Home » Switzerland » Max Frisch

Max Frisch


When we think of writers in German in the second half of the twentieth century, we tend to focus on Germans like Günter Grass or Austrians like Peter Handke. However, the best of the lot may well be the Swiss Max Frisch. Even if he had not written a single novel, he would be remembered for his drama, which is where he initially made his name. Dramas such as Biedermann und die Brandstifter (UK: The Fire Raisers; US: The Firebugs), Andorra (Andorra) and Die Chinesische Mauer (The Chinese Wall) are among the most accomplished of the twentieth century. Fortunately, he did write several novels, making him that rare type of writer – an accomplished novelist and an accomplished playwright. His novels, whose themes are often those twentieth century staples – differing perceptions of reality and what identity means – are among the finest of the twentieth century.

Max Frisch was born in Zurich in 1911, the son of an architect. He abandoned his studies at the University of Zurich to become a journalist, travelling round South East Europe. He also went to Germany where he saw Nazism at first hand. In 1936 he went back to university to study architecture. After doing his military service, he set up as a full-time architect. After a few early and unsuccessful attempts as a novelist, he started writing plays with which he had some success. In 1947 he travelled to Germany, where he met Bertolt Brecht and Peter Suhrkamp, who would become his publisher. In 1954, he gave up architecture (and his wife and children) to concentrate full-time on being a writer. In 1960 he moved to Italy where he lived with the writer Ingeborg Bachmann for three years before marrying the twenty-three year old Marianne Oellers whom he divorced eleven years later. When he died in 1991, he was recognised as one of the foremost writers.

Books about Max Frisch

Carol Petersen: Max Frisch

Other links

Max Frisch
Max Frisch
Max Frisch
A Short Biography of Max Frisch
Max Frisch Archive
Max Frisch (in German)
Max Frisch (in German)
Max Frisch (in German)
Max Frisch (in German)
Max Frisch (in German)
Max Frisch (in German)
Leben und Werk von Max Frisch (in German)


1934 Jürg Reinhart (novel)
1937 Antwort aus der Stille (novel)
1940 Blätter aus dem Brotsack (diaries)
1943 Die Schwierigen (novel)
1944 Santa Cruz (drama)
1945 Bin oder die Reise nach Peking (stories)
1945 Als der Krieg zu Ende war (As the War Was Over) (drama)
1946 Nun singen sie wieder (Now They Sing Again: Attempt at Requiem) (drama)
1947 Die Chinesische Mauer (The Chinese Wall) (revised 1955) (drama)
1950 Tagebuch 1946-1949 (Sketchbook 1946-1949) (diaries)
1951 Graf Öderland (Count Öderland) (drama)
1953 Don Juan oder die Liebe zur Geometrie (Don Juan or the Love of Geometry) (drama)
1954 Stiller (I’m not Stiller) (novel)
1955 Eine Lanze für die Freiheit (A Lance for Freedom) (radio play)
1956 Herr Biedermann und die Brandstifter (radio play)
1957 Homo Faber (Homo Faber) (novel)
1958 Biedermann und die Brandstifter (UK: The Fire Raisers; US: The Firebugs) (drama)
1961 Andorra (Andorra) (drama)
1961 Santa Cruz: eine Romanze. Nun singen sie wieder: Versuch eines Requiems (drama)
1964 Mein Name sei Gantenbein (A Wilderness of Mirrors; Gantenbein) (novel)
1966 Frühe Stücke (drama)
1966 Zürich-Transit. Skizze eines Films (Zurich Transit) (screenplay)
1967 Biografie: Ein Spiel (Biography: a Game) (drama)
1967 Öffentlichkeit als Partner (essays)
1969 Rip van Winkle (radio play)
1971 Wilhelm Tell für die Schule (Wilhelm Tell: a School Text)
1972 Tagebuch 1966-1971 (Sketchbook 1966-1971) (diaries)
1974 Dienstbüchlein
1975 Montauk (Montauk) (novel)
1978 Der Traum des Apothekers von Locarno: Erzählungen aus dem Tagebuch 1966-1971 (stories)
1978 Triptychon (Triptych) (drama)
1979 Der Mensch erscheint im Holozän (Man in the Holocene) (novel)
1982 Blaubart (Bluebeard) (novel)
1983 Forderungen des Tages. Portraits, Skizzen, Reden 1943-1982 (essays)
1989 Schweiz ohne Armee? Ein Palaver (politics)
1990 Schweiz als Heimat? Versuche über 50 Jahre (essay)
1998 Jetzt ist Sehenszeit: Briefe, Notate, Dokumente 1943-1963
1998 Max Frisch/Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Briefwechsel (letters)
1999 Max Frisch/Uwe Johnson. Briefwechsel 1964-1983 (letters)
2000 Im übrigen bin ich immer völlig allein (letters)
2001 Journalistische Arbeiten 1931-1939
2005 Erzählungen (stories)
2008 Schwarzes Quadrat. Zwei Poetikvorlesungen
2010 Entwürfe zu einem dritten Tagebuch
2011 Amerika!