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Dieter Wellershoff  [ Germany ]

Biography

Dieter Wellershoff Portrait
(c) Hans Weingartz

Guest 2003.

Bibliography

Die Schattengrenze
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1969

Einladung an alle
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1972

Literatur und Lustprinzip
dtv
München, 1975

Die Auflösung des Kunstbegriffs
Suhrkamp
Frankfurt/Main, 1976

Ein Gedicht von der Freiheit: Erzählungen
Fischer
Frankfurt/Main, 1977

Glücksucher
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1979

Das Verschwinden im Bild
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1980

Die Wahrheit der Literatur: sieben Gespräche
W. Fink
München, 1980

Die Sirene
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1980

Ein schöner Tag
Fischer
Frankfurt/Main, 1981

Der Sieger nimmt alles
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1983

Die Arbeit des Lebens: autobiographische Texte
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1985

Wahrnehmung und Phantasie
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1987

Der Roman und die Erfahrbarkeit der Welt
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1988

Blick auf einen fernen Berg
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1991

Double, Alter ego und Schatten-Ich:~Schreiben und Lesen als mimetische Kur
Droschl~
Graz [u.a.] , 1991

Das geordnete Chaos: Essays zur Literatur
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1992

Blick auf einen fernen Berg
Fischer
Frankfurt/Main, 1993

Die Körper und die Träume
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1994

Der Ernstfall: Innenansichten des Krieges
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1995

Zikadengeschrei
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1996

Das Kainsmal des Krieges
Landpresse
Weilerswist, 1998

Der Liebeswunsch
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2000

Die Schönheit des Schimpansen
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2000

Der verstörte Eros
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2001

Der Sieger nimmt alles
Goldmann
München, 2002

Die Frage nach dem Sinn
Gollenstein
Blieskastel, 2003

Das normale Leben
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2005

Der lange Weg zum Anfang. Zeitgeschichte, Lebensgeschichte, Literatur
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2007

Dieter Wellershoff was born in Neuss in 1925 and grew up in Grevenbroich in the lower Rhine region. In 1943, influenced by war propaganda and still a student, he voluntarily went to the front. Wellershoff could first work through the experience of the “bloody reality of the word ‘battlefield’” 50 years after the end of the war in his autobiographical book “Der Ernstfall” (1995). After the war Wellershoff studied German Language and Literature, Art History, and Psychology in Bonn. His dissertation on Gottfried Benn from the year 1952 is still considered a standard work for literary scholars. He was a member of the influential “Group 47” and in the 60s founded the “Kölner Schule des Neuen Realismus” (Cologne School for New Realism), which was inspired by representatives of the “nouveau novel” and supported a realistic approach to documentation literature. In 1966 he published his debut novel “Ein schöner Tag.”

Since the 50s Dieter Wellershoff has worked as a freelance writer and critic, as a literary scholar at universities in Germany and abroad and not lastly as an editor at the publishing house Kiepenheuer & Witsch (1959 to 1981). He has accordingly become an influential figure in German literature. His own literary work is diverse and extensive, ranging from poems to stories, novels, radio plays, screenplays, theoretical essays on literature and most recently to autobiographical texts. He has received many renowned awards, including the Heinrich-Böll-Preis from the city of Cologne (1988). Two years ago his life’s work, with special emphasis on his novel “Der Liebeswunsch” (2000) – a modern version of the “Wahlverwandtschaften” (“The Elective Affinities”) – was awarded the Friedrich-Hölderlin-Preis and the Joseph-Breitbach-Preis. Among his further distinctions are the Niederrheinische Literaturpreis of the city of Krefeld and the Ernst-Robert-Curtius-Preis.

With an analytical eye for the smallest details, the author meticulously describes his subjects. His novels unfold their intense effect largely by presenting the figures in an oppressively exact way – as Wellershoff puts it – as “beings capable of falling prey to illusion, who in the search for the right life tend to get caught in the trap of their own imagination.” A search which not only comes to a fatal end in the “wish for love,” since, in Wellershoff, life in a modern society with its seemingly endless possibilities reveals itself as an erotic competition, which above all generates losers. With his cultural-analytical book of essays “Der verstörte Eros” (2001) the author presents an intellectual and fact-filled history of sublimated passions in literature from Goethe to Houellebecq. He recently published the essay collection "Der lange Weg zum Anfang" (2007) presenting thoughts on a variety of issues such as culture and society, politics, morals, literature and life itself. Wellershoff is a member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz, and of the German P.E.N. He lives in Cologne.

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