Achim von Arnim

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Achim von Arnim, painting by Eduard Ströhling
Ludwig Achim von Arnim (signature) .gif

Carl Joachim Friedrich Ludwig "Achim" von Arnim (born January 26, 1781 in Berlin , † January 21, 1831 in Wiepersdorf , Jüterbog-Luckenwalde district ) was a German writer . Alongside Clemens Brentano and Joseph von Eichendorff , he is an important representative of Heidelberg Romanticism .


1781 to 1800

Arnim father of the wealthy Royal Prussian was Chamberlain Joachim Erdmann von Arnim , which the noble Arnim from the Uckermark family branch Blankensee came and Messenger of the Prussian king in Copenhagen and Dresden and later director of the Berlin Royal Opera was. Arnim's mother, Amalie Caroline von Arnim, née von Labes, died three weeks after his birth.

Clemens Brentano 1803

Arnim spent childhood and youth together with his older brother Carl Otto with his grandmother Caroline von Labes in Zernikow and Berlin, where he attended the Joachimsthal High School from 1793 to 1798 . From 1798 to 1800 he studied law, natural sciences and mathematics in Halle (Saale) . As a student he wrote numerous scientific texts, including an attempt at a theory of electrical phenomena and essays in the annals of physics . In the house of the composer Johann Friedrich Reichardt he met Ludwig Tieck , whose literary works he admired. In 1800 Arnim moved to Göttingen to study natural sciences , where he met Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Clemens Brentano . Under their influence he turned from his scientific writings to his own literary works. After completing his studies in the summer of 1801, influenced by Goethe's Werther , he wrote his first novel Hollin's Liebeleben .

1801 to 1809

From 1801 to 1804, Arnim went on an educational trip across Europe with his brother Carl Otto. In 1802 he met his future wife Bettina for the first time in Frankfurt and traveled the Rhine with Clemens Brentano. At the end of 1802 he visited Frau von Staël at Coppet Castle and in 1803 he met Friedrich Schlegel for the first time in Paris . In that year Arnim traveled on to London and stayed in England and Scotland until the summer of 1804.

After his return, Arnim and Brentano drafted the first concrete plans for the publication of a collection of folk songs, which finally appeared in 1805 under the title Des Knaben Wunderhorn . Arnim went through with Goethe in Weimar the songs in the collection, some of which were heavily edited by Arnim and Brentano. In 1805 he met the legal scholar Friedrich Karl von Savigny (1779–1861) in Frankfurt , who came to appreciate him and with whom he had a lifelong friendship. Since November 11, 1808, they wrote each other regularly.

The publication of further volumes was delayed by the Franco-German war. After the defeat of Prussia at Jena and Auerstedt , Arnim followed the fled royal court to Königsberg. There he made political proposals in a circle around the reformer Freiherr von Stein . In 1807 Arnim traveled with Reichardt to Goethe in Weimar, where Clemens and Bettina Brentano were also. Together they drove to Kassel, where Arnim first met the Brothers Grimm , with whom he remained friends throughout his life.

Arnim moved to Heidelberg in 1808 , Clemens Brentano followed him and there they completed their work on the folk song collection. The second and third volumes of the Wunderhorn appeared and Arnim also wrote essays for the Heidelberg Yearbooks . In the circle of romantics around Joseph Görres , to whom the Heidelberg Romanticism owes its name, Arnim published the newspaper for Einsiedler , on which Tieck, Friedrich Schlegel, Jean Paul , Justinus Kerner and Ludwig Uhland worked alongside Brentano, Görres and the Brothers Grimm . This group turned to the Middle Ages mainly for political reasons , in order to establish a national unity over this epoch, the aesthetic aspect was less of interest. Arnim left Heidelberg at the end of 1808 and visited Goethe on his way home to Berlin. From 1809 Arnim lived in Berlin, where he unsuccessfully applied for an office in the Prussian civil service.

1810 to 1831

In Berlin, Arnim published his collection of novels, Der Wintergarten , worked for Kleist's Berliner Abendblätter, and in 1811 founded the Deutsche Tischgesellschaft , later known as the Christian-Deutsche Tischgesellschaft patriotic association, to which numerous politicians, professors, military and artists of the Berlin Society belonged and in which only Christian baptized Men had access.

