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'I loathe what I did, but what I loathe even more is your virtue.'
Seventeen-year-old Effi Briest is steered by her parents into marriage with an ambitious bureaucrat, twenty years her senior. He takes her from her home to a remote provincial town on the Baltic coast of Prussia where she is isolated, bored, and prey to superstitious fears. She drifts into a half-hearted affair with a manipulative, womanizing officer, which ends when her husband is transferred to Berlin. Years later, events are triggered that will have profound consequences for Effi and her family.
Effi Briest (1895) is recognized as one of the masterpieces by Theodor Fontane, Germany's premier realist novelist, and one of the great novels of marital relations together with Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina. It presents life among the conservative Prussian aristocracy with irony and gentle humour, and opposes the rigid and antiquated morality of the time by treating its heroine with sympathy and keen psychological insight.
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Mike Mitchell has translated numerous works of German fiction, for which he has eight times been shortlisted for prizes; his translation of Herbert Rosendorfer's Letters Back to Ancient China won the Schegel-Tieck Prize in 1998. He has translated Kafka's The Trial and Musil's The Confusions ofYoung Törless for Oxford World's Classics.
Ritchie Robertson's books include Kafka: Judaism, Politics, and Literature(OUP, 1985), Kafka: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2004, and Mock Epic Poetry from Pope to Heine (OUP, 2009). He has translated Kafka's The Man who Disappeared and Hoffmann's The Golden Pot and Other Stories for Oxford World's Classics, and introduced and annotated five volumes by Kafka and Musil's The Confusions of Young Törless.