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Institutional Login. Log in to Wiley Online Library. Purchase Instant Access. View Preview. Learn more Check out. Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure. Email or Customer ID. The narrator creates the story of this man-or, rather, two stories, base Homo Faber. Walter Faber is an emotionally detached engineer forced by a string of coincidences to embark on a journey through his past. The basis for director Volker Schlsndorff's movie Voyager.
Stiller by Max Frisch (1 star ratings)
The basis for director Vo Sketchbook Stories, authobiography, impressions, interviews, and reflections on a variety of topics from politics to women, marriage, friendship, and death. Translated by Geoffrey Skelton. I'm Not Stiller. The unabridged version of a haunting story of a man in prison.
His wife, brother, and mistress recognize him and call him by his name, Anatol Ludwig Stiller. But he rejects them, repeatedly insisting that he s not Stiller. The play "Biography: A game" "Biografie: Ein Spiel" extended similar techniques to theatre audiences. Already in "Stiller" Frisch embedded, in a novel, little sub-narratives in the form of fragmentary episodic sections from his "diaries".
Frisch's literary work centre round certain core themes and motifs many of which, in various forms, recur through the entire range of the author's output. In the Diary — Frisch spells out a central idea that runs through his subsequent work: "You shall not make for yourself any graven image, God instructs us. That should also apply in this sense: God lives in every person, though we may not notice. That oversight is a sin that we commit and it is a sin that is almost ceaselessly committed against us — except if we love".
It is only through love that people may manifest the mutability and versatility necessary to accept one another's intrinsic inner potential. Without love people reduce one another and the entire world down to a series of simple preformed images. In the first category, the destiny of the protagonist is to live the simplistic image. Examples include the play Andorra in which Andri, identified wrongly by the other characters as a Jew is obliged to work through the fate assigned to him by others.
Something analogous arises with the novel Homo Faber where the protagonist is effectively imprisoned by the technician's "ultra-rational" prism through which he is fated to conduct his existence. Real personal identity stands in stark contrast to this simplistic image. For Frisch, each person possesses a unique Individualism , justified from the inner being, and which needs to be expressed and realized.
To be effective it can operate only through the individual's life, or else the individual self will be incomplete. The fear that the individual "myself" may be overlooked and the life thereby missed, was already a central theme in Frisch's early works. A failure in the "selection of self" was likely to result in alienation of the self both from itself and from the human world more generally.
Only within the limited span of an individual human life can personal existence find a fulfilment that can exclude the individual from the endless immutability of death. In I'm Not Stiller Frisch set out a criterion for a fulfilled life as being "that an individual be identical with himself. Otherwise he has never really existed". Claus Reschke says that the male protagonists in Frisch's work are all similar modern Intellectual types: egocentric , indecisive, uncertain in respect of their own self-image, they often misjudge their actual situation.
Their interpersonal relationships are superficial to the point of agnosticism, which condemns them to live as isolated loners. If they do develop some deeper relationship involving women, they lose emotional balance, becoming unreliable partners, possessive and jealous. They repeatedly assume outdated gender roles , masking sexual insecurity behind chauvinism. All this time their relationships involving women are overshadowed by feelings of guilt. In a relationship with a woman they look for "real life", from which they can obtain completeness and self-fulfilment, untrammelled by conflict and paralyzing repetition, and which will never lose elements of novelty and spontaneity.
Female protagonists in Frisch's work also lead back to a recurring gender-based stereotype , according to Mona Knapp. Frisch's compositions tend to be centred on male protagonists, around which his leading female characters, virtually interchangeable, fulfil a structural and focused function. Often they are idolised as "great" and "wonderful", superficially emancipated and stronger than the men.
However, they actually tend to be driven by petty motivations: disloyalty, greed and unfeelingness. In the author's later works the female characters become increasingly one-dimensional, without evidencing any inner ambivalence. Often the women are reduced to the role of a simple threat to the man's identity, or the object of some infidelity, thereby catalysing the successes or failings of the male's existence, so providing the male protagonist an object for his own introspection. For the most part, the action in the male:female relationship in a work by Frisch comes from the woman, while the man remains passive, waiting and reflective.
