LEWALD, FANNY

Uncommon ALS by the German Feminist Writer

Item #20223


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LEWALD, FANNY - Uncommon ALS by the German Feminist Writer
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LEWALD, FANNY - Uncommon ALS by the German Feminist Writer

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LEWALD, FANNY. (1811-1889). German feminist author best known for her six-volume autobiography Meine Lebensgeschichte. ALS. (“Fanny Lewald Stahr”). 2pp. 12mo. (approximately 2½” x 3¾”). N.p., November 23, 1887. To Frau Wallner. In German with translation. Written on a small card.

 

“Good luck, dear Frau Wallner, with your bright apartment! Had my capacity these past few weeks not been stretched beyond its limits and were I not so plagued by rheumatism and neurological pain on top of it that I spent half the day yesterday in bed and did not venture out into the wet weather today either,  I would have looked in on you. For now I have to go by the weather and by my wellbeing. But I will come as soon as possible, and for the time being, and for all times, I wish you the very best. In friendship…”

 

Born into a Prussian merchant family, Lewald’s formal education ended at 13 so she could prepare for the life of a house wife. She keenly felt the societal disadvantages of being a Jewish woman as well as being deprived of more formal education. After falling in love with a theological student, she converted to Christianity in preparation for their marriage but her betrothed died before the wedding, an episode which would become the basis of her 1843 novel Jenny. Resisting her family’s expectation of marriage and eager to experience the world, Lewald traveled throughout Germany in 1832, meeting prominent members of its budding democratic movement, “Young Germany,” and encountering the writing of George Sand. Encouraged by her cousin, editor of Das Neue Europa, Lewald sought a literary career, publishing two autobiographical novels in 1843: Jenny, andClementine, which explored the topic of arranged marriage. “In 1845, when she was thirty-four years old, she was finally allowed to move to Berlin and into her own apartment, still quite a generous gesture by a father in those days and a considerable achievement for this unmarried and ambitious woman, dedicated to creating a ‘room of her own,’” (“Fanny Lewald,” Jewish Women’s Archive, Brinker-Gabler).

 

Her 1845 Eine Lebensfrage (A Vital Question) discussed the popular topic of divorce. The same year, while traveling in Rome, Lewald met and fell in love with Adolph Stahr, a married writer. His wife eventually agreed to a divorce and the pair married in 1855, after which Lewald changed her surname to Lewald-Stahr. “She established a salon in Berlin and became tremendously productive, writing numerous novels, novellas, essays and articles. She and Stahr traveled widely together, and Lewald wrote many travel accounts, a genre for which she was eminently prepared with her gift of detailed observation and vivid depiction,” (ibid.).

 

Her 1863 Osterbriefe für die Frauen (Easter Letters for Women) and 1870 essay collection Für und Wider die Frauen (For And Against Women) further elucidated her feminist ideals including increased educational and occupational opportunities for women. Despite the impact her feminist writings had on contemporary society, it is for her six-volume autobiography Meine Lebensgeschichte that she is best remembered. During her time in Berlin and Rome, she met “fellow women writers and artists… who helped her to gain self-confidence. Some of the most insightful and beautifully written passages of her autobiography concern her friendships with women,” (ibid.).

 

Our friendly letter, written by a 76-year-old widowed Lewald, shows her generous enthusiasm for a friend’s new home in spite of her own infirmity.  

 

A few light damp stains and overall toning. In fine condition.

 

 

Item #20223



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