MINE-HAHA or On the Bodily Education of Young Girls, Frank Wedekind, tr. Philip Ward (Hesperus) £8.99
Translated into English for the first time by Philip Ward, Wedekind’s MINE-HAHA is a perverse novella-length masterpiece originally published in 1903. Featuring a Lolita-style introduction years before Nabakov penned his own psycho-sexual novel, the story recounts the childhood experience of the recently dead-by-suicide 84-year-old teacher Helene Engel, who in his introduction, Wedekind claims as his former neighbor. Engel recounts her experience at a boarding institution for young girls, where they’re unknowingly prepared for a very adult life with training in dance, movement, and music. Though primarily known as a playwright, Wedekind’s prose is fluid and affecting. His story was praised by Trotsky five years after its release, and Wedekind was later cited by Brecht as one of his primary influences. Hesperus has produced a cover reminiscent of the creepier Lolitas, and this edition includes two other, shorter Wedekind stories, which compliment the primary text without crowding it.