Page 122 - PB Catalogue Cover 302 x210mm.indd
P. 122

PREFACE BY CHARLIE LEE-POTTER, TRANSLATED BY WALTER WALLICH
  Portrait of ten-year-old Marguerite van Mons 1886 by Theo van Rysselberghe
Effi Briest
THEODOR FONTANE
In some ways an ‘untypical’ Persephone Book, this is a late-C19th novel; by a man; translated from the German, by a man, 55 years ago. But Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (Fon-tah-nuh, no silent vowels in German), superficially an adultery novel about a 16-year-old girl married to a man 20 years older than her, is nevertheless the precursor of several of our books: it castigates parents for simply marrying off their daughters
An 1895 wallpaper designed by Henry van de Velde (1863–1957); he was Belgian but worked in Germany
rather than ensuring they have a future; it castigates male coldness and complacency: the men are weak and nothing gives them backbone but a ridiculous and disastrous code of honour; it castigates women’s timidity; it castigates Effi’s irresponsibility; it castigates society’s constraints: it is, in essence, about the socially unforgivable. But this plea for modern values is written in the most delicate, subtle and unharanguing language with lightness of touch and great empathy for its characters.The German novelist Thomas Mann said that if a library had to be reduced to only six novels, Effi Briest should be one of them.
PERSEPHONE BOOKS CATALOGUE
 NO 121
320pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781910263112

























































































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