Effi Briest



[Ebook] ➦ Effi Briest ➬ Theodor Fontane – E17streets4all.co.uk Telling the tragic tale of a socially advantageous but emotionally ruinous match, Theodor Fontane s Effi Briest is translated from the German by Hugh Rorrison with an introduction by Helen Chambers in Telling the tragic tale of a socially advantageous but emotionally ruinous match, Theodor Fontane s Effi Briest is translated from the German by Hugh Rorrison with an introduction by Helen Chambers in Penguin ClassicsUnworldly young Effi Briest is married off to Baron von Innstetten, an austere and ambitious civil servant twice her age, who has little time for his new wife Isolated and bored, Effi finds comfort and distraction in a brief liaison with Major Crampas, a married man with a dangerous reputation But years later, when Effi has almost forgotten her affair, the secret returns to haunt her with fatal consequences In taut, ironic prose Fontane depicts a world where sexuality and the will to enjoy life are stifled by vain pretences of civilization, and the obligations of circumstance Considered to be his greatest novel, this is a humane, unsentimental portrait of a young woman torn between her duties as a wife and mother and the instincts of her heartHugh Rorrison s clear, modern translation is accompanied by an introduction by Helen Chambers, which compares Effi with other literary heroines such as Emma Bovary and Anna KareninaTheodor Fontane was a German novelist and potitical reporter Along with Effi Briest, Fontane is remembered for Frau Jenny Treibel, an ironic criticism of middle class hypocrisy and small mindednessIf you enjoyed Effi Briest you may like Leo Tolstoy s Anna Karenina, also available in Penguin Classics I have been haunted by it as I am by those novels that seem to do than they say, to induce strong emotions that can t quite be accounted for Hermione Lee, Sunday Times.Effi Briest

Theodor Fontane, novelist, critic, poet, and travel writer, was one of the most celebrated nineteenth century German men of letters He was born into a French Huguenot family in the Prussian town of Neuruppin, where his father owned a small pharmacy His father s gambling debts forced the family to move repeatedly, and eventually his temperamentally mismatched parents separated Though Fontane showed early interest in history and literature jotting down stories in his school notebooks he could not afford to attend university instead he apprenticed as a pharmacist and eventually settled in Berlin There he joined the influential literary society Tunnel ber der Spree, which included among its members Theodor Storm and Gottfried Keller, and turned to writing In Fontane s first published books, two volumes of ballads, appeared they would prove to be his most successful books during his lifetime He spent the next four decades working as a critic, journalist, and war correspondent while producing some fifty works of history, travel narrative, and fiction His early novels, the first of which was published in , when Fontane was nearly sixty, concerned recent historical events It was not until the late s that he turned to his great novels of modern society, remarkable for their psychological insight Trials and Tribulations , Irretrievable , Frau Jenny Treibel , and Effi Briest During his last years, Fontane returned to writing poetry, and, while recovering from a severe illness, wrote an autobiographical novel that would prove to be a late commercial success He is buried in the French section of the Friedhof II cemetery in Berlin.

Effi Briest PDF ò Paperback
    If you re looking for a CBR and CBZ reader of her heartHugh Rorrison s clear, modern translation is accompanied by an introduction by Helen Chambers, which compares Effi with other literary heroines such as Emma Bovary and Anna KareninaTheodor Fontane was a German novelist and potitical reporter Along with Effi Briest, Fontane is remembered for Frau Jenny Treibel, an ironic criticism of middle class hypocrisy and small mindednessIf you enjoyed Effi Briest you may like Leo Tolstoy s Anna Karenina, also available in Penguin Classics I have been haunted by it as I am by those novels that seem to do than they say, to induce strong emotions that can t quite be accounted for Hermione Lee, Sunday Times."/>
  • Paperback
  • 272 pages
  • Effi Briest
  • Theodor Fontane
  • English
  • 04 November 2017
  • 0140441905

10 thoughts on “Effi Briest

  1. says:

