Villa Schönow

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Villa Schönow is a short story by Wilhelm Raabe that was written from March 1882 to April 1883 and was published by Westermann in Braunschweig at the end of 1884. In 1903 Erich Janke reprinted the book in Berlin. Schreinert suspects that the main reason for the hesitant reception of the work by the contemporary reading public is that the protagonists in the capital are always Berliners .

Around 1882 the Berlin entrepreneur Wilhelm Schönow turned out to be the benefactor of two orphans in the provinces.


Mr. Schönow, the old chaff striker and Königgrätzer , formerly a royal imperial sergeant in the seventh Brandenburg infantry regiment, bought slate quarries in the mountains. The roofs of his Berlin are covered with the slate. At the scene of the action, the unnamed town near the slate quarries, Schönow has two good friends. Both die. First, Schönow's war comrade, the “poor bricklayer” Ludolf Amelung, an invalid after the battle of Beaune-la-Rolande , leaves behind a 20-year-old little brother - the “unfortunate” stud. phil. Gerhard Amelung. Second, Schönow's friend and business friend, the indebted district mason Hamelmann, leaves behind a daughter - the 16-year-old Miss Hroswitha, known as Wittchen.

The quarry owner Wilhelm Schönow helps the two orphans Wittchen and Gerhard. The funny gentleman from Berlin simply accommodates Wittchen in the Amelungs' house. Soon, however, Mr. Schönow fears the talk of the small townspeople. He doesn’t call for the childless wife Helene from distant Berlin, who weighed over 250 pounds in the marriage . His childhood friend, the skinny old Fraulein Julie Kiebitz, is supposed to serve. That Fraulein - the last Berlin Hegelian - is the learned daughter of the blessed Prof. Dr. Lapwing. At that time, when the errand boy Wilhelm Schönow was still sleeping under a staircase in Berlin, the honored - then 14-year-old - Miss had pulled the "street thief" out from under the stairs, trained as a roofer and finally helped on business with 3000 thalers.

Mr Schönow, the millionaire who traveled to Germany, inexperienced in “boy-girl matters”, doesn't know what to do as a man. Miss Julie follows his call to the “strange mountains and forests to help all kinds of minors out of confusion”. The Berliner descends in the Prussian court of the town. Meanwhile, the young people have fallen in love with each other. The studiosus in love now has to do the paperwork for his new guardian. Miss Julie exchanges accommodation with poor Gerhard. The young lady moves to Villa Schönow as a chaperone . The idyllically situated "villa" on the outskirts of the town, which was just a cozy place for the two lovebirds, is nothing more than the small "gardener's estate" of the "dead French winner" Ludolf Amelung. Mr. Schönow bought the house and the garden. He takes the foster son to Berlin. There the building contractor enables the "unfortunate scholar" to study further with Dr. Severe case.

Schieferdecker Schönow made his wife Helene curious less with the letter that he wanted to buy her a villa in the middle of the healthy forest air than with the remark that from now on he felt responsible for his "two ward " Gerhard and Wittchen. Ms. Helene Schönow suspects a double infidelity of the “spouse”, this “old Spreekrocodile” and puts the devoted private secretary Giftge on the hot trail to investigate the question: “Where did you get it?”. After all, the lady can no longer stand it in Berlin. Ms. Schönow bravely parted with the capital and set off to visit the villa in the direction of the mountains. The husbands traveling at the same time miss each other. Once in the town, the woman quartered in the Prussian court. Contrary to expectations, Frau Schönow takes a liking to the husband's “worthless capital investment”. In addition, she “likes” the “Jejend unjemein” and she “absolutizes” her “Ollen absolutemang von everything” that he has “touched” behind her back.

Miss Julie is convinced of the upcoming happy ending. Wittchen and Gerhard should become a couple. While Gerhard studies in Berlin, Wittchen sleeps “her child's sleep in the Villa Schönow”.

