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Effi Briest

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  6,965 Ratings  ·  267 Reviews
Fontane's enchanting seventeen-year-old heroine, Effi, is married off to Geert von Innstetten, an austere, workaholic civil servant twice her age. Set in Bismarck's Germany, this luminous and moving tale of a socially suitable but emotionally disastrous match, shifts from childhood idyll in Brandenburg, to a remote Baltic port and back to Imperial Berlin.

With Effi Briest,
Paperback, 64 pages
Published 2000 by La Spiga languages (first published 1894)
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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 Stricture
Fontane 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
Steven  Godin
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 ...more
Jr Bacdayan
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 echoes more than 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 ...more
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
Wenn ich jemals ein wirklich langweiliges Buch gelesen habe, dann war das Effie Briest. Die Schreibweise von Fontane ist für mich der reinste Horror, weil sie die interessanten Dinge kurz und knapp und die uninteressanten ausführlichst behandelte, die Charaktere, allen voran Effie selbst, waren unsympathisch und insgesamt fällt mir absolut nichts ein, was mir an diesem Buch gefallen hat.
Translator's Note

--Effi Briest

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Effie Briest is the name of the tragic heroine here, so this is like the Madame Bovary of Germany, because the author was born in Berlin and this was originally published in German in 1894--118 years ago.

The original title in German was the same: Effie Briest. When it was translated into English the title was retained (names shouldn't be translated) so when I first got hold of a copy of this book last 12 February 2012 I thought "Effie Briest" was some kind of a German philosophical concept. It
Aug 10, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german, novel, owned, school
Effi Briest ist die überaus ereignislose Geschichte eines kleinadligen Zuckerpüppchens mit einer Neigung zu Einbildung und Hypochondrie.
Immer, wenn scheinbar tatsächlich etwas geschieht, blendet der Autor ab, sodass die schöne heile Welt des Adelssprössleins unangetastet bleibt, in der sogar die pseudo-bedeutsamen Probleme idealisiert sind.

Ein Buch, das auf bewundernswerte Art die Denkweise der "Oberen Zehntausend", von Monarchisten, Neoliberalen und Sozialkonservativen offenlegt - aber leider a
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Durante la lettura di Effie Briest il mio pensiero correva spesso a “Madame Bovary”. Sì, perché ho letto alcuni commenti che descrivevano questo personaggio come una “Madame Bovary germanica”.
In realtà Emma ed Effie sono completamente diverse.
Leggere la storia di Emma Bovary è come sorseggiare una coppa di ottimo spumante, pieno di bollicine che pizzicano la lingua e fanno starnutire, accompagnato a cibi raffinati per palati esigenti. Prezioso come la scrittura di Flaubert.
Leggere Effie Briest è
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Effie Briest, which I read a few years ago, is Theodor Fontane's most popular novel. We meet the protagonist as an intelligent, exuberant, and privileged child growing up on an estate outside Berlin during the Wilhelmine era. The novel is about Effie's arranged marriage at the tender age of 17 to an ambitious provincial bureaucrat, who is old enough to be her father.

When Baron Geert von Innstetten, a minor protege of Bismarck, asks Effie's parents for her hand in marriage, her mother presents he
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 for the development of the 20th cen ...more
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 1800-1900
I had been meaning to read this novel for ages, but, when I did, I read it in a completely inappropriate manner, gobbling it down in one sitting on a long-distance flight in the manner of a Dan Brown. That’s not at all how it’s meant to be consumed; it’s a finely crafted, subtle, allusive work that deserves a much more patient reading. I went back at the end and reread the first chapter, saturated in hints and prefigurings, and I decided I should probably read the whole thing again.

One great ple
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Opening lines:
In front of the old manor house occupied by the von Briest family since the days of Elector George William, the bright sunshine was pouring down upon the village road, at the quiet hour of noon. The wing of the mansion looking toward the garden and park cast its broad shadow over a white and green checkered tile walk and extended out over a large round bed, with a sundial in its centre and a border of Indian shot and rhubarb. Some twenty
Camillo Emanuele
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Effi Briest è uno di quei romanzi che sono stati inclusi nella trilogia dell'adulterio, insieme ad Anna Karenina e Madame Bovary. Ci sono, tuttavia, delle differenze rispetto agli altri due libri.

