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Ingeborg Bachmann (June 25, 1926 – October 17, 1973) was an Austrianmarker poet and author.


Bachmann was born in Klagenfurtmarker, Austria. She studied philosophy, psychology, German philology, and law at the universities of Innsbruck, Graz, and Vienna. In 1949, she received her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Vienna with her dissertation entitled "The Critical Reception of the Existential Philosophy of Martin Heidegger."

After graduating, Bachmann worked as a scriptwriter and editor at the Austrian radio station Rot-Weiss-Rot, a job that enabled her to obtain an overview of contemporary literature and also supplied her with a decent income, making possible proper literary work. Furthermore, her first radio dramas were published by the station. Her literary career was enhanced by contact with Hans Weigel (literateur and sponsor of young post-war literature) and the legendary literary circle known as Gruppe 47, whose members also included Ilse Aichinger, Paul Celan, Heinrich Böll, Marcel Reich-Ranicki and Günter Grass.

In 1953, she moved to Romemarker, Italy, where she spent the large part of the following years working on poems, essays, opera libretti and short stories which soon brought with them international fame and numerous awards. Her relationship with Max Frisch (Swiss author, 1911-1991) took her to Switzerlandmarker and bestowed the role of the second protagonist in Frisch's Mein Name sei Gantenbein upon her.

Bachmann's work primarily focuses on themes like personal boundaries, establishment of the truth, and philosophy of language, the latter in the tradition of Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Her doctoral dissertation expresses her growing disillusionment with Heidegerrian Existentialism, which was in part resolved through her growing interest in Wittgenstein, whose Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus significantly influenced her relationship to language.

Ingeborg Bachmann died in a Roman hospital three weeks after a fire in her bedroom, on October 17, 1973. The real cause of her death remains unknown. Rumors have persisted that she did not succumb to the burns but to her long habit of compulsive pill-taking, which was prevented by the stay in hospital.

The Ingeborg Bachmann Prize

The prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, awarded annually in Klagenfurt, is named after her.

Selected works

  • "Darkness Spoken: The Collected Poems of Ingeborg Bachmann," translated and introduced by Peter Filkins, published by Zephyr Press, 2006. Bilingual on facing pages.
  • Last Living Words: The Ingeborg Bachmann Reader, translated by Lilian M. Friedberg, published by Green Integer, 2005
  • Letters to Felician (letters to an imaginary correspondent, written 1945, published posthumously). Edited & translated into English by Damion Searls. Green Integer Books, 2004.
  • Die gestundete Zeit (lyric poetry, 1953)
  • Die Zikaden (radio play, 1955)
  • Anrufung des Grossen Bären (lyric poetry, 1956)
  • Der gute Gott von Manhattan (radio play, 1958)
  • "Die Wahrheit ist dem Menschen zumutbar" (poetological speech at a German presentation of awards, 1959)
  • "Frankfurter Vorlesungen" (lecture on problems of contemporary literature, 1959)
  • Das dreißigste Jahr (story volume, 1961)
  • Malina (novel, 1971) Translated into English by Philip Boehm. Holmes & Meier, 1999.
  • Simultan (story volume, 1972)
  • Todesarten (novel-cycle project, unfinished)
  • The Barking (short story)

See also


External links

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