Hahn-Hahn, Ida, Countess von (1805–1880)

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Hahn-Hahn, Ida, Countess von (1805–1880)

German author . Name variations: Gräfin Hahn-Hahn; Countess Hahn-Hahn. Born Ida Marie Luise Sophie Friederike Gustave von Hahn at Tressow, in Mecklen-burg-Schwerin, Germany, on June 22, 1805; died in Mainz, Germany, on January 12, 1880; daughter of Graf (Count) Karl Friedrich von Hahn (1782–1857); married Count Adolf von Hahn, in 1826.

Selected writings:

Aus der Gesellschaft (1838); Gräfin Faustine (Countess Faustine, 1840); Ulrich (1841); Orientalische Briefe (Oriental Letters, 1844); Sigismund Forster (1843); Cecil (1844); Sibylle (1846); (autobiography) Von Babylon nach Jerusalem (From Babylon to Jerusalem, 1851); Maria Regina (1860).

Ida von Hahn was born in Tressow, in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany, in 1805, the daughter of Count Karl Friedrich von Hahn, who was well known for his love of the stage, upon which he squandered a substantial amount of his fortune. In 1826, Ida married her wealthy cousin Count Adolf von Hahn. The marriage was extremely unhappy and led to a divorce three years later, in 1829. The countess traveled, produced some volumes of poetry, and in 1838 published the novel Aus der Gesellschaft. Since the title was appropriate for her subsequent novels, it was retained for the series, while the book was renamed Ida Schönholm. For several years, Ida continued to produce novels on subjects similar to those being chosen by her contemporary George Sand , but they were less critical of social institutions and involved the aristocracy.

The countess' patrician airs were parodied by Fanny Lewald in Diogena (1847). This mockery, the death of her lover, Count von Bystram, and the revolution of 1848 seems to have induced Ida to turn to Catholicism in 1850. She justified her conversion in the polemical work Von Babylon nach Jerusalem (From Babylon to Jerusalem, 1851). In 1852, the countess retired to a convent at Angers, but soon left, taking up residence at Mainz where she founded a nunnery. She lived there without joining the order and continued to write. For many years, her novels were the most popular works of fiction among the aristocracy. Though many of her later publications went unnoticed, Sigismund Forster (1843), Cecil (1844), Sibylle (1846) and Maria Regina (1860) enjoyed considerable popularity. Ida von Hahn-Hahn died at Mainz on January 12, 1880.

suggested reading:

Haffner, P. Gräfin Ida Hahn-Hahn, eine psychologische Studie. Frankfort, 1880.

Jacoby, A. Ida Gräfin Hahn-Hahn. Mainz, 1894.

Keiter, H. Gräfin Hahn-Hahn. Würzburg, n.d.


Her collected works, Gesammelte Werke, with an introduction by O. von Schaching, were published in two series, 45 volumes in all (Regensburg, 1903–1904).


Contained in collections at university libraries at Bonn and Leipzig, and at the Schiller Nationalmuseum at Marbach.

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Hahn-Hahn, Ida, Countess von (1805–1880)

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