Laureate - 1980

Hans Magnus Enzensberger



He is one of the most famous contemporary German writers. His poetry is characterised as “alchemy of the simple elements of the spoken language”. Hans Magnus Enzensberger (born on 11 November 1929 in Kaufbeuren) is a German poet, translator and editor. He has written under the pseudonym Andreas Thalmayr. He lives in Munich. Enzensberger studied literature and philosophy at the universities of Erlangen, Freiburg and Hamburg, and at the Sorbonne in Paris, receiving his doctorate in 1955 for a thesis about Clemens Brentano’s poetry. Until 1957 he worked as a radio editor in Stuttgart. He participated in several gatherings of Group 47. He passes a certain period in Castro’s Cuba. Between 1965 and 1975 he edited the magazine “Kursbuch” (“Schedule”). Since 1985 he has been the editor of the prestigious book series Die Andere Bibliothek (“Another Library”), published in Frankfurt, and now containing almost 250 titles. Enzensberger is the founder of the monthly TransAtlantik. His own work has been translated into more than 40 languages. Magnus’s younger brother, Christian, is a writer, too. Enzensberger has a sarcastic, ironic tone in many of his poems. For example, the poem “Middle Class Blues” consists of various typicalities of middle class life, with the phrase “we can’t complain” repeated several times, and concludes with “what are we waiting for?”. Many of his poems also feature themes of civil unrest over economic and class based issues. Though primarily a poet and essayist, he also makes excursions into theater, film, opera, radio drama, reportage, translation, and he is also the author of several books fro children. The Australian writer Roderick Gates describes Enzensberger, besides Rudolph Bardo, “as one pf the rare left-oriented Germans to have succeeded in predicting the collapse of the comunism and USSR (“Judgements from the Past, Global Echo”). Awards and recognitions: 1963 Georg Büchner Prize, 1985 Heinrich-Böll Prize, 1993 – 1993 Erich-Maria-Remarque Peace Prize, 1998 – Heinrich-Heine-Preis, 2002 – Prince of Asturia’s Communications and Humanities award, 2006 – D’Aununtio Award for Lifetime Opus. Important works: “Defense of the Wolves”, poetry, 1957, “Politics and Crime”, essays, 1964, “Writing of the Blind”, 1964; “Germany, Germany among Other Things”, 1967, “The Havana Inquiry”, prose, 1970, “Conversation with Marks and Engels”, essays, 1970, “Mausoleum – balades from the History of the Progress”, 1975, The Sinking of the Titanic” versepos, 1978, “The Music of the Future”, stories, 1991, “Air’s Daughters”, play, 1992, “Where were you, Robert?”, novel, 1998, “the Number Devil” novel, 1999, “Stories 1950-2005”, 2006.