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Luise Büchner

A Nineteenth-Century Evolutionary Feminist


Cordelia Scharpf

This first book-length biography with discussions of select writings by Luise Büchner (1821-1877) draws on her commentary of events available in letters and writings. A close reading of Büchner’s fictional writings reveals that she both entertained and educated her readers. Her pedagogical messages correspond to ideas she promoted in her work on the «woman question». This in-depth study properly situates her in the changing cultural climate and socio-political developments that led to unification of the German states in 1871. Büchner tested and revised her thoughts on the «woman question» in the course of her practical work as a co-founder of local women’s associations and as a member of two competing «national» bourgeois women’s organizations. Her «voice» and temperament, as reflected in letters and articles not consulted by previous biographers, lead to surprising discoveries about a single woman whose life had more to offer than the narrowly prescribed roles assigned to middle-class women of her day.
Contents: Life in the Capital of Hesse-Darmstadt – Die Frauen und ihr Beruf, editions 1-3 – Büchner’s Fictional Work – Büchner’s Nonfictional Work – The Women’s Movement in the 1860s – The Women’s Movement in the 1870s – The Evolutionary Feminist.