Stifter, Adalbert

Stifter, Adalbert

(ä`dälbĕrt shtĭf`tər), 1805–68, Austrian writer, b. Bohemia. Learned in law, mathematics, and science and accomplished as an artist, he was a tutor to important families and, later, a school inspector. His tales of the Bohemian Forest were widely read in his time and are still acclaimed for their sensitive descriptions of nature and of a simple and beautiful harmony between nature and man. Many of his tales were collected in Studien (6 vol., 1844–50). His late novels, Der Nachsommer (1857) and Witiko (3 vol., 1865–67), are considered diffuse.


See biography by M. Gump (1973).

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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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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