(3114) Marlitt, Evgenia (1825-1887). “Sovinoe gnezdo” (“Das Eulenhaus”, 1888). Novel.
Original typescript, 2nd copy. 449 pages. 22cm. Hardbound binding. Samizdat dated 1958-60. With an inscribed dedication in blue ink dated 19 April 1961.
One of the most popular German novelists of her time was born Friederike Henriette Christiane Eugenie John. With notable success among the women of certain affluent circles in the German bourgeoisie during the 1860’s and 70’s her novels embodied the sort considered leisure reading. Typically her novels would be a whodunit with a bourgeois moral to the tale.
From a family of considerable standing and means she studied music and followed a career as a singer, a career she was forced to prematurely abandon due to rapidly increasing deafness. In 1985 she became the personal secretary to the princess Fürstin Mathilde von Schwarzburg-Sondershausen in Friedrichsruhe.
She travels a lot, is in charge of the princess’ correspondance and when the financial fortunes of the princess begin to degrade Marlitt installs her employer with her own family, at Arnstädter with her brother. Deciding to dedicate herself solely to writing, her brother advises her to submit her manuscripts under the nom de plume E. Marlitt. It has been suggested that the resulting pseudonym is probably an abbreviation of “Meine Arnstädter Litteratur” or My Literature from Arnstädter and in 1865 the first book by Marlitt appears in print.
Three editions appeared in Russian translation of this novel in 1898, 1902 and 1911. A complete edition appeared in 1900 at Efimov after which our samizdat was copied. Oclc records none of these four editions. It should be of no surprise either to learn that Marlitt was one of the writers who was stigmatised by the satirists of the First Revolution of 1905-6 as being “worms in the literature of the German Capitalist Bourgeoisie infiltrating the spirit of the Russian people”. It would take the end of the USSR to see the author published again in the Russian language.
The link below is to a women’s forum where current readers of Marlitt show a renewed interest in developing their knowledge of this literature; the existence of samizdats like ours is explicitly referred to: