Klaus Hoffer

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Klaus Hoffer (born December 27, 1942 in Graz ) is an Austrian writer and translator .


From 1962 Klaus Hoffer studied German , Classical Philology and English at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz. 1964/65 he stayed in the USA . After his return, Hoffer continued his studies with the main subjects German and English and completed it successfully in 1970 with a dissertation on The Image of the Child in Franz Kafka's work . In 1972/173 Klaus Hoffer was general secretary of the "Graz Authors' Assembly".

At first he worked as a journalist and copywriter, but from 1973 to 1980 he was employed as a teacher at the HAK Feldbach . He then moved to the Graz BHAK Graz, Monsbergergasse (commercial academy, commercial school and various courses), where he taught until his retirement in 2002.

In the course of his life Hoffer gave countless guest lectures, among others in Berlin , Venice , Marburg an der Lahn (D) , Mainz .

In 1990 he was writer-in-residence at Washington University ( St. Louis , Missouri ) and in 1991 he was a visiting professor at the University of Dakar in Senegal . His poetics lecture at the Graz University from 1985/86 was titled Methods of Confusion. Reflections on the fantastic published by Franz Kafka after giving a lecture a year earlier at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. From March to May 1998 he also led a seminar on contemporary Austrian literature as part of an undergraduate course at Grinnell College (Grinnell, Iowa ).

In addition, from 1990 to 1993 he was a member of the team of assessors for the appointment of school principals, speaker at school management seminars and lecturer at advanced training events for school management trainers in Austria.

In addition to his teaching activities, Hoffer was involved in Styrian artists' associations. From 1970 to 1973 he was a member of the “Working Group of Austrian Literature Producers”, from 1973 to 1975 the first general secretary of the Graz Authors' Assembly and from 1981 to 1984 a speaker at the Forum Stadtpark . Klaus Hoffer is also an author from the literary journal Manuskripte , where he has published texts since 1966.

At first Hoffer wrote smaller works, mainly with cultural-political and literary-theoretical content.

Halfway with his first big story . At the Bieresch 1. (1979) he became known to a wider audience and he received the Rauris Literature Prize the following year . In the second part of the story The Great Potlatsch. In the Bieresch 2. (1983) Hoffer continues the story of the first-person narrator Hans.

In the story "Halbweg. Bei den Bieresch 1", the young man Hans travels to the Bieresch people in the village of Zick, in order, as tradition requires, to take on the role of his deceased uncle. But the longer he stays, the more depressing he experiences - from now on the residents of the village call him "Halfway" - the attribution of this new identity. Because in order to get used to his new life, the individual customs, ways of life and myths of the village are told to him again and again, but without being able to understand them.

These stories from the villagers contradict each other. They are only constructed in order to better understand the past, but in truth this only continues the calamity.

The story Am Magnetberg (1982) is a diary-like recording of a man who has withdrawn to a mountain to recapitulate his life there. He suffers from the incurable disease elephantiasis , but as a so-called "Zolde" he cannot die.

There are also theatrical productions of both works. The world premiere of Am Magnetberg took place in 1990 as part of the Steirischer Herbst festival in Graz. That same year Kispotlatsch, based on Bei den Bieresch , premiered in Vienna, directed by Erwin Piplits.

His works reveal the influence of the Viennese group and identify him as a representative of Austrian experimental and language-critical literature. Oswald Wiener in particular had a great influence on Klaus Hoffer, this becomes clear in Hoffer's fragment of the novel "Unter Schweinen" from 1967.

Hoffer assumes that reality cannot be conveyed through language. At the same time, this means that the world and a person's identity cannot be determined either. Rather, our experiences are made up of images that are passed on from generation to generation, whereby we only select those elements that fit into the previously formed scheme of reality.

According to his own statement, the early Peter Handke , Oswald Wiener , Gerhard Rühm and Friedrich Achleitner influenced him the most. In addition, there are the writings of Elias Canetti , Urs Widmer , Heinrich Heine and, above all, Franz Kafka .

In the volume of essays, The Proximity of the Stranger , published in 2008, Hoffer describes the important role that literature and his own writing played in his life.

He has also emerged as a translator from English.


