Meysenbug, Malvida, Freiin von

(1816—1903) writer and exile

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(Kassel, 1816–1903, Rome), younger sister of a reactionary politician of the Grand Duchy of Baden, was a revolutionary in 1848 (see Revolutionen 1848–9), and was banned from Berlin in 1852 because of her contacts with revolutionary figures. She emigrated to London, took employment as a governess and also acted as a newspaper correspondent. In 1862 she moved to Italy. She became an admirer of R. Wagner and from 1872 was a frequent visitor to his Bayreuth home. She was also a friend of Nietzsche, spending the winter of 1876–7 with him at Sorrento. In 1877 she settled in Rome. She was on friendly terms with many prominent figures, including Garibaldi, Mazzini, Liszt, and Romain Rolland. She published memoirs (Memoiren einer Idealistin, 3 vols., 1875) and a later volume of autobiography, Der Lebensabend einer Idealistin (1898); her correspondence with Nietzsche was published posthumously (1905). She is the author of one novel, Phädra (3 vols., 1885).

From The Oxford Companion to German Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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