Anna Croissant-Rust (1860-1943) is born as the youngest of six children of a salt mine inspector in Bad Dürkheim in Bavaria's Palatinate region. As a result of her father's job being transferred, she moves to Amberg in 1868. After his death in 1884, she moves to Munich and works as a language and music teacher, while also establishing contacts with the Schwabing Bohemians.
She is the first and only woman to become a member of the "Gesellschaft für modernes Leben" founded by Michael Georg Conrad (1846-1927) in 1890, which gives her access to and publication opportunities in journals such as "Die Gesellschaft" (Society), "Die Insel" (The Island), "Moderne Blätter" (Modern Gazette) and "Moderner Musenalmanach" (Modern Muses Almanach), as well as to the Georg Müller publishing house (founded 1903).
She makes her literary début in 1890 with the Munich workers' novella Feierabend (Knocking-off Time) and the Lebensstücke (Pieces of Life) novella and sketchbook. Gedichte in Prosa (Prose Poems), Der Kakadu und Prinzessin auf der Erbse. Zwei Novellen (The Cockatoo and Princess and the Pea. Two novellas – 1896) and the two plays Der standhafte Zinnsoldat (The Stalwart Tin Soldier) and Der Bua (The Boy – 1897) follow.
Married since 1888, Croissant-Rust moves to Ludwigshafen (1895) due to her husband's professional career. She only returns to Munich in 1904, where she quickly forms a circle of artists around her, including Otto Julius Bierbaum (1865-1910), Hans Brandenburg (1885-1968) and Waldemar Bonsels (1880-1952). Meanwhile, she publishes a series of works: the folk novel Die Nann (Nann) (1906), the small town story Winkelquartett (Quartet of Corners – 1908) set in Amberg, Felsenbrunner Hof. Eine Gutsgeschichte (Felsenbrunner Farm. History of an Estate – 1910) and the novella volume Arche Noah (Noah's Ark – 1911). In addition to Munich and Amberg, the Rhine Palatinate and Tyrolean mountain villages become vivid homelands for her colourful character portraits.
While her early work seems to have been very much influenced by the Naturalists, her late work is characterised by a particular stylistic development, ranging from the Art Nouveau at the turn of the century to pre-expressionist approaches. Her illustrated dance of death of 17 pictures Der Tod (Death), published in 1914, marks this transition: socially declassified, fairy-tale fantasy figures as well as the various variations of death are all depicted with expressionist furor, the language seems metaphorically charged and humanised.
After the small-town novel Unkebunk (1917) set on the Rhine, the poetess falls silent. She dies in Munich-Pasing at the age of 82.