Ludwig Achim von Arnim
Bettina von Arnim

Ludwig Achim and Bettina von Arnim

Carl Joachim Ludwig von Arnim was born in Berlin on January 26, 1781. His father was the royal Prussian chamberlain Joachim Erdmann von Arnim (1741-1804) and his mother, Amalie Caroline, neé Labes (1761-1781), died shortly after his birth. Achim and his older brother Carl Otto grew up with their grandmother, Baroness Caroline von Labes (1730-1810) on the estate Zernikow and in Berlin. After the death of their father in 1804 the two brothers inherited the Bärwalde and Wiepersdorf estates.
During his study of law in Halle and Göttingen (1798-1801) Achim von Arnim met the writers Ludwig Tieck and Clemens Brentano. After his studies he turned to literature and began to publish. He also undertook extended educational travels throughout Europe with his brother Carl Otto. At the home of his writer friend Clemens Brentano in Frankfurt am Main he met Brentano’s younger sister, Bettina, whom he married in 1811.
Together with Clemens Brentano he published the folksong collection <Des Knaben Wunderhorn> [The Youth’s Magic Horn], which he followed with numerous poems, novellas, novels and plays of his own.
Ludwig Achim von Arnim took over the management of the Bärwalde and Wiepersdorf estates in early 1814 and he and Bettina, together with their two sons, Freimund and Siegmund, moved from Berlin to Wiepersdorf where they received visits by his brother-in-law Clemens Brentano, Friedrich Carl von Savigny and Wilhelm Grimm.
Although Bettina returned to Berlin three years later, Achim remained in Wiepersdorf as master of the manor and author until his early and unexpected death on January 21, 1831. It was here that he wrote his well-known novel <Die Kronenwächter> [<Guardians of the Crown<].
His grave is located in the family cemetery next to the Wiepersdorf church.

Bettina von Arnim, neé Brentano, was born on April 4, 1785 in Frankfurt am Main. The Brentanos, who were originally from northern Italy, are counted among the most important families in German cultural life. Bettina’s father, Peter Anton Brentano, was an envoy of the Elector of Trier.  Her mother, Maximiliane, neé La Roche, was a childhood friend of Goethe’s. From the time she was 12 after the early death of her parents, Bettina lived in Offenbach with her grandmother, the writer, Sophie von La Roche.
In 1802 Bettina met her brother’s friend Achim von Arnim for the first time; nine years later she married him. In the meantime Bettina met Tieck, Goethe and Beethoven, among others, which had a significant impact on her and her views on art.
After the birth of her first two sons – the couple had seven children – Bettina began her life as the mistress of the manor in Wiepersdorf.
However, in 1817 she and the children returned to Berlin where she actively participated in the social and intellectual life of the Prussian capital and championed the poor and the politically prosecuted.
Although the literary pair lived separated from one another for the most part, the lively correspondence between Berlin and Wiepersdorf provides valuable insights into this unusual marriage as wall as into country and city life at the beginning of the 19th century.
After Achim von Arnim’s death Bettina published his work and commenced her own literary activities. She gained a reputation through her epistolary novels <Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde < [<Goethe’s Correspondence with a Child<],   <Die Günderode< [<Günderode<] and <Der Frühlingskranz< [<The Spring Wreath<] and the work <Dies Buch gehört dem König< [<This Book belongs to the King<]. She enjoyed close friendships with Rahel Varnhagen, Robert Schumann, Hermann Fürst Pückler-Muskau and Friedrich Schleiermacher.
Bettina von Arnim died in Berlin on January 20, 1859 and is buried in Wiepersdorf. Her social commitment and openmindedness, her publishing activities and her own literary endeavors make her one of the most important women of the 19th century.