ABSTRACT

Annette von Droste lay fallow as a prose writer for about fifteen years, until in 1837 she set to work on the tale later named Die Judenbuche and destined to be one of the most famous of German Novellen. In 1818 August von Haxthausen had written up the true Geschichte eines Algierer Sklaven for Die Wünschelrute, a short-lived periodical edited by Straube, but Annette had probably heard the strange tale already from her grandfather. In the autumn of 1760 one of those village weddings described in Bilder aus Westfalen took place. In the milling, perspiring throng ‘Friedrich, in his new sky-blue coat, was strutting round like a cock and staking his claim to be the greatest dandy’ in the village. The brilliance of writing and construction in Die Judenbuche makes it one of the outstanding works of German literature. The more often one reads it the more clearly it emerges that not a word is without significance.