Werner Schwab

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Werner Schwab (born February 4, 1958 in Graz , Styria , † January 1, 1994 in Graz) was an Austrian writer and playwright .

life and work

Werner Schwab was born on February 4, 1958 in Graz to a housekeeper and a bricklayer. Shortly after he was born, his father left the family and his mother was forced to move back to her parents' home because of failure to pay child support. In the following, the mother had to take care of her son in order to survive, lived in desolate accommodations and worked as a housekeeper in Graz and Semriach until she got a position as caretaker in the Herz-Jesu-Viertel in Graz, with one of them small one-room apartment was connected. In it, Schwab and his religious mother spent a difficult childhood, which he tried to process with the introduction of his alter ego Herrmann Wurm into popular destruction or my liver is pointless .

Schwab wanted to become an artist at an early age, so in 1974 he attended the Graz School of Applied Arts on Ortweinplatz, where he fell in love with Ingeborg Orthofer, his future wife. In 1977 he left school after refusing to take an art history exam and instead tried to be accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. This failed at first, and Schwab began to attend the electroacoustic lectures of Dieter Kaufmann in Vienna penniless . In addition, he was involved with Erwin Wurm and János Erdödy in his gallery in Graz, where the first artistic productions and actions took place. In the autumn of 1978 Schwab was finally accepted by Bruno Gironcoli at the academy and received an orphan's pension and a maximum scholarship, which significantly improved his financial situation. He and Ingeborg Orthofer moved into an apartment in Graz and continued to commute to Vienna. On January 1st, 1981, the two of them moved to Kohlberg in East Styria . There they had bought a farm and began to create decaying sculptures from perishable materials such as meat, bones and animal carcasses .

Life in Kohlberg barely allowed trips to Vienna anymore, which is why Schwab left the academy in 1982 and turned to writing more and more. At first he produced experimental texts in which he developed characters for his later pieces, and sent them to the protocols and other literary magazines without success . His applications for scholarships for literary and young dramatists were also turned down, and he had to earn a living by felling wood and doing other odd jobs.

In 1989 Schwab was involved in the founding of the artists' association Intro Graz Spection and on April 22nd staged his “Kadaverstück” for their first project. The living is the lifeless and music with a bull's skull as a prop. Since Schwab drank, the relationship with Orthofer broke up, and during this difficult time 1990 came a change. Several readings were scheduled in Graz, The Presidents premiered in Vienna in February, and the first part of Abfall, Bergland, Caesar appeared in June . A collection of people in the manuscripts , and in December Schwab was nominated for the City of Graz's Literature Prize.

When Hans Gratzer finally took over the direction of Übergewicht, Unimportant : Unform in 1991 and the play was performed in Vienna, Schwab also attracted attention in Germany with its language, which has entered literary history as Swabian . He was voted Young Dramatist of the Year by the trade journal Theater heute and one year later Dramatist of the Year. Schwab was also honored with the Mülheim Dramatist Prize for his drama Volksvernichtung or Meine Leber ist sinnlos , which premiered in Munich in 1991 .

Subsequently, Mesalliance but we fuck each other splendidly in Graz and Der Himmel mein Lieb my dying booty in Stuttgart premiered, and within a very short time Schwab becomes one of the most played dramatists in the German language. After living in Vienna for two years, he returned to Graz in 1993 and performed the piece porn geography as part of the Steirischer Herbst festival. Seven rumors. on.

In Graz he fell in love with his landlady and decided to write more prose in the future. That's why Schwab began to write a letter novel with Jörg Schlick and handed him the first letter four days before Christmas, but it was also to be the last.

On January 1, 1994, Schwab was found dead in his apartment with a blood alcohol concentration of 4.1 per mille , having died of respiratory paralysis caused by alcohol poisoning .

The author's estate is being processed at the Franz Nabl Institute of the University of Graz . For this purpose, the federal state of Styria (despite media reports to the contrary) bought the materials in 2010 for 230,000 euros.


Even in the work diaries that he started at the age of 22, Schwab developed his own language, unaffected by the literary scene of the time. He perfected this language in the dramas from 1990 onwards. With hearty, powerful expressions and bizarre word combinations, he tried to unmask and mock the aesthetic literary language.

In the short time he had at his disposal, he was driven by a restless need to write - after all, 16 full-length plays were written in four years, seven of which were only premiered after his death .



Book publications

In autumn 2007, Joe Mc Vie alias Josef Thierschädl, the first volume of an eleven-volume edition of works by the Droschl publishing house, was published and should be published in full by 2014.

  • Fecal dramas. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 1991.
    • The presidents
    • Overweight, unimportant: unformed
    • National annihilation or my liver is pointless
    • My dog's mouth
  • King Comedies. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 1992.
    • Open pits and open windows
    • Hochschwab
    • Mesalliance but we fuck each other splendidly
    • Heaven my love my dying prey
    • Finally dead, finally no more air
  • Waste, mountains, Caesar. A gathering of people. Salzburg, Vienna: Residence 1992.
(Or in the edition of the work: Ed. by Ingeborg Orthofer. with the collaboration of Lizzi Kramberger. Vol. 2. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 2008)
  • The dirt and the good. The good and the dirt. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 1992.
  • Dramas III. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 1994.
    • Troillus madness and Cressidatheater
    • Faust :: My chest :: My helmet
    • Porn geography
    • Escalation vulgar
    • Anti-climax
  • finally dead finally no more air. A theatrical annihilation pleasure game. (limited bibliophile edition) Homburg: Karlsberg 1994.
  • SCHWAB texts. Orgasm: cannibalism. Seven love letters to your own personality. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 1996.
  • THE CHARMING REIGEN after the CHARMING MR. ARTHUR SCHNITZLER's dance. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 1996.
  • in hard shoes. a craft. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 1999.
  • Joe Mc Vie alias Josef Thierschädl. Edition of works. Edited by Ingeborg Orthofer. Vol. 1. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 2007.
  • Waste, mountains, Caesar. A gathering of people. Edition of works. Edited by Ingeborg Orthofer. with the assistance of Lizzi Kramberger. Vol. 2. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 2008.

Radio plays

  • 1989 No man's land An acoustic inventory by Christian Marczik. In cooperation with Werner Schwab and others, ORF-Landesstudio Steiermark.
  • 1991 Hundemund , director: Götz Fritsch , ORF / HR / MDR.
  • 1992 The Presidents , Director: Norbert Schaeffer , SDR / RB.
  • 2002 People's Destruction or My Liver is Pointless , Director: Annette Kurth , WDR.
  • 2004 The lovely dance after the lovely Mr. Arthur Schnitzler's dance , director: Götz Fritsch, ORF / RBB.

Artistic work (selection)

  • Mail Art : Postcards that Schwab exchanged with Janos Erdödy between 1978 and 1990. Each card was specially designed, partly as a drawing, a picture or a collage
  • decaying sculptures , e.g. B. the series "Meat, Reliefs and Texts"



