Friedrich Duerrenmatt

Friedrich Duerrenmatt (* 5. January 1921 in Konolfingen; † 14. December 1990 in Neuenburg/Neuchâtel) was a Swiss writer, dramatist and painter.

Table of contents

personal record

Friedrich Duerrenmatt became to 5. January 1921 in Konolfingen, a Swiss village in the canton Berne, born. Its grandfather was a conservative politician Ulrich Duerrenmatt and its father Reinhold Duerrenmatt was Protestant minister of the village. Three years later its sister Vroni came to the world. 1935 moved the family to Berne . Economic reasons the cause for it were supposed. The world economic crisis became apparent at this time also in Switzerland andthe medium-size middle class became poorer. Friedrich Duerrenmatt visited first the Bernese free High School, then the Humboldtianum, at which he put 1941 down the Maturitätsprüfung (maturity examination/Abitur). He was not a particularly good pupil (total note: “scarcely sufficiently”) and its school time called those“worst time” of its life. It changed the school, because the kind of instruction did not please it, because it had bad notes and because it offended by its behavior to the teachers.

Still in Konolfingen it began to paint and toodraw, an inclination, which it should feel its life long. He illustrated later some of its own works, wrote sketches, partially whole sceneries. Its pictures were issued 1976 and 1985 in new castle, 1978 also in Zurich. Despite itsit began pictorial gift in the year 1941 philosophy to study natural sciences and Germanistik first in Zurich, but already after one term in Berne. There he lived with his parents to the Laubeggstrasse in a Mansarde and these alsolarge murals out, which later discovers whitewashed and only at the beginning of the 1990er years, were opened and restored then (see Duerrenmatt Mansarde). It did not have it with the study particularly hasty and decided probably already 1943, not the academic, butto hit the literary career. Its first published piece originated in to 1945/46:It stands written. 1947 took place its premiere . 1947 he married the actress Lotti Geissler and both pulled after lying being because of the Bieler lake. There 1950 the detective story developed The judge and its Henker (in the closer sense actually no detective story is) with open purchase to adjacent Lokalitäten (and. A. Lamboing). This work belongs nowadays to the standard reading at German-language schools.

The first years until 1952 as free writerswere financially difficult for Duerrenmatt and its soon family of five family. Then the financial situation, particularly due to orders German broadcasting corporations, improved why some radio plays developed. In addition the publishing house of the ark became its master publishing house this time. Of theIt began to write detective novels , which were published partially as continuation stories in Swiss observer to further ones. Duerrenmatt referred 1952 their durable domicile in Neuenburg/Neuchâtel.

1950 developed its play the marriage of the Mr. Mississippi, with whom he itsfirst large success on the stages of the German Federal Republic to register knew. It obtained world-wide success with its comedy the attendance of the old lady. This work called, became the physicists, it likewise comedy the most successful play. For its work, thatbeside plays, detective novels, narrations and radio plays also enclosure, he received many honors to essays and lectures. In addition for example 1959 the Mannheimer Schillerpreis, 1960 the large price of the Swiss Schillerstiftung and 1977 the Buber Rosenzweig medal belonged in Frankfurt. 1969 became itthose was lent the Temple University in Philadelphia and it received honour graduations in Jerusalem and Nice. In the sixties Duerrenmatt with its theatre works stood on the high point of his public success.

Duerrenmatt dedicated itself partly even full-time also to the practical theatre work,only at Basler stages, after a cardiac infarct in October 1969 in the new play AG in Zurich, finally in Duesseldorf. There two of its premieres took place, haven-guess/advise a planet and a Titus Andronicus. He produced several spectacular reperformances of itsown pieces, for example the meteor (1964/65) 1978 in Vienna.

Particularly in the eighties again an honor followed z after the other one. B. the Austrian state price for European literature, the George book he price and the Prix Alexei Tolstoi of the Associationinternational of the Ecrivains de Romans Policiers.

Duerrenmatt took position as a society-critical author in essays, lectures and commemorative speeches to the international policy, examples is America (1970) and the press text I places itself behind Israel (1973). 1990 it stopped two speeches Václav Havel and Mikhail Gorbatschow, which appeared under the title of Kant hope.

For the 29-bändige expenditure for work, which was published 1980 in ark the publishing house (bound) and in the Diogenes publishing house (when paperback), provided Duerrenmatt of most of its works revised versionsago. Duerrenmatt never felt its literary works as final. While to the comprehensive expenditure for work 1980, Duerrenmatt sat down to the preparation with its own function, its from him intensively erschaffenen, in it living figures and places apart. This occupation flowed in thatninth-hasty pro SA work „history of my Schriftstellerei “and/or. „Materials “, that in two volumes, „labyrinth. Materials I-III “1981 and „building of towers. Materials IV-IX “1990 published is. From Typoskripten under the title „thought joint is published “1992 a continuation „of the materials “posthum.