Superficially the woman is loved by the man, but in truth she is feared and despised. From her thoughtfully feminist perspective, Karin Struck saw Frisch's male protagonists manifesting a high level of dependency on the female characters, but the women remain strangers to them. The men are, from the outset, focused on the ending of the relationship: they cannot love because they are preoccupied with escaping from their own failings and anxieties. Often they conflate images of womanliness with images of death, as in Frisch's take on the Don Juan legend: "The woman reminds me of death, the more she seems to blossom and thrive".
Death is an ongoing theme in Frisch's work, but during his early and high periods it remains in the background, overshadowed by identity issues and relationship problems. Only with his later works does Death become a core question. Frisch's second published Diary Tagebuch launches the theme. A key sentence from the Diary — published , repeated several times, is a quotation from Montaigne :"So I dissolve; and I lose myself"    The section focuses on the private and social problems of aging.
Although political demands are incorporated, social aspects remain secondary to the central concentration on the self. The Diary ' s fragmentary and hastily structured informality sustains a melancholy underlying mood. The narrative Montauk also deals with old age. The autobiographically drawn protanonist's lack of much future throws the emphasis back onto working through the past and an urge to live for the present. In the drama-piece, Triptychon , Death is presented not necessarily directly, but as a way of referencing life metaphorically. Death reflects the ossification of human community, and in this way becomes a device for shaping lives.
The narrative Man in the Holocene presents the dying process of an old man as a return to nature. According to Cornelia Steffahn there is no single coherent image of death presented in Frisch's late works. Instead they describe the process of his own evolving engagement with the issue, and show the way his own attitudes developed as he himself grew older. Along the way he works through a range of philosophical influences including Montaigne , Kierkegaard , Lars Gustafsson and even Epicurus. Frisch described himself as a socialist but never joined the political party.
After Victory in Europe Day the threat to Swiss values and to the independence of the Swiss state diminished. Frisch now underwent a rapid transformation, evincing a committed political consciousness. That generates opposition to the ruling order, the privileging of individual partisanship over activity on behalf of a social class, and an emphasis on asking questions.
Frisch's social criticism was particularly sharp in respect of his Swiss homeland. In a much quoted speech that he gave when accepting the Schiller Prize he declared: "I am Swiss, not simply because I hold a Swiss passport, was born on Swiss soil etc. A characteristic pattern in Frisch's life was the way that periods of intense political engagement alternated with periods of retreat back to private concerns. Bettina Jaques-Bosch saw this as a succession of slow oscillations by the author between public outspokenness and inner melancholy.
Interviewed in , Frisch acknowledged that his literary career had not been marked by some "sudden breakthrough" " In his 20s he was already having pieces published in various newspapers and journals. As a young writer he also had work accepted by an established publishing house, the Munich based Deutschen Verlags-Anstalt , which already included a number of distinguished German-language authors on its lists.
In Frisch switched publishers again, this time to the arguably more mainstream publishing house then being established in Frankfurt by Peter Suhrkamp. I'm Not Stiller started with a print-run that provided for sales of 3, in its first year,  but thanks to strong and growing reader demand it later became the first book published by Suhrkamp to top one million copies. Apart from a few early works, most of Frisch's books and plays have been translated into around ten languages, while the most translated of all, Homo Faber , has been translated into twenty-five languages.
The scholar Hans Mayer likened them to the mythical half-twins, Castor and Pollux , as two dialectically linked "antagonists". Walter , and Adolf Muschg. More than a generation after that, in , when it was the turn of Swiss literature to be the special focus  at the Frankfurt Book Fair , the literary commentator Andreas Isenschmid identified some leading Swiss writers from his own baby-boomer generation such as Ruth Schweikert , Daniel de Roulet and Silvio Huonder in whose works he had found "a curiously familiar old tone, resonating from all directions, and often almost page by page, uncanny echoes from Max Frisch's Stiller.
