„Du Vaterhaus mit deinen Thürmen,
Vom stillen Weiher eingewiegt,
Wo ich in meines Lebens Stürmen
So oft erlegen und gesiegt, –
Ihr breiten laubgewölbten Hallen,
Wo ewig meine Seufzer wallen
Und meines Fußes Spuren stehen.“
sie ist genau vor 160 Jahren am 24.5. in Meersburg gestorben...
“Die Droste”—as she is often called in German—was born two months prematurely on January 10, 1797 at Hülshoff, her family's castle near Münster in Westphalia. (Official records state Jan. 12, but according to her sister Jenny's diary, the true birthdate was Jan. 10.)
As was suitable for one born into the nobility, she was christened with the amazingly long name of Anna Elisabeth Franzisca Adolphine Wilhelmine Louise Maria von Droste-Hülshoff. Perhaps because of her premature birth, she was a sickly child who suffered from health problems all her life. She and her siblings (a sister and two brothers) were educated in music and literature by private tutors (Hofmeister).
Annette (her nickname) was a bright child and began writing very early. But as a woman of the 19th century, he had problems being accepted as a serious poet and author.
Much to her disappointment, Annette's first book (1838) was met with either scorn or indifference, and a mere 74 copies were sold. Although later editions of her work sold better, at the time of her death she was still virtually unknown.
Today die Droste is regarded as the most significant poet of her era. Her portrait graced the German 20-mark note until the arrival of the euro.
“...aber nach hundert Jahren möcht ich gelesen werden.”
"...but after a time of a hundret years I want to be read..."
- Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, in a letter (1843) to a friend
In 1825 Annette traveled to the Rhine (Bonn, Cologne, Koblenz) to visit relatives and to meet other German writers, including Adele Schopenhauer, Simrock and A.W. Schlegel.
In 1826, following the death of her father, Clemens August von Droste-Hülshoff, Annette, her sister Jenny and her widowed mother (Therese) lived in the Rüschhaus (House of the Rushes) near Münster, although Annette sometimes also revisited the Rhine and traveled to Switzerland and the Netherlands.
In 1831 she met the novelist Levin Schücking (1814-1883), with whom she fell in love. However, the 17-years-younger Schücking seemed to regard her only as a good friend. He encouraged her writing and while she was living at the residence of her brother-in-law (Baron von Lassberg) at Meersburg on Lake Constance (Bodensee, 1841-42), where Schücking was librarian, she wrote some of her best poems.
The pair spent time working and going for long walks together. After Schücking left Meersburg to accept another post (1842), an intensive exchange of letters followed, but he married Louise von Gall in October 1843. Nevertheless, die Droste and Schücking continued to collaborate on various literary projects.
He and his wife even visited Annette at Meersburg in May 1844. But the Droste-Schücking relationship came to a final end in 1846. (Annette was very displeased with things he had written in his 1846 novel Die Ritterbürtigen.)
Droste-Hülshoff continued to write, but her health deteriorated further. Yet somehow she managed to travel to Bonn and Rüschhaus in the year before her death. On May 24, 1848 she died in Meersburg. Two days later she was laid to rest in the local cemetery.
Annette von Droste-Hülshoff left behind a sizable body of work that includes over 250 poems, more than 30 ballads, a novella and other (mostly fragmentary) prose works, plus almost 400 personal letters.