Ingeborg Bachmann

Ingeborg Bachmann was born in 1926 in Klagenfurt, a small Austrian city near what were then the German, Yugoslavian and Italian borders, a place where languages and boundaries had a special significance. Although she published only two collections of poetry before being overtaken by a crisis which led her away from the lyric genre, she is one of the most significant German poets of the twentieth century. Bachmann’s arrival on the poetry scene with her first collection, Die gestundete Zeit (‘Mortgaged time’) in 1953 was a major media event. At the age of 27 she was awarded the coveted prize of the ‘Gruppe 47’, and a year later the news magazine Der Spiegel ran a title story and cover photograph of her. Her initial celebrity had as much to do with her exoticism as with the sense that she gave voice to a particular historical moment. She challenged the expansive consumerist thinking and security of the restorative programmes of the 1950s, by illuminating an altogether darker side of progress.

-from Karen Leeder’s Introduction in MPT Series 3/3 Metamorphoses

photo from Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan Herzzeit: Briefwechsel, as reviewed in MPT Series 3/11 Frontiers