The works of Frisch were also important in West Germany. Translations of Frisch's works into the languages of other formally socialist countries in the Eastern Bloc were also widely available, leading the author himself to offer the comment that in the Soviet Union his works were officially seen as presenting the "symptoms of a sick capitalist society, symptoms that would never be found where the means of production have been nationalized"   Despite some ideologically driven official criticism of his "individualism", "negativity" and "modernism", Frisch's works were actively translated into Russian, and were featured in some reviews in the Soviet Union.
He was generally well regarded by the New York literary establishment: one commentator found him commendably free of "European arrogance". Petersen reckons that Frisch's stage work had little influence on other dramatists. And his own preferred form of the "literary diary" failed to create a new trend in literary genres. By contrast, the novels I'm Not Stiller and Gantenbein have been widely taken up as literary models, both because of the way they home in on questions of individual identity and on account of their literary structures. Issues of personal identity are presented not simply through description or interior insights, but through narrative contrivances.
This stylistic influence can be found frequently in the works of others, such as Christa Wolf 's The Quest for Christa T.
Frisch also found himself featuring as a character in the literature of others. Adolf Muschg , purporting to address Frisch directly on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, contemplates the older man's contribution: "Your position in the history of literature, how can it be described? You have not been, in conventional terms, an innovator… I believe you have defined an era through something both unobtrusive and fundamental: a new experimental ethos and pathos.
Your books form deep literary investigation from an act of the imagination. He is himself always at the heart of the matter. His matter is the matter. The film director Alexander J. Seiler believes that Frisch had for the most part an "unfortunate relationship" with film, even though his literary style is often reminiscent of cinematic technique. Seiler explains that Frisch's work was often, in the author's own words, looking for ways to highlight the "white space" between the words, which is something that can usually only be achieved using a film-set.
Already, in the Diary — there is an early sketch for a film-script, titled Harlequin. For the novels I'm Not Stiller and Homo Faber there were several film proposals, one of which involved casting the actor Anthony Quinn in Homo Faber , but none of these proposals was ever realised. It is nevertheless interesting that several of Frisch's dramas were filmed for television adaptations. This was based on a sketch from one of Frisch's Diaries.
The prize is awarded every four years and comes with a CHF 50, payment to the winner.
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The occasion was also celebrated by an exhibition at the Munich Literature Centre which carried the suitably enigmatic tagline, "Max Frisch. Heimweh nach der Fremde" and another exhibition at the Museo Onsernonese in Loco , close to the Ticinese cottage to which Frisch regularly retreated over several decades.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Max Frisch. Further information: Max Frisch bibliography. In Suzanne M. Bourgoin and Paula K. Byers, Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale Research, Retrieved 18 April Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, , p. In Heinz Ludwig Arnold ed. Sturz durch alle Spiegel: Eine Bestandsaufnahme. Vom langsamen Wachsen eines Zorns: Max Frisch — In Bartram, Graham ed. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.
Die Zeit Zeit On-line. Retrieved 8 July Der Spiegel. Retrieved 10 July Die Trauergemeinde bestand aus Intellektuellen, von denen die meisten mit Religion und Kirche nicht viel im Sinn hatten. In: Walter Schmitz Hrsg. Suhrkamp, Seite Der Tages-Anzeiger. Retrieved 11 July In Heinz Ludwig Arnold Hrsg.
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Mein Name sei Gantenbein. Untersuchungen und Anmerkungen. Joachim Beyer Verlag, 2. Auflage Fragment einer Kritik. In: Thomas Beckermann Hrsg. Seite 8—9. Die Dramen. Literaturwissen , pp. De Gruyter, Berlin , pp. In: Gesammelte Werke in zeitlicher Folge. Dritter Band. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main , p. Man umstellt es. Man gibt Aussagen, die nie unser eigentliches Erlebnis enthalten, das unsagbar bleibt