Theodor Fontane

Theodor Fontane was a German novelist and poet, regarded as the most important 19th-century German-language realist writer. He is best known for his social novels, particularly 'Effi Briest', which is considered one of the great works of German literature.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Effi Briest

    This novel explores the life of a 17-year-old girl who is married off to a much older man, a high-ranking official, for the sake of social and financial stability. Despite her husband's devotion, she embarks on a passionate, but doomed affair with a charming, yet manipulative, major. The affair ends disastrously, leading to her social ostracization and eventual descent into loneliness and despair. The book serves as a critique of the rigid Prussian society of the late 19th century.

    The 450th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Stechlin

    "The Stechlin" is a social novel set in late 19th-century Germany that explores the changes and tensions brought about by the modern world. The story follows an aging aristocrat who lives near Lake Stechlin and his interactions with the community around him, including his son who is a member of the Reichstag in Berlin. The novel is known for its detailed and realistic depiction of the social and political climate of the time, as well as its exploration of the conflict between traditional values and modernity.

    The 1066th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Jenny Treibel

    The novel is a satirical portrayal of the German bourgeoisie in the late 19th century, focusing on the life of Jenny Treibel, a wealthy manufacturer's wife who prides herself on her refined bourgeois values, despite her humble origins. The story primarily revolves around the romantic aspirations and ideological conflicts between Jenny's son Leopold and Corinna, a young, idealistic woman of lower social standing who is more interested in intellectual pursuits than material wealth. The narrative delves into themes of social mobility, hypocrisy, and the clash between materialism and intellectualism, highlighting the pretensions and moral ambiguities of the middle class during that era.

    The 7652nd Greatest Book of All Time