Christian Enzensberger

Writer, Author

1931 – 2009

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Who was Christian Enzensberger?

Christian Enzensberger was a German Professor of English studies, author and a translator of English literature into German language.

Born in Nuremberg, Enzensberger was one of the more enigmatic figures in German letters. Younger brother of the literary celebrity and political figure Hans Magnus Enzensberger, he maintained a relatively low media profile throughout his career, in spite of being embroiled in one of the more interesting literary scandals of early 70s Germany.

From 1969 until 1982, Enzensberger held a post as Professor of English Literature at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He is today chiefly known in Germany for his 1963 translation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking-Glass.

In 1970 Enzensberger became the only author ever to refuse the Literaturpreis der Stadt Bremen, offered in the wake of the publication of Größerer Versuch über den Schmutz. The book generated a furore when it was first published in Germany, not least due to its linking of personal cleanliness with totalitarianism. Smut is an experimental work in which dirt is described scientifically, personally and peversely by a panopoly of narrative voices, including fragments from the anthropologist Mary Douglas alongside writers from Samuel Beckett through William S. Burroughs to Jean Genet. It has since then fallen into neglect and remains out of print in both English and German.

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Dec 24, 1931
  • Germany
Jan 27, 2009

on July 23, 2013


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