Claudio Magris

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Claudio Magris 2019

Claudio Magris (born April 10, 1939 in Trieste ) is an Italian writer , Germanist and translator . From 1978 until his retirement in 2006 he was professor for modern German-language literature at the University of Trieste .

life and work

Claudio Magris studied at the Universities of Turin and Freiburg German . He is an essayist and columnist for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera and other European newspapers. Due to his numerous studies on Central European culture, he is considered to be its greatest sponsor in Italy.

Claudio Magris lives in Trieste and speaks his Trieste dialect, which is almost his own language. The well-known retro coffee house Caffè San Marco there, opened on January 3, 1914 by the Istrian Marco Lovrinovich with its preserved atmosphere connected to the Republic of Venice, is considered his living room and study. And at his regular table there, he writes his numerous essays and novels, some of which were influenced by the colorful audience of the Trieste coffee houses .

As a young Germanist from Trieste, Magris published his doctoral thesis written in Italian at the age of 24 (in German 1966: The Habsburg myth in Austrian literature ). This contains the most important and influential theory to date that has so far been developed on modern Austrian literature. According to Magris, the " Habsburg myth " basically constitutes three elements: As the first part he sees the religiously charged idea of ​​an empire founded under the sign of a higher idea with the survival tactic of defensive postponing and letting the conflict run dry ("muddling through to hold a multiethnic state together") . The other element denotes the positive bureaucratic mentality and quality of the monarchy. Magris draws on Hugo von Hofmannsthal , Robert Musil and Franz Werfel or on the leitmotif of the “Theresian people” and sees the Danube Monarchy being administered by a “barely perceptible bureaucracy that carefully cuts all tips” and describes the “workaholic” as its embodied, incorruptible service pragmatism “Emperor Franz Joseph . As a third basic motif, Magris locates the hedonism of the Habsburg subjects between opera, theater, dance halls, inns and coffee houses with the basic musical mood of the bat . The Habsburg diagnostician Magris, with the "myth" of Austrian literature that influenced, among others, Grillparzer , Hofmannsthal , Musil , Bernhard , Werfel , Zweig , Roth , Bachmann or the Menasses, granted a proper right (away from Alpine-exotic appendages) in German literature and given.

He wrote essays on ETA Hoffmann , Joseph Roth , Henrik Ibsen , Italo Svevo , Robert Musil, Hermann Hesse and Jorge Luis Borges . Magris achieved his literary breakthrough in 1986 with his most famous work to date, Danubio (Danube) , a literary journey along the river from the source to the mouth, in which the multicultural past of the Danube region is in the foreground. His vision of a Central Europe free and undivided by barbed wire and walls , which he designed in this work, became reality only a few years after this publication. This (re) discovery of Central Europe or the Danube Monarchy, which is often misunderstood, and the multiple future explosiveness of his oracle-like topics has brought him the name "Columbus of Trieste".

Similar to Magris' vision of Eastern Europe, which had become a reality, his Habsburg bureaucratic nature, which had already become a "Habsburg myth" in 1963, was widely discussed and in 2011 was scientifically and statistically proven. The "Habsburg myth" transforms into the Habsburg effect . In a nutshell, this describes that former institutions continue to have an effect even after several generations through cultural norms, in particular that people who live on former Habsburg territory have measurably more trust in local courts and police and are likely to pay less bribes for public services. Claudio Magris has shown that the “Habsburg myth” continues to have an effect in the power structures of today's Europe.

Magris is a member of many European academies and was Senator for the Italian Left in the Italian Senate from 1994 to 1996 . In 1987 he was awarded an Antonio Feltrinelli Prize .

Increasingly he warns of the presence of war and is active as a pan-European peacemaker in Kant's terms. He sees himself as one of the last Trieste coffeehouse literary figures , whose tradition will die out - but not in a paralyzing wistful way, but as an opportunity for something new.


