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Biography of Peter Rosegger

Peter Rosegger was born on 31 July 1843, the first of seven children of a poor mountain farmer in the village of Alpl near Krieglach in Styria.

Due to his early occupation as a herder, he could only attend school very irregularly. He learnt to read and write from a retired schoolteacher and for the rest he educated himself

As he was physically not strong enough to become a farmer, from 1860 to 1863 Peter Rosegger was apprenticed to a travelling tailor, which at the same time allowed him to get to know people and customs. He tried to have his first literary work published whilst he was still in his apprenticeship.

Dr. Svodoba, the editor of the Graz newspaper Tagespost, discovered the young writer’s talent and enabled him to attend the Academy for Trade and Industry in Graz.

From 1865 to 1869 he attended the Academy for Trade and Industry. During a visit Peter Rosegger met the poet Adalbert Stifter in 1867.

1869 „Zither und Hackbrett“ (poems in the Styrian dialect)

Following the early success of his books, Peter Rosegger decided to become a full-time writer. His mentor and publisher Gustav Heckenast supported him in his endeavours.

A stipend granted by the Styrian state commission for three years enabled Peter Rosegger to travel from 1870 to 1872 to Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy.

1871 „Geschichten aus der Steiermark“(“Tales from Styria“)

1873 Peter Rosegger married Anna Pichler, the daughter of a hat manufacturer and wrote „Geschichten aus den Alpen“ (“Tales from the Alps”)

1875 Anna Pichler died giving birth to their second child. Peter Rosegger engrossed himself in his work and published „Die Schriften der Waldschulmeisters“ (“Manuscripts of a Forest School Master”).

1876 Peter Rosegger moved to Graz where he founded the popular monthly magazine „Heimgarten“ containing articles and stories for country people.

1877 Rosegger was able to fulfil his dream of a forest home. Following his first financially successful years as a writer, his house was built according to his own design, and in the autumn he and his children moved in.

1879 Peter Rosegger married Anna Knauer with whom he had two children.

1888 „Allerhand Leute“ (“All Kinds of People”)

1890 „Der Schelm aus den Alpen“ (“The Rogue from the Alps“)

1897 „Durch!“ ("Through!”)

1902 „Als ich noch ein Waldbauernbub war“ (“When I was a forest-farmer boy”)

1906 „Wildlinge“ (“Wildings”)

1909 „Lasset uns von Liebe reden“ (“Let’s talk about love“)

1913-1916 Collected works (40 volumes)

Peter Rosegger died on 26 June 1918 in Krieglach in Styria.

Awards and Honours bestowed on the popular Austrian poet

  • Honorary doctorate of the University of Heidelberg
  • Honorary doctorate of the University of Vienna
  • Honorary doctorate of the University of Graz
  • The Prussian „Kronenorden“ 2nd Class (“Order of the Crown”)
  • Medal for arts and science
  • Honorary citizen of Graz
  • Honorary citizen of St. Kathrein am Hauenstein
  • The Order of Franz-Joseph

Life and works of Peter Rosegger

Peter Rosegger tirelessly dedicated his life to writing. By 1881 he had published 30 volumes.
The lifetime work of the local poet amounted to 43 volumes in total.

As a critical author of his times, he dedicated his life to improving the living conditions of rural dwellers. In addition to literature, social projects took on more and more importance for Peter Rosegger over the years. In the Heimatgarten magazine he started some appeals for funds.

With the numerous donations, Peter Rosegger was able to have the forest school built in Krieglach in 1902 and in doing so created a monument to himself.

Throughout his life Peter Rosegger felt deep ties to his home parish. Therefore he bore no greater desire than to die in Krieglach. In accordance with his wishes, Peter Rosegger was buried in a simple farmer’s grave in the Krieglach cemetery.

Memorial places and the Rosegger Museum

The birth house of Peter Rosegger lying at 1,200 metres above sea level serves simultaneously as a place of memorial, of pilgrimage and as a museum. Just as in Peter Rosegger’s childhood, you can still only arrive at his birth house today after a 30 minutes’ walk through the magnificent Styrian countryside.
Inside the house the dark, sparsely furnished birthplace shows the simplicity in which Peter Rosegger grew up and the famous childhood stories of Rosegger come alive in a fascinating manner.

Rosegger’s forest school is also a museum today and the Rosegger room and the classroom have been retained in their original state.
The Rosegger country house is where Peter Rosegger died and where his memory has been preserved and can be admired through documents, memorabilia and pictures from the writer and poet’s life.

Peter Rosegger : Holidays in Styria