„However the materialsare the results of my thinking, which mirrors, in which, depending upon their cross section, my thinking and concomitantly my life are reflected. “(F. D.:Labyrinth. Diogenes, Zurich 1981. S. 11.)

In the year 1983 his Mrs. Lotti died. Duerrenmatt married1984 the actress, Filmemacherin, lady journalist and Ferrari Fahrerin Charlotte Kerr. Together they brought the film haven-guess/advise a planet and the play of games of roles out. To 14. December 1990 died Friedrich Duerrenmatt in Neuchâtel at the age of 69 years. Charlotte Kerr hastheir memories to the common time with Friedrich Duerrenmatt in a book processes. It carries the title:The woman in the red coat

Duerrenmatt's drama theory

something similar as Bertolt break (1898-1956), whose theories to the epischen theatre Duerrenmatt studied, wantedit with the spectator produce distance from the happening on the stage. The spectator is not to have the far role of a passive consumer. It is to become lively independent thinking.

In addition Duerrenmatt preferred the style means of the Verfremdung, D. h. generallyRecognized is analyzed, those contradictoryness of social structures are revealed. Just as characteristically tragic-grotesque elements are, thus a connection of apparently incompatible one. Contrary to break presented to Duerrenmatt however no world view (with break: Marxism).

Duerrenmatt created so its own type that Tragikomödie, a combination from tragedy and comedy, according to its opinion „the only possible dramatic form to state today the tragic ". Because the tragedy sets, like Duerrenmatt in its text of “theatre problems” from 1955 says, “debt, emergency, measure, overview, responsibility” ahead, overits goal, the Läuterung of the particular of reaching. In the vagueness of the modern world, thus Duerrenmatt, debt one smear and pushed away, to the modern trend get only the grotesque one .

Centre Duerrenmatt

Blick über das Centre Dürrenmatt
view over the Centre Duerrenmatt

for friendsSwiss of the writer and dramatist is extremely worth seeing the Centre Duerrenmatt in Neuenburg/Neuchâtel. Friedrich Duerrenmatt referred its house in the year 1952 above the city, where he up to its death to 14. December 1990 lived and worked. In some itsWorks it had even brought up for discussion this life scarcely at the Swiss “language border” - in particular the fact that it lived starting from 1952 in the French sprachigen part, but into German wrote. After its dying its former house was structurally adapted and extended, so thattherein a museum to be furnished could, which was officially opened in September 2000. This museum - the “Centre Dürenmatt” - dedicates itself on several floors to its literary, pictorial as well as its other artistic work. It offers beside numerous interesting exhibits(among other things handwritten sketches to its pieces as well as many of its pictures) and regular meetings also a breath-robbing view over the new citizen lake.


  • “those is a gas station, at which smoking is not forbidden. ”
  • “Who the failure notdares, is the hands of the art to leave. “
  • “Native country calls itself the state always then, if it gets ready to, on people murder to go out.”
  • “Nobody does not cut back more easily than those, heads has.”
  • For “I make culture.”
Wikiquote: Friedrich Duerrenmatt - quotations


note: Many of its novels and narrations were toned also as radio play. From almost all works different versions exist.

