Rock Crystal (novella)

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Rock Crystal
Bunte Steine 1853 - Frontispiz 2 Ausschnitt.jpg
1853 Ludwig Richter illustration
AuthorAdalbert Stifter
Original titleBergkristall
Publication date

Rock Crystal (German: Bergkristall; 1845) is a novella by Austrian writer Adalbert Stifter, about two missing children on Christmas Eve. It influenced Thomas Mann[1] and others with its "suspenseful, simple, myth-like story and majestic depictions of nature."[2] Mann said Stifter is "one of the most extraordinary, the most enigmatic, the most secretly daring and the most strangely gripping narrators in world literature."[3] Poet W. H. Auden called Rock Crystal "a quiet and beautiful parable about the relation of people to places, of man to nature."[4]

It was translated to English in 1945 by Elizabeth Mayer and Marianne Moore, re-issued by Pushkin Press in 2001 and the New York Review of Books in 2008. An earlier translation from 1914 by Lee M. Hollander is in the public domain.

It's been adapted to film and TV a number of times. In 1949 as the film Mountain Crystal by Harald Reinl (Netherlands). In 1954 as the TV movie Bergkristall by Friedrich Forster-Burggraf (Germany). In 1974 as the TV movie Bergkristall by Paul Stockmeier (Austria). In 1999 as the TV movie Cristallo di rocca - Una storia di Natale by Francesca Melandri (Italy). In 2004 as the film Bergkristall by Klaus Richter (Germany).


  1. ^ Roman S. Struc. 'The Threat of Chaos: Stifter's Bergkristall and Thomas Mann's "Schnee"', Modern Language Quarterly 1963 24(4):323-332; doi:10.1215/00267929-24-4-323
  2. ^ Greg W., "Introduction", Rock Crystal, LibriVox.
  3. ^ Peter Watson. The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century. HarperCollins, 2010. Page 296.
  4. ^ Wystan Hugh Auden, Edward Mendelson. Prose: 1939-1948: Volume 2, Page 254.

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