Brigitta, with Abdias, Limestone & the Forest Path

Adalbert Stifter, Author
Adalbert Stifter, Author Angel Books $38.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-946162-36-9
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
Four of Stifter's stories, richly evocative and brushed with mystery, are presented here in a wonderful new translation. ``Psychology has illuminated and explained many things, but there is much that it still finds dark and impenetrable,'' Stifter writesp. 98 at the opening of the title story. Brigitta is so ugly as a child that she is shunned by her parents and grows up bereft of love. After a failed marriage, she takes to wearing men's clothing and becomes a successful landowner. In ``Limestone,'' a surveyor meets an impoverished parish priest whose enigmatic behavior is grounded in an innocent youthful encounter with a neighbor's daughter. The eccentric hypochondriac of ``The Forest Path'' (translated here into English for the first time) goes to a spa, where a path through a nearby forest leads him to physical well-being and love. This collection is marred only by ``Abdias,'' the story of a North African Jew sent off by a severe father to seek his fortune. The piece betrays the anti-Semitism of its 19th-century Austrian writer, who attributes to his characters such classical ``Jewish'' traits as physical deformity and a ``terrible voluptuous pleasure'' in material possessions. (Feb.)
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