Hans Magnus Enzensberger  [ Germany ]

Biography

Hans Magnus Enzensberger Portrait
© Doris Poklekowski, www.foto-poklekowski.de

Guest 2005.

Bibliography

Blindenschrift
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1964

Das Verhör von Habana
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1970

Der kurze Sommer der Anarchie. Buenaventura Durrutis Leben und Tod
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1972

Der Untergang der Titanic
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1978

Der Menschenfreund
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1984

Ach Europa! Wahrnehmungen aus sieben Ländern mit einem Epilog aus dem Jahre 2006
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1987

Esterhazy: Eine Hasengeschichte
[mit Irene Dische]
Sauerländer
Aarau, 1994

Ill: Michael Sowa
Aussichten auf den Bürgerkrieg
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1994

Diderots Schatten
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1994

Voltaires Neffe: Eine Fälschung in Diderots Manier
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1996

Der Zahlenteufel
Hanser
München, 1997

Ill: Rotraut Susanne Berner
Blindenschrift
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1999

Verteidigung der Wölfe
Faber & Faber
Leipzig, 2000

Landessprache
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 2000

Wo warst Du, Robert?
dtv
München, 2000

Die Elixiere der Wissenschaft: Seitenblicke in Poesie und Prosa
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 2002

Die Geschichte der Wolken
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 2003

Nomaden im Regal
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 2003

Dialoge zwischen Unsterblichen, Lebendigen und Toten
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 2004

Natürliche Gedichte
Insel
Frankfurt/Main, 2004

Leichter als Luft: Moralische Gedichte
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 2005

Schreckens Männer
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 2006

Josefine und ich
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 2006

Hans Magnus Enzensberger was born in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria in 1929. He grew up in Nuremberg, where he was drafted into the »Volkssturm« towards the end of the war. He studied Literature, Philosophy and Languages in Erlangen, Freiburg im Breisgau, Hamburg and Paris, and completed his degree with a dissertation on the poetics of Clemens von Brentano. He then worked in Stuttgart as a broadcasting editor and as a visiting lecturer at the The Ulm School of Design. Enzensberger was a member of Group 47 and in 1957 he made his poetry debut with »verteidigung der wölfe« (t: Defence of the wolves), in which, through clear language and a provocative tone, he embarks on his critical observation of post-war Germany. Whereas the next collection of poetry, »landessprache« (1960; t: National language), gave voice to even stronger remonstrations, »blindenschrift« (1964; t: Braille) was made up of elegiac »thing poems«.

The poet – innovative within multifarious genres and media – is also known as a dissenting voice as a highly influential editor and essayist. In 1960 he edited the poetry anthology »Museum der modernen Poesie« (t: Museum of modern poetry), which is still widely read and which introduced German readers to then little known writers, such as: William Carlos Williams, Fernando Pessoa and Lars Gustafsson. It was around this time that Enzensberger began his appealing work as translator. In 1965 he founded the journal »Kursbuch« which published critical texts on the media and language. It became a legendary forum for the student movement. In the mid seventies, after volumes of essays and collage-like texts created from documentary materials, Enzensberger turned increasingly towards plays and epic verse, and wrote several pieces expressing critique of progress, among them a classic of German post-war literature, »Der Untergang der Titanic« (1978; t: »The Sinking of the Titanic«, 1980). In 1980 he founded the journal »TransAtlantic«. Five years later he began editing »Die Andere Bibliothek«. Its ninth volume, »Das Wasserzeichen der Poesie oder Die Kunst und das Vergnügen, Gedichte zu lesen« (1985; t: The watermark of poetry or The art and enjoyment of reading poems) appeared under the pseudonym Andreas Thalmayr. Under the same nom de plume Enzensberger recently published the young adult's manual »Lyrik nervt! Erste Hilfe für gestresste Leser« (2004; t: Poetry gets on my nerves! First aid for stressed readers) – a cultural initiative at once provocative and ironic, similar to his installation »Lyrikautomat« (2000), which generated combinational poems. The author's vein of enlightenment was often manifested in unusual realms, for instance with »Der Zahlenteufel. Ein Kopfkissenbuch für alle, die Angst vor der Mathematik haben« (1997; Eng. »The Number Devil. A Mathematical Adventure«, 1998). In 2004 Enzensberger edited three major works of Alexander von Humboldt. »Dialoge zwischen Unsterblichen, Lebendigen und Toten« (2004; t: Dialogues between immortals, the living and the dead) was published the same year, containing prose pieces which throw a new light on the present-day zeitgeist through recourse to figures from history. After two collections of poetry in 2005, Enzensberger published two new books in 2006. »Schreckensmänner« (t: Horror's men) is a »treatise on the radical loser«, dealing with the current radical Islamism and the concept of suicide bombers. »Josefine und Ich« (t: Josephine and I) is a tragicomic prose story between art and politics.

Enzensberger was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize back in 1963. Alongside numerous German literary prizes he has won the Italian Premio Bollati and the Spanish Premio Príncipe de Asturias. He is a member of the Order »Pour le mérite«. The widely-travelled writer, familiar with Mexico, Cuba, North and South America as well as the Soviet Union and the Near East, has lived in Norway, Italy, the USA and West Berlin. Since 1979 he has been living in Munich.

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