Max Frisch

Definition

Theater

  • (1911 - 91) Swiss playwright and novelist, who emergedas one of the leading writers in the German language in the late 1940s.He wrote his first play, Now You Can Sing, an exploration ofindividual guilt during wartime, in 1945 while working as an architectin Zürich. The plays that followed, which established his reputationfor witty and socially challenging drama, included The Great Wallof China (1946), When the War was Over (1949), Overland(Graf öderland; 1951), and The Fire-Raisers (1958),a major contribution to absurdist theater which remains his best-knownwork (see Theatre of the Absurd). It attacks themoral complacency of Swiss society through the figure of Biedermann,a typical good citizen who nevertheless fails to prevent arsonistsfrom starting a fire in his attic. Subsequent plays included Andorra(1961), which aroused controversy with its portrayal of the growthof anti-Semitism in a small and peaceful country, Triptychon(1979), and Jonah and his Veteran (1989), a drama about militaryservice in Switzerland.

    Frisch's novels include Stiller (1954), an explorationof the problems of personal identity, and Homo Faber (1957).He also published several volumes of diaries and literary sketchbooks.

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