Quest'opera presenta una struttura narrativa amplificata che, in sole 300 pagine, percorre un tempo di circa quattordici anni (se non vado errato con i conti). Effi, la protagonista, a differenza delle altre due donne, è pervasa da una solitudine fanciullesca ed emarginante.

Costretta dai suoi buoni se
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written sad story of young Effi.
She marries a man much older than herself and finds herself in a remote provincial town on the Baltic.
Then comes Grampus a womanising officer who brightens up her days.
I love the Newfoundland dog called Rollo who plays an important part in the story.
There are consequences years later with a tragic outcome.
I loved it especially the stunning cover picture!
Ms. Smartarse
The book was translated into English with the same title: Effi Briest

Effi is a spoiled 16-year-old whose parents decide to marry her off to a man older than her own father, all for the sake of the girl's future well-being. As if the future husband's age weren't enough of a deterrent, it is revealed early on, that von Innstetten (the husband-to-be) used to court Effi's mother before she got married. *insert witty allusion to Oedipus*

A boy's best friend is his mother

Interestingly enough, the parents' main concern is Effi's exube
Nella mia crassa ignoranza non conoscevo affatto Theodor Fontane e neppure sapevo che questo suo romanzo è considerato, assieme a “Madame Bovary” e ad “Anna Karenina”, uno dei libri più significativi sul tema del matrimonio e dell’adulterio scritti nell’Ottocento. Bè, adesso ho colmato la lacuna.

L’avvio è, detto sinceramente, piuttosto noioso, ma a partire dal rientro del viaggio di nozze tra la giovanissima Effi, diciassette anni, e il più maturo Innstetten, trentotto anni, la narrazione si fa
Resh (The Book Satchel)
17 yo Effi gets married to a much older Instetten, a former flame of her mother's who was turned down for a better match (Effi's father) by her mother and is now in a prominent position in government service. The age difference, Instetten's dedication to his work and Effi's loneliness drives her into the arms of a womaniser. She desperately tries to save the marriage.

Effi exactly the way she is- naïve and eager to settle down as a prominent lady in the circles. She might come off as a girl with
"Effi Briest" steckt voller lebhafter Dialoge, langatmiger Landschaftsbeschreibungen und einem auktorialen Erzähler, der nie Kritik ausübt, dem es aber trotzdem gelingt, das veraltete Wertesystem der deutschen Gesellschaft zu Zeiten des Kaiserreiches zu kritisieren.

Die Geschichte handelt von Effi Briest, die mit 17 Jahren einen viel zu alten und viel zu ernsten Baron von Instetten heiraten muss und mit ihn auf das Land zieht, in die Nähe der Ostsee, wo sie gelangweilt und unterfordert (ihr Ehema
Mar 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just realised I've never written a review for this. It's been more than 10 years since I had to read this for school but I still remember how I always compared Fontane's description of the old Prussian ways and the society with the worlds described by Tolstoy.
Back then, I gave this 3 stars. Today, I'm going to give it 4 because now I appreciate the writing style much more because its melancholy (that almost made me hate the book at times back then) perfectly reflects Effi's world.

The story is
Domenico Fina
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Dobbiamo essere ammalianti altrimenti non siamo nulla"

Effi Briest, «figlia dell’aria» per la sua leggerezza e il suo brio infantile viene accostato spesso ai grandi romanzi ottocenteschi sull’adulterio come Madame Bovary e Anna Karenina, c’è una differenza sostanziale: Effi Briest non ha la possibilità di vivere, subirà una rovinosa caduta e l’abbandono di tutti senza avere la possibilità di formarsi, di maturare. È una ragazzina che i suoi fanno sposare troppo presto ad un nobile ufficiale e t
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Part of my agenda this year is to read classic novels that have been forgotten, using several reviewers' lists. Thomas Mann considered Fontane's Effie Briest one of six best novels ever written.

