Author Topic: Books on the Hesse Royals  (Read 134751 times)

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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #180 on: October 15, 2011, 04:14:07 AM »
Whereas "Love, Power and tragedy" is not a scholarly work at all - not by long shot - Knodt's biography of Ernst Ludwig is several classes above, a well-researched work,  rich in details and free of unsubstantiated personal interpretations/convenient propaganda, and I find it a most useful book of reference, although he could have explored certain aspects of Ernst Ludwig´s private life in greater detail.

Marlene [Eilers Koenig] has said in the past that Dr Knodt spoke to her more freely about Ernst's personal life than he was able to write about it. As you probably know, he felt that Ernst was bisexual rather than homosexual, as he had uncovered evidence of illegitimate children. Given that and the unsavoury suggestions in other sources of an interest in young boys, it seems to me that EL was -at least in youth - a highly-sexed man who liked to try everything!
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #181 on: October 15, 2011, 04:38:19 AM »
P.S. To Helen, but for public consumption too - the tone of Ernst's letters to Nicholas which appear in your book amused me for their similarity to Alix's: "Don't think I am meddling, but I just HAD to say this!" The whole family was prone to hand out constant streams of advice on politics and everything, much though some of them - including Ernst himself - later claimed that Alix was an aberration under the influence of worry and Rasputin!  I still find him very interesting, but I think that people who expect him to be nice, sad, cuddly "Ernie" need to let go of that idea.
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Helen

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #182 on: October 15, 2011, 08:55:39 AM »
Whereas "Love, Power and tragedy" is not a scholarly work at all - not by long shot - Knodt's biography of Ernst Ludwig is several classes above, a well-researched work,  rich in details and free of unsubstantiated personal interpretations/convenient propaganda, and I find it a most useful book of reference, although he could have explored certain aspects of Ernst Ludwig´s private life in greater detail.
Marlene [Eilers Koenig] has said in the past that Dr Knodt spoke to her more freely about Ernst's personal life than he was able to write about it. As you probably know, he felt that Ernst was bisexual rather than homosexual, as he had uncovered evidence of illegitimate children. Given that and the unsavoury suggestions in other sources of an interest in young boys, it seems to me that EL was -at least in youth - a highly-sexed man who liked to try everything!
The one time when I had arranged a time and place to meet Dr Knodt in the late 1980s, something unforeseen occurred and we couldn't reschedule the engagement before my stay in Darmstadt ended; I've never met him personally, much to my regret.

Dr Knodt clearly chose not to discuss Ernst Ludwig's sexual inclination or marital problems in his book, which is understandable, I think, as such a discussion would probably have distracted too much attention from other aspects of his life. Knodt was most likely right about Ernst Ludwig being bisexual: Ernst Ludwig's marriage with Eleonore seemed to work, while, if one reads between the lines, the letters in my book provide the names of several male bisexual/homosexual friends, and there's strong evidence that Ernst Ludwig had an intimate relationship with at least one of them, evidence that Dr Knodt must have seen, too.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Martyn

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #183 on: October 15, 2011, 09:37:02 AM »
P.S. To Helen, but for public consumption too - the tone of Ernst's letters to Nicholas which appear in your book amused me for their similarity to Alix's: "Don't think I am meddling, but I just HAD to say this!" The whole family was prone to hand out constant streams of advice on politics and everything, much though some of them - including Ernst himself - later claimed that Alix was an aberration under the influence of worry and Rasputin!

Hardly surpsrising, seeing as they had probably been on the receiving end of advice from QV for years!  Learned behaviour sans doute....

 
I still find him very interesting, but I think that people who expect him to be nice, sad, cuddly "Ernie" need to let go of that idea.

Quite so, Janet.  This is exactly why we need something in print that explores his complex and interesting nature, as well as all the different aspects of his life.
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

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Offline Helen

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #184 on: October 15, 2011, 10:28:08 AM »
The whole family was prone to hand out constant streams of advice on politics and everything, much though some of them - including Ernst himself - later claimed that Alix was an aberration under the influence of worry and Rasputin!
Indeed, there was a lot of hypocrisy among them.
I'm not sure what to think of Ernst Ludwig's letter of advice of 26 September/9 October 1905; it's of course an informal letter, and English was not his native language, but the whole letter strikes me as rather simple, almost childlike.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #185 on: October 15, 2011, 02:14:27 PM »
I think it is possible to write more honest account about Ernie since the whole family has passed away.

Offline Marlene

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #186 on: January 20, 2012, 01:55:31 PM »

He did - to use an American expression, Ernie apparently played for both teams.    More seriously, Ernie does not come off well in Dearest Missy  in comments by Grand Duchess Marie to Marie regarding Ernie's inability to be interested in sex with women.

