[Originally published in , translated by Wendell Frye as Indian Summer]. Adalbert Stifter is the towering giant of Austrian literature, who. Analysis and discussion of characters in Adalbert Stifter’s Indian Summer. Complete summary of Adalbert Stifter’s Indian Summer. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Indian Summer.

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Adalbert Stifter is the ada,bert giant of Austrian literature, who helped shape the modern literature of his country. He has written both in the long and the short form, producing very long novels, shorter novellas and short stories alike. In he published Der Nachsommertranslated by Wendell Frye as Indian Summerwhich is his best known and most celebrated work. It is an exemplar Bildungsroman some even claim, the only perfect Bildungsromana meditation upon art, life and love.

However, In Iindian literary criticism this book as been an object of hot debate. So how has this book become so contested? What is it that provokes people to passionately comment upon it? Its fans, like Harig, point out how warm and immersible the book is.

I daresay, if you share the novels complacent attitude towards the world and connect aummer its young, questing protagonist Heinrich, you may enjoy it. This does not mean, however, that I do not recommend the Nachsommer. Without a doubt, this is a very rich book, dense with detail, thought and reference; I even maintain that much that is boring in the novel is actually intentional or at least functional.

With less boredom the book would certainly be more fun to read but would it be as good a book? I would not vouch for this. The boredom is derived both from the overflowing wealth of described objects as well as from the deliberate writing that processes any information in careful order, piece by piece.

All this is stretched over a good many pages; in contrast to some boring books which indiwn to sag after a few dozen interesting pages, Stifter elevates boredom to an art form.

There is nothing interesting to turn boring, the very second page had me yawning. Of course, he jumps ahead and sums things up now and then, but when he slows down and lets us take a look, he pulls no punches, boredom-wise. The following discussion extends over several pages, incredibly redundant, and frighteningly dull. At times they appear to discuss the reasoning for their different estimation of the probability of rain, at other times they talk about the area, telling each other what wood is near what river.


This kind of discussion comes up all the time and I was exasperated. Reading this dialogue aloud, one finds that, minus the elevated language, everyday discussions, small smumer, especially, really are this repetitive, this dull and irritating. The sequence of events and the details are all significant, as when Stifter, on the second page, describes bookshelves in his home, and how his father sometimes opens them and how he sometimes takes induan a book and puts it in again.

The how of this description is far more important that what it describes. Not in an abstract way, though. And how is it determined what that one thing is? Your identity is that one which best fits the order. So he refers to his house as the rose house, because on the walls of the house, roses grow plentiful. They indicate an important fact: As we are about to find out, in excruciating detail, he has a large garden, which is rich and full of healthy, beautiful plants and trees.

There are various pests about in the country, birds, vermin and others, which are harmful to gardens and crops everywhere, as Heinrich witnessed on his peregrinations.

Astonished, he inquires about the secret of the garden and von Risach explains to him in far too many pages that the garden is constructed in a way that restores perfect balance. He grew plants that would attract birds that specialize in eating the vermin that is so common and harmful; he attracts bees to crowd out other insects and so on.

There is another long and dire conversation that reveals this order that von Risach created in his back yard. He explains that he utilizes each plant and animal in the best possible way, the only aummer that would create this completely functional balance in the garden.

This is what some would call complacent. Stifter has no interest in stirring the pot, in allowing his realism to depict social unrest or anything that could incite it.

Indian Summer

No, Der Nachsommer tells us that addalbert are fine as they are, or they would adalbret if people would behave as they should. Actually, it provides a complete image of the ideology its pushing and all its pictures and analogies are so apt, so like examples for a philophical thesis, rigorously arranged, that, at times, I wondered whether somewhere in his work a counterpart sujmer, an antithesis, existed. All the details fit. The garden, for instance, and the application of its model structure to the human sphere.

Had he left the garden alone for a year and it would likely be balanced all on its own, but it would look disorderly. Reading Der Nachsommerone slowly grows accustomed to its rhythms, one starts following the unspectacular winding paths of its narrative with a certain kind of joy.


Stifter is an extraordinary writer, his writing is always elegant, as I said, always controlled, and it creates a feeling of intense warmth, if you lean back and let the book string you along.

Stifter asks us to abdicate responsibility, compassion adalhert commitment to a structure, or possibly to God, because the structure has the last word. If everything works as it should, everything is fine.

‘Indian Summer’ by Adalbert Stifter | Intermittencies of the Mind

This is annoying, and, ultimately, deeply unsettling and unpleasant. Der Nachsommer is both a very good and a very bad book. On account of the intense boredom I suffered, I cannot possibly recommend it, despite the excellency of the writing, thinking and composition involved.

If you are interested in modern Austrian literature at all, moreover, you cannot pass this book by.

It is a rich book, frequently beautiful and meditative, written by an aesthete and a master of his craft. Would I read it again? If you hated it, even better. Send me comments, requests or suggestions either below or via email cf. Indian Summer – World Literature Forum. I like the fact you give a fair assessment of the book and admire your candor in pointing out both its strengths and its weaknesses adalberr such thoroughness and precision.

I could have written the same stifetr of words and gone off on a completely different tangent. Thomas Bernhard, the conservative revolution, and language.

Der Nachsommer; Indian Summer – German Literature

This is arbitrary blather. Maybe I should not review under the influence. You are commenting using your WordPress.

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