Wiepersdorf Castle

In 1810, Arnim became engaged to Bettina, the couple married on March 11, 1811. The Arnims had seven children: Freimund, Siegmund, Friedmund, Kühnemund, Maximiliane , Armgart, and Gisela von Arnim . The couple mostly lived separately, she in Berlin, he on his estate in Wiepersdorf . Soon after the wedding, they traveled together to Weimar to visit Goethe. A violent argument between Bettina and Goethe's wife Christiane led to a lifelong estrangement between Goethe and Arnim. In 1813, during the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon, Arnim was captain of a Berlin Landsturm battalion . From October 1813 to February 1814 he was editor of the Berlin daily newspaper Der Preußische Correspondent , but gave up this position because of disputes with the first editor Barthold Georg Niebuhr . Also in 1813 he joined the lawless society in Berlin .

From 1814 until his death in 1831 ( stroke ), Arnim lived mainly - interrupted by occasional trips and long stays in Berlin - on his estate in Wiepersdorf and participated in the literary life of Berlin with numerous articles and stories in newspapers, magazines and almanacs as well as with book publications. His wife and children lived mainly in Berlin. In 1817 the first volume of his novel The Crown Guard was published . Arnim wrote mainly for the partner and at times had his own section in the Vossische Zeitung .

In 1820 Arnim visited Ludwig Uhland, Justinus Kerner, the Brothers Grimm and, for the last time, Goethe in Weimar. In the last years of his life, Arnim had to struggle with financial problems again and again. Great literary success failed to materialize.

Achim von Arnim died on January 21, 1831 in Wiepersdorf.

Work and effect

Arnim left a wealth of dramas, short stories, short stories, novels, poems and other works. Today he is counted among the most important representatives of German Romanticism.

Des Knaben Wunderhorn (draft of a painting by Moritz von Schwind )

Above all through the Wunderhorn he influenced late romanticists and realists such as Eduard Mörike , Heinrich Heine , Ludwig Uhland and Theodor Storm . The collection contains around 600 arrangements of German folk songs and is one of the most important examples of folk poetry propagated by Romanticism . It contains love, children's, war and wandering songs from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. Goethe recommended Des Knaben Wunderhorn for reading across all class boundaries, as it seemed to him suitable for the simplest kitchen as well as for the scholar's piano.

Arnim's novellas testify to the author's turn to the supernatural. The story Isabella of Egypt mixes fiction and reality, thus anticipating elements of surrealism ; the dreamlike fantasy is connected with historical references. Poetologically, Arnim put his literature at the service of political renewal, which he did not want to realize through political work but in art. That is why he has often revived folk fabrics. Arnim's unfinished novel Die Kronenwächter drove forward the renewal of the historical novel in Germany. It shows the grievances of Arnim's presence in the form of a historical narrative.

As a lyricist, Arnim is less perceived than his contemporaries Brentano and Eichendorff, although he left behind a rich and varied lyric work; almost all of his narrative works also contain poems and songs.

The contemporary judgments about Arnim diverged: Heine wrote that Arnim was “a great poet and one of the most original minds of the romantic school. Friends of the fantastic would find a taste for this poet more than any other German writer. ”Goethe, on the other hand, saw Arnim's work as a barrel on which the cooper had forgotten to pound the tires.

A subject of ongoing discussion in Arnim research is the connection between national engagement and anti-Semitic denunciation. Several times, for example in the story The Reconciliation in Summer Resort from 1811, Arnim uses the traditional juxtaposition of Christians and Jews to profile a constructed “German being” in opposition to an alleged “Jewish being”. In the dinner speech about the hallmarks of Judaism , which Arnim gave to the German-Christian table society , "classic anti-Semitism is expressed - according to Micha Brumlik - as it was supposed to spread 100 years later by Julius Streicher's smear paper Der Stürmer ". It says, among other things:

"If the suspect [as a Jew] has a pretty wife, you go to her with a dowsing rod during the time he is staying with us , just like the miners need to discover precious metals. If she is near her, that's it Certainly a Jewish woman in disguise, because they usually wear gold and silver chains and other jewels out of precaution and superstition. Then proceed as you wish. "

In 1995, the editors of the historical-critical Weimar Arnim Edition (WAA) founded the International Arnim Society based in Erlangen . The Freundeskreis Schloss Wiepersdorf eV, founded in 1991, set up the Bettina and Achim von Arnim Museum in Schloss Wiepersdorf with the support of the Free German Hochstift (Frankfurt am Main) , which documents the life and work of the writer couple and those around them.