    I remember passionately identifying with Effi Briest when I was a young girl To me, it was so obvious that you have to do what makes you FEEL right, not what others THINK is right Telling establishment to go to hell secretly or not was a sign of inner independence Yes Conventional marriage bah, humbug Follow your heart, live your life your own way, make your decisions accordingly.Fast forward, twenty five years later Do I still identify with Effi Yes And no Unfortunately, my ol I remember passionately identifying with Effi Briest when I was a young girl To me, it was so obvious that you have to do what makes you FEEL right, not what others THINK is right Telling establishment to go to hell secretly or not was a sign of inner independence Yes Conventional marriage bah, humbug Follow your heart, live your life your own way, make your decisions accordingly.Fast forward, twenty five years later Do I still identify with Effi Yes And no Unfortunately, my older self has come to believe that strong feelings are no guarantee for happiness either, especially not the ones you engage in when you are a young teenager experiencing sexual love and desire for the first time Do I think Effi should try to live up to the expectations of her old, conventional, socially suitable husband then No What would I tell my younger Effi self if I had the chance Don t marry young Try different things Explore life Choose a partner later when you are able to make a proper decision based both on attraction and common values Does that mean Effi Briest couldn t have got it right at all, either way, in her time and place Probably It is hard enough now, despite the incredible progress we have made regarding women s choice and freedom.Would I like my daughter to identify with Effi Partially As a literary heroine, she is as sweet as they get As a role model for young girls today, quite unsuitable There must be , not less, rebellious joie de vivre in young women of the 21st century

  2. says:

    This is a book in which everybody gets what they wanted, whether they like it or not.The eponymous heroine gets to marry a man of principals, her husband gets to marry somebody who he thinks presumably is just like her mother who he had wanted to marry twenty years earlier and Major Crampas gets to die in combat just as he always wanted.Social StrictureFontane prefers to tell simple stories and Effi Briest is no exception The plot is very simple and loosely based on a true story, the strength This is a book in which everybody gets what they wanted, whether they like it or not.The eponymous heroine gets to marry a man of principals, her husband gets to marry somebody who he thinks presumably is just like her mother who he had wanted to marry twenty years earlier and Major Crampas gets to die in combat just as he always wanted.Social StrictureFontane prefers to tell simple stories and Effi Briest is no exception The plot is very simple and loosely based on a true story, the strength of the story is in the author s craftsmanship Every detail seems to count and becomes meaningful A simple tale of the breakdown of a marriage illustrates a small minded and self destructive culture As in Die Poggenpuhls members of the upper classes are like so many colourful butterflies caught in Fontane s net and pinned to the page.Their world shifts from the secure to the claustrophobic view spoiler as indeed one might expect life to be inside the killing jar hide spoiler Effi marries the man who wanted to marry her mother, her husband in turn is is close to being twenty years older than her Round the edges of their world lurk threats including scary Catholicism and the dragon of Revolution, luckily Prussian victories are on hand to keep them all safe, but all the same, as Doctor Hannemann tells Effi when her daughter is born, it is a pity that it s a girl on the anniversary of the battle of K niggr tz Sadowa, or Sadova or even Hradec Kr lov depending on your linguistic inclination , but you can still have another and the Prussians have many victory anniversaries Wir haben heute den Tag von K niggr tz schade dass es ein M dchen ist Aber das andere kann ja nachkommen, und die Preu en haben viele Siegestage. p116 There is a road map, but does it lead to anywhere that anyone would really like to go Effi s marriage at seventeen to a much older man echoes her mother s early marriage to an older man One life is an iteration of the other The other cycle in the book is that of the natural year Effi and her daughter areborn in the summer While the October marriage and arrival in November in the new home are shrouded in autumnal atmosphere with a promise of a bleak winter to come The news of Innstetten s promotion comes at the end of winter, so the prospect of a new life in Berlin is offers the hope of a springlike renewal to Effi s life.A Glance over the Literary LandscapeSince Effi s travelling companion is reading Zola s Nana when the news comes of the breakdown of her marriage it seems natural to compare this failed marriage novel with some of the others that if not Fontane then his reading audience would be familiar with to bring out some of the distinctive features of Fontane s approach The social code is far stricter in Fontane s book this is above all a Prussian story than in Tolstoy s Anna Karenina while the social milieu and the author s attitude towards the social milieu distinguishes Madame Bovary from Effi Madame Bovary, as far as I recall aspired to a romantic vision of decadent upper class life, while Effi is stuck in the reality of an upper class existence that is intolerant and restrictive, the decadence of the Eulenburg Affair is fasr from her daily experience Madame Bovary s reading has primed her for a life of voluptuous dissipation, while Effi who never gets to have the full or adult version of her name, instead is forever a Katie and never a Catherine is characterised by her lack of reading and poor education, her consistent reference point is what her old Pastor said While in both Tolstoy and Fontane the theme of adultery ends in the woman s death, for Tolstoy this is the result of the woman s choice She has abandoned her role in the family, and with the aid of further emphatically non Russian Western decadence in the form of drugs and steam trains she meets her death Effi is, by contrast, the passive element in the story Things happen to her and are imposed on her Her husband s actions, governed by a principled moral code, lead to her being ostracised and the extent of her ostracism is determined by the degree to which society shares or conforms to her husband Innstetten s values However Effi has the final word She thought at the age of seventeen that those principles of his were manly, but comes to realise that that are simply small minded and perhaps those two categories aren t mutually exclusive Despite this she is able to transcend her society and forgive him, whether that is helpful or meaningful beyond establishing something about her character is another question, in a sense, as a social novel, her forgiving him is a shocking act In this type of novel, from this type of society, we are used to expecting that the fallen woman is the one in need of forgiveness and isn t the one who provides the forgiveness Little Effi is the still centre of the book and one leaves with the feeling that it is Innstetten who needed herthan Effi needed him.Here Effi Briest seems to me to be very close to Tess of the d Urbervilles Although socially the two books are in completely different worlds the sense of a dominant morally that is pre Christian and simply vindictive is shared through the imagery of human sacrifice Stonehenge in Hardy is the counterpoint of the sacrifice stones that Effi sees in North Germany She assumes that they are Wendish in origin ie Slav and not German , but, and Effi s poor education is a constant theme in the story, she is corrected towards the close of the novel Ach, gn d ge Frau verzeihen Aber das waren ja keine Wenden Das mit den Opfersteinen und mit dem Herthasee das war ja schon wieder viel, viel fr her, ganz vor Christum natum reine Germanen, von denen wir alle abstammen p280 The sacrifice stones are purely German and the characters in the novel are the descendants of those Germans who at various foolish points in German history have been lauded as good role models Fontane is the antidote to that kind of thinking and so is the Grand Old Man of Prussian letters.While Nana, and Madame Bovary weigh in with leading women who are intrinsically destructive and disruptive to the social order, in Fontane it is the social order itself that is destructive with the potential to crush the joy out of life, and the life out of the individual The novelist as Craftsman One can see the influence of this novel on Thomas Mann s style in Buddenbrooks This struck me particularly in the Twenty eighth chapter which deals with the duel between Innstetten and Crampas Rather like some of the chapters in Buddenbrooks this could have been a free standing short story The references to earlier events are self explanatory Innstetten s return to Kessin in bright sunshine contrasting to his earlier arrival with Effi after their honeymoon on a gloomy November day The efficiency of the description of the actual combat, terse, in stark contrast to the longer description of Crampas death The irony of his last words The lack of emotion in the scene contrasted with the letter that closes the chapter in which Innstetten s Second describes visiting Crampas widow and explaining to her that she is now, in fact, a widow The dryness of the stripped down style itself a blow to any reader expecting a great denouement This is a duel that provides no satisfaction, save to a man such as Innstetten Every detail labours to tell part of the story, nothing is superfluous.Towards the next readingIs Effi a modern version of the Virgin Mary as Dostoevsky s Prince Myshkin is meant to be a nineteeth century Jesus Does the positive characterisation of the catholic Roswitha and the detail of Effi s characterisation at home lead in that direction Or should this be read in the light of the educational value of literature, had Effi read her Goethe, Heine, or Samuel Richardson might she have been better placed to survive adult life view spoiler towards a third reading 2nd reading noteschapters 1 3 cycles Briest the father in his 50s, Briest the mother 38 Innstetten of a like age Effi 17 Is cousin Dagobert being lined up to be the husband of Effi s daughter The clergyman s wife no surprise at the marriage between innstetten and Effi The sense of a road map, marriage then children, age at which the women achieve these things a the criterion of success.The mother asking the daughter what she wants, once, twice Daughter wants material things then worldly honour On the reread we know this is precisely what she isn t going to getContrast from the fairy stories they see on stage and at polterarbend Also K thchen von Heilbronn, whose heroine voluntarily endures every ill treatment and every disgrace which the loved one heaps upon her Clothed with all the charm of the fairy story the gracious figure had an effect like a miraculous picture instead the life will be like Kaethe s.Question red lamp as erotic signal the mother some things better left to the dark Difficulty of a woman s life ie meaning an upper class woman on public display in a small town.Emphasis on Effi as a child From the name euphemia the climbing, the clothingThe old Herr von Borcke at the post christening reception difficult times, slay the dragon of revolution, watch out for catholics pp116 117Gieshuebler as the one reasonable man in the town what does that mean The bourgeois is reasonable in crampas and innstetten s view is this a positive The greenhouse, a positive image.original placeholder reviewAcclaimed by critic Marcel Reich Ranicki as a great German novel Effi Briest is the story of an unequal marriage and what becomes of it Typically of a Fontane novel its strength isn t in the plot but in the characters and particularly in how the characters are shown through speech not just what they say, but also how they talk and how they use conversation.As a side note I enjoyed the difference between the wet and the dry apartments in Berlin ie whether the plaster in these newly built flats had entirely dried out or not hide spoiler

