Robert Menasse


Robert Menasse (c)Berhnard Ludewig/Allianz Kulturstiftung/More Europe

As an undergraduate, Robert Menasse studied in Vienna, Salzburg and Messina. In 1980 he completed his PhD thesis "Der Typus des Außenseiters im Literaturbetrieb. Am Beispiel Hermann Schürrer" ("Hermann Schürrer: The outsider phenotype within literature"). Between 1981 and 1988 he worked as a junior lecturer at the Institute of Literature Theory at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. He has been working as a freelance translator of novels from Portuguese into German ever since.
He writes novels, essays, but also children books (with his wife and daughter). Concerned with the political and cultural developments in his country, he regularly publishes his opinions in the Austrian press.
His first novel Sinnliche Gewissheit, published in 1988, is a semi-autobiographical tale of Austrians living in exile in Brazil. The magazine Literatur und Kritik published Menasse's first poem ("Kopfwehmut") in 1989. His later novels were Selige Zeiten, brüchige Welt (1991, translated into English as Wings of Stone), Schubumkehr (1995) and Die Vertreibung aus der Hölle (2001).

We, Europeans, undoubtedly are examples, for the very simple reason that we claim this role for ourselves. However, how well do we live up to it? Europe is capable of self-criticism, and probably it is the only continent where you find a self-critical approach. This is why European cultural policy has to have an open attitude in the view of the world and must be full of self-criticism, in a world that is no longer capable of self-criticism.