Not Sex, but Sexy

Gabriele Annan

  • Alma Mahler-Werfel: The Diaries 1898-1902 translated by Antony Beaumont
    Faber, 512 pp, £25.00, November 1998, ISBN 0 571 19340 4

‘You see, it is simply a very young girl’s record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication.’ This is Cicely in The Importance of Being Earnest refusing to let Algernon look at her diary. But it could easily be her flesh-and-blood contemporary Alma Mahler protecting hers. In fact, the exchange preceding Cicely’s remark crops up in several variations in Alma’s pages, each with a different male in the role of Algernon. It goes something like this:

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