[ARNIM, Bettina von].
A ‘STRANGE WILD BOOK’
[ARNIM, Bettina von]. [Cover title:] Goethe’s Correspondence with a Child. For his Monument. First Volume. [Colophon:] Printed by Trowitzsch & Son, Berlin. [1837.] [With:]
[—————]. The Diary of a Child. [Colophon: Printed by Trowitzsch & Son, Berlin] 1838.  
2 vols (of three), large 12mo (201 × 125 and 193 × 119 mm), pp. [10], iv, 390, with an engraved frontispiece of Goethe’s mother by Funke; [4], x, 325, [1], with 2 engraved plates by Funke, one after the author; uncut and partly unopened in the original printed wrappers, a little chipped, the lower quarter of the front cover of the first volume cut away and the leaf pasted to the verso of the frontispiece, spine chipped at head and short tear to lower joint, covers of the other volume skilfully reattached.
First edition in English of Arnim’s first book (the first and third volumes of three), privately printed in Berlin. The translation was done in part by Arnim herself, and the preface to the Diary explains the difficulties she, and the book, went through. Bettina Brentano (1785–1859), as she then was—granddaughter of the novelist Sophie de La Roche, sister of the poet Clemens Brentano, and later the wife of her brother’s friend, the writer Achim von Arnim—became friendly with Goethe’s mother on a visit to Frankfurt in 1806; she met Goethe himself the following year and remained in close contact with him until 1811 when, provoked by her behaviour towards his wife, he severed all connection. After her husband’s death in 1831, Bettina settled in Berlin, where she enjoyed moving in literary circles with the likes of Tieck, the Grimms, and the Humboldts. Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde (1835) has sometimes been condemned as literary forgery, but the work is really an imaginative novel in epistolary form, rather than a documentary collection of real letters. The subtitle ‘For his monument’ means exactly that: the book was to help raise funds to erect a monument in Goethe’s memory; Arnim’s line drawing of it is reproduced here as a frontispiece to vol. III. The translation was published commercially by Longmans in London, 1837–9.
Goedeke VI, 83, 3, d; Morgan 88 and 89.
£400   
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