22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Helmut Krausser

Helmut Krausser was born in 1964 in Esslingen and grew up in Munich. After finishing his A-levels, he worked in various jobs – as a night watchman, newspaper salesman and journalist, lived on the street for six months and studied several terms of archaeology, theatre studies, and art history. Additionally, he sang in the rock band, »Genie und Handwerk« (Genius and Craft). As the host of an experimental culture programme for Bavarian radio, he was able to present his own texts, which were later published in the collection, »Spielgeld« (1990; t: Play Money). The texts portray anti-establishment intellectuals with pathological tendencies for whom delusion and reality merge. We encounter this peculiar breed again in the hero of Krausser’s »Hagen Trinker Trilogy«, the last instalment of which, »Fette Welt« (1992; t: Fat World) was made into a film starring Jürgen Vogel. Krausser achieved early fame through »Melodien« (1993; t: Melodies), an voluminous work describing a fanatical quest for centuries-old musical spells.

Through numerous further novels and narratives, as well as poetry collections, dramas and radio scripts, Krausser has established himself as a significant figure in contemporary German literature. He regularly polarises critics, placing himself in the tradition of German romanticism and such powerful literary figures as Knut Hamsun, Ernst Jünger and Charles Bukowski. His works happily mix pathos and irony, cliché and nuance, slapstick and horror, tenderness and vulgarity. Word plays, both high-minded and vulgar, as well as everyday slang consistently break through the well-polished surface of his texts. His complex, enigmatic and often allusive writing never fails to entertain and enthral. His way of telling a story varies according to subject and genre – although love, death and delusion are constant themes. The monumental novel »Thanatos« (1996) tells the story of a researcher into Romanticism and forger of handwriting, who moves in with his aunt and uncle after being dismissed from his job, kills their son and begins to take on his place. A complementary work, »Eros« (2006) portrays obsessive love. For fifty years, an aristocratic industrialist follows and protects the love of his life using an army of middlemen, never revealing his presence, as she becomes a terrorist and later goes into hiding. »Lederfresse« (1993; Eng. »Leatherface,« 1996), the first of Krausser’s plays, counts among most often performed contemporary German dramas. The diaries »Tagebücher Mai 1992 bis April 2004« (t: Diaries May 1992 to April 2004) each record one month in the author’s life in those years. In 2009, Krausser published »Einsamkeit und Sex und Mitleid« (t: Solitude and Sex and Sympathy), a furious farce on relationships. In the same year, a selection of poems from his three collections was published entitled »Auf weißen Wüsten« (t: On White Deserts).

Krausser’s awards include the Tukan Prize and the Prix Italia for the best European radio play. He has been a fellow at Villa Massimo in Rome and taught poetry at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. He lives in Potsdam.

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