Christian Enzensberger

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Christian Enzensberger (24 December 1931 – 27 January 2009) 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.[citation needed]

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 (translated by Sandra Morris and published by Calder & Boyars in 1972 as Smut: An Anatomy of Dirt). 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.

He died in Munich in January 2009.

Published works (selection)[edit]

  • Größerer Versuch über den Schmutz. 1968 (Smut: An Anatomy of Dirt. 1972, translated by Sandra Morris)
  • Viktorianische Lyrik. Tennyson und Swinburne in der Geschichte der Entfremdung. Hanser Verlag, München 1969
  • Literatur und Interesse – Eine politische Ästhetik mit zwei Beispielen aus der englischen Literatur. Band 1: Theorie. Band 2: Beispiele, Shakespeare ‚Der Kaufmann von Venedig’, Dickens ‚Oliver Twist’. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1977 (Zweite, fortgeschriebene Fassung 1981, ISBN 3-518-27902-5)
  • Brief an Herbert Marcuse. Akzente. Issue 1, Volume 25. February 1978
  • Was ist was. 1988

Translations (selection)[edit]

Secondary literature (selection)[edit]

  • Review of Größerer Versuch über den Schmutz by Wolfgang Hildesheimer published in Der Spiegel, issue 1, 1969 page 96 under the headline Sauber ist nicht Schön