Fontane’s Effi Briest hinges on a beach-picnic love affair. At first, it’s a recreational outing for Effi Briest, her husband, Geert von Innstetten, and a friend, Major von Crampas. But when Instettin leaves town on business, the picnicking episodes continue, and the recreation becomes a cover for lust. Though they are discrete, long after the affair has ended, Briest is found out. To be sure, it all ends badly, and Fontane makes it a long, long sad story.

At the first picnic. Outwardly, Briest is a model of discretion; inwardly, she is seething with passion. As her passion increases, it does not matter to her that Crampas is a womanizer and a cd. Married life is dull, and she needs some excitement.

Food and drink are inconsequential, though Fontane provides a proper picnic that is spread on a cloth cover rustic table: sliced meat, red wine 9servedin delicate glasses, and rolls. There are other picnics, but none of described.

Effi Briest has been adapted for film five times, most recently by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1974) and Hermine Huntgeburth (2009).  See Picnicsonfilm.org.

Featured image: Fassbinder’s picnic. Effi Briest (Hannah Schygulla) and Major von Crampas (Ulli Lommel) on the beach at Kessin, a fictional town on the Baltic.

See Theodor Fontane. Effi Briest (1896). Translated by Hugh Rorrison and Helen Chambers. New York: Penguin, 2001;Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Effi Briest (1975). Screenplay by Rainer Werner Fassbinder based on Theodor Fontane’s novel; Hermine Huntgeburth. Effie Briest ( 2009). Screenplay by  Volker Einrauch based on  Fontane’s novel (1896)