The Dead Girls' Class Trip

The Dead Girls' Class Trip

Selected Stories

Anna Seghers


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A new translation of the best and most provocative short stories by the author of Transit and The Seventh Cross.

Best known for the anti-fascist novel The Seventh Cross and the existential thriller Transit, Anna Seghers was also a gifted writer of short fiction. The stories she wrote throughout her life reflect her political activism as well as her deep engagement with myth; they are also some of her most formally experimental work. This selection of Seghers’s best stories, written between 1925 and 1965, displays the range of her creativity over the years. It includes her most famous short fiction, such as the autobiographical “The Dead Girls’ Class Trip,” and others, like “Jans Is Going to Die,” that have been translated into English here for the first time. There are psychologically penetrating stories about young men corrupted by desperation and women bound by circumstance, as well as enigmatic tales of bewilderment and enchantment based on myths and legends, like “The Best Tales of Woynok, the Thief,” “The Three Trees,” and “Tales of Artemis.” In her stories, Seghers used the German language in especially unconventional and challenging ways, and Margot Bettauer Dembo’s sensitive and skilled translation preserves this distinction.


Anna Seghers:
Anna Seghers (1900–1983) was born in Mainz, Germany, into an upper-middle-class Jewish family. She published her first story in 1924 and received the Kleist Prize for her first novel in 1929. After World War II she moved to East Berlin, where she became an emblematic figure of East German letters, actively championing the work of younger writers from her position as the president of the Writers Union and publishing at a steady pace. Her novels Transit and The Seventh Cross are also available from NYRB Classics. 

Margot Bettauer Dembo (1928–2019) translated the works of many authors. She was awarded the Goethe-Institut/Berlin Translation Prize in 1994 and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize in 2003. For NYRB Classics she translated Transit and The Seventh Cross by Seghers and Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum.

Ingo Schulze is a German novelist and short story writer. His most recent novels include Adam and Evelyn, Oranges and Angels, Peter Holtz, and The Righteous Murderers.