Theodor Fontane was a German novelist and poet who is widely considered as the most influential German-language realist author of the nineteenth century. After a career as a journalist, he wrote the first of his books, for which he is best known today, at the age of 58. Fontane's long-held ambition of being able to survive off his writings was finally realized. Vor dem Sturm (Before the Storm, 1878), a magnificent historical romance, was followed by a series of modern-day novels, including L'Adultera (Woman Taken in Adultery, 1882), the first of his society books and judged risky for its adultery topic. Fontane's novels are noted for their nuanced, often skeptical portrayals of society in the German empire; he depicts many social and political groups colliding and often clashing. Fontane's work is also known for its strong female characters (such as Effi Briest and Frau Jenny Treibel), sensitive irony, and lively character interactions.
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