Whereas "Love, Power and tragedy" is not a scholarly work at all - not by long shot - Knodt's biography of Ernst Ludwig is several classes above, a well-researched work,  rich in details and free of unsubstantiated personal interpretations/convenient propaganda, and I find it a most useful book of reference, although he could have explored certain aspects of Ernst Ludwig´s private life in greater detail.

Marlene [Eilers Koenig] has said in the past that Dr Knodt spoke to her more freely about Ernst's personal life than he was able to write about it. As you probably know, he felt that Ernst was bisexual rather than homosexual, as he had uncovered evidence of illegitimate children. Given that and the unsavoury suggestions in other sources of an interest in young boys, it seems to me that EL was -at least in youth - a highly-sexed man who liked to try everything!
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #187 on: January 21, 2012, 01:00:33 PM »
I think once Ducky's letters to Missy is published, the real reason behind their marriage will be revealed. Heard a snippet of that from John Wimbles in RD Weekend. She comes off more of a desperate person that the one presented. She really tried to understand Ernie, but failed.

Offline tilki48

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #188 on: January 26, 2012, 07:33:28 PM »
The whole family was prone to hand out constant streams of advice on politics and everything, much though some of them - including Ernst himself - later claimed that Alix was an aberration under the influence of worry and Rasputin!
Indeed, there was a lot of hypocrisy among them.
I'm not sure what to think of Ernst Ludwig's letter of advice of 26 September/9 October 1905; it's of course an informal letter, and English was not his native language, but the whole letter strikes me as rather simple, almost childlike.

Guess, the letter Ernst Ludwig wrote to Nicholas on 26 September/9 October 1905 mostly was an information for reliability, because the Grand Duke had some experience with motor-cars and car-demolishing. Also he knew that there always was danger for the tsar by assassin, so he gave safety-advices as a good friend, and probaply tried to sell one or more hessian Opel-Cars to the tsar. Even Ernst Ludwigs suggestion for publishing more private information about the daily life and the activities of the emperors family for general welfare reflects Ernst Ludwigs interest, to change the image of the tsaristic family and to bring them nearer to the people. It is sure an informal and quick written letter and reflects Ernst Ludwigs sorrow and thoughtfulness for the well-being of his relatives.
But why do you think: „English was not his native language“ ? It was Ernst Ludwigs mother tongue and I guess, he also spoke English with Victoria Melita usulally. The letters and postcards from India he wrote to his daughter are in English language.
Dear Mister Knodt I did not know nearer, but saw and listened him sometimes speaking about the Grand Duke, alltimes with commanding respect. Knodt was the son of a very conservative lutheran pastor and conservative himself. He sure knew all the rumor, gossip and more or less half-truth „wild stories“, which where told in Darmstadt in former times about Ernst Ludwig; but he was to much gentleman for telling something clearly and i am very skeptic, what he really knew substantial about Ernst Ludwigs sexual preferences.
Please excuse my school-like English and being an "electronic-illiterate"

Offline Helen

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #189 on: January 27, 2012, 05:11:18 AM »
Dear Mister Knodt I did not know nearer, but saw and listened him sometimes speaking about the Grand Duke, alltimes with commanding respect. Knodt was the son of a very conservative lutheran pastor and conservative himself. He sure knew all the rumor, gossip and more or less half-truth „wild stories“, which where told in Darmstadt in former times about Ernst Ludwig; but he was to much gentleman for telling something clearly and i am very skeptic, what he really knew substantial about Ernst Ludwigs sexual preferences.
I'm aware of Dr Knodt's background and fully respect his decision not to address Ernst Ludwig's sexual preferences or marital problems in his book. Although we may never know what he knew and what he suspected, while working at the Hessisches Staatsarchiv in Darmstadt, he may have come across a specific item including explicit statements that remove any doubts. There is evidence that the rumors and gossip were more than just that and had elements of truth in them and that Ernst Ludwig himself contributed to his marital problems.

But why do you think: „English was not his native language“ ? It was Ernst Ludwigs mother tongue and I guess, he also spoke English with Victoria Melita usulally. The letters and postcards from India he wrote to his daughter are in English language.
Sure! Ernst Ludwig conversed and wrote in English with several of his relatives, but his father's language was German. He was also grand duke of a German state and, as a consequence, must have spoken German with dozens and dozens of people every day and have read and written all kinds of official documents in German every day. And he wrote his poetry in German, not in English, if I'm not mistaken. This German background shows in his letter of 26 September/9 October 1905; his command of the German language must have been considerably better than the command of the English language he showed in this letter.

