Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 December 2013
In a notebook entry from 1982 posthumously published in Entwürfe zu einem dritten Tagebuch (Drafts for a Third Sketchbook, 2010), Max Frisch comments on the recent publication of his story or short novella Blaubart (Bluebeard): “Was habe ich geschrieben? Eine Fratze.” (What have I written? A grimace.)
According to the notes in the critical edition of Frisch's collected works, Blaubart was written in Zurich between October and December 1981. In February and March 1982 it appeared serially in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung before being published as a book in March 1982. The Frankfurter Allgemeine announced the work to its readers as an unconventional narrative that begins like a crime story and consists of a multitude of mosaic stones. The newspaper further stated that the protagonist, the fifty-four-year-old medical doctor Felix Schaad, is confronted with a role-play that complicates his true identity, just like Anatol Ludwig Stiller and Theo Gantenbein, the protagonists in Frisch's previous novels Stiller and Mein Name sei Gantenbein. I precisely recall reading segments of Blaubart as they appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, and I remember the high expectations I had as well as the lightness of this new text, and my confusion, which increased from day to day: could this really be all that there was to this work?
It will be useful to begin with an overview of the most important book reviews of Blaubart that appeared in the spring of 1982.