Two wars

Although NCO Wilhelm Schönow is portrayed as an old warrior (see beginning of the above chapter "Contents"), the text can still be read in parts as an anti-war book in the sense: Herr Schönow occasionally raises the question in emotionally charged statements: How is the German Reich going deal with his war victims? One of the victims of 70/71 is the non-commissioned officer Ludolf Amelung. He dies of the long-term consequences of the battles near Spichern and Beaune-la-Rolande. When Miss Julie enters the Villa Schönow (see above), she finds Gerhard's aunt Jakobine Fiesold there and from then on has to listen to the sayings of the "old naive egoist" on the subject of war in 1870 : "And I told Ludolf right away, when they delivered him his paper for the war or verbally picked him up from the building site: Boy, I said ... watch out, this won't end well, and whoever has to pay for it, that's us! "


The speaking names are characteristic of Raabe. For example, Gerhard's upcoming studies in Berlin with Dr. Difficulties will be anything but easy. Aunt Jakobine Fiesold got the name after the fact. The old woman is a mean character. There is no lack of cross-connections. Schönow's friend Ulrich Schenck from the “ German Nobility ” is introduced.

Over long stretches of the text there is Berlin based on monologues. That seems tiring, but sometimes also amusing. For example, Mr. Schönow says: "The Deubel should fricass me."


  • Diary entry of April 29, 1884: “You have had enough of Raabe; his last books are too much alike. ”Background:“ Villa Schönow ”was preprinted in Westermann's monthly magazine in the spring of 1884 . Readers then complained in writing to Westermann about the boring reading.


  • In January 1885 Moritz Necker published an anonymous article in the “ Grenzbote ”, according to which the “Berlin essence” was the focus of the text.
  • In the " Leipziger Tageblatt " of July 11, 1886, another anonymous emphasized the "masterful description of small town life".
  • Meyen gives five works from the years 1885 to 1951.


Used edition

  • Villa Schönow. A story. In: Rosemarie Schillemeit (ed.): Wilhelm Raabe: Complete works. Volume 15: Fabian and Sebastian . 2nd Edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1979, ISBN 3-525-20130-3 , pp. 386-571.


  • Villa Schönow. 2nd Edition. Published by Otto Janke, Berlin 1903, OCLC 247627058 .
  • Meyen names four issues.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Villa Schönow. A story. 1979, p. 656, p. 658.
  2. von Studnitz, p. 314, entry 56.
  3. ^ Villa Schönow. A story. 1979, p. 660.
  4. Schreinert in: Villa Schönow. A story. 1979, p. 660.
  5. ^ Villa Schönow. A story. 1979, p. 544.
  6. Schönow tells of the grenades near Oberdohalitz (In: Villa Schönow. Eine Erzählung. 1979, p. 447)
  7. A predecessor was probably the Old Prussian Infantry Regiment No. 7 .
  8. The Harz is probably meant, because Schönow travels from there to Berlin via Magdeburg ( Villa Schönow. Eine Erzählung. 1979, p. 542).
  9. In his flippant language, Mr. Schönow means by "crashed" the dropout for financial reasons.
  10. also: Julia ( Villa Schönow. Eine Erzählung. 1979, p. 518)
  11. Edition used, p. 517.
  12. ^ Villa Schönow. A story. 1979, p. 467.
  13. ^ Villa Schönow. A story. 1979, p. 520.
  14. ^ Villa Schönow. A story. 1979, p. 454.
  15. ^ Villa Schönow. A story. 1979, p. 657.
  16. Fuld: Wilhelm Raabe. A biography. 1993, p. 287.
  17. quoted by Schreinert in: Villa Schönow. A story. 1979, p. 659.
  18. quoted by Schreinert in: Villa Schönow. A story. 1979, p. 660.
  19. ^ Meyen: Wilhelm Raabe. Bibliography. 1973, pp. 385-386.
  20. ^ Meyen: Wilhelm Raabe. Bibliography. 1973, p. 129.