On Tangled Paths

On Tangled Paths

Afterword by: Peter James Bowman
Translator: Peter James Bowman

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780141392172
  • 192 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


A moving love story and a vivid depiction of Berlin in the 1870s, from Germany’s greatest nineteenth-century novelist Theodor Fontane

In this classic novel—one of the pillars of German literature—Lene, a beautiful, orphaned young seamstress, falls in love with Botho, a handsome, aristocratic cavalry officer. They know they have only a short time together, as society deems their relationship inappropriate and refuses to take their love seriously. But while Botho seems to have a glittering life ahead of him, his love may be his undoing. First published in 1887, this taut, flawless masterpiece caused a scandal with its portrayal of a sexual affair across the classes.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


On Tangled Paths has the flawless logic and beautiful design of the novella at its best”
-Paul Binding, The Spectator

“There is an undertow of sadness to this novel, yet to read it is a joy, for its humanity, subtlety and visual immediacy”
-Ruth Pavey, The Independent

“Theodor Fontane’s first true masterpiece; it has a perfect beginning, a perfect ending, and no superfluous sentence in between”
-Henry Garland
PRH Book Clubs Survey