Memoiren einer Idealistin

Name of traveller

Malwida von Meysenbug (1816-1903)

Reason for travel

  • intellectual exchange; breaking the routine of living in exile in London

Date of travel

1852, autumn 1857

Für die zahlreichen Kinder war ein deutscher Hauslehrer, eine französische Erzieherin und die gehörige Anzahl "upper and unders nurses" da, und das architektonische Ganze gipfelte in einer englischen Dame, Miss B..., derselben, die mich in Bangor empfangen hatte, welche die genaueste Kenntnis des englischen Kodex vom savoir-vivre hatte. (Meysenbug, II 36)


  • architecture: reference to Menai Suspension Bridge and Britannia Bridge
  • customs:
    • notes English style of household organisation in the gentrified home of Julia Schwabe; strict hierarchy among servants; employment of German and French teachers for the private educatation of the children
    • description of daily Unitarian morning services for the entire household conducted by Salis Schwabe (1800-1853)
    • particpates in gentrified lifestyle in rural north Wales
    • criticises strict social hierarchies and class consciousness, particularly that of the aristocracy
  • history: brief reference to the legendary massacre of the Welsh bards under Edward I (1239-1307)
  • industry: visits Penrhyn Quarry
  • people:
    • invited to north Wales by the German educationalist Julia Schwabe (1818-1896) to engage in intellectial exchange about theories on education
    • notes quick and complete assimilation of German immigrants with British culture and their self-identification as English
    • describes visiting a nearby prison, possibly in Beaumaris, in the company of the prison reformer and philanthropist Thomas Wright (1789–1875)
    • brief character study of William Amherst (1773-1857) during a visit to the Schwabe household
    • during second stay at Glyn Garth meets with German art historian Anton Springer (1825-1891), Czech painter Jaroslav ?ermák (1831-1878) and Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)
  • recreation: various excursions into north Wales as part of diversions for the gentrified population of the area
  • terrain:
    • praises increasingly picturesque landscapes travelling westwards through north Wales
    • full of praise for the country estate of the Schwabes
  • transport:
    • modes of travel: horse; train
    • travels first class in the train from London and along the north Wales railway
  • French translation: Mémoires d'une idéaliste. Trans. Adèle Fanta. 2 vol. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1900. Print.
  • English translation: Memoirs of Malwida von Meysenbug: Rebel in Bombazine. Trans. Elsa von Meysenbug Lyons. Ed. Mildred Adams. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1936. Print.
  • click here to read the full account in German

Nationality of traveller


Language of publication

German; translations in English and French

Gender of traveller


Type of publication



Meysenbug, Malwida von. Memoiren einer Idealistin. 3 vol. 1869-1876. Berlin: Schuster & Loeffler, 1900. II/34-62, III/122-30, III/221-2, III/248-9. Print.