Theodor Fontane was born in the Prussian province of Brandenburg in 1819. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he made his living as a writer. From 1855 to 1859, he lived in London and worked as a freelance journalist and press agent for the Prussian embassy. While working as a war correspondent during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1 he was taken prisoner, but released after two months. His first novel, Before the Storm, was published when he was fifty-eight and was followed by sixteen further novels, of which Effi Briest, No Way Back and On Tangled Paths are all published in Penguin Classics. He died in 1898.Hugh Rorrison and Helen Chambers have both published extensively on German literature, and translated together the Penguin Classics translation of Fontane's Effi Briest.