Dark Dominion is Marianne Hauser’s first English language novel, published in 1947 by Random House. She had been living in the United States for about ten years. It was described at the time as a Gothic novel. It is a novel of hallucination, memory and dreams, about a Swiss woman who comes to America and marries her psychiatrist. Narrated by her brother, who hopes to persuade her to return to Switzerland, it is indeed dark and perverse, a witty satire of psychoanalysis, and a serious meditation on the perils of repressed desire and illusion. It received mixed reviews at the time.
Hauser wrote Dark Dominion at the suggestion of her editor and friend Coby Gilman, a brilliant, erudite alcoholic who was legendary in 1930’s literary circles. He is now only known through the diaries and letters of his close friend, Dawn Powell. She wrote it mostly while traveling with her husband, Fred Kirchberger, through the American south, where he was stationed during World War 2 as a German language specialist. Kirchberger fled Germany in 1938 when he was unable to perform a recital in Berlin, due to his mother being Jewish. Hauser wrote articles, book reviews and short stories, and lectured to church groups about the rise of Hitler and threat of fascism. Her son, Michael Kirchberger, was born in 1945. Marguerite Young, author of Miss Macintosh My Darling and a number of other works, was his godmother. At this time she also met Ruth Stephan, Mari Sandoz and Anais Nin, all of whom were in New York from the late thirties or early forties.