Эссе: Critical Essay by John Urzidil

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... They were often in close touch also with aristocratic and patrician circles where Stifter was received, or where he taught their youngsters. However, Stifter's rendering of the Jews in his "Abdias" was not influenced by his contacts with these privileged Jews, who were the least able to open his heart to a deeper understanding of Judaism. He was not clever enough to excel in the elegant drawing-rooms where rich Jewish bankers foregathered in a witty society; he was no stimulating causeur, he lacked ironical and satirical qualities. His mind worked slowly, gradually, silently, like nature: he was ardent but serene, tranquil and true to himself, for he came from the woods and the meadows. The city Jews of Vienna favored other intellectuals, like Friedrich Hebbel, who was just the one to make fun of Stifter and write sarcastic verses about him. Stifter, although aggrieved, dismissed all that. With an unfailing instinct he formed the Jewish type of his Abdias not according to the assimilated and emancipated Jew, the well-to-do bourgeois or intellectual. Rather he went to the basic Jewish character, its attractive as well as uneasy attributes, its biblical nobleness, its sentiment, piety, and distress. He seeks the very Jewish heart. He does not wish simply to contribute something to the fashion of "toleration" in vogue at the time, nor is he out to attain a reputation in influential Jewish circles. His Abdias was hardly the type to be joyfully welcomed by advanced city Jews; on the contrary, they must have sensed rather an exposure of their assimilationism which Stifter had not intended. Stifter detested compromises and concessions. He followed the purest impulses of his heart. Spiritually, he was preoccupied with two ethical spheres which he tried to unify: Goethean "Humanitдt" and Christianity. He was a Catholic; but above Catholicism he considered himself a Christian "Humanist." His kind of Christianity accepted the Jewish people and Judaism as the true landmarks of the Lord and His solemn promises; Jews as the tribe of Jesus, that part of mankind which, due to the grim entanglements of fate, was forced to bear the heaviest burdens and to meet insoluble frustrations. ...