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Rock Crystal by Adalbert Stifter

Rock Crystal (1845)

by Adalbert Stifter

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English (15)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All (17)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Bello quando si perdono nel ghiacciaio, c'è la cosiddetta suspance :-) ( )
  downisthenewup | Aug 17, 2017 |
A beautiful seasonal read. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
3½ stars ( )
  Bagpuss | Jan 17, 2016 |

Adalbert Stifter suffered from anxiety and depression his entire life. Like so many writers, he depended on the approval of others and despaired over the public indifference to his novels. Obviously, his own character was one that could not overcome this perception regarding his own inadequacies. He took this public refusal of his life’s work so personally that his last act on earth was to unfortunately cut his own throat.

This is a fiction, but all of us bring something of ourselves to the reading of any text, that is, unless we are dumb to the ways of the heart and our own human impulses. What matters to many of us at specific and certain times, for others matters to none. Within the law, I myself am naturally a hardened, cold-blooded murderer. Like a farmer tending to his flock and crops I do what must be done to extricate and eradicate in order to protect the better interest of all I am charged with safekeeping. It helps a human to be hard when it entails a violence unbecoming of a man so closely attuned to nature. Death is simply a matter-of-fact and nothing one needs to dwell on. But when children are involved this sometimes frozen heart of mine thaws to a degree baffling to the ears of those who know me and who hear me babbling in my pleading cries for mercy. And I, who have never been a lover of young children, even my own, rise to their defense and protection like no other. It puzzles even myself this manner in which my overwhelming and compassionate emotions seem to exflunct my long-hardened stance. My posture severely bends in the doubling over of my agony, and I wish the present experience had never occurred or would quickly end.

Much has been praised about this fine little book Rock Crystal. In addition, there have been others who cannot bear the seeming pretense of this labeled prim and human-caring spectacle. I understand this latter position better than my own. But what is important I think to note is how, through our many years, we all do change. Everything looks different from an altered or, it is hoped, an evolved point of view. Our tastes in food, music, and literature are good examples of this, not to mention our specific needs for sex and meaningful relationships. If one lives long enough the important lesson learned is that all of life changes all of the time. It is true that everything is in flux in this world ruled by utter chaos.

What seemed to me at first to be a very brief encounter when taking a peek at the total ninety-six page count actually resulted in more than seven days of reading time. My sessions were only good for a very few pages at each seating. So descriptive were the geographies and social sciences that I struggled at times to absorb them all. It was almost too much. Early on I was asking the author for the point of his story. But it did not take me long to realize in fact that Adalbert Stifter was very good at this craft of writing. I committed to continue in my struggle, and to march on through his text to see what I might see. Unlike a few critical others, the name Adalbert Stifter interests me to no small degree. I have wanted for some time now to read his work just because of that remarkable and mysterious name. I believe in the threat of danger involved in just viewing the face of the name’s own landscape on this page that claims the name of Adalbert Stifter.

Crazy as it sounds, I suspect in some ways this novella may be misconstrued again as a type of Christian tale because it more than once invoked its name. I think it instead makes a statement relatively more inclusive to all humanity and the brilliantly glorious and fantastical wonders of our world. For me, a literary vehicle coursing through the streaming blood that comes from the violent death of one Adalbert Stifter, a gruesome murder bloodied by his own hand, this tale bravely mounts itself in its own way indifferently onto his fiction. And is as well proof of his own denial of a god’s commandment stating thou shan’t kill. Literally, this book was an amazing effort he made in making me see, and for that world of his I entered and that person I am who in this case allowed himself to be written upon, I am quite grateful.
( )
  MSarki | Jan 24, 2015 |
This was all landscape and texture; perhaps Stifter's other work—like the out of print Indian Summer, which I've often heard cited as one of the best in the genre of the German bildungsroman—is worth exploring. Rock Crystal was interesting in how the village and its boundaries are sketched, but it was too extended and repetitious in its allegories. ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adalbert Stifterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mayer, ElizabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siebenscheinová, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stromšík, JiříAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The church observes various festivals that are ever dear to the heart. What more gracious than Whitsuntide: more sacred or of deeper significance than Easter. The portentous sadness of Holy Week and the exaltation of the Sunday following, accompany us throughout life.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159017285X, Paperback)

Seemingly the simplest of stories—a passing anecdote of village life— Rock Crystal opens up into a tale of almost unendurable suspense. This jewel-like novella by the writer that Thomas Mann praised as "one of the most extraordinary, the most enigmatic, the most secretly daring and the most strangely gripping narrators in world literature" is among the most unusual, moving, and memorable of Christmas stories. Two children—Conrad and his little sister, Sanna—set out from their village high up in the Alps to visit their grandparents in the neighboring valley. It is the day before Christmas but the weather is mild, though of course night falls early in December and the children are warned not to linger. The grandparents welcome the children with presents and pack them off with kisses. Then snow begins to fall, ever more thickly and steadily. Undaunted, the children press on, only to take a wrong turn. The snow rises higher and higher, time passes: it is deep night when the sky clears and Conrad and Sanna discover themselves out on a glacier, terrifying and beautiful, the heart of the void. Adalbert Stifter's rapt and enigmatic tale, beautifully translated by Elizabeth Mayer and Marianne Moore, explores what can be found between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day—or on any night of the year.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:13 -0400)

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