Hans Von Bülow: A Life and Times

By Alan Walker | Go to book overview

The Meiningen Years,
1880–1885:
II: Enter Marie Schanzer

Oh, how I would like to be a different, a better man, in order to—serve you!

—Bülow1


I

Behind the public euphoria surrounding Bülow’s success with the Mein ingen Orchestra, an elation of a very private kind had taken possession of him. In the early part of 1882 he had fallen in love with a young Meiningen actress named Marie Schanzer, who eventually became his second wife. The story is fraught with complication, and it would require a Bal zac or a Dickens to do it proper justice. But the chronicle of Bülow’s life cannot continue much further without dwelling on this young woman, and the central role she was to play in his affairs.

Marie Schanzer was twenty-seven years Bülow’s junior.2 She was born in 1857, the same year that he had married Cosima. She entered into matrimony with Bülow in the full knowledge that her path would not be easy. In her memoir of him she points out that they had first met in the spring of 1877, when she was barely twenty years old, and he had seen her acting in the title role of Lessing’s ‘Minna von Barnhelm’ in the Karlsruhe

1. BB, vol. 6, p. 194.

2. The Schanzer family came from Cracow. Marie’s distinguished father was Stanislaus Schanzer, the Austrian Minister for Defence, and her mother was Amalie Hnatek. Marie’s younger brother, also named Stanislaus Schanzer (1859–1929), pursued a distinguished naval career, eventually becoming an admiral in the Austrian navy. Bülow tells us that Marie only learned to speak German in her tenth year. She also had an unmarried sister, Mlle Amalie Schanzer, who lived in Cracow and looked after their ailing mother.

-295-

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