Berlin special postage stamp for the 200th birthday in 1981





The boy's magic horn. Title page of the first edition from 1805


Honors and souvenirs

In 1909, a Göttingen memorial plaque was attached to his Göttingen house at Prinzenstrasse 10/12 in Göttingen.


  • Michael Andermatt (Ed.): Border Crossings. Studies on L. Achim von Arnim. Bouvier, Bonn, 1994 (= Modern German studies 18) ISBN 3-416-02520-2 .
  • Hildegard Baumgart: Bettine Brentano and Achim von Arnim. Years of learning a love. Berlin-Verlag, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-8270-0271-0 .
  • Urs Büttner: Poiesis of the “social”. Achim von Arnim's Poetics to Heidelberg Romanticism (1800–1808). De Gruyter, Berlin, Boston 2015 (= Studies on German Literature 208). ISBN 978-3-11-031457-1 .
  • Tobias Bulang: Barbarossa in the realm of poetry. Negotiations of art and historicism at Arnim, Grabbe, Stifter and on the Kyffhäuser. Lang, Frankfurt am Main, 2003 (= Mikrokosmos 69), ISBN 3-631-50698-8 .
  • Roswitha Burwick: Poetry and painting with Achim von Arnim. de Gruyter, Berlin 1989 (= sources and research on the linguistic and cultural history of the Germanic peoples 215; NF 91), ISBN 3-11-011826-2 .
  • Roswitha Burwick (ed.): New tendencies of Arnim research. Edition, biography, interpretation. With unknown documents. Lang, Bern 1990 (= Germanic studies in America 60), ISBN 3-261-04249-4 .
  • Roswitha Burwick (ed.): “Fresh youth, rich in hope” - the young Arnim. Zernikow Colloquium of the International Arnim Society. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2000 (= publications of the International Arnim Society 2), ISBN 3-484-10820-7 .
  • Sheila Dickson (Ed.): The Marriage Blacksmith. by Ludwig Achim von Arnim. Translated with notes by Sheila Dickson. Wehrhahn, Hannover 2007, ISBN 978-3-86525-061-2 .
  • Christian Drösch: Somnambulistic enthusiasm and wonderful magnetism. Artificial somnambulism and similar phenomena in the prose work of Ludwig Achim von Arnims. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg, 2012 (= Epistemata Literaturwissenschaft 736), ISBN 978-3-8260-4648-3 .
  • Dagmar von Gersdorff : Bettina and Achim von Arnim. An almost romantic marriage. Rowohlt, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-87134-288-2 .
  • Helga Halbfass: Comical story (s). The ironic historicism in Achim von Arnim's novel “Die Kronenwächter”. Lang, New York 1993 (= Studies on themes and motifs in literature 3), ISBN 0-8204-2131-6 .
  • Heinz Härtl (Ed.): "The experience of other countries". Contributions to a Wiepersdorf colloquium on Achim and Bettina von Arnim. de Gruyter, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-11-014289-9 .
  • Frederick Hetmann: Bettina and Achim. The story of a love. Beltz & Gelberg Verlag, Weinheim 1984, ISBN 3-407-80644-2 .
  • Helene M. Kastinger Riley : Ludwig Achim von Arnim's youth and travel years. A contribution to the biography with unknown letters. Bouvier, Bonn 1978 (= treatises on art, music and literary studies 266), ISBN 3-416-01419-7 .
  • Helene M. Kastinger Riley : Achim von Arnim. In self-testimonials and picture documents. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1994 (= Rowohlt's Monographs 277), ISBN 3-499-50277-1 .
  • Paul KluckhohnArnim, Achim von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1953, ISBN 3-428-00182-6 , pp. 365-368 ( digitized version ).
  • Hermann HettnerArnim, Ludwig Joachim v. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1875, p. 557 f.
  • Jürgen Knaack: Achim von Arnim - not just a poet. Arnim's political views in their development. Theses. Darmstadt 1976 ISBN 3-7677-0022-0 .
  • Fabian Lampart: Time and History. The multiple beginnings of the historical novel with Scott, Arnim, Vigny and Manzoni. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2002 (= Epistemata; Literature Series 401), ISBN 3-8260-2267-X .
  • Brigitte Martin : We need our peace. Uckermark postman stories - Achim von Arnim and others. Feature. Director: Hannelore Solter. Producer: Broadcasting of the GDR. 1981.
  • Martin Neuhold: Achim von Arnim's art theory and his novel “ Die Kronenwächter ” in the context of their epoch: with a chapter on Brentano's “ The Several Wehmüller and Hungarian National Faces ” and Eichendorff's “ Awareness and Present ”. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1994 (= Hermaea: German Research 73), ISBN 3-484-15073-4 .
  • Claudia Nitschke: Utopia and War with Ludwig Achim von Arnim. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2004 (= Studies on the History of German Literature 122), ISBN 3-484-32122-9 .
  • Walter Pape (Ed.): Arnim and the Berlin Romanticism. Art, literature and politics. Berlin Colloquium of the International Arnim Society. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2001 (= publications of the International Arnim Society 3), ISBN 3-484-10833-9 .
  • Ulfert Ricklefs: Art Themes and Discourse Criticism. The poetic work of young Arnim and the eschatological reality of the “Crown Guardians”. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1990 (= Studies on the History of German Literature 56), ISBN 3-484-32056-7 .
  • Ulfert Ricklefs: Magic and Limits. Arnim's "Popess Johanna" poem. With an investigation into Arnim's poetological theory and an appendix to unpublished texts. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen (= Palaestra 285), ISBN 3-525-20558-9 .
  • Ulfert Ricklefs (ed.): Universal drafts - integration - retreat. Arnim's time in Berlin (1809–1814). Wiepersdorfer Colloquium of the International Arnim Society. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2000 (= publications of the International Arnim Society 1), ISBN 3-484-10799-5 .
  • Holger Schwinn: Friendship as a communication medium. The correspondence between Ludwig Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano in the years 1801 to 1816. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1997 (= European university publications series 1, German language and literature 1635), ISBN 3-631-30452-8 .
  • Martina Steinig: “Wherever you sing, sit down and relax…” song and poetry interludes in the romance novel. An exemplary analysis of Novalis' Heinrich von Ofterdingen and Joseph von Eichendorff's Awareness and Present. With notes on Achim von Arnim's poverty, wealth, guilt and penance by Countess Dolores. Frank and Timme, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-86596-080-4 .
  • Thomas Sternberg : The poetry of Achim von Arnims. Pictures d. Reality - reality of images. Bouvier, Bonn 1983 (= treatises on art, music and literature 342), ISBN 3-416-01764-1 .