  • Il mito absburgico nella letteratura austriaca moderna. 1963, new edition 1996.
    • German The Habsburg myth in modern Austrian literature. Translated by Madeleine von Pásztory. Müller, Salzburg 1966; Adapted from the Italian new edition: Zsolnay , Vienna 2000, ISBN 3-552-04961-4 .
    • French: Le Mythe et L'empire dans la litterature autrichienne modern. Trans. Jean u. Marie-Noelle Pastureau. Gallimard, Paris 1991, ISBN 2-07-078043-0 .
  • Lontano da dove. Joseph Roth e la tradizione ebraico-orientale. Einaudi, Turin 1971; 3rd edition 1982, ISBN 88-06-00952-4 .
    • German far from where. Lost world of Eastern Jewry. Translated by Jutta Prasse. Europe, Vienna 1974, ISBN 3-203-50490-1 .
  • L'altra ragione: Tre saggi su Hoffmann. 1978
    • dt. The other reason: ETA Hoffmann. Translated by Paul Walcher and Petra Braun. Hain, Koenigstein / Ts. 1980.
  • (with Angelo Ara): Trieste: un'identità di frontiera. 1983
    • dt. Trieste: a literary capital in Central Europe. Translated by Ragni Maria Gschwend. Hanser, Munich 1987; Zsolnay, Vienna 1999, ISBN 3-552-04950-9 ; dtv 2005, ISBN 3-423-34175-0 .
  • Illazioni su una sciabola. 1984.
    • German conjectures about a saber. Narrative. Translated by Ragni Maria Gschwend. Hanser, Munich 1986, ISBN 3-446-14518-4 .
  • L'anello di Clarisse. 1984.
    • dt. The Ring of Clarisse: great style and nihilism in modern literature. Translated by Christine Wolter. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-518-04433-8 .
  • Danubio 1986 (German Danube. Biography of a river. Translated by Heinz-Georg Held. Hanser, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-446-14970-8 ; German 2007, ISBN 978-3-423-34418-0 )
  • Un altro mare. 1991.
    • German Another sea. Translated by Karin Krieger. Hanser, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-446-16591-6 .
  • Quattro vite bizzarre. 1995.
  • Danubio e Post-Danubio. 1995.
    • German Danube and Post Danube. Translated by Ragni Maria Gschwend. AER, Bozen 1995, ISBN 88-86557-19-1 .
  • Microcosmi. 1997.
  • La mostra. 2001.
    • German The exhibition. Translated by Hanno Helbling. Hanser, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-446-20543-8 .
  • Utopia e disincanto. 1999.
    • German utopia and disenchantment. History, hopes and illusions of modernity. Translated by Ragni Maria Gschwend, Karin Krieger et al. Hanser, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-446-20216-1 .
  • Alla cieca , 2005.
  • L'infinito viaggiare. 2005.
    • dt. A hippopotamus in Lund. Travel pictures. Translated by Karin Krieger. Hanser, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-446-23086-6 .
  • The alphabet of the world: of books and people. Translation by Ragni Maria Gschwend. Hanser, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-446-23759-9 .
  • Non luogo a procedere. Grazanti, Milan 2015, ISBN 978-88-11-68917-1 .
    • German: proceedings discontinued. Novel. Translated by Ragni Maria Gschwend. Hanser, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-446-25466-4 .
  • Roman and modern. The dizzying change and triumph of the world's prose . In: Lettre International 116 (spring 2017), pp. 27–30. ISSN 0945-5167


Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2009
Thomas Mann Prize 2019

Web links

Commons : Claudio Magris  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Humboldt Prize winner Claudio Magris receives important German cultural award , the message information service it science of 14 October 2009, accessed on 15 October of 2009.
  2. ^ Conversation between Claudio Magris and Martin Schulz. In: FAZ. of April 23, 2014, p. 12.
  3. ^ Franz Haas: The Columbus of Trieste. In: NZZ . October 17, 2009.
  4. The Habsburg Effect. How the lost empire still shapes the relationship between citizens and their state institutions today. see. also Sascha O. Becker, Katrin Boeckh, Christa Hainz and Ludger Woessmann: The Empire Is Dead, Long Live the Empire! Long-Run Persistence of Trust and Corruption in the Bureaucracy. In: The Economic Journal. Volume 126, Issue 590, February 2016, pp. 40–74.
  5. ^ Conversation between Claudio Magris and Martin Schulz. In: FAZ. of April 23, 2014, p. 12.
  6. ^ Franz Haas: The Columbus of Trieste. In: NZZ. from October 17, 2009.
  7. Roland Graf: Reconciliation in the coffee house. In: Wiener. 5/2013, p. 126.
  8. ^ Membership directory: Claudio Magris. Academia Europaea, accessed October 5, 2017 .
  10. ↑ Award ceremony for the Day of German Unity , accessed on October 4, 2015.
  11. Honorary doctorate for Prof. Dr. Dr. hc mult. Claudio Magris. Retrieved January 12, 2018 .