Effi Briest (Penguin Classics)
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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."
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
But I can’t do any of that any more. I just can’t bring myself to slip into a hair shirt now, let alone play the dervish or fakir and dance myself to death in a frenzy of self-accusation. So what I’ve come up with, since none of that would work, is this: I have to get away from here, go somewhere where the natives are black as pitch and ignorant of culture and honour. Happy people! For that’s what has done it, it’s that whole nonsense that’s responsible for all this. That kind of thing is not
my choice (for she permits no difficulty to deter her). Might the Frau Baronin possibly condescend to grace this musical evening with her presence? At seven o’clock. Your esteemed spouse, whose presence I feel I can count upon with certainty, will lend his support to my humble request. Others present, only Pastor Lindequist (who will accompany) and of course the old pastor’s widow Frau Trippel. I remain, Madam, your most devoted servant, A. Gieshübler ‘Well?’ said Innstetten, ‘Yes or no?’
Hannemann patted the young woman’s hand and said, ‘Today is Königgrätz Day; a pity it’s a girl. But there’s enough time for the other, and the Prussians have plenty of victory anniversaries.’ Roswitha may have been thinking along similar lines, but in the meantime her joy at what was there was quite unalloyed, and without further ado she called the child Wee Annie, which the young mother took to be a sign. ‘It must have been inspiration that Roswitha hit on just that name.’ Even Innstetten could
and so the old defender of Kolberg had stayed in the head forester’s house. The portrait left much to be desired; otherwise, as already suggested, a sheen verging on opulence was everywhere manifest, and this was matched by the meal that was served. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, with the exception of Sidonie. She was sitting between Innstetten and Lindequist and when she caught sight of Cora, she said, ‘There’s that insufferable brat Cora again. Just look at her, Innstetten, the way she presents
of our trust. It could well be just as she said. And if it was, why shouldn’t she exclaim, ‘Thank God!’ And so, quickly reviewing all the possibilities, he overcame his suspicions and reached out to her across the table. ‘Forgive me Effi, but all that took me so much by surprise. All my fault, of course. I’ve always been too wrapped up in my own affairs. We men are all self-centred. But that is going to change. There’s one good thing about Berlin: it has no haunted houses. Where would they come