Have you ever wondered what a novel would be like devoid of strife, war, tension, sex, violence, unreliable narrators, internal turmoil, wickedness, redemption, car-chases, gun-fights, zombies etc. The short reply is that it is a idyllic, nineteenth-century, middle-class bildungsroman. The book was originally published in as Der Nachsommer. It is quite a long book at pages, especially as the book is larger than the usual novel size; it is more like a page novel — so be warned! So the story largely concerns Heinrich and his intellectual development as he becomes a man.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Indian Summer by Adalbert Stifter. Indian Summer by Adalbert Stifter ,. Wendell W. Frye Translator. This is one of Stifter's great epic works, a most sensitive account of the formative years in the life of Heinrich, a student of natural sciences, born into a bourgeois environment, but influenced and gently guided by a nobleman, the old Baron von Risach.
It is in fact the baron's own reminiscences which give the book its title. Comparable in some ways to Gottfried Keller' This is one of Stifter's great epic works, a most sensitive account of the formative years in the life of Heinrich, a student of natural sciences, born into a bourgeois environment, but influenced and gently guided by a nobleman, the old Baron von Risach.
Comparable in some ways to Gottfried Keller's Der grune Heinrich this novel, nevertheless, reflects Stifter's own moral values, his ethical thinking, and his deep reverence for nature. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published by Peter Lang Publishing first published More Details Original Title. Heinrich Drendorf. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Indian Summer , please sign up.
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Indian Summer. For while Heinrich's life situation does indeed somewhat alter throughout the course of Der Nachsommer , he at least in my humble opinion never really does all that much seem to become his "own man" so to speak, simply and very easily moving from his merchant father's highly regimented household to the Rosenhaus, whose owner the Freiherr von Risach then with body and soul, totally and utterly becomes Heinrich's new mentor, his new father figure and as such a teacher who while definitely more philosophically inclined, more idealistic and classically educated than Heinrich's father is nevertheless and still similarly staunchly regimented and structured, and von Risach's philosophies and teachings are also generally accepted by Heinrich as his eager pupil without too much debate, criticism and questioning.
The Freiherr von Risach's Rosenhaus is therefore in many ways almost shown by the author, is depicted by Adalbert Stifter through his raconteur, through Heinrich as a domicile akin and alike to a fairy tale castle of philosophical, literary and artistic delights, but I for one have always tended to find Heinrich's extended and minutely depicted and detailed recited extended sojourn at the Rosenhaus a rather tedious and dragging reading experience, and at least for me on a personal level generally devoid of much if not of most of what makes a novel, but what especially makes a Bildungsroman, a novel of development and maturation of personal change readable and enjoyable.
Yes, Heinrich does indeed mature and develop as a person to a point, as he becomes increasingly educated and philosophically inclined through the long hours, days, weeks, months he spends at the Rosenhaus under von Risach's tutelage and I guess he also therefore expands his intellectual horizons somewhat. However, Der Nachsommer really is pretty much and majorly one-sided in scope and presented attitudes, and I personally have also never really believed that the main narrator the main character , that Heinrich has to strive or in any way fight and work all that hard and much for his education, for his development, his Bildung no, he seems to permanently and continuously just exist in the Rosenhaus, simply absorbing von Risach's teachings, musings, philosophies like a sponge and once this sponge has been sufficiently saturated, Heinrich and Natalie marry.
And while I do realise that there are many who seemingly love and much appreciate Adalbert Stifter's descriptiveness and the general peaceful, caressing, conflict empty ambience of Der Nachsommer , I personally have always tended to view this novel as basically being formulaic to the extreme, as being the following.
Heinrich arrives at the Rosenhaus and meets and falls in love with Natalie. And then, after hundreds of pages of lengthy descriptions of von Risach's and Heinrich's conversations, of Heinrich's education by von Risach in literature, philosophy and art, Heinrich and Natalie marry nothing much else ever really happens, and while this kind of an almost totally descriptive and ambience-heavy story might work for me as a novella or even a short novel of less than two hundred pages, over six hundred pages of this is not really my idea of pleasure reading, and thus, although I do appreciate Adalbert Stifter's Der Nachsommer as an important work of 19th century Austrian, of German language literature, I can and will only consider it as a two star read, as I was and remain just too continuously bored to award more than two stars.
View all 10 comments. I recall a literary paper on adalbert stifter which is called "fascination and boredom in stifter's writing" and - without reading it or remembering the author - my relation with this book - my first written by this author coming from exactly the same city like me and thus especially interesting for me - couldn't be described in a better way Aug 18, Jonathan rated it really liked it Shelves: 19th-century , author-male , book-type-novel , library-books-read , chunksters , books-to-read , lit-german-austria.
Have you ever wondered what a novel would be like devoid of strife, war, tension, sex, violence, unreliable narrators, internal turmoil, wickedness, redemption, car-chases, gun-fights, zombies etc.
Well, Adalbert Stifter's Indian Summer is such a novel. The short reply is that it is a idyllic, nineteenth-century, middle-class bildungsroman. In fact, it is so idyllic that I don't believe at any point in the novel do any of the characters sa Have you ever wondered what a novel would be like devoid of strife, war, tension, sex, violence, unreliable narrators, internal turmoil, wickedness, redemption, car-chases, gun-fights, zombies etc.
In fact, it is so idyllic that I don't believe at any point in the novel do any of the characters say, or think, badly of any other character and I can only recall one point near the end of the novel, where one elderly character is recounting the story of a love affair from his past, when there was a degree of tension between characters. For those of us who have grown up with Dickens or Dostoyevsky this type of novel can be a bit of a surprise and even though I was familiar with a few of Stifter's other works I wasn't really prepared for this work.
