Author: Adalbert Stifter (1805-1868)
Genre: German literature
Having been born in Austria and also going to school there, I naturally discovered German literature over the course of the years and certainly came to enjoy it.
The german language is often described as harsh and hard, not even to close to the beauty of romantic languages like Spanish and French. Which is right, neither Austrians nor Germans sound particularly nice, the written german language however, is a bit different.
Especially in the epoch of Sturm and Drang, when German authors flourished, the language is beautiful to read and made me kind of fall back in love with my mother-tongue after having slipped off into English (I still prefer to write in English though). For that reason I decided to occasionally upload a German-literature-post on here, for those of you who are studying German or are generally interested in that topic.
The first book I would like to review is “Brigitta” by Adalbert Stifter.
The book has first been published in 1843 but reappeared as an edited version in 1847. Compared to other pieces of German literature, Brigitta is a fairly easy read, which makes it the perfect book to get started with in this genre.
I first read the book in High School and for some reason loved it straight away. Something about the protagonist just resonated with me and I’ve been rereading it every once in a while.
Now, what’s the book about.
The short novel Brigitta is separated into four parts or chapters. In the first chapter we follow the first-person narrater on his journey through Hungary, where he is visiting an old friend and fellow traveler.
In the second part, we get to know that friend who is called the Major, and his surroundings a bit better. The reader also gets a very good picture about one of the neighbours of the Major, whose name is Brigitta.
The third chapter makes it clear that the Major and Brigitta share a very special history and the story of how they met and what happened between them is unfold.
In the fourth chapter there’s an accident, tears and finding back home.
What makes this story so appealing is Stifter’s incredible talent of describing landscapes. His style of writing is so accurate and precise, it feels as if he were painting with words. And in Brigitta it also becomes clear that Stifter was very much in favour of emancipation which wasn’t the norm during the 19thcentury.
The main characters of the book are:
- The Major, who even as a middle-aged man has the looks and the brains to make women swoon
- Brigitta, who is so ugly even her own mother repelled her, but has a huge heart and works hard
- The first person narrator of whom we know nothing more than how much he used to love travelling, but starts to long for a settled home
To conclude this review, in my opinion Brigitta is a great book to get started in German-literature but also for those of you who want to increase their ability of describing landscapes and scenes.