Web links

Commons : Ludwig Achim von Arnim  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Ludwig Achim von Arnim  - sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wilhelm Schoof: Friedrich Karl von Savigny in Berlin. In: Walter Hoffmann-Axthelm and Walther G. Oschilewski (eds.): The Bear of Berlin. Yearbook of the Association for the History of Berlin. Vol. 21 (1972), pp. 7-61.
  3. ^ Stefan Nienhaus: History of the German table society . Tübingen 2003.
  5. See in detail Marco Puschner: Antisemitism in the context of political romanticism. Constructions of the “German” and the “Jewish” in Arnim, Brentano and Saul Ascher . Niemeyer, Tübingen 2008 (Conditio Judaica, 72). Furthermore Gisela Henckmann, The Problem of “Anti-Semitism” in Achim von Arnim, in Aurora. Magazine for Culture, Knowledge and Society, 46, Vienna 1986 ISSN  1994-9545 ; and Helmut Hirsch , On the dichotomy of theory and practice in Bettine's utterances on Judaism and Jews, in: Yearbook of the Bettina-von-Arnim-Gesellschaft , 3, 1989.
  6. Micha Brumlik: Anti-Semitism. 100 pages. Reclam, Ditzingen 2020, p. 44
  7. ^ Walter Nissen: Göttingen memorial plaques. Göttingen 1962, p. 19.