Carl Spitteler

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Spitteler, Carl


(pen name, Felix Tandem). Born Apr. 24, 1845, in Liestal; died Dec. 29, 1924, in Luzern. Swiss writer. Wrote in German.

Spitteler studied law and theology at the universities of Basel, Zürich, and Heidelberg. From 1871 to 1879 he lived in Russia. In Prometheus and Epimetheus (1880–81; verse version Prometheus the Sufferer, 1924), an epic written in rhythmic prose, Spitteler used metaphors that paralleled the conflicts and contradictions of his epoch. His chief work, the epic poem Olympic Spring (1900–05; revised ed., 1910), is also characterized by an allegorical modernization of classical myth. His novel Imago (1906) has as its central concern the intensification in bourgeois society of the conflict between the artist and the burgher. Spitteler received a Nobel Prize in 1919.


Gesammelte Werke, vols. 1–10. Zürich-Stuttgart, 1945–58.


Iur’eva, L. M. “Karl Shpitteler.” In Literatura Shveitsarii: Ocherki. Moscow, 1969.
Hoffler, T. Carl Spitteler. Jena, 1926.
Rolland, R. Compagnons de route. Paris, 1961.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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They include not only Carl Spitteler (whose epic Olympischer Fruhling is treated sceptically) and Robert Walser, each given his own subsection, but such figures as Jakob Bosshart, Peter Ilg, and Friedrich Glauser, who are so unfamiliar outside Switzerland that none of them makes it into the Oxford Companion to German Literature.
Gjellerup (Den) and Hendrik Pontoppidan (Den); 1918, none; 1919, Carl Spitteler (Switz); 1920, Knut Hamsun (Norw); 1921, Anatole France (Fr); 1922, Jacinto Benavente y Martinez (Sp); 1923, William Butler Yeats (Ir); 1924, Wladislaw S.