This thesis explores a short drama of Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Without Love. It provides not only a complete English translation of the work, but also an interpretative introduction. By first examining the life of Ebner-Eschenbach, I am able to provide insight to the origins of the play. Because Ebner-Eschenbach faced so much opposition in her drama writing career this one act play becomes more relevant. It contains similar themes to her other works such as: gender roles, the role of the aristocracy, and love in marriage. Without Love examines the role of love in marriage by providing the reader with a comedic scenario in which a couple claims to marry without love. While purporting a marriage without love, there is in fact a great deal of love in the play. Love is an enabling power in the story that causes great change in the characters f lives. Ebner-Eschenbach uses love to argue against traditional romantic marriages and lay the pathway for a future where women can reject the patriarchal society and love for themselves. There is however, a distinct irony in the story because the title is after all, Without Love. I propose that love is indeed everywhere throughout the play and that Eschenbach uses this theme to push her own agenda of the modern women in aristocratic societies. Eschenbach writes in both a pre-modern and modern style and uses love to ensure the preservation of her own aristocratic class while advocating for social reform for all classes.



College and Department

Humanities; Germanic and Slavic Languages



Date Submitted


Document Type





Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Ohne Liebe, Female Austrian and German Authors of the 18th and 19th Centuries