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Tin House Books
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5.0 X 7.6 X 0.7 inches | 0.5 pounds
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About the Author
Max Frisch (1911-1991) was a playwright and novelist who, together with his Swiss compatriot Dürrenmatt, is considered one of the most important postwar playwrights writing in German. Frisch originally studied philology and art at university, before abandoning his studies to become a journalist. After serving in the Swiss army during the Second World War, he took up architecture and pursued this profession until the 1950s, when he became a full-time writer. Frisch had written his first play at the age of 16, but having rejected his early work, it was not until 1944 that he returned to writing plays, with Santa Cruz. His second play, Now They Are Singing Again (1945), took its inspiration from Brecht, dealing as it does with the moral responsibility for war. This Brechtian theme was continued in his next two plays, The Chinese Wall (1946) and When the War Was Over (1949). With the romantic comedy Don Juan, or the Love of Geometry (1953) Frisch offers a new interpretation of the mythical character of the Great Lover. As a result of his increasing disenchantment with what he considered Swiss complacency in the face of mounting totalitarianism and fascism, Frisch wrote two of his most important plays. Biedermann und die Brandstifter (The Fire-raisers, written in 1958 as a radio play), satirizes the moral lethargy of the self-satisfied middle classes. This powerful play was seen in London at the Royal Court Theatre in 1961, and in New York (as The Firebugs) in 1963. It was closely followed by Andorra (1961), his most disturbing and controversial play, in which Frisch exposed and explored antisemitism. Frisch's blending of fantasy with brutal reality owes much to the work of Brecht and Thornton Wilder, both of whom influenced the playwright in his early years. His later plays, like Biography (1968) and Triptych (1979), continue to use the device of the modern morality play as a means of exploring the place of humanity in a difficult world.
Geoffrey Skelton has translated Max Frisch s Man in the Holocene, Sketchbook: 1966-1971 and Bluebeard, and Peter Weiss s Morat/Sade. In addition, Skelton has edited a number of books on classical music.
Jonathan Dee is the author of six novels. He is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, a frequent contributor to Harper's, and a former senior editor of The Paris Review. He teaches in the graduate writing programs at Columbia University and the New School.
. . . extremely interesting . . . has an integrity that is original and admirable.
Unusual in form and technique, the bittersweet record of a brief love affair is also a compelling autobiographical sketch . . . a painfully honest, affecting memoir.