The book was originally published in as Der Nachsommer. It is quite a long book at pages, especially as the book is larger than the usual novel size; it is more like a page novel - so be warned! I'm not trying to put anyone off reading this book, because I really enjoyed reading it, but I think that a large portion of people will really dislike it.
So the story largely concerns Heinrich and his intellectual development as he becomes a man. Although the blurb on the back of the book named the narrator he's not actually given a name until the end of the book. The narrator is also vague about the name of another main character, Baron von Risach, throughout most of the book.
It's as if the narrator, and therefore the author also, would like to do away with such egotistical and individualistic things such as names.
The novel starts by describing the ordered family life of Heinrich; his father works long hours but spends his spare time collecting and admiring art, furniture, coins etc. He also has a younger sister, Klotilde.
When Heinrich turns eighteen he is allowed to draw money from his inheritance from a deceased uncle. Heinrich decides to pursue his interests in science and mathematics and soon settles on geology as his main interest especially as he likes to go hiking in the mountains.
To give you a taste of the narrative style, here is a quote from the early part of the novel. Even as a boy I had had a great liking for the reality of things as they actually exist in all Creation and in the orderly course of human life. This was often a source of bother for the people around me. I was constantly asking the names of things, where they came from, what they were used for, and couldn't be content with an answer that just put me off.
I couldn't stand it either if someone made an object into something other than what it really was. This was particularly true when I felt that the object had become worse for the change. I was sad when they chopped down an old tree in the yard and cut it into firewood. The pieces were no longer a tree and since they were rotten couldn't be made into a chair or a table or a cross-bar or a saw horse.
One day whilst hiking in the Alps Heinrich notices an approaching thunderstorm and seeks shelter in a nearby house on a hill. Heinrich notices, and describes in great detail, that one side of the house is covered in roses of all types and colours. He rings the bell on the gate and an old white-haired man comes out to see him. I'll quote the encounter and their initial conversation as it is, I feel, a good taste of what will appear to the modern reader as quite a stilted conversational style.
At the sound of the bell a man came out from behind the bushes in the yard and walked toward me. When he was standing in front of me on the inside of the grill fence, I saw that he was bareheaded and had snow white hair. Otherwise, there was nothing remarkable about him, and he had a type of house jacket on, or whatever you might call it, which fitted snugly and extended down almost to his knees.
After he had come up, he gazed at me for a moment and then asked, "What would you like, my dear young man? As you can see by my knapsack, I am a hiker and am asking that you give me shelter in this house until the rain, or at least the worst part of it is over.
It turns out that the house on the hill does escape the storm even though it rages in the surrounding area. The white-haired man turns out to be the Baron von Risach and the house is called the 'Asperhof'. Risach shows Heinrich around his house and, as the novel develops, becomes a mentor to Heinrich. For the rest of the novel Heinrich shuttles between his parents' home, the Asperhof and the house of some friends of Risach, the 'Sternenhof'; he has many discussions with Risach on geology, art, illustrating, furniture restoring, statues, marble-flooring, roses, church restorations, nature and many other material things; I believe only once does the conversation turn to more spiritual matters.
There is also quite a lot of zither-playing! By the end of Part Two of Three Heinrich has become romantically involved with Natalie, the daughter of the owner of the Sternenhof and the novel concentrates on their future life together. Near the beginning of Part Three, not long after Heinrich and Natalie have declared their love for each other, there is a beautiful description of the wonder of the night sky: How strange it was, I thought, that when the tiny though thousandfold beauties of the Earth disappeared and the immeasurable beauty of outer space rose in the distant quiet splendor of light, man and the greatest number of other creatures were supposed to be asleep!
Was it because we were only permitted to catch a fleeting glimpse of those great bodies and then only in the mysterious time of a dream world, those great bodies about which man had only the slightest knowledge but perhaps one day would be permitted to examine more closely?
Or was it permitted for the great majority of people to gaze at the starry firmament only in brief, sleepless moments so that the splendor wouldn't become mundane, so that the greatness wouldn't be diminished? The novel ends with further revelations, especially from Risach, who reveals much about his early life, which helps us understand the title of the novel.
The book is in three parts and I ended up reading each part with a significant break inbetween. Although I really enjoyed the book I think I would find it difficult reading it in one go as it can get a bit suffocating. I must admit when I reached the end I couldn't help cynically saying to myself 'And they all lived happily ever after.
I believe that to enjoy the book one needs to suspend as much of this cynicism as is possible - which I managed to do for most of the book. If you're unsure about reading this and have not encountered any of Stifter's work then I would thoroughly recommend Rock Crystal , which has to be one of my favourite books. This was read as part of German Literature Month in November a.
In this work, the author being a pedagogue by profession establishes his ideas of the perfect education for a young man of his time. The story appears to be situated in Vienna Austria in the nineteenth century at the time of the Habsburg Reign.
Indian Summer by Adalbert Stifter
Adalbert Stifter is the towering 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 Nachsommer , translated by Wendell Frye as Indian Summer , which is his best known and most celebrated work. It is an exemplar Bildungsroman some even claim, the only perfect Bildungsroman , a meditation upon art, life and love. However, In German-language 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?
For very long stretches of his prose Stifter is an unbearable chatterbox, he has an incompetent and, which is most despicable, a slovenly style and he is moreover, in actual fact, the most boring and mendacious author in the whole of German literature. Thomas Bernhard, Old Masters , , tr. Ewald Osers, p. So there is one view, admittedly that of a fictional character, of Adalbert Stifter. It contains some truth.