Effi Briest

Front Cover
Ullstein, 1994 - Berlin (Germany) - 363 pages
'I loathe what I did, but what I loathe even more is your virtue.'
Seventeen-year-old Effi Briest is steered by her parents into marriage with an ambitious bureaucrat, twenty years her senior. He takes her from her home to a remote provincial town on the Baltic coast of Prussia where she is isolated, bored, and prey to superstitious fears. She drifts into a half-hearted affair with a manipulative, womanizing officer, which ends when her husband is transferred to Berlin. Years later, events are triggered that will have profound consequences for Effi and her family.
Effi Briest (1895) is recognized as one of the masterpieces by Theodor Fontane, Germany's premier realist novelist, and one of the great novels of marital relations together with Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina. It presents life among the conservative Prussian aristocracy with irony and gentle humour, and opposes the rigid and antiquated morality of the time by treating its heroine with sympathy and keen psychological insight.
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About the author (1994)

Fontane's fictional studies of nineteenth-century Berlin society, written in his late maturity, secured him a firm place in literature as a master of the German realist novel; his declared aim was to show "the undistorted reflection of the life we lead." "He introduced his people in spirited conversations at picnics and banquets, and developed a broad and yet intimate perspective of background conditions; he was less interested in plots, and often would make a point by silence" (Ernst Rose). Effi Briest (1895), his masterpiece, is a revealing portrait of an individual victimized by outmoded standards. Fontane, on whom Sir Walter Scott had made a deep impression, traveled to England as a journalist and wrote two books based on his experiences: A Summer in London (1854) and Across the Tweed (1860). He also wrote historical novels, poetry, and dramatic criticism.

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