  • Silke Uertz-Jacquemain: Red-white-red meat theater. About the comedy in Werner Schwab's dramas. Vienna / Cologne / Weimar: Böhlau 2019. (= Literature and Life 90).
  • Daniela Bartens and Harald Miesbacher (eds.): Dossieronline 2 (2018), no . 1: Werner Schwab . (Open Access Journal of the Franz Nabl Institute for Literary Research)
  • Bernd Höfer: Werner Schwab. From unknown poet to recognized playwright Weitra: Verlag Bibliothek der Provinz 2016, ISBN 978-3-99028-557-2 .
  • Heike Henderson: Performing Cannibalism: Werner Schwab's “OVERWEIGHT, unimportant: UNFORM” Journal of Austrian Studies 45.1-2 (2012): 51–68.
  • Ulrich Staehle: Werner Schwab - The rise of a playwright. Stuttgart: Academic Publishing House 2008.
  • Bernd Höfer: Werner Schwab 1989–1991. Vienna, Klosterneuburg: Va Bene 2008.
  • Stephanie Krawehl: "To stab the world like a pig". Speech violence and linguistic delimitation in the plays of Werner Schwab. Oberhausen: Athena 2008.
  • Petra Meurer: Theatrical spaces. Theatrical aesthetic designs in pieces by Werner Schwab, Elfriede Jelinek and Peter Handke. Berlin [u. a.]: Lit 2007.
  • Achim Stricker: Text space. Strategies of non-dramatic theater texts: Gertrude Stein, Heiner Müller, Werner Schwab, Rainald Goetz. Heidelberg, Neckar: Winter 2007. (= New forum for general and comparative literary studies. 35.)
  • Markus Hirsch: " ... the naked person is most dangerous if he has to keep undressing". the representation of sexuality in the work of Werner Schwab. Graz, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 2005.
  • Edith Katharina Kargl: Arthur Schnitzler's round dance and its adaptation by Werner Schwab. Graz, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 2005.
  • Artur Pełka: Body (sub) versions. On the body discourse in theater texts by Elfriede Jelinek and Werner Schwab. Frankfurt am Main [u. a.]: Lang 2005. (= Gießen work on modern German literature and literary studies. 25.)
  • Judith Kern: Faeces, murder and ink water. Subject dissolution in Werner Schwab's early dramas. Marburg: Tectum 2004.
  • Michael Bobas-Pupic: "Sure, fucking is great [?]" Or Werner Schwabs genius (t) al prank. Vienna, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 2003.
  • Harald Miesbacher: The anatomy of Swabian. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 2003. (= Dossier. Extra.)
  • Paul Pechmann:  Schwab, Werner. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 23, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-11204-3 , pp. 774 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Bernd Eicher: Power is a glass of brackish water. Power and powerlessness with Werner Schwab. Graz, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 2001.
  • Silvia Ronelt: Werner Schwab's dramatic work. Facets of a literary phenomenon. Paris, Univ., Diss. 2001.
  • Gerhard Fuchs and Paul Pechmann (eds.): Werner Schwab. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 2000. (= Dossier. 16.)
  • Sabine Mair: “Werner Schwab. Thomas Bernhard. An attempt. “Innsbruck, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 1999.
  • Hilde Fuchs: Now I am a walk-in poet sculpture. Homage to Werner Schwab. Vienna: Culture Department d. Lower Austria state government. 1997.
  • Christine Neuhaus: Arthur Schnitzler: The "Reigen". Werner Schwab: "The lovely dance after the lovely Mr. Arthur Schnitzler's dance". A comparison. Tübingen, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 1997.
  • Horst Kakl: "You have to kill kill kill ... all people ... everything". The destruction in Werner Schwab's dramas. Klagenfurt, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 1997.
  • Gerda Poschmann: The no longer dramatic theater text. Current stage plays and their dramaturgical analysis. Tübingen: Niemeyer 1997.
  • Birgit Wurm: "You can do nothing but language ...". Stylistic studies on Werner Schwab's faecal dramas. Vienna, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 1997.
  • Barbara Schmiedl: "Scrap with a broken half-life". Werner Schwab, his working method and the reception of his works in the media. Graz, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 1996.
  • Helmut Schödel : Soul burns. Vienna: Deuticke 1995.
  • Soul burns. The poet Werner Schwab. An audio book by Helmut Schödel. 2013
  • Thomas Krause: "Werner Schwab's radical comedy" People's destruction or my liver is senseless ". Düsseldorf, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 1994.


  • Before my first play was performed, I was only in the theater once - and that during the break (Schwab in an interview)
  • archeology must be able to be confused and sad as the unencumbered about my reproachful remains (from: rubbish, mountainous country, Caesar )
  • We've been shagged in the world and can't fly.


  1. Cf. Trenkler, Thomas: I am the dirt and the good. Chronology of an Austrian fate. In: Werner Schwab. Edited by Gerhard Fuchs and Paul Pechmann. Graz, Vienna: Droschl 2000. (= Dossier. 16.) pp. 265–278.

Web links