Reventlow, Franziska zu: Erziehung und Sittlichkeit



Artist, author, erotic genius, single mother and self-determined woman – extreme lines of flight define Franziska zu Reventlow (1871-1918). Her reflections on femininity can be found, among other things, in three essays published from 1898 onwards, with this one having been published in the "Buch von der Lex Heinze" (1900). "Erziehung und Sittlichkeit" (Education and Morality) draws pedagogical consequences by calling for the education of children without "dead abstractions and dogmatic formulas" that plunge adolescents into conflicts of conscience. According to Reventlow, these can be avoided by a liberal-libertarian education that is in harmony with aesthetic perception: "We therefore want to work towards making the valuation of the beautiful more and more prominent in education [...] by frequently contemplating the naked form – whether it be in life or in artistic representations, whether on one’s own body or on another person’s body." In a similar vein, Reventlow "refers to her erotic practice as 'l’amour pour l’amour', whose ancient analogue she believed she recognised in hetairism. The term 'hetairai' is, as it were, a cipher for the free, economically and intellectually independent woman who has self-determination over herself and her body, who is an equal erotic partner to the man and who brings up her children independently." (Baal Müller)


Peter Czoik