Juerg Federspiel

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Jürg Fortunat Federspiel (born June 28, 1931 in Kemptthal , Canton Zurich , † January 12, 2007 in Basel ) was a Swiss writer .


Jürg Federspiel grew up as the son of journalist Georg Federspiel in Davos . He attended secondary school in Basel. From 1951 he worked as a reporter and film critic for various Swiss newspapers and spent a long time in Germany , France , Great Britain , Ireland and the USA . In 1967 Willi Oppliger (1933–2018) painted a portrait of Federspiel.

Most recently he lived alternately in Basel and New York . He suffered badly from diabetes and Parkinson's disease for years .

Federspiel's body was found on February 25, 2007 in the Märkt weir near Weil am Rhein . He had been missing since January 12, 2007. Suicide is assumed to be the cause of death .

His grave is in the Wolfgottesacker cemetery in Basel.

His son Maurus Federspiel from his third marriage to the Liechtenstein teacher and author Loretta Federspiel-Kieber is also a writer.

The Federspiel estate is in the “HelveticArchives” archive database of the Swiss National Library . It contains typescripts and fair copies of his stories, plays, radio plays and a television film. The archive also contains sketches, drafts and fragments of novels. However, much of it was destroyed in a fire in 1982.


Federspiel's work consists mainly of journalistic articles and narrative texts. Although his short stories and novels often have an almost documentary character, they also express, often in a slightly melancholy form, his predilection for the gruesome, the bizarre and the eccentric. In German-Swiss literature, Federspiel is regarded as a loner and a special case that was strongly influenced by American forms and criteria. The American short story and the work of the Swiss author Blaise Cendrars are important influences on his work .

Federspiel's literary career began in 1961 with the publication of the short story book Oranges und Tode . In addition to this volume of stories, his most important works include the Museum of Hate Records . Days in Manhattan (1969), in which diary entries are mixed with fictional, sometimes surreal moments, The Ballad of Typhoid Mary (1982) and the novel Geographie der Lust (1989). The latter is widely considered to be his masterpiece.

Awards and honors



  • Benita Cantieni : Jürg Federspiel. In: Swiss writers personally. Huber, Frauenfeld 1983, pp. 205-221.
  • Brigitte Marschall: Jürg Federspiel . In: Andreas Kotte (Ed.): Theater Lexikon der Schweiz . Volume 1, Chronos, Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-0340-0715-9 , p. 569.
  • Hans Saner : Yes, you have a human face. In: The weekly newspaper . February 1, 2007 (first publication of a speech on the occasion of Jürg Federspiel's 70th birthday).
  • Pirmin Meier : The ghost of hopelessness is my ghost : funeral speech for Jürg Federspiel. In: Swiss monthly books. Journal for politics, economy, culture. Volume 87, 2007, pp. 48-50.
  • Gaudenz Meili : The praised village , script for a [unrealized film] based on the story of the same name by Jürg Federspiel from the work Oranges in front of her window. Zurich Central Library, 2012, 64 BI (Swissbib ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Art Credit Collection, Basel-Stadt: Portrait, 1967. Retrieved on September 28, 2019 .
  2. Jürg Federspiel found dead. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . February 25, 2007, accessed December 8, 2017.
  3. ^ SLA-Federspiel Federspiel, Jürg: Archive Jürg Federspiel, 1949-2008.01.19 (inventory). Retrieved July 24, 2019 .
  4. Jürg Federspiel: inventory of his archive in the Swiss Literature Archive. Retrieved August 13, 2019 .
  5. Jürg Federspiel - Critical Lexicon of Contemporary German Literature (KLG). Retrieved July 24, 2019 .