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German women writers, Marie von Olfers, "Little Princess, " female agency, sisterhood


If we accept, as Edward Said suggests, that the terms authorship and authority both emphasize a writer’s capacity to establish an alternative discourse, control, and preserve it, then Marie von Olfers is best remembered as a tale spinner who redrafts conventional gender designations in her fairy tales. Specifically, her narrative “Little Princess,” published in 1862, presents alternative interpretations of female agency and sisterhood, while it also debases traditional concepts of family. Von Olfers’ unusual reading of these topics suggests that she construes family and rites of passage in response, perhaps even in opposition, to her male predecessors’ more traditional approach to the same themes.


This work is part of the Sophie Digital Library, an open-access, full-text-searchable source of literature written by German-speaking women from medieval times through the early 20th century. The collection, covers a broad spectrum of genres and is designed to showcase literary works that have been neglected for too long. These works are made available both in facsimiles of their original format, wherever possible, as well as in a PDF transcription that promotes ease of reading and is amenable to keyword searching.

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Sophie Journal


German Literature

Not Another Grim(m) Tale: The Rights of Passage in Marie von Olfers’ “Little Princess”