A novelist, playwright and essayist, Mr. Walser was a contemporary of the writers Heinrich Bell and Günther Grass, and even if he was not recognized as a Nobel laureate like them, he would have been a major figure in German literature. was widely considered to have attained equal status in literary award.
Walser began writing in the 1950s, about a decade after Germany’s defeat in World War II, concentrating primarily on the society that formed in West Germany after the war.
While East Germany was under Soviet control, West Germany recovered from the ravages of war and benefited from an “economic miracle” that made it one of Europe’s most powerful markets.
Mr. Walser found a place ripe for satire in West Germany. A reporter for the French newspaper Le Monde said in his piece:[revealed] The anxiety of middle-class people caught between the benefits of Germany’s economic prosperity and their persistent sense of failure. ”
“Because it was a world he knew very well” and “it was his own,” the writer added.
In one of his most popular works, the 1978 best-selling novel Ein fliehendes Pferd (published in English as Runaway Horse), Mr. Walser tells the story of a school friend he meets on vacation at the lake. It depicts two middle-aged men. Constance and his wives.
One of them, Helmut, at first glance, is the epitome of ordinary. Another Klaus is hip in appearance. However, the reality of their lives turned out to be more complicated, and the thin book was widely perceived as what the German news agency Deutsche Welle described as “a scathing critique of society.”
Mr. Walser wrote the novels Swan Villa (about an estate agent on Lake Constance), The Inner Man (protagonist: a restless businessman driver), and Letters to Sir List (ostensibly in southern Germany). Infighting among denture manufacturer executives, etc.) are the most widely read.
His 1987 novel Dorle und Wolf (No Man’s Land) explores the divide between East and West Germany, in which the main character, Wolff, is an East German spy.
On one occasion, Wolfe observed travelers at a train station in the West German city of Bonn and saw them as “a group of half-men”.
“Everyone shone with a sense of accomplishment, but none seemed satisfied,” Walser wrote. “And if asked, no one would say that half of Leipzig, part of Dresden and extension of Mecklenburg are missing,” the author continued, citing East German cities.
Walser explored his life amid the rise of Nazism in his 1998 semi-autobiographical novel Ein springender Brunnen. The main character, Johann, was born in 1927, just like Mr. Walser. Like Walser’s parents, his father is a communist and his mother belongs to the Nazi Party. Johann watches as Hitler leads Germany to war and ultimately kills his brother.
Walser was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in the year of the publication of The Well. He made international news with his acceptance speech in the face of ideological currents calling for the continued liquidation of the Nazis, who killed six million Jews.
For the many survivors of the Holocaust and those seeking to preserve its history through monuments, monuments, literature, film and art, memory will only become more important as the Holocaust recedes into the past.
But Walser protested that “we are constantly faced with guilt,” and that Auschwitz, the largest Nazi extermination camp, “has become a permanent display of our disgrace.” and spoke for another current of German thought. ”
He objected to what he called the “instrumentation of Auschwitz,” in which memory retention of the Holocaust becomes an “empty ritual” often used for political ends. Auschwitz, he argued, should not be “a moral stick or just a compulsory exercise”.
Half a century after the end of World War II, when many people in Germany were not even alive during the war, “Germans are now normal people, normal society.” He complained that anyone who claimed to have been wariness.
Walser said he knew his remarks were controversial and called them “shocking”. His defenders argued that he spoke for a sentiment many Germans held quietly, but the criticism was swift.
German Jewish community leader Ignaz Bubis condemned Walser for what he described as “moral arson”.
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel countered Walser: “Don’t you understand?” “You have opened a door for other people to push through. Dangerous people in very different positions, with very different political views.” The way? “
Mr. Walser returned again in 2002 with the publication of Rome-a-clef Tod eines Kritikers (“Death of the Critic”), based on the prominent German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranitzki, who was Jewish and survived Warsaw. Attracted attention. ghetto.
Reich-Ranicki was by all standards a genius, but he was also a tough judge of writers, including Walser. Walser was accused of using anti-Semitic tropes in his portrayal of the fictional literary critic.
“The fictitious critic is a power-hungry, sexual predator, money-obsessed, hopeless monster,” wrote a Wall Street Journal reporter. Walser argued that “the ideas I draw from the anti-Semitic repertoire are an insult.”
Despite the controversy, Mr. Walser remained a noted, intelligent and prolific writer. In his prime, he wrote one book a year.
“I think world literature is about losers,” he once said. From Antigone to Joseph K., there are no winners or champions. You can confirm that you are intrigued.
Mr. Walser was born on March 24, 1927 in the town of Wasserburg on Lake Constance into a Catholic family.
His father, a coal merchant, died when he was 10, and he was raised by his mother, who ran an inn. Walser, in her semi-autobiographical work, Welling Fountains, describes her mother as having joined the Nazi Party for her business interests only to support her family.
German media reported in 2007 that Walser had joined the Nazi Party as a teenager. Walser said he had no recollection of doing such a thing, and the date on record (April 20, 1944, Hitler’s birthday) was given by local party leaders to other young men as gifts to the Führer. It suggests that they registered Mr. Walser with us.
After the war, Mr. Walser studied at the University of Regensburg and then at the University of Tübingen. He worked as a radio reporter and wrote radio plays before beginning his novelist career.
Mr. Walser’s literary talent was quickly recognized. He was a member of Group 47, an association of German writers, including Bell and Glass, which aimed to revive German literature after World War II.
Walser’s 1957 debut novel, Philipsburg Ahem (“The Philipsburg Marriage”), satirized the post-war “economic miracle”.
Walser married Kathe Neuner Jöhle in 1950 and had four daughters. A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.
One of Walser’s last books was an illustrated collection of his writings. According to Deutsche Welle, Mr Walser wrote in the book, “I do not defend myself”, “I am sensible and I want to live until the last night”.