Ricarda Huch

* 18.07.1864 (Braunschweig) 17.11.1947 (Königsberg/Taunus) Germany
Fields of activity: authoress, poetress, philosopher, historian
Author: Ilse Fodil

411px-Ricarda Huch, 1914


There are no eternal rocks in the sea of life.

Why did I choose this woman?

In 1968 when I heard the first time about Ricarda Huch, I was so much impressed by her - such an

extraordinarily intelligent, courageous, emancipated and active woman. At those times when in

Germany women had not the same rights and could not go to University, I think that Ricarda created herself a modest island of freedom.

Childhood, youth, family

In 1864 in Braunschweig, Ricarda Octavia Huch was born as a third child of Richard and Emilie Huch. Her father made a considerable fortune through comercial businesses with Brazil. Then her sister Lilly was born. Ricarda was jealous of her during all the life, as well as of her brother Rudolf, later also a famous writer. After her birth the family settled in Braunschweig, however, her father also worked in Brazil. Because of his long periods of absence and the fact that her mother was of ill health since her birth, the grandparents from her mother‘s side were integrated in the education of the children.

Ricarda grew up in a christian middle-class conservative environment. As she was very eager to learn, she was taught at home up to her ninth year of age. Afterwards, up to her 14th year, she attended a private school and then she continued studying on her own. During the absence of her father she compensated her sadness by reading many books in his big library and so got relationship to literature. It was her grandfather who explained her the political and historical coherences and also music had a high value in the family. So music and also religion had an important meaning during all her life. Through her friendship with Anna Klie, who descended from a poor family and later became also a poet, Ricarda, daughter of a higher society, got schockingly confronted with the social situation of the lower classes at that time.

Still very young, she fell in love with her cousin and brother in law, Richard Huch, which was of course a great scandal in the society of Braunschweig. This love overshadowed her whole life.Consequently her family sent Ricarda to Switzerland to study, which became a second scandal.

Life, study and writing in Switzerland

In 1888 the highly gifted Ricarda went to Zürich, passed within a short time the final high-school examinations and started studying history, philosophy and politics. Only short time later her first poems and lyrics were published under the pseudonym R.I.Carda and Richard Hugo.

In 1892, as one of the first women, she took her degree and published first dramas as well as her autobiographical novel „Erinnerungen von Ludolf Ursleu dem jüngeren“ (Memoires of Ludolf Ursleu junior) a resumé of her unfulfilled love to Richard Huch. From 1894 she could publish her works under her own name.

Life and work in various European cities

In 1896 Ricarda moved to Bremen to teach German and history. However, in 1897, after Richard Huch ended their love relation, she left Bremen and went to Vienna. There, in 1888, she married Ermano Ceconi, an Italian dentist, who was 6 years younger and moved with him to Triest, which belonged to Austria at that time. In the same year she gave birth to the daughter Marietta.

In 1899 she published the first volume of her literary scientific study „The Romanticism“ and produced the novel „Aus der Triumpfgasse“ (Out of the Triumph Lane), published in Munich in 1902.

In 1900 the familie Huch-Ceconi moved to Munich where Ricarda continued her literary work and lectured. In the following years she produced extensive historical works about the Italian fighters for freedom Garibaldi and Confalonieri. With this scientific work, as she was the first who was engaged with the history of the reunion of Italy, she aquired the esteem from the Italian fashists and because of this was not politically persecuded by the German nationalists.

In 1906 Ricarda Huch got divorced from Ceconi, because he had an affair with her nice.

One year later, she was 43 years old, she married Richard Huch, who was meanwhile divorced from her sister. They lived in Braunschweig. However, they got divorced already in 1910.

Further life and work

After her divorce Ricarda went back to Munich. Between 1912 and 1914 she published three volumes, „Der große Krieg in Deutschland“ (The big war in Germany), the character study „Wallenstein“. During the WWI she lived in Switzerland and wrote religious philosophical works like „Der Sinn der Heiligen Schrift“ (The meaning of the Holy Scriptures). Her criminal story „The case Deruga“ was published in1917 and was filmed several times.

In 1924 Ricarda Huch became Honorary Senatoress of the University of Munich.

From the beginn of 1927 she lived with her daughter in Berlin, Heidelberg, Freiburg and Jena and received the Goethe honours of the city of Frankfurt/Main.

In 1933 she left the membership of the Preußische Akademie der Künster because of the starting totaliarian power of the nationalists and their racial policy. However, because of her national conservative attidude she could go on publishing in the following years up to the end of the WWII. These were for example the works „Deutsche Geschichte“ (German History), „Frühling in der Schweiz“ (Spring in Switzerland) and „Herbstfeuer“ (Fire in Autumn), her last poetry volume.

After 1945 she made a study about the students‘ resistance in Munich in 1943.

This was published with the title „Der lautlose Aufstand“ (Resistance without a voice) in 1954.

To her 82nd birthday she received a honorary doctor’s degree of the Friedich-Schiller-University of Jena.

In 1947 she moved with her daughter‘s family to Frankfurt/Main and became in the same year the Honorary President of the German Writers‘ Congress in East-Berlin.

Ricarda Huch, who is one of the most important German poetresses and authoresses died at Schöneberg/Taunus on the 17th November 1947.


  • Helene Baumgarten:Ricarda Huch. Von ihrem Leben und Schafen. 2. Aufl.Köln u.a. Böhland 1968

  • Marie Brau: Leuchtende Spur, Tübingen 1950


  • Quotation: http://www.zitate.eu/de/autor/1676/ricarda-huch

  • http://www.phil-fak.uni-duesseldorf.de/frauenarchiv/ausstellungen/europa/huch/, 19.7.2013

  • de.wikipedia.org/wiki/RicardaHuch, v.19.7.2013

  • http://www.dhm.de/lemo/html/biografien/HuchRicarda/, v.19.7.2013

  • Frommholz, Rüdiger, Huch, Ricarda, geb. Huch – URL: http://www.deutsche-biographie.de/sfz34102.html, v. 28.8.2013

  • http://www.fernuni-hagen.de/imperia/md/content/gleichstellung/heft38mau.pdf

  • Vortrag Dr. Doris Maurer, Bonn, am 14.1.2002, Vortragssaal der Fernuniversität Hagen, v.23.9.2013

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