In 1919 Thomas Mann hailed Effi Briest (1895) as one of “the six most significant novels ever written.” Set in Bismarck’s Germany, Fontane’s luminous tale of a socially suitable but emotionally disastrous match between the enchanting seventeen-year-old Effi and an austere, workaholic civil servant twice her age, is at once touching and unsettling. Fontane’s taut, ironic narrative depicts a world where sexuality and the enjoyment of life are stifled by narrow-mindedness and circumstance. Considered by many to be the pinnacle of the nineteenth-century German novel, Effi Briest is a tale of adultery that ranks with Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina and brilliantly demonstrates the truth of the author’s comment and “women’s stories are generally far more interesting.”
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About Theodor Fontane
Theodor Fontane was born in Neuruppin in 1819, the son of a Gascon Huguenot father and a Cevennoise mother, and was brought up on the Baltic Sea coast of Prussia. He did not write his first novel until the age… More about Theodor Fontane
Published by Penguin Classics Jul 01, 2001| 256 Pages| ISBN 9780140447668