  3. says:

    Effi Briest 1895 is an impressive work of Prussian realism and it s definitely classed as a tragic novel , one may argue one of the best to come out of the 19th century The story is simple enough, hardly unique, and been done with similarities many times over since Geert von Innstetten, an ambitious nobleman and civil servant on the brink of middle age, makes an uncontroversial marriage to Effi von Briest, the 17 year old daughter of a former flame Innstetten takes her back to the town in Effi Briest 1895 is an impressive work of Prussian realism and it s definitely classed as a tragic novel , one may argue one of the best to come out of the 19th century The story is simple enough, hardly unique, and been done with similarities many times over since Geert von Innstetten, an ambitious nobleman and civil servant on the brink of middle age, makes an uncontroversial marriage to Effi von Briest, the 17 year old daughter of a former flame Innstetten takes her back to the town in Pomerania from which he runs the local administration A daughter, Annie, is born, but Innstetten is keen to get on, and leaves his young wife on her own where she falls prey to a cunning womaniser, Major von Crampas Effi was never really fond of Crampas, and the events that follow her early marriage start to take there toll She slowly turns from a spritely young girl to someone with heavy melancholy on their shoulders Once Innstetten gets wind of an affair, he takes matters into his own hands, with a deadly outcome Whilst a solitude Effi would decline in health with the added turmoil of bouts of despair.Theodor Fontane based the story on a case he had read about in the newspapers, and it s quite easy to see whilst reading that it could have happened, you feel everything is so real Fontane was the supreme apologist for Prussian values and his heroes and villains are often drawn from the ranks of its modest but warlike squirearchy Innstetten is another Prussian type the altruistic bureaucrat As an old lady from Hamburg once told him We hated the Prussians, but such a thing as a corrupt official would have been unthinkable then , It is not just the nobility that Fontane portrays Kessin is Swinem nde, a port city in Poland, where Fontane himself grew up, and the novelist presents an affectionate tableau of provincial life in a Prussian seaside town And an old apothecary, is also a portrait of Fontane s own father Effi is at the heart of the novel, and it s hearts she is likely to break, I felt for her plight, deeply.She was simply too young to handle the situations presented before her Later on Effi succeeds in seeing her daughter this after she ends up living alone and is heartbroken to learn Annie has become a father s girl For the first and last time Effi looks at those around her as a curse, but in the end she becomes part of the problem herself For Innstetten and Effi, a sympathetic nature is shown for both, and their destinies are set with seemingly no way out Fontane presents the story with superiority, and captures life of this period so well Here is the problem though, and it isn t with the novel itself but with the version I happened to read For some strange reason 90% of it s content was English language, but words like the and then there those and this were left in German Also Effi had her name misspelled often as Lffi This didn t completely ruin the novel, but it didn t help either, spoiling, in part what was a fine piece of writing

