1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Arnim, Ludwig Achim (Joachim) von
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Arnim, Ludwig Achim (Joachim) von
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ARNIM, LUDWIG ACHIM (JOACHIM) VON (1781-1831), German poet and novelist, was born at Berlin on the 26th of January 1781. He studied natural science at Halle and Göttingen, and published one or two essays on scientific subjects; but his bent was from the first towards literature. From the earlier writings of Goethe and Herder he learned to appreciate the beauties of German traditional legends and folk-songs; and, forming a collection of these, published the result (1806-1808), in collaboration with Klemens Brentano (q.v.) under the title Des Knaben Wunderhorn. From 1810 onward he lived with his wife Bettina, Brentano’s sister, alternately at Berlin and on his estate at Wiepersdorf, near Dahme in Brandenburg, where he died on the 21st of January 1831. Arnim was a prolific and versatile writer, gifted with a sense of humour and a refined imagination—qualities shown in the best-known of his works, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, deficient as this is in the philological accuracy and faithfulness to original sources which would now be expected of such a compilation. In general, however, his writings, full as they are of the exaggerated sentiment and affectations of the romantic school, make but little appeal to modern taste. There are possible exceptions, such as the short stories Fürst Ganzgott und Sänger Halbgott and Der tolle Invalide auf dem Fort Ratonneau and the unfinished romance Die Kronenwächter (1817), which promised to develop into one of the finest historical romances of the 19th century. Among Arnim’s other works may be mentioned Hollins Liebesleben (1802), Der Wintergarten (1809), a collection of tales; Armut, Reichtum Schuld, und Busse der Gräfin Dolores (1810), a novel; Halle und Jerusalem (1811), a dramatic romance; and one or two smaller novels, such as Isabella von Ägypten (1812).
Arnim’s Sämtliche Werke were edited by his widow and published in Berlin in 1839-1840; second edition in 22 vols., 1853-1856. Selections have been edited by J. Dohmke (1892); M. Koch, Arnim, Klemens und Bettina Brentano, Görres (1893). Des Knaben Wunderhorn has been frequently republished, the best edition being that of A. Birlinger and W. Crecelius (2 vols., 1872-1876). See R. Steig, Achim von Arnim und Klemens Brentano (1894).