Edited by Jeannine Blackwell and Susanne Zantop, this collection assembles little-known writings by fifteen authors from various social classes, religious backgrounds, and political persuasions. They include the forgotten pietist theologian Johanna Eleonore Petersen, the radical social reformer Bettina von Arnim, the outspoken peasant's daughter Anna Luisa Karsch, the aristocrats Annette von Droste-Hülshoff and Karoline von Günderrode, and the conservative monarchist Sophie von La Roche, among others. Their autobriographies and letters, "moral" and not so moral tales, lyrical and protest poems, plays, and fairy tales deal with religious crisis, family conflict, and harmony, mothers and daughters, wise women, romance and pain and the healing power of love, self-understanding, escape, and the magical and humorous. The variety and quality of the pieces testify to the creativity of women writers during this first peak of literary activity in Germany, the so-called Age of Goethe.
The editors have provided a short biography and bibliography for each writer.