  • The picture of the child in Franz Kafka's work. Graz, Univ. Diss. 1970.
  • Halfway. The Bieresch 1. Verlag S. Fischer: Frankfurt am Main 1979.
  • On the Magnetberg. A fragment. Literaturverlag Droschl: Graz 1982.
  • The big potlatch. At the Bieresch 2. Verlag S. Fischer: Frankfurt am Main 1983.
  • Methods of Confusion. Reflections on the fantastic in Franz Kafka. Literaturverlag Droschl: Graz, Vienna 1986.
  • Pusztavolk. Essays. Literaturverlag Droschl: Graz, Vienna 1991.
  • At the Bieresch. Novel. Literaturverlag Droschl: Graz, Vienna 2007.
  • The proximity of the stranger. Essays. Literaturverlag Droschl: Graz 2008.
  • "Graz from the outside" literary publisher Droschl: Graz, Vienna 2003 (edited together with Alfred Kolleritsch)

Furthermore, Klaus Hoffer published numerous articles that appeared mainly in the literary magazine manuskripte .

Radio plays

  • Caring ..., excellent ... 1969.
  • Am Magnetberg 1988 (set to music by Urs Widmer).


  • Manuscripts. Literary symposium "Outsiders". Special issue 21 (1981) (together with Max Droschl and Alfred Kolleritsch).
  • Manuscripts. For Alfred Kolleritsch. With a compact cassette. Literaturverlag Droschl: Graz 1981 (together with Helmut Eisendle).
  • Humpty Dumpty. The 77 most beautiful English nursery rhymes, nonsense verses and riddles from the Mother Goose collection. Diogenes published by Zurich 1985.
  • Graz from the outside. Verlag Droschl: Graz, Vienna 2003 (together with Alfred Kolleritsch ).


  • Kurt Vonnegut : Jailbird. German: gallows bird. Novel. Piper Verlag: München, Zürich 1980.
  • Jakov Lind : Travels to the Enu. German: Travel to the Enu. The story of a shipwreck. Medusa Verlag: Berlin, Vienna 1983 (translated together with Jakov Lind)
  • Raymond Carver : Cathedral. German: Cathedral. Stories. Piper Verlag: München, Zürich 1985.
  • Nadine Gordimer : A guest of honor. German: The Guest of Honor. Novel. S. Fischer Verlag 1986.
  • Kurt Vonnegut : Mother night. German: Mother Night. Roman Piper Published by München, Zürich 1988.
  • Raymond Carver : What we talk about when we talk about love. Dt .: What we talk about when we talk about love. 14 stories. Piper Verlag: München, Zürich 1989.
  • Joseph Conrad : Almayer's folly. German: Almayer's castle in the air. The story of an eastern stream. Novel. Haffmans Verlag: Zurich 1992, ISBN 3-251-20126-3 .
  • Joseph Conrad : Lord Jim. German: Lord Jim. Novel. Zurich 1998.
  • Joseph Conrad : The Captain Conrad Cassette. Haffmans Verlag: Zürich 1999. (translated together with Urs Widmer , Nikolaus Hansen and Wolfgang Krege ).
  • Lydia Davis : Almost no memory. German: Almost no memory. Stories. Literaturverlag Droschl: Graz 2008.
  • Lydia Davis: Can't and Won't , Stories. Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, New York City, USA 2014, ISBN 978-0374-11858-7 .



  • Reinhold Grether: The Favor of the Border: Considerations on Klaus Hoffer's “Bei den Bieresch”. Frankfurt am Main, Univ. Diss. 1984.
  • Roman Kloibhofer: Where the normal becomes nonsensical. The “other” life of the Bieresch: a text analysis of Klaus Hoffer's novels “Halfway; at the Bieresch 1 "and" The great Potlatsch; at the Bieresch 2 ". Salzburg, Univ. Diploma thesis 1987.
  • Rainer Landvogt: Writing as Destiny: On Textuality and Intertextuality in Klaus Hoffer's novel “Bei den Bieresch” . Königshausen & Neumann: Würzburg 1990. At the same time: Essen, Univ. Diss. 1989.
  • Madeleine Napetschnig: Klaus Hoffer . Literaturverlag Droschl: Graz, Vienna 1998. Before: Graz, Univ. Diploma thesis 1996.
  • Stefanie Kreuzer: Literary Fantasticism in Postmodernism: Klaus Hoffers Methods of Confusion . Winter publishing house: Heidelberg 2007.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Now please don't cough in FAZ from February 6, 2015, page 10.
  2. ↑ Decoration of Honor awarded by the State of Styria . Article dated May 24, 2018, accessed May 26, 2018.