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Effi Briest

Theodor Fontane

Book Overview: 

Effi Briest is a classic of Prussian Realism, relatively unknown in the English speaking world, but widely taught in German schools. This tragic tale tells the story of Effi, a young woman from an old and respectable family who, due to a sense of duty, marries Geert von Instetten, a much older Prussian official. The tragedy unfolds as a consequence of Instetten's strict following of his duties in society in response to his wife's indiscretions. Thomas Mann once wrote that if one's library had to be reduced to six books, Effi Briest should be one of them.

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Community Reviews

I left this book a long time on my To-Read shelf because I thought it was a depressing naturalistic novel, typical for the late 19th century. You know, with characters defined by their origins, under immense social pressure, and ingloriously lost to their predetermined fate. But when I finally got i

My take on Effi: I don't think I like it very much - I kind of hate it- but I found it continually interesting due to what I consider its rule breaking, which is mostly in questions of pacing. The big scenes are off screen, the small moments of movement are expanded out, and then the rush begins. Fo

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 grac

This is one of the most important works of German poetic realism: Fontane employs his trademark quiet and elegic tone and juxtaposes it with the tragic story of 17-year-old Effi who is forced to marry a much older man during the Wilhelmine Period (the story was first serialized in a magazine and the

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