Spiritual Meaning of Material Things in the Novels of Adalbert Stifter (1805-1868) A Study in Poetic Realism

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Addresses Adalbert Stifter's view of human relationship to material substances as well as proper ownership and use of possessions in individuals of the middle and higher classes. It builds on past scholarship in two main areas, namely Stifter and nature and the domestic ideal of the "Biedermeier" movement with which he is identified.


“…a very welcomed addition to Stifter secondary literature and it deserves this welcome for its illumination of the idealistic strand in the German Realist tradition.”
-Professor Francis Michael Sharp,
University of the Pacific-Stockton

“This is a beautifully written, thoroughly original, and fascinating to read book in the field of Austrian Studies. Throughout the study Dr. Saur displays a deep understanding of Adelbert Stifter’s literary work… it is an erudite yet highly readable book.”
-Dr. Gabriele Eckart,
Dept. of Global Cultures and Languages,
Southeast Missouri State University

"Suar's analyses would be beneficial to undergraduate students and general readers seeking a survey of Adalbert Stifter, first because she gives particular attention to his well-known works, namely, Der Nachsommer, Witiko, and Bunte Steine. Second, Saur's cataloguing provides initial access to Stifter's masterly descriptive realism but also importantly indicates the complex cultural contexts that inform his material representations. Furthermore, the book reads easily, and as it evades theory altogether, it also avoids heavy jargon. Her frequent returns to the concepts of Biedermeier and Bildung maintains for the general reader a focused encounter with Stifter's texts."
Dr. Matthew J. Sherman,
The University of Texas at Austin

“Adalbert Stifter is a romantic writer who expresses an incarnational vision of the material world. Saur demonstrates how Stifter analyzes the complex ways in which abstract virtues, ideals, and spiritual elements co-exist with the concrete world of the earth, substances, and things.”
-Dr. John DelliCarpini,
Author and Teacher

Table of Contents

Foreword by Thomas Buckley
Introduction: The Meaning of the Material
Part I: Interactions with the Material
Chapter 1: Ownership of Possessions
Chapter 2: Money and Commerce
Chapter 3: Giving and Receiving Gifts
Chapter 4: The Language of Clothing
Part II: The Meanings of the Material
Chapter 5: Stone: The Foundation
Chapter 6: Jewels and Pearls, An Ambivalent Portrayal
Chapter 7: Sublime Marble and Pure Linen

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