evidence of Bettina’s authorship, but Gisela’s struggle to weigh her burgeoning literary career writing little fairy stories with Bettina’s larger-than-life example.

Part of 24-05 Exploring 19th-Century British, French, and German Fairy Tales by Women through Women Writing Wonder (2021), Tuesday, October 19, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm