Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

About Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, (12 July 1874, Swinemünde - 15 December 1927, Paris), was a German painter, sculptor, poet, reciter, muse and nude model. She began to write from 1918 in the American magazine The Little Review. Her work is featured alongside chapters from James Joyce's Ulysses. Jane Heap, the famous American publisher, considered her The First American Dada. Most of her works remained unpublished until the publication of Body Sweats: The Uncensored Writings of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the first major English collection of her poems, published posthumously in 2011 by MIT Press, and edited by the biographer of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven Irene Gammel and Canadian poet and teacher Suzanne Zelazo.
Her personal papers were kept after her death by her publisher, literary agent, artistic collaborator and lover Djuna Barnes. This collection responds to the Baroness desire to have her poetry published in a book, a project she started with Barnes but never realized during her lifetime.
The University of Maryland Library acquired this collection along with the Barnes Archive in 1973 and later separated them to create a dedicated fonds. The collection contains correspondence, visual poems, and other artistic and literary works from the artist. The University of Maryland also has an extensive digital archive of her manuscripts.
Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven died in her sleep from gas poisoning in her apartment in Paris. It was never clarified whether this was an accident, murder or suicide. It is said to have housed a sailor who had opened the gas valve in the apartment. As Djuna Barnes remarked: She may simply have been the tragic victim of a cruel joke taken too far.

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