Franziska zu Reventlow 1871-1918
Franziska (Fanny) Gräfin zu Reventlow was born into German mobility which she rebelled against early on. Neither very political nor a deadset feminist, Fanny was extremely independent all her life, loving and appreciating the value of both sexes.
“Reventlow is best known as one of the most unorthodox voices of the early women’s movement in Europe. While many of her peers were pressing for improved social, political, and economic rights for women, Reventlow argued that ardent feminists, whom she labelled “viragoes,” were actually harming women by attempting to erase or deny the natural differences between men and women. Reventlow maintained that sexual freedom, and the abolition of the institution of marriage, were the best means by which women could hope to achieve a more equal social standing with men.” [source]
Fanny was a single mother (her son was born in 1897) living in a sharehouse in the famous Munich suburb Schwabing and supporting herself doing all kinds of work.
Mostly, she was a genre-defying writer (I know of one of her works translated into English) with a super-wry sense of humor and amazing observation skills. She gets compared with Kafka and Camus, and was friends with Rainer Maria Rilke.
She died from the injuries of a bicycle accident when she was only in her late forties.
Thank you Fanny, for your courageous life swimming against the lame stream!!!
“I will and must become free one day; deeply ingrained in my nature is this uncontrollable striving and longing for freedom. The smallest fetter that others may not perceive as such, weighs upon me unbearably and I must engage in a battle against all fetters and restraints. I have felt this way all my life […]. Mustn’t I free myself, mustn’t I rescue my inner self—I know that I will perish if I don’t.” [source]