Although primarily known within the history of German literature as an outstanding lyrical poet of the nineteenth century, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff also wrote a novella, Die Judenbuche: Ein Sittengemälde aus dem Gebirgichten Westfalen (1842; The Jew’s Beech Tree, 1914), that ranks among the best of both novellas and the historical mystery genre. Tightly constructed and vividly written, this story of murder, guilt, and the eventual triumph of justice presents a realistic picture of village life in Westphalia (now in Germany) during the late eighteenth century as well as psychological portraits of individual characters that suggest the author’s keen sense of observation. In 1844, Droste-Hülshoff began another mystery prose piece, “Joseph: Eine Kriminalgeschichte” (Joseph: a crime story), but it unfortunately remained a fragment and has never been translated.
Foulkes, Peter. Introduction to Die Judenbuche: Ein Sittengemälde aus dem Gebirgichten Westfalen, by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell, 1989. English-language introduction to and analysis of a German-language edition of Droste-Hülshoff’s mystery novella.
Mare, Margaret. Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. London: Methuen, 1965. Probably the most comprehensive study of the life of Droste-Hülshoff available in English. Includes a bibliography.
Morgan, Mary E. Annette von Droste-Hülshoff: A Biography. New York: P. Lang, 1984. Book-length study of the life of the German poet, playwright, and author.
Pickar, Gertrude Bauer. Ambivalence Transcended: A Study of the Writings of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1997. Detailed, comprehensive study of Droste-Hülshoff’s oeuvre, including her portrayal of women, her representation of fantasy, and her use of narrative perspective.
Webber, Andrew. “Traumatic Identities: Race and Gender in Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s Die Judenbuche and Freud’s Der Mann Moses.” In Harmony in Discord: German Women Writers in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, edited by Laura Martin. New York: P. Lang, 2001. Focuses on the distinctively nineteenth century German nature of Droste-Hülshoff’s mystery and its particular representation of race and gender.
Whitinger, Raleigh. “From Confusion to Clarity: Further Reflections on the Revelatory Function of Narrative Technique and Symbolism in Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s Die Judenbuche.” In Deutsche Vierteljahresschrift für Literatur-wissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 54 (1982): 259-283. Detailed discussion of Droste-Hülshoff’s use and generation of revelation—a key aspect of The Jew’s Beech Tree and of any mystery story.