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Books: Maiden Out of Uniform

2 minute read

GIRL ALONE—Christa Winsloe—Farrar & Rinehart ($2.50).

Cinemaddicts remember Maedchen in Uniform as one of the distinguished German productions of 1932, a delicately realistic picture of life in a girls’ boarding school. In book form it became The Child Manuela, was Christa Winsloe’s first novel. Though not a formal sequel, Girl Alone is a further chronicle of maidenly adventure. Baroness Hatvany (Christa Winsloe’s married name) is a prize-winning European sculptress as well as a writer, and this tale of regretful nubility in pre-War Munich bears many an earmark of first-hand experience.

Eva-Maria had left home to study art, not just to leave home. She lived cheaply in the attic of a Munich boarding house, worked all day every day at the studio where she was the only girl. She had talent, but she was also pretty, 20. Elderly fellow-boarders mooed at her yearningly; she hardly noticed. Young Painter Erni went tramping with her in the country and might have had her for the asking, but he had scruples. Sculptor Ulitsch, ruthless woman-hunter, fascinated her, then frightened her away. She took refuge with an unfeminine girlfriend, and Bohemia was soon calling her “one of those.” Then Eva ran away to Italy and discovered a new kind of love in her adoration of a Franciscan monk. Not only saintly but wise, he kept her from entering a convent, sent her back to work, told her to wait until the right man came along.

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