The fontane sisters with billy vaughn and his orchestra - hearts of stone - bless this house


In some ways an ‘untypical’ Persephone Book, Effi Briest is a late-C19th novel; by a man; translated from the German, by a man, 55 years ago. This is how Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (Fon-tah-nuh, no silent vowels in German) came about. Two years ago we were asked to give a small lecture tour in Germany, talking of course about Persephone Books. ‘Have you read Effi Briest ?’ someone asked. Read it? We had not even heard of it. And we had a degree in English Literature, had specialised in the novel, and for years had worked on C20th women writers and the tradition in which they wrote. Y et Effi Briest – which is about a 16-year-old girl married to a man 20 years older than her because it is socially advantageous – is part of that tradition and in some ways anticipates all our books: it castigates parents for simply marrying off their daughters rather than ensuring they have a future; it castigates male coldness and complacency: the men are weak and ineffectual and nothing gives them backbone but a ridiculous and disastrous code of honour; it castigates women’s timidity; it castigates Effi’s irresponsibility; it castigates society’s constraints: it is, in essence, about the socially unforgivable. But this plea for modern values is written in the most delicate, subtle and unharanguing language with lightness of touch and great empathy for its characters. So how can it be that Effi Briest remains so little known in Britain?


The Fontane Sisters with Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra - Hearts of Stone - Bless This HouseThe Fontane Sisters with Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra - Hearts of Stone - Bless This HouseThe Fontane Sisters with Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra - Hearts of Stone - Bless This HouseThe Fontane Sisters with Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra - Hearts of Stone - Bless This House

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