Gabriele Reuter

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gabriele Reuter recorded in Munich, 1896

Gabriele Elise Karoline Alexandrine Reuter (born February 8, 1859 in Alexandria , † November 16, 1941 in Weimar ) was a German writer .

The author, widely read during her lifetime, became known for her novel Aus gute Familie (1895), which tells the "story of suffering of a girl" (subtitle), a typical " higher daughter " of the Wilhelmine era . The book sold 28 editions by 1931 and was the first bestseller that S. Fischer Verlag had in its publishing history. Other bestsellers were her novel Ellen von der Weiden (1900), the collection of novels, Frauenseelen (1901) and the novel The American (1907). Today Gabriele Reuter is almost forgotten.


Gabriele Reuter was the daughter of Carl Reuter, an international wholesale merchant in the textile trade from Treptow an der Tollense in Pomerania , and his wife Johanna, née. Brehmer. She was a great-granddaughter of the poet Philippine Engelhard , to whom she wanted to set a literary monument in Green tendrils around old pictures from 1937. She spent her childhood partly with her mother's relatives in Dessau (1864–69), partly in Alexandria (1869–72). When the father died in 1872, the family returned to Germany for good. Reuter came to the Breymann Institute , also Neu-Watzum , for a year . But then the family lost all of their assets due to the general recession and a case of fraud when their father's business was dissolved in 1873 and moved into a small apartment in Neuhaldensleben .

Gabriele Reuter around 1900

The responsibility for the younger brothers and the increasingly depressed mother required Gabriele Reuter's independence, which was unusually early for the time. The financial worries also meant that as a young girl she used her writing talent as a source of income. The first literary publications on Egypt appeared in local papers in 1875/76. Conventionally written novels with exotic tones followed. With the money earned in this way, Reuter financed the family's move to Weimar in 1879 , where they tried to establish themselves as a young writer. Around 1890 she made her first independent trips to Berlin, Vienna and Munich to various writers' conferences and made the acquaintance of other artists of her time, including the anarchist and poet John Henry Mackay , with whom she had a long friendship, and with Henrik Ibsen .

In 1890 Reuter moved to Munich with her mother, wishing to join the local bohemian community . She attended the founding ceremony of Michael Georg Conrad's “Society for Modern Life”. According to her autobiography Vom Kinde zum Menschen (1921), it was here that she came up with the idea for her successful novel From a good family . In 1891, however, the mother fell ill and Reuter was forced to return with her to Weimar, where the woman in need of care died in 1904. It was there that Reuter made a new circle of friends in the years that followed - including Hans Olden and his wife Grete, Rudolf Steiner and Eduard von der Hellen . She read the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche , Arthur Schopenhauer and Ernst Haeckel . She made contacts with the Free Stage Association in Berlin and the Friedrichshagener Dichterkreis and got to know Gerhart Hauptmann , Otto Erich Hartleben , Ernst von Wolnahm and - through Mackay's mediation - the publisher Samuel Fischer , who published her novel Aus gute Familie at the end of 1895 .

The novel was a huge success, sparked heated debate in literary magazines and feminist papers, and made Reuter famous overnight. In the same year she moved back to Munich with her mother, since one of her brothers had established himself there as a doctor. On October 28, 1897 in Erbach (near Ulm) she gave birth to her illegitimate daughter Elisabeth Reuter, called Lili, who later married the painter Johannes Maximilian Avenarius . The father was Benno Rüttenauer .

Edition development of the most important works (1 edition = 1,000 copies)

In 1899 Reuter moved to Berlin. In the thirty years that she lived there, numerous novels, short stories, books for young people and essays appeared that repeatedly addressed the issue of gender and generation conflicts. Gabriele Reuter was praised for her fine psychological design and was considered the "poet of the female soul". Her novel Das Tränenhaus (1908) caused a scandal again , in which she described the conditions in a house for unmarried women in a very drastic way. After the end of the First World War, she also worked as a columnist for the Wiener Neue Freie Presse and in the last years of her life as a reviewer for the New York Times . In 1929, the seventy-year-old returned to Weimar, where she died on November 16, 1941.

Gabriele Reuter's estate is in the Goethe and Schiller Archives in Weimar.


Cover of the first edition of the novel

Reuters' best-selling novel From a good family is one of the first works from a female pen that was based on the innovative literary trends of the late 19th century, consistent realism or naturalism . Together with Helene Böhlaus' novel Der Rangierbahnhof (1896), he provided the model for numerous other female confessional or self-discovery novels of the era. The debate about the novel initially centered on the question of whether the work was a trend novel or not.

Reuter's stance on the contemporary women's movement was ambivalent, if not distant: the women's rights journalist Helene Stöcker nevertheless paid tribute to Reuter's work several times, while Hedwig Dohm was rather skeptical about the appearance of Das Tränenhaus . Anti-feminists , on the other hand, accused Reuter of a one-sidedly female perspective. Reuter did not allow itself to be captured by either side. From a good family , the protagonist was often compared to Goethe's Werther because of the social representativeness of the protagonist . Thomas Mann interpreted the novel according to the model of the contemporary artist novel .



