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Fontane, Theodor

mann german heroine thomas

(German, 1819–98)

Fontane was born in Neuruppin; he left his family's business to become a journalist in Berlin in 1849. His novels brought a new realism to German fiction and had a marked influence on Thomas Mann. Begin with Effi Briest (1895), in which the heroine's failure to come to terms with her social and emotional limitations leads to adultery and a fatal duel. Before the Storm (1878) forms a compelling account of the Franco-Prussian War of 1812–13. Its nostalgia for Prussia's fading aristocratic order is echoed in much of his writing. In Frau Jenny Treibel (1892) the heroine rises socially through her marriage but is gradually diminished by the false values she acquires.

Thomas Mann, Leo Tolstoy, Gustave Flaubert. See GERMANY  DH

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