Friederike Mayröcker

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Friederike Mayröcker
Mayröcker Friederike-5784 (17828490214) (cropped).jpg
Mayröcker in 2015
Born(1924-12-20)20 December 1924
Vienna, Austria
Died4 June 2021(2021-06-04) (aged 96)
Vienna, Austria
  • Teacher
  • Poet
OrganizationsWiener Gruppe
PartnerErnst Jandl
Ernst Jandl and Friederike Mayröcker, at a public reading in Vienna, 1974

Friederike Mayröcker (20 December 1924 – 4 June 2021) was an Austrian writer of poetry and prose, audio plays, children's books and dramatic texts. She experimented with language, and was regarded as an avantgarde poet,[1] and as one of the leading authors in German.[2] Her work, inspired by art, music, literature and everyday life, appeared as "novel and also dense text formations, often described as 'magical'."[3] According to The New York Times, her work was "formally inventive, much of it exploiting the imaginative potential of language to capture the minutiae of daily life, the natural world, love and grief".[4]


Mayröcker was born in Vienna,[5] the daughter of a teacher and a milliner.[4][5] Until age 11, she spent the summers regularly in the village Deinzendorf.[6] In World War II, she was drafted as an air force aide, working as a secretary.[3][4] From 1946 to 1969 Mayröcker was an English teacher[1] at several public schools in Vienna.[3][6][7]

She started writing poetry at age 15.[1] In 1946, she met Otto Basil who published some of her first works in his avant-garde journal Plan [de].[7] Mayröcker's poems were published a few years later by renowned literary critic Hans Weigel. She was eventually introduced to the Wiener Gruppe, a group of mostly surrealist and expressionist Austrian authors such as Ingeborg Bachmann.[4][1] Her first book, a collection of prose miniatures,[4] Larifari – Ein konfuses Buch (Airy-fairy. A confused book), appeared in 1956.[3] It remained the only book for ten years, but then the poem collection Death by Muses, meant her breakthrough and recognition as "a leading lyrical voice of her generation".[4] Many more collections followed, published from 1979 by Suhrkamp.[8]

Mayröcker is recognized as one of the most important contemporary Austrian poets.[2] She also had success with her prose and radio plays. Four of them she wrote together with Ernst Jandl, her partner from 1954 until his death in 2000.[5] While they shared a love of writing, they did not share a house or have any children. She once reflected in a poem that they stood together in the kitchen with poems in their heads, "but not the same one". Even so, after Jandl's death, she was so stricken with grief that she was initially unable to write. She eventually addressed this grief in her work, Requiem for Ernst Jandl, and resumed writing well into her nineties.[9] Her prose is often described as autofictional, since Mayröcker uses quotes of private conversations and excerpts from letters and diaries in her work. She described her working process: "I live in pictures. I see everything in pictures, my complete past, memories are pictures. I transform pictures into language by climbing into the picture. I walk into it until it becomes language."[10]

She sometimes included her drawings in books, and exhibited her art.[3] She was also inspired by music, and literature of Samuel Beckett and Friedrich Hölderlin, among many others. Her montages are also fed from everyday life observations, correspondence and newspapers. She produced "novel and also dense text formations, often described as "magical".[3]

Mayröcker earned numerous German-language literary prizes and was frequently mentioned as a potential Nobel laureate.[9]

A German-produced documentary chronicling Mayröcker's life and work was released in 2008.[11] Her last lyric collection, da ich morgens und moosgrün. Ans Fenster trete (as mornings and mossgreen I. Step to the window),[4] was short-listed for the prize of the Leipzig Book Fair 2021,[2][12] with the jury saying that she "fuses poetry and prose into 'proems' full of infatuations, futilities, fantasies, daydreams".[4]

She saw life, "like a surprise - you never know how it ends, it's an adventure that you create yourself".[9]

Mayröcker died on 4 June 2021, in Vienna, aged 96.[1][13]



  • Gesammelte Prosa 1949–2001 (Collected Prose 1949–2001) ed. by Klaus Reichert, 5 volumes, Frankfurt/Main 2001 ISBN 3-518-41299-X
  • Magische Blätter I-V (Magic Pages I–V), Frankfurt/Main 2001 ISBN 3-518-41301-5
  • Requiem für Ernst Jandl (Requiem for Ernst Jandl), Frankfurt/Main 2001 ISBN 3-518-41216-7
  • Mein Arbeitstirol – Gedichte 1996–2001 (My Working Tyrol – Poems 1996–2001), Frankfurt/Main 2003 ISBN 3-518-41393-7
  • Die kommunizierenden Gefäße (The Communicating Vessels) Frankfurt/Main 2003 ISBN 3-518-12444-7
  • Sinclair Sofokles der Baby-Saurier (Sinclair Sofokles the Baby Dinosaur) with coloured illustrations by Angelika Kaufmann, St. Pölten 2004 ISBN 978-3-85326-287-0
  • Gesammelte Gedichte 1939–2003 (Collected Poems) ed. by Marcel Beyer, Frankfurt/Main 2005 ISBN 3-518-41631-6
  • Und ich schüttelte einen Liebling (And I Shook a Darling), Frankfurt/Main 2005 ISBN 3-518-41709-6
  • fleurs, Suhrkamp, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-518-42520-6
  • Pathos und Schwalbe, Suhrkamp, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-518-22504-2

Audio plays[edit]

Audio plays by Mayröcker, some written jointly with Jandl, include:[16]

