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Bülow, Margarete von (1860–1884)

Bülow, Margarete von (1860–1884)

German novelist whose early death while attempting to save a drowning child cut short a highly promising literary career. Name variations: Buelow or Bulow. Born Margarete Freifräulein von Bülow in Berlin, Germany, on February 23, 1860; drowned in Berlin on January 2, 1884; daughter of Hugo Freiherr von Bülow (a diplomat); sister of Frieda von Bülow (1857–1909) and Albrecht von Bülow; grew up in various countries including England.

Selected writings:

Novellen (Berlin: Hertz Verlag, 1885); Jonas Briccius: Erzählung (Leipzig: Grunow Verlag, 1886); Aus der Chronik derer von Riffelshausen: Erzählung (Leipzig: Grunow Verlag, 1887); Neue Novellen (Berlin: Verlag Walther & Apolant, 1890); Novellen einer Frühvollendeten: Ausgewähltes: Mit einer Einleitung von Adolf Bartels (Leipzig: R. Voigtländer's Verlag, 1920).

An act of spontaneous heroism cut short the life of a young artist who might otherwise have developed into one of Germany's major writers. On January 2, 1884, Margarete von Bülow died in Berlin while attempting to rescue a drowning child.

Born in Berlin on February 23, 1860, she was the daughter of Hugo von Bülow, a diplomat descended from a distinguished noble family. She grew up in Berlin and Thuringia as well as in Smyrna, Turkey, where her father was stationed as the German consul. Margarete von Bülow lived in England during the years 1876–1878, finally settling in Berlin in 1881 where she lived until her untimely death. A prolific writer as well as a sharp-eyed observer, she had a large number of unpublished manuscripts prepared for publication in the final months of her life. All of her novels and novellas were published posthumously to positive critical acclaim. Her realistic novellas of life in contemporary Berlin and Thuringia first appeared in print in 1885. A number of other works, mainly psychological novels, were published in the next few years, and a final collection of novellas, along with a biographical essay, appeared in 1890. Her sister Frieda von Bülow wrote movingly of Margarete in her last novel, Die Schwestern (The Sisters, 1909).


Bülow, Frieda von. Die Schwestern: Geschichte einer Mädchenjugend. Roman. Dresden: C. Reissner Verlag, 1909.

Hoechstetter, Sophie. Frieda Freiin von Bülow: Ein Lebensbild. Dresden: C. Reissner Verlag, 1910.

John Haag , Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

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