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Nomi di cristallo. La nominatio in Cristallo di rocca di Adalbert Stifter

Volker Kohlheim

Abstract


Adalbert Stifter’s novella Rock Crystal, certainly the best known prose work by this Austrian author (1805-1868), was published in 1853. It tells how, on Christmas Eve, two children on their way back from a visit to their grandparents are caught in a heavy snowfall and get lost on an Alpine mountain pass. Forced to spend the night on a glacier, they are rescued the following morning. The literary-onomastic analysis shows that this author chose his names very carefully. The anthropomorphic and zoomorphic toponymy of the Alpine mountain area enhances the uncanny atmosphere of the novella, and the rather unusual names of the principal characters are in keeping with Stifter’s distanced style. Moreover, they are employed not without irony. Stifter names his characters rather late in the narrative process, which stresses their social roles, whereas the imperceptible transformation from appellatives to proper names symbolizes his «gentle law».


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