  4. says:

    Subtlety is an art form rarely seen in our era We live in a time where bombastic, loud, and graphic compete for our senses But does one really need that much noise and glamor in order to captivate Are we really that inattentive Theodore Fontane s Effi Briest is the rare novel that exercises graceful restraint yet echoesthan the proverbial cannon It tells the story of a young woman who yields at everything thrown her way from her marriage to a much older man, life in a backwater town Subtlety is an art form rarely seen in our era We live in a time where bombastic, loud, and graphic compete for our senses But does one really need that much noise and glamor in order to captivate Are we really that inattentive Theodore Fontane s Effi Briest is the rare novel that exercises graceful restraint yet echoesthan the proverbial cannon It tells the story of a young woman who yields at everything thrown her way from her marriage to a much older man, life in a backwater town, and eventually to a lover Then when the curtain drops she accepts her dreadful fate without complaint, her life they very epitome of resignation What s curious about this novel though is that the adulterous act is never so much as depicted It goes on for a while in the background with little hints here and there but the reader can be inclined to attribute it to playful imagination It is treated like a ghost to be wary of, always alluded to but never explicitly confirmed Not until the last few pages is the suspicion set and the heavy feeling substantiated It creeps slowly, silently, and hovers like smog disguised as a mist mingling the spirits of trust and guiltThere are so many lives that aren t real lives, so many marriages that aren t real marriages Effi s marriage to her husband, Innstentten, who was nearly the age of her father, can be considered the seed of her misfortune Putting things into perspective from the generational, psychological, and even social standpoints there was such a wide chasm between them and this was further amplified by the great difference in their educational experience It was such a doomed affair from the start that no matter how accommodating one is to the other there is too great a difference in their personalities that miscommunication is often the result Their relationship can be seen as symbolizing the conflict between nature and culture She wasa person of her whims, following her vain thoughts, like a stream flowing through the recesses and cracks she finds, going whenever the current takes her and so she drifted into an affair, while as a civil servant and minister he caredabout principles and social conventions and so once he discovered the affair even long after it ended he could not stop himself from going through his quest for reparation even if he wanted to keep the whole thing secret and knew that he longed to forgive his wife because he loved her still Using realism as his tool Fontane shows the whole absurdity of the matter He examines the proclivities of nature and how culture can stunt its development It also looks at the role of age in the whole affair the youth, like Effi, are alwaysinclined to follow their nature and fancies, but as one ages and reaches a certain point in life, much like Innstentten, you become grounded in culture and norms thus your obligations take priority over your inclinations Culture, especially through education, does much good if pursued with an appropriately human and flexible emphasis It should aim to harness our nature and help it reach the utmost potential to express itself and manifest fully a distilled version better equipped to deal with the pressures of life However it fails in its function if it becomes an instrument of repression which eliminate the freedom of thought and the scope of imagination, instead of facilitating them, killing the buds that bloom into one s natural voice and words On the other side, when nature is given reigns unchecked, without proper guidance, something Culture can provide, then it can only lead to irresponsible ruin In Effi s case, sadly, the contrasting of these two facets was her bane, when its harmony would have been her salvationYes, I m plagued by fear, and shame too at my own duplicity But not shame at my guilt, I don t feel that, or not properly, or not enough, and that s what s crushing me, the fact that I don t feel itImmediately after finishing this novel I questioned myself what about it was the most striking fragment and I was at a loss The whole thing seemed quite underwhelming buried in all its subtleness yet at the same time I realized that it wasn t so much as a lack of reaction on my part but rather a renunciation of effect on its, giving off a controlled muteness which it keenly achieves, Effi Briest does not seek to protest, to stir the emotion, or impart a profound lesson It aims for one thing realism true, unaffected, and often silent It asks us to think our own thoughts and see it in a light that shines brightest for us Offering warmth of human understanding and a non judgmental attitude to human weakness, this great novel offers an inner quiet that can only be interpreted as the highest form of respect accorded to its readers, to our natureStand in the breach and hold the line till you fall, that s the best thing And before you go, get as much as possible out of the smallest things of life, the smallest of all

  5. says:

    With Effi Briest Fontane delivered a wonderful social study about forced feelings, social conventions and the consequences of an outbreak of all constraints Briest is undeniably a classic of German literature and especially of civil realism social novels in the 19th century.