  • Luck and money. Novel from today's Egypt . Friedrich, Leipzig 1888.
  • Colonist people. Roman from Argentina . Friedrich, Leipzig 1891. (Enßlin & Laiblin, Reutlingen 1926)
  • From a good family. A girl's story of suffering . Fischer, Berlin 1895.
    • New edition: From a good family. A girl's story of suffering . Study edition with documents. 2 volumes. TransMIT, Marburg 2006, ISBN 3-936134-19-7 (text) and ISBN 3-936134-20-0 (documents).
  • Mrs. Bürgelin and her sons . Fischer, Berlin 1899.
  • Ellen of the willow. A diary . Geyer, Vienna 1900. (Fischer, Berlin 1901)
  • Margarete's mission . 2 volumes. DVA, Stuttgart 1904.
  • Liselotte von Reckling . Fischer, Berlin 1903.
  • The American . Fischer, Berlin 1907.
  • The house of tears . Fischer, Berlin 1908. (revised 1926)
  • Spring frenzy . Fischer, Berlin 1911.
  • To the new country . Ullstein, Berlin 1916.
  • The youth of an idealist . Fischer, Berlin 1917.
  • The mistress . Ullstein, Berlin 1918.
  • Benedikta . Seyfert, Dresden 1923.
  • Daughters. The novel of two generations . Ullstein, Berlin 1927.
  • Irmgard and her brother . German Book Community , Berlin 1930.
  • From the girl who could not love . Ullstein, Berlin 1933.

Short prose, novellas and short stories

  • Episode Hopkins. Too late. Two studies . Pierson, Dresden 1889.
    • Reissued as: Episode Hopkins. Two novels . Fischer, Berlin 1897.
  • The life artist. Novellas . Fischer, Berlin 1897.
  • Souls of women. Novellas . Fischer, Berlin 1901.
  • Gunhild Kersten. Novella . DVA, Stuttgart 1904.
  • Whimsical love. Novellas . Fischer, Berlin 1905.
  • The return of the dead and other short stories . Reclam, Leipzig 1908.
  • In the sunny land. Story from Alexandria . Hillger, Berlin 1914.
  • From the female heart. Novellas . Hillger, Berlin 1917.

Essayistic and autobiographical

  • John Henry Mackay. A literary study. In: Society . 7, 1891, pp. 1304-1314.
  • Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach . Schuster & Loeffler, Berlin 1904.
  • Annette von Droste-Hülshoff . Marquardt, Berlin 1906.
  • The problem of marriage. 1907.
  • Love and voting rights . Fischer, Berlin 1914. (reprinted in excerpts in: Emanzipation und Literatur . Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main 1984, ISBN 3-596-23747-5 , pp. 204–210)
  • The war and the girls. In: Scherl's young girl book. Scherl, Berlin n.d. [1914], pp. XI-XX.
  • From child to person. The story of my youth . Fischer, Berlin 1921.
  • Green tendrils around old pictures. A German family novel . Grote, Berlin 1937.


  • Ika's picture. Comedy. 1894.
  • The evil little princess. A fairy tale game for children in three acts . Fischer, Berlin 1905.

Books for children and young readers

  • Gentle hearts. A book for young girls . Fischer, Berlin 1909.
  • What Helmut experienced in Germany. A youth story . Perthes, Gotha 1917.
  • City girl. Youth stories . Ullstein, Berlin 1920.
  • The house on Antoniuskirchstrasse . Abel & Müller, Leipzig 1927.
  • Grete goes to happiness . Weise, Berlin 1935.


  • Faranak Alimadad-Mensch: Gabriele Reuter. Portrait of a writer . Lang, Bern 1984, ISBN 3-261-03418-1 .
  • Gisela Brinker-Gabler : Perspectives of the transition. Feminine Consciousness and Early Modernism. In: German literature by women. Volume 2, Beck, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-406-33021-5 , pp. 169-205.
  • Günter Helmes : Gabriele Reuter: Life and Work. In: Gabriele Reuter: Ellen von der Weiden . Ullstein, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-548-24167-0 , pp. 175-192.
  • Ludmila Kaloyanova-Slavova: Transitional Creatures . Gabriele Reuter, Hedwig Dohm, Helene Böhlau and Franziska von Reventlow . Lang, New York 1998, ISBN 0-8204-3962-2 .
  • Günter Helmes: Gabriele Reuter: "Ellen von der Weiden". In: Reclams Romanlexikon. Volume 3. Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-15-018003-1 , p. 17f.
  • Günter Helmes: Gabriele Reuter: "From a good family". In: Reclams Romanlexikon. Volume 3. Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-15-018003-1 , pp. 15-17.
  • Annette Kliewer: Gabriele Reuter. In: Britta Jürgs (Ed.): Because there is nothing left as nature intended. Portraits of women artists and writers around 1900. AvivA Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-932338-13-8 , pp. 12–140.
  • Cornelia Pechota Vuilleumier: “O father, let's move!” Literary father-daughters around 1900. Gabriele Reuter, Hedwig Dohm, Lou Andreas-Salomé . Olms, Hildesheim 2005, ISBN 3-487-12873-X .
  • Ulrich Hauer : Gabriele Reuter. Adolescent years in Alt- and Neuhaldensleben. In: Annual journal of the museums of the district of Börde. Volume 49 (16), Haldensleben 2009, pp. 37-74.
  • Stefan Jordan:  Reuter, Gabriele Elise Karoline Alexandrine. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 21, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-428-11202-4 , p. 469 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Denise Roth: The literary work is self-explanatory. Theodor Fontane's 'Effi Briest' and Gabriele Reuters 'From a good family' poetologically deciphered. WVB Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86573-679-6 .
  • Annette Seemann: Gabriele Reuter: Life and work of a born writer (1859-1941). Weimarer Verlagsgesellschaft, [Wiesbaden] [2016], ISBN 978-3-7374-0248-4 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ingvild Richardsen : Passionate hearts, fiery souls . 1st edition S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2019, ISBN 978-3-10-397457-7 , pp. 169 .
  2. ^ A b c Gisela Brinker-Gabler, Karola Ludwig, Angela Wöffen: Lexicon of German-speaking women writers 1800–1945. dtv Munich, 1986. ISBN 3-423-03282-0 . P. 250 f.
  3. Klaus-Werner Haupt: Gabriele Reuter. An unjustly forgotten writer. Retrieved April 19, 2016.