Rock Crystal

ISBN-10: 159017285X

ISBN-13: 9781590172858

Edition: 2008

Authors: Adalbert Stifter, Fanny Howe, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Mayer, W. H. Auden

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Description:

Seemingly the simplest of stories–a passing anecdote of village life–Rock Crystalopens up into a tale of almost unendurable suspense that may also be read as a story of deep spiritual crisis and unlooked-for consolation. Certainly this jewellike novella by the writer that Thomas Mann called “one of the most extraordinary, the most enigmatic, the most secretly daring and the most strangely gripping narrators in world literature” is among the most unusual, moving, and memorable of Christmas stories. Two children–Conrad and his little sister, Sanna–set out from their village high up in the Alps to visit their grandparents who live one valley over. It is the day before Christmas but the weather is mild and welcoming, though of course night falls early in December, and the children’s mother warns them not to stay too long and not to linger on the way. The grandparents receive the children lovingly, feed them handsomely, and pack them off with kisses. However, a sprinkling of snow begins to fall, and soon it is coming down thickly and steadily. Undaunted, the children press on toward home, but along the way they take a wrong turn. The snow rises higher and higher, time passes: it is deep night when the sky clears and Conrad and Sanna discover themselves on a glacier riddled with crevasses and looming ice formations, terrifying and beautiful, the heart of the void. What can be lost and what can be found between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day–or on any night of the year–are the themes explored in Adalbert Stifter’s rapt and enigmatic tale, presented here in an outstanding translation by the great American poet Marianne Moore.
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Book details

List price: $12.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: New York Review of Books, Incorporated, The
Publication date: 9/16/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 96
Size: 5.00" wide x 8.00" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.462

Fanny Howe is the author of several works of fiction (most recently, Economics from Flood Editions) and collections of poems, including One Crossed Out and Gone. She is the winner of the 2000 Lenore Marshall Award for her Selected Poems. Her first collection of essays, The Wedding Dress, was published by UC Press in the Fall of 2003. She lives in Massachusetts but remains Professor Emeritus at UCSD in the Department of Literature.

W. H. Auden, who was born in York, England, on February 21, 1907, is one of the most successful and well-known poets of the 20th century. Educated at Oxford, Auden served in the Spanish Civil War, which greatly influenced his work. He also taught in public schools in Scotland and England during the 1930s. It was during this time that he rose to public fame with such works as "Paid on Both Sides" and "The Orators." Auden eventually immigrated to the United States, becoming a citizen in 1946. It was in the U.S. that he met his longtime partner Chester Kallman. Stylistically, Auden was known for his incomparable technique and his linguistic innovations. The term Audenesque became an adjective to describe the contemporary sounding speech reflected in his poems. Auden's numerous awards included a Bollingen Prize in Poetry, A National Book Award for "The Shield of Achilles," a National Medal for Literature from the National Book Committee, and a Gold Medal from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Numerous volumes of his poetry remain available today, including "About the House" and "City Without Walls." W.H. Auden died on September 28, 1973 in Vienna.

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