Skip to main content

Achim von Arnim

Achim von Arnim

The German writer Achim von Arnim (1781-1831) is known chiefly for his novels and his edition of German folk songs. He was an influential member of the German romantic movement.

On Jan. 26, 1781, Achim von Arnim was born in Berlin of an aristocratic Prussian family. He studied science and law at the universities of Halle and Göttingen but soon turned his attention to literature. After becoming acquainted with the poets Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Clemens Brentano, Arnim traveled extensively through western Europe and England. He then settled in Heidelberg, where he, Brentano, and the poet Johann Josef von Görres formed the Heidelberg group of the German romantic school and founded a literary journal, Zeitung für Einsiedler (Newspaper for Hermits). Between 1805 and 1808 Arnim and Brentano compiled Des KnabenWunderhorn (The Boy's Magic Horn), the best-known collection of German folk songs. It consisted chiefly of actual folk poetry, although many of the verses were revised or even composed by the editors. The naive "folk" tone, however, was maintained throughout.

Arnim's personal lyric output was augmented in 1806 by his volume of war songs for use by the Prussian army. In 1808 he moved to Berlin, where he rejoined Brentano and began a series of stories and dramas on historical subjects. In 1809 Arnim published his novel Gräfin Dolores "for the instruction and amusement of impoverished young ladies."

In 1811 Arnim married Bettina Brentano, a writer of the romantic school and the sister of Clemens Brentano. At an early age she had become a close friend of Goethe, and her lively exchange of letters with him was published in 1835 as Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde (Goethe's Correspondence with a Child).

In 1813 Arnim became a captain in the Prussian army and fought in the war against Napoleon. He was also an editor of the patriotic newspaper Der Rheinische Merkur. His unfinished novel, Die Kronenwächter (1817; The Crown Guardians), concerns the mystical influence of undiscovered royal blood and a secret society on the life of a young adventurer. Arnim later became a gentleman farmer in Wiepersdorf, Brandenburg, where he died on Jan. 21, 1831.

Bettina von Arnim continued her literary work after her husband's death. She wrote polemical treatises for such liberal causes as the rights of workers and women. Her most famous political work was her declaration of principles, Dies Buch gehört dem König (1843; This Book Belongs to the King). She died on Jan. 20, 1859.

Further Reading

The most significant book in English on Arnim is Herbert R. Liedke, Literary Criticism and Romantic Theory in the Work of Achim von Arnim (1937), which emphasizes his theoretical position. An excellent general introduction to his life and writings may be found in Ralph Tymms, German Romantic Literature (1955). August Closs, The Genius of the German Lyric (1938; rev. ed. 1962), contains a brief discussion of his lyric poetry. L. A. Willoughby, The Romantic Movement in Germany (1930), offers a concise appraisal of the role of Bettina von Arnim in German literature.

Additional Sources

Hoermann, Roland., Achim von Arnim, Boston: Twayne, 1984.

Hoermann, Roland., Achim von Arnim's 1854 Kronenw'chter Text: Bettina's forgery or Berthold's forerunner: start of a sequel or end of an Ur-Kronenw'chter?, Stuttgart: H.-D. Heinz, 1990.

Ziegler, Vickie L., Bending the frame in the German cyclical narrative: Achim von Arnim's Der Wintergarten & E.T.A. Hoffmann's Die Serapionsbr'der, Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1991. □

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Achim von Arnim." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Achim von Arnim." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/achim-von-arnim

"Achim von Arnim." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved May 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/achim-von-arnim

Arnim, Achim von

Achim von Arnim (äkh´Ĭm, yōäkh´Ĭm, fən är´nĬm), 1781–1831, German writer of the romantic school. He is best remembered for his work with his brother-in-law, Clemens Brentano, on the folk-song collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn [the boy's magic horn] (1806–8). Arnim's novels include Gräfin Dolores (1810) and the unfinished Die Kronenwächter [the guardians of the crown] (1817). He was at his best in his historical novels, notably in Isabella of Egypt (1812, tr. 1927) and Owen Tudor (1809). Arnim had a predilection for the fantastic and the supernatural. Like Herder, he helped to create a popular German literary tradition. His wife, Bettina von Arnim, 1785–1859, whose maiden name was Elisabeth Brentano, was also a writer. She corresponded with Beethoven and Goethe and published the letters, not as historical documents but in the light of her own highly poetic imagination, as in Goethe's Correspondence with a Child (1835, tr. 1837). She was an ardent literary supporter of liberal Young Germany.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Arnim, Achim von." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Arnim, Achim von." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/arnim-achim-von

"Arnim, Achim von." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/arnim-achim-von

Arnim, Achim (Joachim) (Ludwig) von

Arnim, Achim [Joachim] (Ludwig) von (b Berlin, 1781; d Wiepersdorf, 1831). Ger. poet who can claim inclusion in a music dictionary because of his co-editorship with his future brother-in-law Clemens Brentano of the anthology of German folk poetry Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Youth's Magic Horn), 1805–8, extracts from which have been set by several composers, notably Mahler. In 1811 he married Elisabeth (Bettina) Brentano, a friend of Beethoven.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Arnim, Achim (Joachim) (Ludwig) von." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Arnim, Achim (Joachim) (Ludwig) von." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/arnim-achim-joachim-ludwig-von

"Arnim, Achim (Joachim) (Ludwig) von." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved May 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/arnim-achim-joachim-ludwig-von