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1 - Max Frisch's Early Plays

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2013

Olaf Berwald
Affiliation:
Associate Professor of German and Chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at the University of North Dakota
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Summary

Max Frisch's path toward authorship did not evolve in a direct and uninterrupted manner. Two traumatic experiences resulted in ruptures and turning points in the early phase of Frisch's development as an author. In 1936, Frisch committed an auto-da-fé, solemnly burning everything he had hitherto written. With this act he intended to reject the writer's profession and turn toward a bourgeois career that provided an income that would enable him to start a family. In his twenty-fifth year, Frisch, a student of German philology, a journalist and writer, realized that life can become a failure, and he decided to build a secure foundation for his life by leaving metaphors behind and studying architecture.

The abrupt break with writing that Frisch staged as a private apocalyptic event corresponds with an acutely endangered new beginning, since the decision to turn away from literature did not turn out to be sustainable. Just six years later, Frisch began to write a more ambitious literary text, not surprisingly a sketchbook that was published in 1940 under the title Blätter aus dem Brotsack: Geschrieben im Grenzdienst 1939 (Pages from the Knapsack: Written While Serving in the Border Patrol, 1939). The political events at the time, the threatening prospect of Switzerland being occupied by its aggressive neighbor, National Socialist Germany, made it abundantly clear that a merely private existence was confined by boundaries. Not the boundaries of the self but the borders of the home country had to be defended.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

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  • Max Frisch's Early Plays
  • Edited by Olaf Berwald, Associate Professor of German and Chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at the University of North Dakota
  • Book: A Companion to the Works of Max Frisch
  • Online publication: 05 December 2013
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  • Max Frisch's Early Plays
  • Edited by Olaf Berwald, Associate Professor of German and Chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at the University of North Dakota
  • Book: A Companion to the Works of Max Frisch
  • Online publication: 05 December 2013
Available formats
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To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Max Frisch's Early Plays
  • Edited by Olaf Berwald, Associate Professor of German and Chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at the University of North Dakota
  • Book: A Companion to the Works of Max Frisch
  • Online publication: 05 December 2013
Available formats
×