Vilhelm Hammershøi, Dust Motes Dancing in the Sunbeams, 1900
Klaus Mann in den frühen 1930er Jahren
… daquele que dorme já não se sabe nada mais, seus sonhos já são o segredo que separa os amantes; ele agora é totalmente estranho, está longe, muito longe, já não se pode chegar a ele, sua fronte é estranha, sua boca é estranha, e mais estranho ele se torna quando balbucia palavras incompreensíveis que vêm de outro mundo, seu mundo… e quem sabe que olhar têm seus olhos sob as pálpebras que os cobrem piedosamente; é, ai, o olhar de um morto.
It should come as no surprise that when Annemarie fell for Erika, she did so with near-baroque levels of devotion, several years’ worth of pining, and an unparalleled page count. Although their official relationship lasted for a negligibly short amount of time, their assorted feuds and reconciliations would limp onwards from 1930 to Annemarie’s death in 1942.
To call Erika Annemarie’s type would be an understatement— frankly, to call Erika anybody’s type seems a little redundant: witty; charismatic; roguishly attractive— and stable enough to play the role of protector. Most importantly, both Erika and Klaus were only too happy to name Annemarie their adopted sibling, providing her with an escape from her own abusive, staunchly homophobic family. In her innumerable letters, Annemarie addresses Erika as “older brother” and “mother”, often signing off as “your child, Miro.” In these letters, their mutual passion for car maintenance was a dependable feature, as was Annemarie’s mournful request that Erika come visit her in Paris or, if nothing else, send her a conciliatory photograph. Annemarie’s damaging loyalty to the Schwarzenbach clan was another frequent and fraught topic of discussion: “You know,” wrote Annemarie, “they are absolutely convinced that there is something ‘funny’ about me, that I’m not normal, not responsible for my actions, and—to top it all off— that I must have a heart of stone for behaving in this way.” You can well imagine Erika’s impatience upon reading, a few days later: “Curiously, I feel quite close to my parents just now… they’re marvelous people— you absolutely must meet them!”
Long after the breakup, they continued to share a possessive, histrionic connection. When Annemarie announced her lavender marriage to diplomat Claude Clarac, Erika shot off a furious telegram to Klaus, declaring the friendship to be over. When Annemarie heard about an affair between Erika and the Peppermill’s (male) financier, she threw such a public tantrum that both women spent the next eight months pretending to have never heard of one another. Even through the stretches of relative calm, their relationship was strained at best. Annemarie died before official apologies could be exchanged, and Erika spent the rest of her life keeping pointedly mum about her once-friend. Not until the recent discovery of Annemarie’s will (ignored by her family) was it revealed that she had intended to name Erika executor of her literary estate, leaving her the sum of ten thousand Swiss francs. Reads the will’s conclusion: “Thank you once more to all those who have supported me throughout my life, especially my parents.”
Super duper Lord Hal