Partner Berthy Moser
La Grande Maison, Grand'Rue 9, 1071 Chexbres, Switzerland
Irene "Didi" Forbes-Mosse, née von Flemming (born 5 August 1864 in Baden-Baden;† 26 December 1946 in Villeneuve,Switzerland), was a German writer. She wrote poems and stories that were praised for their atmospheric density and unsentimental psychological gaze, and worked as a translator. In the Third Reich, her books were forbidden. Vernon Lee wanted to go to what she called, in a letter to her German friend Irena Forbes-Mosse, the ‘Grand Feminist Convention’ in The Hague. In an endearingly loyal war-time correspondence between these two women of warring nations, Lee urged Forbes-Mosse to go to The Hague too: ‘Dearest, do not call these people “dreamers of dreams.” The dream, the infernal nightmare is the war, and peace is an inevitable natural awakening which sooner or later must come … it is your business and mine ... to put all our effort and heart into preparing to let bygones be bygones and working for better realities. That is not a dream … Our only enemies are the base régimes we have allowed to grow up. But do not be sceptical … your part, your part of love for me, as much as mine of love for you, makes us into builders of the new world.’
Irene Forbes-Mosse was born on 5 August 1864 in Baden-Baden, the daughter of the Prussian envoy to the Baden court, Albert Graf von Flemming (1813-1884), and Armgart von Arnim (1821-1880). She was the granddaughter of Bettina and Achim von Arnim. The writer Elisabeth Flemming von Heyking was her older sister. In 1884 she married her cousin, the Prussian riding master Roderich Deodat Wilhelm Albert Eduard von Oriola (1860-1911) and was divorced from him again in 1895. In 1896, she married John Forbes-Mosse, from England, and lived with him in Florence. There she befriended the English writer Vernon Lee (actually Violet Paget) and began her writing career. After the death of her husband in 1904, she undertook several trips. She resided in Germany until 1913, then in Italy and later in Switzerland. After the outbreak of the First World War, she regained German citizenship, which resulted in her loss of her property. During the war, she devoted herself to social tasks. From 1931 she lived with her friend Berthy Moser in Chexbres, Villeneuve on Lake Geneva, where she died in December 1946.
"In hiking, one now strips poetic figures like the Irene Forbes-Mosse, who is stronger than him [Th. Mann], insofar as she, this magnificent woman, granddaughter of Bettina Arnim, without any circumstances more poet's blood, more all-blood (in short: more strength)." – Alfred Kerr "Iréne Forbes-Mosse [united] completed beat with the greatest cosmopolitanism, love for the landscape, for the poor and the upbeat of happiness [...] with ever safer, noble attitude and instinctive taste. The epic core often suffers from the over-the-top tendency to adorable, mood-saturated arabesques, which is why the novels, stories and sketches [...] considerably surpass the novels [...]." – Ernst Alker
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