Carl Spitteler


Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1919

Born: 24 April 1845, Liestal, Switzerland

Died: 29 December 1924, Lucerne, Switzerland

Residence at the time of the award: Switzerland

Prize motivation: “in special appreciation of his epic, Olympian Spring

Language: German

Carl Spitteler received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1920.

Prize share: 1/1


Carl Spitteler was born in Liestal, Switzerland. Although he studied law and theology, he declined a position as a pastor to dedicate himself to writing. He worked as a tutor in Russia between 1871 and 1879 before returning to Switzerland. He gave up teaching in 1885 and devoted himself to writing poetry and a career as a journalist. In 1892, he settled in Luzern.


Carl Spittler published his first collection of poems, Prometheus und Epithemus (1881), under the pseudonym of Carl Felix Tandem. Between 1900 and 1905, he wrote the epic poem “Olympic Spring,” an allegory written in iambic hexameter. The work mixes fantastic, naturalistic, religious, and mythological themes. The novel Imago (1906) influenced Jungian psychoanalysis as Jung based his use of “imago” on Spitteler’s novel.

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