EBNER-ESCHENBACH, MARIE, Freifrau von (1830- ), Austrian novelist, was born at Zdislavič in Moravia, on the 13th of September 1830, the daughter of a Count Dubsky. She lost her mother in early infancy, but received a careful intellectual training from two stepmothers. In 1848 she married the Austrian captain, and subsequent field-marshal, Moritz von Ebner-Eschenbach, and resided first at Vienna, then at Klosterbruck, where her husband had a military charge, and after 1860 again at Vienna. The marriage was childless, and the talented wife sought consolation in literary work. In her endeavours she received assistance and encouragement from Franz Grillparzer and Freiherr von Münch-Bellinghausen. Her first essay was with the drama Maria Stuart in Schottland, which Philipp Eduard Devrient produced at the Karlsruhe theatre in 1860. After some other unsuccessful attempts in the field of drama, she found her true Sphere in narrative. Commencing with Die Prinzessin von Banalien (1872), she graphically depicts in Božena (Stuttgart, 1876, 4th ed. 1899) and Das Gemeindekind (Berlin, 1887, 4th ed. 1900) the surroundings of her Moravian home, and in Lotti, die Uhrmacherin (Berlin, 1883, 4th ed. 1900), Zwei Comtessen (Berlin, 1885, 5th ed. 1898), Unsühnbar (1890, 5th ed. 1900) and Glaubenslos? (1893) the life of the Austrian aristocracy in town and country. She also published Neue Erzählungen (Berlin, 1881, 3rd ed. 1894), Aphorismen (Berlin, 1880, 4th ed. 1895) and Parabeln, Märchen und Gedichte (2nd ed., Berlin, 1892). Frau von Ebner-Eschenbach's elegance of style, her incisive wit and masterly depiction of character give her a foremost place among the German women-writers of her time. On the occasion of her seventieth birthday the university of Vienna conferred upon her the degree of doctor of philosophy, honoris causa.
An edition of Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach's Gesammelte Schriften began to appear in 1893 (Berlin). See A. Bettelheim, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach: biographische Blätter (Berlin, 1900), and M. Necker, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, nach ihren Werken geschildert (Berlin, 1900).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)