  • 1945 - The old person
  • 1947 - it stands written. A comedy. - UA: 19. April, Schauspielhaus Zurich,Direction: Briefly hearing joke
  • 1947 - the blind one. A drama. - UA: 10. January, Stadttheater Basel, direction: Ernst Ginsberg
  • 1949 - Romulus the large one. A comedy. - UA: 25. April, Stadttheater Basel, direction: Ernst Ginsberg)
  • 1950 - the judgeand its Henker - detective story, appears between 15. December 1950 and 31. March 1951 in eight consequences in the magazine the Swiss observer
  • 1951 - the suspicion - detective story, appears between 15. September 1951 and 29. February 1952 as detective storyin the magazine the Swiss observer
  • 1952 - the marriage of the Mr. Mississippi - UA: 26. March, Münchner chamber plays, direction: Hans Schweikart
  • 1952 - the tunnel - Kurzgeschichte
  • 1953 - an angel comes to Babylon - UA: 22. December, MünchnerChamber plays, direction: Hans Schweikart
  • 1954 - Herkules and the stable of the Augias - radio play, production: NorthwestGerman broadcast
  • 1955 - Greek looks for Greek. A Prosakomödie - 1966 film script for the filming, direction: Rolf Thiele, with Heinz resting man.
  • 1956 - The attendance of the old lady. A tragic comedy - UA: 29. January, Schauspielhaus Zurich, direction: Oskar Wälterlin. 1982 film script for the TV-film, Erstsendung: 28. November 1982, direction: Max Peter Ammann, with Maria Schell.
  • 1955 - 1957. - The breakdown - 1955 version as radio play: Erstsendung 17. January 1956, Bavarian broadcast. 1956 version as narration. 1957 version as television play. 1979 version as comedy.
  • 1958 - It happened in broad daylight - Treatment at the film, film script of director LadislaoVajda, with Heinz resting man.
  • 1958 - The promise. Requiem on the detective story - advancement 2. and 28. August 1985 in the new inhabitants of zurich newspaper
  • 1959 - franc the fifth. Opera of a private bank. (2. Version with sub-title: Comedy. 3.Version with sub-title: Comedy of a private bank.) - UA: 19. March, Schauspielhaus Zurich. Music: Paul Burkhard. Direction: Oskar Wälterlin.
  • 1962 - The physicists. A comedy in 2 documents. - UA: 20. February, Schauspielhaus Zurich. Direction: Briefly hearing joke.
  • 1966 - The meteor. A comedy in 2 documents. - UA: 20. January, Schauspielhaus Zurich. Direction: Leopold Lindtberg.
  • 1967 - The Wiedertäufer. A comedy in two parts. - UA: 16. March 1967, Schauspielhaus Zurich. Direction: Werner Düggelin.
  • 1969 - Play Strindberg. Dead dance after August Strindberg. - UA: 8. February, Basler comedy. Direction: F. Duerrenmatt/Erich Holliger.
  • 1970 - Sentences from America
  • 1971 - the fall. Narration.
  • 1972 FF. - The Mitmacher. Comedy. - UA of the comedy: 8.March 1973, Schauspielhaus Zurich, direction: Andrzej Wajda. 1976 appear the Mitmacher. A complex. Text of the comedy. Dramaturgy. Experiences. Reports. Narrations.
  • 1975 - The period. A comedy. Revised version 1980.
  • 1981 - Labyrinth. Materials I-III. The winter war in Tibet.Lunar eclipse. The rebel.
  • 1983 - Achterloo. A comedy. - UA: 6. October, Schauspielhaus Zurich, direction: Gerd Heinz.
  • 1985 - Minotaurus. Ballade.
  • 1985 - Law. Novel. -, direction films 1993: Hans's W. Geissendörfer, with Maximilian Schell.
  • 1986 - The order or of observing the observer of the observers. Novella in 24 sentences.
  • 1986 - Games of roles. Charlotte Kerr: Minutes of a fictitious production. [F. D.:] Associations me a thick felt-tip pen. Intermediate word. Achterloo III.
  • 1988 - Achterloo IV.Comedy. - UA: 17. June, Rokokotheater of the lock Schwetzingen on the occasion of the Schwetzinger of festivals, direction: F. D., with Helmut Lohner, Charlotte Kerr.
  • 1989 - Disorder valley. Novel.
  • 1990 - Building of towers. Materials IV-IX. Meetings. Transverse travel. The bridge. ThatHouse. Vinter. The brain.


  • 1991 - Midas or the black canvas
  • 1991 - Kant's hope. Two political speeches. Two poems.
  • 1992 - Thought joint - texts from the deduction, for a planned continuation of the materials
  • 1993 -The possible is tremendous. Selected poems.
  • 1994 - Sketch book. Angel, devil and so on. - Hrsg.: Charlotte Kerr, Ted Scapa
  • 1995 - which retired. Fragment of a detective story. - Text of the version of last hand. Faximile of the Manuskrips and the Typoskripts alsohandwritten changes.
  • 1996 - Discussions 1961-1990 in four volumes. - Hrsg.: Heinz Ludwig Arnold
  • 2001 - the Nashorn writes the Tigerin. Picture stories. - Hrsg.: Charlotte Kerr


  • break into Sulzer, Elizabeth (1986): Friedrich Duerrenmatt. Stations of its work. Zurich, Diogenes.
  • Goertz, Heinrich (2003):Friedrich Duerrenmatt. Rororo Monographien. Rowohlt, Reinbek.
  • Button, January (1980): Friedrich Duerrenmatt. Author books. Munich, Beck.

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