Guess, the letter Ernst Ludwig wrote to Nicholas on 26 September/9 October 1905 mostly was an information for reliability, because the Grand Duke had some experience with motor-cars and car-demolishing. Also he knew that there always was danger for the tsar by assassin, so he gave safety-advices as a good friend, and probaply tried to sell one or more hessian Opel-Cars to the tsar. Even Ernst Ludwigs suggestion for publishing more private information about the daily life and the activities of the emperors family for general welfare reflects Ernst Ludwigs interest, to change the image of the tsaristic family and to bring them nearer to the people. It is sure an informal and quick written letter and reflects Ernst Ludwigs sorrow and thoughtfulness for the well-being of his relatives.
I'm aware of the fact that the Grand Duke's advice was meant well, but that doesn't alter the fact that this particular letter strikes me as rather simple anyway. It's probably a combination of Ernst Ludwig's wording and the contents of his advice that creates this impression.
Ernst Ludwig was stating the obvious when he suggested that the Tsar buy at least two different cars for security reasons. As security was such an issue at the Russian court, one would think that this thought had already occurred to those involved.
And although his remarks about legislation on foreign investments in Russia make sense, they do make me wonder whether the Tsar and his ministers hadn't already considered his arguments and hadn't already made some cost-benefit analyses.

It's off topic, but I was surprised that, according to Ernst Ludwig, Hesse saw its 'income' increase by 10% from 1875 to 1905, i.e. in 30 years. Ernst Ludwig does not specify the method used to calculate this income - does he refer to gross national product? A 10% increase in 30 years seems to suggest a rather low economic growth rate, when compared to historical GNP data for my own country or for the US or Tsarist Russia in that same era.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2012, 05:21:08 AM by Helen »
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Thomas_Hesse

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #190 on: February 07, 2012, 02:47:51 AM »
Quote from: tilki48 on January 26, 2012, 06:33:28 PM
But why do you think: „English was not his native language“ ? It was Ernst Ludwigs mother tongue and I guess, he also spoke English with Victoria Melita usulally. The letters and postcards from India he wrote to his daughter are in English language.

Sure! Ernst Ludwig conversed and wrote in English with several of his relatives, but his father's language was German. He was also grand duke of a German state and, as a consequence, must have spoken German with dozens and dozens of people every day and have read and written all kinds of official documents in German every day. And he wrote his poetry in German, not in English, if I'm not mistaken. This German background shows in his letter of 26 September/9 October 1905; his command of the German language must have been considerably better than the command of the English language he showed in this letter.

Like his sister Grand Duchess Elisaveta Ernst Ludwig had massive problems concerning grammar/spelling in his childhood. Both of them stayed with what I call "strange terms" of writing throughout their life.
As for the English/German thing: there was a very strong English influence in the New Palace - including Princess Alice, Mrs. Orchard and Jackson. This left its mark on the girls (in a letter to her father Princess Ella says "sorry for writing in English to you but I am in a hurry") but Helen is right saying that Ernst Ludwig being the heir had a more "germanic" upbringing.
Writing his poetry in German might be due to the fact that he was influenced by many German authors of the time such as Unruh etc.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 03:07:47 AM by Thomas_Hesse »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #191 on: February 07, 2012, 01:03:32 PM »
I do wonder if there are any publication of Ernie's letters and diaries in German ? (that is other than the Alexandra one).

Offline Helen

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #192 on: February 07, 2012, 02:43:55 PM »
It seems he didn´t keep a diary, except during some shorter periods of time during WWI. As far as I know, these wartime diaries have not been published.

"Friede durch geistige Erneuerung. Fritz von Unruh und Grossherzog Ernst Ludwig von Hessen" , edited by Eckhart G. Franz and published by Justus Liebig Verlag in Darmstadt in 1987, includes a small number of letters written by Ernst Ludwig to Fritz von Unruh.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #193 on: February 07, 2012, 04:56:22 PM »
Sounds interesting. Love to know what he wrote to his men friends.

Offline perdita

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Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« Reply #194 on: November 16, 2012, 10:13:45 AM »

He did - to use an American expression, Ernie apparently played for both teams.    More seriously, Ernie does not come off well in Dearest Missy  in comments by Grand Duchess Marie to Marie regarding Ernie's inability to be interested in sex with women.

Whereas "Love, Power and tragedy" is not a scholarly work at all - not by long shot - Knodt's biography of Ernst Ludwig is several classes above, a well-researched work,  rich in details and free of unsubstantiated personal interpretations/convenient propaganda, and I find it a most useful book of reference, although he could have explored certain aspects of Ernst Ludwig´s private life in greater detail.

Marlene [Eilers Koenig] has said in the past that Dr Knodt spoke to her more freely about Ernst's personal life than he was able to write about it. As you probably know, he felt that Ernst was bisexual rather than homosexual, as he had uncovered evidence of illegitimate children. Given that and the unsavoury suggestions in other sources of an interest in young boys, it seems to me that EL was -at least in youth - a highly-sexed man who liked to try everything!

It would be interesting to hear Ernest Ludwig's version of events--i.e., Victoria Melita as wife & consort to Ernest Ludwig.

Apparently, Victoria Melita did not come off well in the eyes of her daughter, Princess Elizabeth of Hesse. The little girl adored her father. Her mother NO.