  6. says:

    German novelist, Thomas Mann, said that if he could only have six novels on his bookshelf, Effi Briest would be one of them Effi Briest 1896 , Theodore Fontane s Realist novel, tells the story of seventeen year old Effi, her arranged marriage to a much older man, her youthful, almost innocent, mistake of being seduced into adultery, and her tragic fall from grace and from her position in society Effi Briest has been compared to Madam Bovary and Anna Karenina because of it s subject matter, bu German novelist, Thomas Mann, said that if he could only have six novels on his bookshelf, Effi Briest would be one of them Effi Briest 1896 , Theodore Fontane s Realist novel, tells the story of seventeen year old Effi, her arranged marriage to a much older man, her youthful, almost innocent, mistake of being seduced into adultery, and her tragic fall from grace and from her position in society Effi Briest has been compared to Madam Bovary and Anna Karenina because of it s subject matter, but it is muchsubtle than either of these classics Tolstoy and Flaubert described the adulterous acts of their protagonists in graphic detail, whereas Fontane only alludes to it, almost as an afterthought He focuses on the reasons behind the event, the influences of society and class, and the impact that seemingly small transgressions have on individuals and the people around them.I loved this novel and felt a strong connection with the charactrler Effi This is definitely one of those overlooked and under appreciated classics 4.5 stars

  7. says:

    While Theodor Fontane s 1896 novel Effi Briest is definitely and with justification considered a classic and as such a masterpiece of German poetic realism, the author s and with that also of course the narrator s at times overtly critical textual distance which when it materialises does tend to feel and read rather like an emotionless, critical analysis also renders Effi Briest and by extension author Theodor Fontane himself as somewhat a literary midwife to the development of the 20th cent While Theodor Fontane s 1896 novel Effi Briest is definitely and with justification considered a classic and as such a masterpiece of German poetic realism, the author s and with that also of course the narrator s at times overtly critical textual distance which when it materialises does tend to feel and read rather like an emotionless, critical analysis also renders Effi Briest and by extension author Theodor Fontane himself as somewhat a literary midwife to the development of the 20th century Gesellschaftsroman the novel of society , of stories like Thomas Mann s Buddenbrooks prose fiction which not only shows and tells about scenarios, situations, happenings, but also and actually often first and foremost analyses and discusses these And indeed, Thomas Mann himself always did consider Theodor Fontane and his oeuvre, but especially his Effi Briest, a major and personal literary influence so much so that it is now pretty well taken as a given that even the name of the family described in Buddenbrooks, that the name Buddenbrooks itself, was actually taken from a family name first encountered by Mann in Fontane s Effi Briest.Now many critics seem both happy and even rather eager to simply lump Theodor Fontane s Effi Briest together with Gustave Flaubert s Madame Bovary and to claim that Effi Briest is like the former also and primarily basically mainly a novel of adultery, an account of a woman behaving very very badly although it is true that in both novels, Emma and Effi are in fact and indeed also shown as both being victims However, I for one, have NEVER considered the main protagonist, have never considered Effi Briest to be even remotely akin and alike to Flaubert s Emma Bovary For while one can, I guess, agree with the statement that both Effi and Emma do engage in a an adulterous affair, Effi Briest is always or at least in my humble opinion depicted by Fontane as being pretty much a total and absolute victim, a naive young teenager, used by both her family her parents, and then her husband and later, 19th century gentrified Prussian society for their pleasure, their honour, their social status no matter if this might harm her, no matter if this might psychologically and spiritually devastate and even kill her , while Emma Bovary really is somene who not only actively and very much knowingly, consciously engages in adultery, but then also with equal calculation poisons herself although she is in fact pretty much aware that her husband still very much loves her and that her death would majorly traumatise him , is therefore bothactive and alsointensely and willfully calculatingly adulterous and yes, also at times quite nasty than Effi Briest is ever shown as really in any way being.And albeit that Emma Bovary might in fact and actually indeed be somewhat portrayed by Flaubert as a victim of society as well, of the dictates of society, she also does very much and in my opinion deliberately and actively create her own victims, and her willful suicide by arsenic leaves a husband who still seems to very much love her despite everything, in abject agony But Effi Briest, well in my opinion she is always pretty much simply and only featured by Fontaine as a sad victim, naive, a bit spoiled, not all that highly educated, perhaps, but first and foremost, an innocent child, someone who is married off as a teenager and by her own parents to Baron von Instetten and really ONLY for societal reasons for it is very clearly and I think always demonstrated by the author that Baron von Instetten does not in any way truly love or in any ways attempt to understand his young wife and sees Effi primarily as a marriage trophy, as a means for making his status in societyglowing and shining And although Effi should perhaps should likely not have allowed herself to be seduced by Major von Crampas, it is he who actually and deliberately engages in the act of seduction in the first place, it is he who is the original mover and shaker, the person who with knowledge of what he is doing, what he is engaging in, starts the proverbial ball rolling to its sad and tragic conclusions with both his death and later Effi s death as the result.Now finally, although I have always considered Theodor Fontane s Effi Briest to be both thematically and stylistically superb I love the back and forth of different modes of expression, from plain objectiveness to subjective speculation, from simple description to detailed analyses, from personal emotional attachment to impersonal detachment , the novel has also never really been a story that I could and would in any way label a personal favourite simply because I actually rather vehemently and personally despise so many of Theodor Fontane s featured, his presented characters especially, Effi s parents, who both marry off their daughter to the highest bidder, but rather disgustingly and worrisomely to the mother s former beau at that, and then refuse to see their daughter for almost three years after the scandal, after Effi s affair with von Crampas has become public knowledge, only relenting when it is clear that she is close to death And yes, with Effi s parents in particular, I generally do seem to see the proverbial red, for while the mother at least is willing to entertain the consideration of at least some culpability on her part, the father seemingly never does, never can, considering his and his wife s possible and probable roles in the tragedy ein zu weites Feld too far a field Therefore, while Effi Briest is indeed and in fact deservedly a classic and a brilliant literary achievement and a novel I have always much appreciated for its art, for its literary merit and value , the themes presented and the fact that most of the characters featured are majorly dysfunctional leave me livid and disgusted that a rather fleeting and in many ways rather insignificant small affair of the heart between Major von Crampas and Effi, that was in fact for all intents and purposes really precipitated by Baron von Instetten ignoring and denigrating his young wife, often leaving her feeling abandoned due to his societal obligations due to his career and his constant travels and absences, that this ends up destroying Effi, von Crampas and in many ways also von Instetten, and all because of so called honour and glory Three and a half stars for Effi Briest and while I do highly recommend the novel, I must nevertheless leave the caveat that I for one have not all that much enjoyed continuously reading about such problematic and dysfunctional characters and the honour system of Prussian nobility that basically devours and kills, that basically just makes and leaves hapless victims all around And further, just to say, that I have also only ever qread Effi Briest in German and thus do not feel that I can in any way make any comments as to the quality of potential English language translations but there do seem to be quite a few

  8. says:

    This was quit different from British classics, which I normally read.First of all, most of it wassubtle and less dramatic It is about an unhappy marriage but it s neither terrible nor abusive it s just flawed both husband and wife are actually to a certain extent nice and likeable people, even if they have their issues Also there was no passionate adoration for a lover or other clich s, everything was really toned down and feltrealistic, like similar things could have happened to This was quit different from British classics, which I normally read.First of all, most of it wassubtle and less dramatic It is about an unhappy marriage but it s neither terrible nor abusive it s just flawed both husband and wife are actually to a certain extent nice and likeable people, even if they have their issues Also there was no passionate adoration for a lover or other clich s, everything was really toned down and feltrealistic, like similar things could have happened to everyone This subtlety was kind of abandoned when a certain discovery is made and Geert chose to do something just because It wasn t totally unbelievable, it just bugged me that even he knew it was a stupid idea but did it nonetheless.However, I really liked the characters, which were interesting and stood out to me compared to characters from other classic novels, they had great dialogs with only some bordering on being too trivial Effie changes noticably, while in the beginning she reminded me of Anne of Green Gables, the whole book was far from this association later on The way marriage and engagement were portrayed was unique to me How Effi was supposed to love her fianc she has seen once and exchanged a few letters with, how sudden the engagement was and the little insights she gave into her marriage and her feelings were unexpected and fascinating I adored the ending The outcome of classics has been hit or miss for me this year, leaving me often feeling that I wasn t sure if they were supposed to make me happy I knew exactly how to feel about this one and the final few words Effi s parents say are just perfect.I also fangirled a little since this book is set very close to were I live, by the way D

  9. says:

    This is one of those classics of German literature that I enjoyed reading muchafter graduating from university, where reading such great literature was required, forced, rushed and dissected until its beauty was no longer visible It s a book I might soon enjoy reading a third time and maybe even give it another star I am giving another of Fontane s greats, Der Stechlin, an identical review.

  10. says:

    Fontane wasn t terribly good at making stuff up He tended to take real life incidents to seed his imagination In this case the model for Effi Briest was Elisabeth von Plotho, whose affair with a local magistrate, Emil Hartwich, became serious enough for them to consider divorcing their respective spouses until Elisabeth s husband, Armand L on von Ardenne, became suspicious, broke open Elisabeth s secret stash of love letters, used them in evidence in his own divorce proceedings, and further ch Fontane wasn t terribly good at making stuff up He tended to take real life incidents to seed his imagination In this case the model for Effi Briest was Elisabeth von Plotho, whose affair with a local magistrate, Emil Hartwich, became serious enough for them to consider divorcing their respective spouses until Elisabeth s husband, Armand L on von Ardenne, became suspicious, broke open Elisabeth s secret stash of love letters, used them in evidence in his own divorce proceedings, and further challenged Hartwich to a duel view spoiler The real Elisabeth reached the grand old age of 98 Effi does not hide spoiler Fontane casts his own spell on the well worn love triangle motif Effi is young, terribly young, and is married off to her own mother s old flame, something that tends to give the reader goose bumps, surely, this cannot end well Her husband is an ambitious Prussian administrator who leaves her alone too frequently in a dull little coastal bathing resort while he travels to Berlin to attend to the Prince, happy to see his pretty young wife courted and attended on by a seemingly toothless tiger, the elderly local apothecary, and who feels further that he is protected from possible harm by his judicious use of a spooky dead Chinaman to subjugate and enervate his young bride But Effi is a force of nature, an incarnation of the white goddess Hertha Perchta Frigga Frau Holle, as little able to resist her fate as a figure in mythology More goose bumps when Major Crampas arrives on the scene for the name is so reminiscent of Krampus, those terrifying creatures that have been subsumed into official religion as the other side of Saint Nicolas but are in fact part of the wild horde of ghosts and ghoulies that ride roughshod through the raw nights at the change of year It s made very clear that Effi is embattled, beleaguered, persecuted She knows what is coming, futilely conjures the image of a woman left behind the lines in a war who prays for protection from the advancing enemy and is rewarded by a wall of snow around her home but there is no such divine intervention for Effi.It s made very plain that she does not love Crampas This is not passion, she feels nothing but relief when she manages to escape to Berlin, modern and fashionable and promotion for her husband And it s made very plain too that Innstetten, her husband, is as much a prisoner of the conventions of the time as she is, both of them equally trapped, both of them equally tragic But there s a niggling little flaw in this method of construction Fontane has put his own original stamp on this story, but there is a troublesome fact that he still has to work in Thus a sewing box is broken open, and incriminating letters are found, years later, but they are found and it is out, out in the world and known about My question if Effi didn t love Crampas and was so relieved to escape from him, why on earth would she keep his letters As her worldly friend says, that s what stoves and fires are for

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