Imma von Ehrenfels was born into a time when the intellectual elite of the West was convinced that the old world was about to collapse. These fears of downfall were also widespread in Austria-Hungary. Imma’s thinking was shaped by her living environment as the child of a noble family of landowners in the Lower Austrian Waldviertel, as well as by the ideas of her father, the philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels – a very cosmopolitan scientist who is considered to be the founder of the Gestalt theory.
In August 1909, at the age of fourteen, Imma met Norbert von Hellingrath. This young philosopher, described as odd, becomes her great love, which has a lasting impact on her life, because she found herself through Norbert, as she confesses many years later. Hellingrath is a passionate admirer of Friedrich Hölderlin and is regarded as his rediscoverer. He signes up as a war volunteer in 1914 and dies in the Battle of Verdun in December 1916.
Imma Ehrenfels marries Wilhelm Bodmershof eight years later, and together with him they manage one of the Ehrenfels family estates in the Waldviertel. Both share literary and intellectual interests. Since Imma is in close contact with Norbert von Hellingrath’s aunt, Elsa Bruckmann, who is an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler, she gets to know the ideology of National Socialism early, which in the beginning falls on fertile ground, especially with her husband. He becomes a member of the NSDAP as early as 1933 – at a time when the party is still prohibited in Austria. Imma Bodmershof becomes a follower.
She appears with her first prose work in 1937, and from then publishes mainly novels, including Die Rosse des Urban Roithner (1950) and Seven Hand Full of Salt (1958), as well as short stories. She is also known for her German-language haiku. For her artistic work she receives the Grand Austrian State Prize for Literature in 1958, and subsequently other prestigious awards.
2020, 384 pages, 12 ill., hardcover, 14 cm x 22 cm
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