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100 years old but still highly topica

100 years ago, Carl Spitteler became the first and only Swiss person to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. A special stamp in typographical style serves as a reminder of this great honour and of Spitteler’s works.

Carl Spitteler, who was born in Liestal in the Canton of Basel-Land in 1845, left behind an impressive literary oeuvre as a novelist, poet and columnist. The theology graduate was also a literary critic, composer, illustrator and teacher. In 1914, following the outbreak of the First World War, he penned a call for neutrality entitled “Unser Schweizer Standpunkt” (Our Swiss standpoint). This earned him national and international renown – and even impressed the Nobel Prize committee.

The “Carl Spitteler – centenary of the Nobel Prize in Literature” society is holding various events throughout Switzerland in 2019. These highlight the astonishing relevance of Spitteler’s work to the present day – many of his writings were critical of xenophobia and excessive national pride, while others addressed the relationship between German and French and High German and dialect.

The special stamp created by the Bernese designer Bea Würgler illustrates the “power of words” in a typographical style. Carl Spitteler himself is also featured, in a powerful portrait.

Jürg Freudiger