PREFACE BY EVA IBBOTSON
A street in Frankenthal, Germany in 1933, newly renamed Adolf Hitler Strasse
Written in London by a young Austrian playwright in exile, Manja opens, radically, with five conception scenes one night in 1920. Set in the turbulent Germany of the Weimar Republic, it goes on, equally dramatically, to describe the lives of the children and their families until 1933 when the Nazis came to power. 'What is so unusual,' wrote the playwright Berthold Viertel in 1938, 'is the way the novel contrasts the children's community - in all its idealism, romanticism, decency and enchantment - with the madhouse community of the adults.' Like The Priory, Manja was first published in English in September 1939: a reader 'spent seven nights totally beguiled and shocked by your clever juxtaposition of the two books.'
The Preface is by the author's daughter; the new translation is by Kate Phillips.
The endpaper we have used is a Wiener Werkstätte fabric called 'Paul' designed in 1927 in Vienna by Clara Posnanski; the horizontal black lines give a sinister quality to an otherwise gentle design.