Set in Pomeranian Germany in the late 1800s, It is a classic story of what can go wrong in an arranged marriage. Effi is a vivacious, carefree 17 year old when Baron von Instetten arranges with her parents to marry her (and to drive home his own views on such arrangements, Fontane notes the same baron had
Dit is het keuzeboek voor dit kwartaal van de Classics United groep en ik wacht met een recensie totdat het kwartaal afgelopen is. Eigenlijk 3,5 sterren.
Effi Briest takes place in Germany at the end of the nineteenth century. I liked it, and I would like to read other books by Fontane.
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
EFFIE BRIEST. (1895). Theodor Fontane. ****.
I’ll be honest: the reason I read this book is that I had never heard of either it or the author. Add to that the fact that it was a Penguin Classic and I was instantly committed. I later learned that the author was considered as one of the finest German writers to have produced work in the period between Goethe and Mann. Even Thomas Mann said that if he only had room in his library for six books that this would be one of them. The things we don’t know
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Effi Briest is a nineteenth century German classic – that should really stand beside Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina. A nineteenth century novel in translation written by a man, is not an obvious choice for publication by Persephone – although the themes of unequal marriage, society and the consequences of adultery make it a perfect match.

“ ‘Look, Mama: it doesn’t matter that he is older than me. Perhaps it’s even better that way. After all, he isn’t really old, and he’s healthy, vigorous, soldi
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1434, 19th-century
Ich lese die arabische Version

إيفي بريست رواية ألمانية عن الطبقة الأرستقراطية وهي من أواخر القرن التاسع عشر.مقتبسة من قصة حقيقية. ولكن إيفي تموت لتعيش البطلة الحقيقة عمراً مديد.إذ أن عمرها قارب المئة.

إيفي فتاة في السابعة عشر من عمرها شاء لها القدر أن ترتبط بصديق والدتها في الطفولة والشباب,وأن لايكون لها قرار في ذلك إذ أنها طواعية توافق,بلا تفكير حتى.هذا الزوج(إنشتَتن)يكبرها بكثير وهنا تكمن المشكلة.إذ أن فارق السن هذا هو بطل القصة الذي يجعلها تنجرف للخيانة.هي فتاة شابة وتريد من يعاملها كزوجة لا
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A terrific discovery, via New York Review of Books . And subsequently, a lengthy piece in New Yorker. All of a sudden, a forgotten or never-heard-of German novelist is getting all the love. He deserves it. (BTW, why are the marks so low on this site?) Thomas Mann thought he was great, and Tommy knows writin'. The New Yorker piece talks about his "profound empathy." Can't argue with that. Not sure I've engaged with a 19th century novelist, certainly not male, so sensitive to the needs, desires an ...more
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
first off, i have to complain about the updated penguin classics cover. with such a wonderful painting (rysselberghe's portrait of marguerite van mons), how is it possible not to already be subconsciously in love with the book? such a leading book cover. let me make up my own mind!

this book seems to have hardly above average writing, on the most direct level, but it is then - almost as an afterthought - so enthralling and beautiful in each and every subtext, unwritten scene, and deeply depressin
May 29, 2009 marked it as off-tbr-and-into-wpb  ·  review of another edition
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I Read Therefore ...: October 2013 Monthly Read- Effi Briest 54 26 Oct 28, 2013 01:55AM  
  • Der Untertan
  • Green Henry
  • Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts
  • Die Judenbuche
  • Lieutenant Gustl
  • Lenz
  • Das siebte Kreuz
  • The German Lesson
  • Simplicissimus
  • Der Schimmelreiter
  • Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
  • Minna von Barnhelm
  • Henry von Ofterdingen
  • Der zerbrochne Krug
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • Anton Reiser
  • Sansibar oder der letzte Grund
  • Indian Summer
Theodor Fontane (30 December 1819 – 20 September 1898) was a German novelist and poet, regarded by many to be the most important 19th-century German-language realist writer.

More about Theodor Fontane...
“Ich liebe dich ja… wie heißt es doch, wenn man einen Zweig abbricht und die Blätter abreißt? Von Herzen, mit Schmerzen, über alle Maßen.” 13 likes
“Wir müssen verführerisch sein, sonst sind wir gar nichts.” 5 likes
More quotes…