Pirmin Meier

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Pirmin Meier
Born (1947-02-21) February 21, 1947 (age 67)
Würenlingen, Aargau, Switzerland
Occupation Writer, teacher
Language German
Nationality Swiss
Genre Nonfiction,
fiction

Signature

Pirmin Adrian Meier (born February 21, 1947) is a Swiss author and teacher (also in the field of adult education). To fellow writer Hansjörg Schneider, Meier is "der eigenständigste und eigenwilligste Schweizer Geschichtsschreiber seiner Generation" ("the most independent-minded and original Swiss historiographer of his generation").[1]

Life and career[edit]

Pirmin Meier was born into a butcher's family and grew up in Würenlingen. From 1963 to 1967, he attended the Benediktiner-Kollegium (a gymnasium) in Sarnen and then went on to study German language and literature, philosophy and history at the University of Zürich, where he received his PhD for a work on Reinhold Schneider in 1975. Subsequently, he worked as a school teacher and a journalist and served as joint editor in the publishing of the works of Reinhold Schneider by Suhrkamp and Insel (today a subsidiary of Suhrkamp). He also is a member of the Reinhold Schneider-Gesellschaft e.V.

Since 1979 he's been dividing this time primarily between teaching Philosophy, German and other subjects at a gymnasium in Beromünster and researching and writing his books which focus on portraying historical figures, places and traditions in broad scope and great detail.

Unusual for him, in 1984, Meier published Gsottniger Werwolf (which translates as "boiled werewolf"), a collection of poems, written in free-verse form and rife with literary allusions.

2004 saw the première of the miracle play Licht überm Tüchelweg (music by Stephan Meier) and in 2007, the Vitus-Oratorium aka Sankt Vitus in Merenschwand (music by Enrico Lavarini) was given its first performance;[2][3] for both of these projects Meier provided the libretto.

He currently resides in Rickenbach.

Literary style and themes[edit]

It's not easy to peg Meier's writings – often of strongly bio- or monographical content – to any particular discipline or literary genre. Most of his books are oscillating heavily between nonfiction and fiction, between historiographical scholarly paper and historical novel.

Although meticulously researched and diligently sourced, Meier doesn't limit himself to a rigid and terse presentation of facts but employs a literary language, engages in speculation where sources are sparse or nonexistent and also otherwise often applies novelistic techniques, for example by delving into the psyche of his characters. One might consider his approach as veering into the so-called nonfiction novel territory, but then it doesn't seem to fully square with how Truman Capote coined that term, either. So it is probably best described by Meier himself who gave his book about Heinrich Federer the subtitle "eine erzählerische Recherche" ("a narrational research").

All his historical protagonists are creative thinkers whose ideas, convictions, actions and conditions often made them outsiders or even social misfits facing considerable obstacles throughout their lives. So far, these include:

(for the exact titles, see Selected works below)

Awards and honors[edit]

Year Type of recognition
1993 The city of Überlingen's Bodensee-Literaturpreis for Paracelsus
2000 Annual award of the Stiftung für Abendländische Besinnung
2002 Aargauer Literaturpreis for his life's work[4]
2008 Innerschweizer Kulturpreis[1]

Selected works[edit]

Year Title Publisher ISBN
1972 Reinhold Schneider. Kurzer Führer durch Leben und Werk Baden-Verlag, Baden
1978 Form und Dissonanz. Reinhold Schneider als historiographischer Schriftsteller Lang, Bern 978-3-26-103-126-6
1984 Gsottniger Werwolf. Literaten-Gedichte zur Erbauung sowie zur Unterbrechung der Erbauung SAZ, Zürich 978-3-90-798-700-1
1986 Joseph Victor von Scheffel und das Seetal. Zum 100. Todestag des Dichters. In memoriam Dr. Samuel Siegrist –, Seengen
1989 Fundamentalismus, eine neue Bedrohung? IPZ, Zürich
1991 Memorial Muri 1841. Zur aargauischen Klosteraufhebung von 1841 Kulturstiftung St. Martin, Muri 978-3-85-545-051-0
1993 Paracelsus. Arzt und Prophet. Annäherungen an Theophrastus von Hohenheim Ammann, Zürich 978-3-25-010-152-9
1993 Schweiz. Geheimnisvolle Landschaft im Schatten der Alpen Goldmann (Magisch Reisen), München 978-3-44-212-298-1
1997 Ich Bruder Klaus von Flüe. Eine Geschichte aus der inneren Schweiz. Ein biographischer Diskurs Ammann, Zürich 978-3-25-010-309-7
1999 Die Einsamkeit des Staatsgefangenen Micheli du Crest. Eine Geschichte von Freiheit, Physik und Demokratie Pendo, Zürich 978-3-85-842-357-3
2001 Eduard Spörri. Ein Alter Meister aus dem Aargau AT, Aarau 978-3-85-502-728-6
2001 Mord, Philosophie und die Liebe der Männer. Franz Desgouttes und Heinrich Hössli. Eine Parallelbiographie Pendo, Zürich 978-3-85-842-417-4
2002 Der Fall Federer. Priester und Schriftsteller in der Stunde der Versuchung. Eine erzählerische Recherche Ammann, Zürich 978-3-25-010-442-1
2005 Landschaft der Pilger. Geheimnisvolle Orte im Herzen der Schweiz Comenius, Luzern 978-3-90-628-624-2
2007 Politik, Prinzipien und das Gericht der Geschichte. Eine mit angemessener Schärfe formulierte zeitkritische Analyse Schweizerzeit, Flaach
2007 Licht und Schatten über den Wassern (in Vierwaldstättersee. Lebensraum für Pflanzen, Tiere und Menschen, ed. Pius Stadelmann, pp. 296–309) Brunner Verlag, Kriens 978-3-03-727-010-3
2009 Lerne das Leben und lebe das Lernen. Ausblick auf Erwin Jaeckle (1909–1997) zum 100. Geburtstag Stiftung für Abendländische Ethik und Kultur, Zürich 978-3-03-302-135-8
2009 Angstfreier Blick über Wasser und Steine. Ein Fischzug ins Reich der Namen, Mütter, Heiler und Tellen (in Heimliches und Unheimliches vom Zugersee, ed. Thomas Hürlimann, pp. 47–79) Hürlimann, Walchwil 978-3-03-302-210-2

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Verleihung des Innerschweizer Kulturpreises 2008 an Pirmin Meier, Schriftsteller und Lehrer, Rickenbach, LU, press release by the Luzerner Staatskanzlei, January 18, 2008, retrieved May 22, 2010 
  2. ^ Vitus-Oratorium, press release by the Musikverein Merenschwand, November 14, 2007, retrieved May 22, 2010 
  3. ^ Uraufführung des Vitus-Oratoriums in Merenschwand – Volksnahes geistliches Spiel zu Ehren des Dorfheiligen, article by Cornelia Bisch for the Anzeiger für das Oberfreiamt, December 7, 2007, retrieved May 22, 2010 
  4. ^ Aargauer Literaturpreis an Pirmin Meier, announcement by news.ch, October 27, 2002, retrieved May 22, 2010 

External links[edit]