Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

In addition to his novels and novellas, Adalbert Stifter composed a variety of essays on politics, culture, art, and education. Most of these writings remain relatively unknown, although among them are individual masterpieces that reflect the author’s intellectual power and sharpness of observation. His treatises in Wien und die Wiener in Bildern aus dem Leben (1844; Vienna and the Viennese in representations from life), a book that he coedited with friends, reveal his strong personal bond to Austria’s capital city. His political articles, many of which were commissioned by the government, underscore his devotion to the monarchy. In a deliberate effort to overcome the banality of everyday life through the use of elevated style, Stifter made important and lasting contributions to the essay as a literary genre. His most significant nonfiction works were published posthumously in Vermischte Schriften (1870, 2 volumes; miscellaneous writings).

Stifter placed a few short stories in periodicals; all of them are collected in Erzählungen. A year after his death, a three-volume collection of his letters appeared, and since then, scholars have edited other papers and the documents of his service as a public official.