By Constant von Wurzbach-Tannenberg
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In her role as self-appointed royal advisor, she continued to call the king's attention to injustice 9. Hellmut Kuhn and Manfred Schlosser, "Bettina von Arnim: Ein Brief," in Preussen, Dein Spree-A then, ed. Hellmut Kuhn (Hamburg, 1981), pp. 98ff. 10. Werner Vordtriede, Bettina von Arnims Armenbuch (Frankfurt am Main, 1981), p. 123. 35 to individuals, to breaches of civil liberties, to restrictions on thought and expression; but the center of her attention - and here she was certainly among the clearest-eyed of her generation -was the evils generated by the new industrialism.
To call Bettina a realist would seem to be a willful denial of the extent to which she was herself a product of the romantic period. The granddaughter of Sophie de la Roche, the friend of Wieland, and herself the author of sentimental novels, she was the sixth of eight gifted and eccentric children of an Italian import dealer who lived in Frankfurt am Main and a German 30 mother whose beauty had attracted the attention of the young Goethe. " Clemens not only guided his sister's reading but introduced her to his friends and acquaintances in the arts, and she soon became spoiled, precocious, and self-centered, given to bizarre language and strange conceits.
We are distinguished by it from other countries. . But there are differences. Degrees. "15 When he touched on this aristocratic form of Borussismusthis tendency to regard Prussianism as a superior form of culture - Fontane was content in his novels to confine himself to the use of caricature. In his letters, however, particularly in those to confidants like Georg Friedlander, he made no bones about his growing contempt for a class that, on the one hand, lived in the inflexible conviction that the country could not survive without them, and, on the other, accepted the tariffs and subventions that a complacent government granted them and opposed every tendency that could be considered progressive or even modern.