Adalbert Stifter

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stifter, Adalbert


Born Oct. 23, 1805, in Oberplan; died Jan. 28, 1868, in Linz. Austrian writer and painter of the late romantic period.

Stifter studied at the University of Vienna from 1826 to 1830. From 1849 to 1866 he was an inspector in the public schools of Upper Austria.

Stifter’s belief in the humanistic ideals of the German Enlightenment is reflected in his Indian Summer (1857), a psychological Bildungsroman; his political conservatism is seen in the historical novel Witiko (1865–67). In his collections of short stories and novellas, such as Studies (vols. 1–6, 1844–50) and Colored Stones (1853), he gives an idyllic depiction of the mores of an Austrian village. His idealist views on public education and the humanistic upbringing of the individual are presented in such pedagogic works as On the School and the Family (published 1952); he based these views on a faith in the power of reason to destroy social evils.

As a painter, Stifter produced for the most part romantic landscapes, such as View of the Meadows of the Western Hungarian Alps in Inclement Weather (A. Stifter Museum, Vienna). Stifter’s expressive, plein-air style of painting made him one of the forerunners of German and Austrian impressionism.


Werke, vols. 1–4. Berlin-Weimar, 1964.
In Russian translation:
Staraiapechat’. Moscow, 1960.
Lesnaia tropa. Moscow, 1971.


A. Stifter: Studien und Interpretationen. Heidelberg, 1968.
Eisenmeier, E. A. Stifter: Bibliographie. Linz, 1964–71.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The work is inspired by the work of Adalbert Stifter, a 19th-century Austrian writer with a goal of documenting the sounds and visual manifestations of nature.
The things that mattered to him were his pens, the paper he wrote on, his books, the spring and pump outside his window in Todtnauberg, the topography of the Schwarzwald as described by one of his favorite writers, Adalbert Stifter (11)--and above all his voice, what Richard Wisser (1958), referring to Heidegger, termed la voix qui pense.
The piece is named after Adalbert Stifter (1805-1868), an Austrian writer who inspired many other writers and poets, including Rainer Maria Rilke, through his descriptions of nature.
The same can be said with regard to several themes, including Portofino, Venice, Judas, Napoleon, Claude Lorraine, prophecy, ancestry and Adalbert Stifter's Indian Summer.
The first original translation of Austrian author Adalbert Stifter to come from Pushkin Press, The Bachelors is a bildungsroman that repeatedly contrasts youth with age and childhood with adult life as it traces the experience of a young man named Victor after he leaves home.
A specialist on this topic, Stefani Kugler, examines the relationship of nature and culture in Adalbert Stifter's Kazensilber, where the brown girl appears to represent a childlike nature to which the cultivated family has lost contact, leaving them with anxieties and yearnings but without competence in dealing with natural dangers.
Adalbert Stifter (1805-1868) is hardly known at all in English-speaking countries, but he is regarded as a classic of German prose style.
An equally important formative influence for Sebald's aesthetic of stasis, however, is more practical than theoretical, namely his reading of nineteenth-century German prose by writers such as Theodore Fontane, Gottfried Keller, and Adalbert Stifter. Stifter's placid style in particular serves as a stylistic model for Sebald, and many have noted similarities in diction?
An appendix to one of the essays also contains a translation of Adalbert Stifter's "Ice Tale" (Eisgeschichte).