  • Die Umarmung, nach Picasso (The Embrace, After Picasso)[17]
  • Repetitionen, nach Max Ernst (Repetitions, After Max Ernst)[17]
  • Schubertnotizen oder das unbestechliche Muster der Ekstase (Schubert-Notes or the Incorrupt Model of Ecstasy)[18]
  • Arie auf tönernen Füßen (Aria on Feet of Clay)
  • Das zu Sehende, das zu Hörende (The to Be Seen, the to Be Heard) (awarded the ORF radio play prize)
  • Die Kantate oder, Gottes Augenstern bist Du (The Cantata or, Gods Eye-star You Are), music by Wolfgang von Schweinitz (2003)

with Ernst Jandl:

  • Der Gigant (The Giant)[19]
  • Gemeinsame Kindheit (Childhood Together)[20]
  • Fünf Mann Menschen,[21] translated as Five Man Humanity
  • Spaltungen (Partitions)[22]


  • Stretta, music by Wolfram Wagner. World premiere at Sirene Opera, Vienna 2004[23]




  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Friederike Mayröcker ist tot: Österreichische Schriftstellerin mit 96 Jahren gestorben". Der Spiegel (in German). 4 June 2021. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Beer, Andrea (4 June 2021). ""Ich hasse den Tod": Lyrikerin Friederike Mayröcker im Alter von 96 Jahren gestorben" (in German). SWR. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Friederike Mayröcker (Austria)". Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin. 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Goldmann, A. J. (4 June 2021). "Friederike Mayröcker, Grande Dame in German Literature, Dies at 96". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Weidermann, Volker (4 June 2021). "Zum Tod von Friederike Mayröcker / Lasst die Wörter aufjaulen!". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d "Friederike Mayröcker" (in German). Suhrkamp. 4 June 2021. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b Kaindlstorfer, Günter (4 June 2021). "Nachruf auf Friederike MayröckerPoesie als Lebensprinzip". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  8. ^ Platthaus, Andreas (4 June 2021). "Friederike Mayröcker : Einen Schlusspunkt gibt es nicht". FAZ (in German). Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  9. ^ a b c "Friederike Mayröcker Obituary". The Times. 15 June 2021.
  10. ^ In: Heimspiel (Journal of ORF – public Austrian radio station) March 2007, p. 5
  11. ^ Das Schreiben und das Schweigen. Die Schriftstellerin Friederike Mayröcker, 6 May 2010, retrieved 20 July 2020
  12. ^ "Friederike Mayröcker: "da ich morgens und moosgrün. Ans Fenster trete"" (in German). Leipzig Book Fair. 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Schriftstellerin: Friederike Mayröcker ist tot". Die Zeit (in German). 4 June 2021. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  14. ^ "Literaturhaus Wien: Werke".
  15. ^ "Friederike Mayröcker: Die wichtigsten Publikationen und Preise". (in German). 12 December 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  16. ^ Hörspiele von Friederike Mayröcker ARD
  17. ^ a b "Repetitionen, nach Max Ernst. Hörspiel von Friederike Mayröcker". Suhrkamp Theater Verlag (in German). Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Hörspiel – Das unbestechliche Muster der Ekstase". Hörspiel und Feature (in German). 21 July 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  19. ^ "DER GIGANT". (in German). 25 February 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  20. ^ "Hörspiel von Ernst Jandl und Friederike Mayröcker – Gemeinsame Kindheit". Hörspiel und Feature (in German). 4 February 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  21. ^ Hörspiel / Fünf Mann Menschen (in German) Deutschlandfunk
  22. ^ "SPALTUNGEN". (in German). 25 February 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  23. ^ Wolfram Wagner / Stretta (in German) Doblinger Musikverlag
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Mayröcker". Akademie der Künste (in German). Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  25. ^ "Awards – Georg-Büchner-Preis – Friederike Mayröcker". Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung (in German). Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  26. ^ "Ehrenring der Stadt Wien für Friederike Mayröcker". (in German). 17 December 2004. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  27. ^ "Mayröcker mit Hermann-Lenz-Preis ausgezeichnet". Augsburger Allgemeine (in German). 5 November 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2021.


  • Theo Breuer: „Friederike Mayröcker, usw.“, in: T.B., Aus dem Hinterland. Lyrik nach 2000, Edition YE, Sistig/Eifel 2005
  • Renate Kühn (Ed.): Friederike Mayröcker oder Das innere des Sehens, studies about poetry, radio play and prose, Bielefeld 2002
  • Inge Arteel / Heidy M. Müller (Ed.): Rupfen in fremden Gärten – Intertextualität im Schreiben Friederike Mayröckers, Bielefeld 2002
  • Edith A. Kunz: Verwandlungen – Zur Poetologie des Übergangs in der späten Prosa Friederike Mayröckers, Göttingen 2004
  • Ralf B. Korte / Elisabeth Hödl: FM dj (reading reise durch die nacht). Ein elektronischer Briefroman. 2004
  • Martin A. Hainz: Schwarze Milch zu schreiben. Paul Celan und Friederike Mayröcker. In: Weimarer Beiträge, No. 52·1, 2006, pp. 5–19
  • Leo Truchlar: Wozu lese und schreibe ich? Notizen aus Anlaß meiner Lektüren von Adrienne Rich und Friederike Mayröcker. – In: Leo Truchlar, Über Literatur und andere Künste, Wien 2000, p. 17ff.
  • Inge Arteel: „gefaltet, entfaltet“. Strategien der Subjektwerdung in Friederike Mayröckers Prosa 1988–1998. Bielefeld 2007.

External links[edit]