Poems Without Frontiers

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Anna (Annette) Elizabeth Franzisca Adolphine Wilhelmine Louise Maria von Droste-Hülshoff 1797- 1848

Annette was born at Münster into a strict Catholic family where she was privately educated. In 1818, she was introduced by her father to the brothers Grimm and later stayed in the Cologne, Bonn Rhineland. She showed early interest in poetry and wrote a sequence of religious poems over a period of 20 years from 1820 but they were published only posthumously. The family moved to Nieuberge on the death of her father in 1826 where she continued her compositions which were published in 1838 to little acclaim.

She formed a platonic friendship with the younger Levin Schücking in 1840 who stimulated and encouraged her writing arranging publication in 1842 of her novel "The Jew's Beech" but with a recommendation to concentrate on lyric poetry of which she became a master. Her talents were stimulated in 1841/1842 by visits to her sister on Lake Constance. In 1844, she published the resulting poems in "Gedichte" ("Poems") to a greater success that enabled her to purchase a house at Meersburg that became her final, but brief, residence from 1846 until her death, thought to be of tuberculosis, in 1848.

She is credited with a degree of modesty during her lifetime that wished for enduring fame only after her death; and she is recognized as a bridge between the Romanticism of early 19th century writing and the trend towards the Realism of the later decades.