Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (1797-1848) 

Annette von Droste-Hülshoff was a Westphalian aristocrat and a Roman Catholic. She was privately educated at home. She had three love affairs but did not marry.

Her poetry is rooted in the Westphalian landscape of her youth.

Her writing is versatile, ranging from visionary Romantic poetry to realist prose fiction.

Her most celebrated poem is ‘Im Grase’; ‘In the Grass’, written near the end of her life and published posthumously in 1860.

The author Karen Duve has published Fräulein Nettes kurzer Sommer (2018), a biographical novel about Droste-Hülshoff.

Droste-Hülshoff’s works include:

Das Geistliche Jahr in Liedern auf alle Sonn- und Festtage; The Devotional Year: A Verse Calendar for all Sundays and Festivals (begun in 1820, completed in 1837-39)

Gedichte; Poems (1838)

Die Judenbuche; The Jew’s Beech (written 1837-41, published 1842)

Gedichte; Poems (1844)

Letzte Gaben; Final Gifts (1860)

Her epic poems include:

Das Hospiz auf dem grossen Sankt Bernard; The Hospice on Great Saint Bernard (written 1828-34)

Des Arztes Vermächtnis; The Doctor’s Testament (1834)

Die Schlacht am Loener Bruch; The Battle of Loener Bruch (written 1837-38)

Her uncompleted prose works include:

Ledwina (written circa 1819-1825)


Bei uns zu Lande auf dem Lande. Nach der Handschrift eines Edelmannes aus der Lausitz; At home with us in the country. The manuscript of a nobleman from Lausitz.

Further Reading in English

Angelika Arend, ‘Humor and Irony in Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s “Heidebilder”-Cycle’, The German Quarterly 63:1 (1990), 50-58

Marion E. Gibbs, ‘Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (1797-1848): the poet of the ever-open wounds’ in Sappho in the Shadows: Essays on the Work of German Women Poets in the Age of Goethe (1749-1832), ed. by Anthony J. Harper and Margaret C. Ives (Bern: Peter Lang, 2000)

John Guthrie, ‘Washington Irving’s Bracebridge Hall and Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s Bei uns zu Lande auf dem Lande’, Modern Language Review 83:2 (1988), 351-63

Todd Kontje, Women, the Novel, and the German Nation 1771-1871: Domestic Fiction in the Fatherland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 129-35

Susanne Kord, ‘Publish and Perish: Women Writers Anticipate Posterity’, Publications of the English Goethe Society 76:2 (2007), 119-34

Elisabeth Krimmer, ‘A Perfect Intimacy with Death: Death, Imagination, and Feminity in the Works of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’, Women in German Yearbook 17 (2001), 121-40

Margaret Mare, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (London: Methuen, 1965)

Roger Paulin, ‘Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’, in Landmarks in German Women’s Writing, ed. by Hilary Brown (Bern: Peter Lang, 2007), pp. 77-90

Gertrud Bauer Pickar, Ambivalence Transcended: A Study of the Writings of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (Columbia, SC: Camden House, 1997)

S. S. Prawer, German Lyric Poetry: A Critical Analysis of Selected Poems from Klopstock to Rilke (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965), pp. 161-67 [commentary on the poem ‘Mondesaufgang’]

Ritchie Robertson, ‘Faith and fossils: Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s poem “Die Mergelgrube”’, in Das schwierige 19. Jahrhundert: Germanistische Tagung zum 65. Geburtstag von Eda Sagarra im August 1998, ed. by Jürgen Barkhoff, Gilbert J. Carr and Roger Paulin (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2000), pp. 345-54

Kristina R. Sazaki, ‘The Crippled Text/Woman: Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s Ledwina’, Monatshefte 89:2 (1997), 168-81

B. E. Schatzky, ‘Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’, in German Men of Letters, ed. by Alex Natan, vol. 1 (London: Wolff, 1961), pp. 79-98

Carol Tully, ‘Placing Droste’s Ledwina: “Jugendwerk” or “Gescheiterte Frauenliteratur”?’, German Life and Letters 52:3 (1999), 314-24

Web Link in German 


Ich ringe wie die Droste um jedes Wort. 55 minute radio broadcast, May 2019. Zsuzsa Bánk, Karen Duve and Jochen Grywatsch discuss Annette von Droste-Hülshoff