Day 9 – Beautiful Cover


Büchergilde is well known for having especially beautiful books and Katherine Mansfield’s „In einer deutschen Pension“ is no exception. I totally fell in love with the Jugendstil cover and the beautiful pictures inside.

However, the book is not just worthwhile buying because of the illustrations, Katherine Mansfield’s short stories are sharp ironic little pearls where she examines the typically german spa guests in her guesthouse.

Fotos: Büchergilde Gutenberg

These stories catapulted the New Zealand born Katherine Mansfield onto the literary stage and she became the absolute master of modern english short stories. The stories in this collections were written by her in 1909 when the 21 year old Mansfield lived in Wörishofen in Bavaria for a few months.

Mansfield was pregnant at the time and had left her husband after just a few months of being married. She mocks the stuffy guests and ironically puts to test the biases, prejudices and clichés of the german and english mentality.

Mansfield describes day-to-day situation ins a german spa in 1909. The guests have discussions about their digestion and other health issues and preferably discuss the life of the aristocracy.

Fotos: Büchergilde Gutenberg

The stories are not plot-driven but they are amusing and quite interesting little sketches of the German mindeset at that time.

„Ich werde ohnmächtig, jetzt sofort!“
Ich erschrak. „Das geht nicht“, sagte ich und schüttelte sie. „Kommen Sie mit in die Pension, dort können sie ohnmächtig werden, so viel Sie wollen! Aber hier können Sie nicht ohnmächtig werden! Alle Geschäfte sind geschlossen. Kein Mensch ist in der Nähe. Bitte seien Sie nicht so töricht!“
„Hier – und nur hier!“ Sie zeigte auf die genaue Stelle, ließ sich wunderschön fallen und blieb reglos liegen.
„Also meinetwegen werden Sie ohnmächtig“, sagte ich, „aber bitte, machen Sie schnell!“

The combination of text and illustration adds to an amazing synthesis consisting of stuffiness, trash and irony. The colour pink is quite dominating and the art nouveau style is very fitting and it’s pure pleasure to see fat babies, girdles and aristocracy being mixed togehter into a pulp that provided the base for the upcoming society shake-up due to Freud, the womens lib movement and the end of the Kaiser power.

What is your favorite cover at the moment?