Bettina von Arnim née Brentano (1785-1859)

Bettina von Arnim née Brentano (1785-1859)

Bettina von Arnim née Brentano (1785-1859)
(from: Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde. Seinem Denkmal. Von Bettine von Arnim. Neu heraugegeben und eingeleitet von Heinz Amelung, Berlin-Leipzig-Wien-Stuttgart: Deutsches Verlagshaus Bong & Co., 1914)

The mail correspondence between Schumann and the composer and poet Bettina von Arnim came into being around 1835 when Schumann intended to publish some of her compositions in his second issue of “Sammlung von Musikstücken aus alter und neuer Zeit” [“Collection of Pieces of Music from Old and Recent Time”], a supplement of Neue Zeitschrift für Musik [”New Journal of Music”], edited by Schumann, although the intended publication did not materialise.

A face-to-face encounter presumably occurred in 1847 only; in 1853, Bettina von Arnim went to see the Schumanns in Düsseldorf, together with her youngest daughter Gisela, still unmarried at that time. At the end, Bettina von Arnim was one of the few visitors seeing the composer at the sanatorium in Endenich near Bonn. There, she met the composer in good condition, in her view, and found him wrongly held at the sanatorium, which she also sharply criticised in a letter to Clara.

Schumann dedicated his last piano work, Gesänge der Frühe [“Songs of Dawn”] Op.133 (1853), to “der hohen Dichterin Bettina” [“the high poet Bettina”] von Arnim.


Sigrid Lange, translated by Thomas Henninger

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