Seidel, Ina (1885–1974)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Seidel, Ina (1885–1974)

German poet and novelist. Born in 1885 in Halle an der Saale, Germany; died in 1974; married Heinrich Wolfgang Seidel (a writer), in 1907.

Selected writings:

Gedichte (Poems, 1914); Neben der Trommel her (Next to the Trumpet, 1915); Weltinnigkeit (World Inwardness, 1918); Das Haus zum Monde (The House at the Moon, 1916); Das Labyrinth (The Labyrinth, 1921); Das Wunschkind (The Wish Child, 1930); Der vergrabene Schatz (The Buried Treasure, 1955); Das unverwesliche Erbe (The Incorruptible Inheritance, 1958); Michaela: Aufzeichnungen des Jürgen Brook (Michaela: Notebooks of Jürgen Brook, 1959); Vor Tau und Tag: Geschicte einer Kindheit (Before Dew and Day: Story of a Childhood, 1962); Die alte Dame und der Schmetterling (The Old Woman and the Butterfly, 1964); Frau und Wort (Woman and Word, 1965); Lebensbericht 1885–1923 (Life Story 1885–1923, 1970).

Ina Seidel was born in 1885 in Halle an der Saale, Germany; her mother's stepfather was the historical novelist Georg Ebers. Ina, a devout Protestant who immersed herself in literature, married Heinrich Wolfgang Seidel, another author, in 1907. After the birth of their first child, she nearly died. During her months of convalescence, she grew spiritually and turned to writing poetry. In 1914, she published Gedichte (Poems), followed by Neben der Trommel her (Next to the Trumpet) in 1915, and Weltinnigkeit (World Inwardness) in 1918.

Seidel's first novel, Das Haus zum Monde (The House at the Moon, 1916), was followed five years later by the powerful Das Labyrinth (The Labyrinth, 1921), in which she traced the psychic development of an enigmatic character, George Forster. Seidel's Das Wunschkind (The Wish Child, 1930), the story of a widowed mother who saves her child only to lose him in the Prussian wars of liberation, was considered one of the great novels of its generation.

During World War II, Seidel's Romantic nationalism and "apolitical" attitudes made it impossible for her to perceive the evils of National Socialism, but her works, based on a spirit of cultural conservatism and the restoration of traditional values, remained popular in postwar West Germany. She published shorter prose, Der vergrabene Schatz (The Buried Treasure, 1955) and Die alte Dame und der Schmetterling (The Old Woman and the Butterfly, 1964), as well as a collection of poetry in 1957. She followed this volume with the novels Das unverwesliche Erbe (The Incorruptible Inheritance, 1958) and Michaela: Aufzeichnungen des Jürgen Brook (Michaela: Notebooks of Jürgen Brook, 1959), which deals with the guilt of middle-class German Christians who had supported Hitler's Third Reich. She also wrote a volume of essays, Frau und Wort (Woman and Word, 1965) and such autobiographical works as Vor Tau und Tag: Geschicte einer Kindheit (Before Dew and Day: Story of a Childhood, 1962) and Lebensbericht 1885–1923 (Life Story 1885–1923, 1970).

sources:

Buck, Claire, ed. The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature. NY: Prentice Hall, 1992.

Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature. NY: Columbia University Press, 1980.

Seidel, Ina. Dichter, Volkstum und Sprache: Ausgewählte Vorträge und Aufsätze. Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1934.

——. Luise, Königin von Preussen: Ein Bericht über ihr Leben. Königstein and Leipzig: Eiserne Hammer, 1934.

David Paul Clarke , freelance writer, Bethesda, Maryland