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Brigitta and Other Tales (Penguin Classics) Paperback – January 1, 1995

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (February 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140446303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140446302
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #842,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By on November 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
Stifter is a master story teller, fully wothy of comparison with the best of Chekov,Turgenev, or Balzac.
Kafka once wrote that we should read only those books which can be "the axe for the frozen sea inside us." Stifter's "Brigitta" is definitely one such book.
I encountered this story several years ago in an undergraduate survey course on German literature. The elegance and beauty of this narrative masterpiece were immediately obvious to me. Anyone jaded about the worthiness of literature ought to at least read the opening pragraph of "Brigitta." It's one of the most astonishing to found and initiates the reader directly into the world this writer so touchingly describes. This story (along with other works by Mann and Kafka)inspired me to major in German. I've recommended it over the years to many good friends, all of whom shared my admiration of "Brigitta's" considerable merit. What a pity that Stifter and his works are not better known to American readers.
It's perhaps an uncomfortable truth that Stifter's deep concern with _goodness_, its fragility and easily corruptible nature - especially during childhood - may strike many among today's literary "school of resentment" as sanctimonious and, dare I say, offensive. I would also hazard to guess that Stifter's reception among a more mainstream literary public is hampered by his having come from the German-speaking orbit.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Luca Graziuso and Marina Ross on August 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"I know I am ugly, therefore I demand a greater love than the most beautiful girl on this earth... without measure and without end."

So Brigitta warns her husband in the title story of this collection by the Austrian writer Adalbert Stifter (1805-68). Each of these four stories (Abdias, Brigitta, Forest Path, Limestone) is set in a recognizable world depicted with a recognizable realism. But once the reader has learned to look beneath the calm, apparantly seamless surface of the narrative, and in Stifter's words "to look with the eye of the heart", strange tensions are revealed.

The struggle for morality, always subject to the play of fate and chance, is illuminated by a sensitivity to individual psychology and an awareness of the formative influence of childhood experience which has yet to be explored in quite such a discerning fashion. Nature, too, plays an important part, both as teacher to humans and as destroyer of their dispatcher of fate. This is probably the only postromantic you'll ever read, and indeed the term does not exist properly speaking within the canon of literary critical outlays. This is Bach not Beethoven. The stirring fugues are a pathology of the normal disquiet that persists and conditions as the reader is probing the futility of human affairs within the crevices of a fractured self dialogically erupting with a muted resignation. Yeah, it's that good. And that serene. A book of a similar, but less wondrous stamp would be Hamsun's "Growth of the Soil" and the majority of Robert Wasler's sumptuous writing; but this is where either of them found inspiration and looked for mastery.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Manuel Haas on March 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Brigitta" was the first story by Stifter I ever read, and I am sure it will always be one of my favourite stories. All of Stifter's stories are about how to live. Brigitta is the tale of a woman who finds a life of her own after her husband betrayed her and she threw him out.
Stifter is different from any other writer of the 19th century. His main interest is not in dramatic events but the everyday. Ordinary lives fill him with wonder and admiration. He will make you look at life in a different way.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stifter is one of the most celebrated novella writers in the German language. I first read Brigitta as a student in Vienna, and have never forgotten it. Recently I ordered this copy and reread Brigitta with the same joy and insight.
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