Robert Menasse

Robert Manasseh ( born June 21, 1954 in Vienna) is an Austrian writer and essayist.


Robert Manasseh studied in Vienna, Salzburg and Messina German literature, philosophy and political science and in 1976 was co-founder of the Viennese student magazine central organ around scattering Germanists. He received his doctorate in 1980 with the work The type of the outsider in the literary world. Using the example of Hermann Schürrer. Study on the peculiar relationship of offiziösem literary and literary " underground" in Austria in the Second Republic to the Dr. phil.

From 1981 to 1988 he taught first as a lecturer in Austrian Literature, later. Guest lecturer at the Institute for Theory of Literature at the University of São Paulo in Brazil Since his return to Vienna he has worked as a freelance writer and translator from the Brazilian Portuguese.

In 1981 he became a member of the Graz authors Autorenversammlung, twelve years later, he was in the PEN Club elected. Manasseh now lives mainly in Vienna. He is the half brother of the journalist and writer Eva Manasseh, and Manasseh the son of Hans. He is married to Elisabeth Manasseh - Wies Bauer.


Robert Menasses first story nail biting was published New Directions in the journal in 1973. From 1975 to 1980 he worked on his unfinished and unpublished novel head melancholy, a society novel, set in Vienna in the 1970s. His first published novel Sense-certainty was published in 1988 as the first part of the trilogy begun in Brazil the Entgeisterung. The latter also includes the 1991 published novel Blessed times, brittle world, who is also the detective novel, philosophical novel and Jewish family saga, as well as the novel thrust reverser (1995) and the postscript phenomenology of Entgeisterung (1995). In reverse thrust Manasseh describes in the context of private life circumstances of the literature lecturers novel, which has already been introduced in blessed times, fragile world, the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and the breaking of the familiar order in a small village in Lower Austria. This novel, which, not least, also represents an artistic exploration of contemporary history, was awarded the Grimmelshausenmuseum Prize in 1999 and gave the author notoriety. As in the title of the novel reverse thrust and already hinted at in the trilogy of Entgeisterung, Manasseh Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit reverses. Unlike Hegel, who assumes a development of human consciousness as the universal spirit, Manasseh postulates a regressive development whose final stage is the sensory certainty. In his novel The Expulsion from Hell ( 2001) Manasseh, the objectivity of the story in question, linked to the personal history of the author and his Jewish roots. Appeared in 2007, Don Juan de la Mancha, in which he more or less fictitious incidents from the (love ) life of the newspaper editor Nathan - told - between listlessness, drive, desire and finding a fulfilling love.

Essays and cultural theoretical writings

Essays such as The social partnership Aesthetics (1990 ) and The Country Without Qualities (1992 ), who made Manasseh famous as essayists, but also criticism for " nest-fouling " could be noisy, followed over time, the volumes of essays hysteria and other historical errors (1996 ) and stupidity is feasible (1999), Tell me Austria (2000) and this was Austria ( 2005). The author continues in his texts on critical- ironic way, among other things with the Austrian past apart, refers to the current cultural and political situation in his home country of position and makes repeatedly point out the latent anti-Semitism in Germany. In his contribution, the destruction of the world as will and representation at the Frankfurt poetry lectures in May 2005 Manasseh described the terror of September 11 as " our salvation in a dialectical sense ," and the terrorists as " ideal of individual development ." Since 2006, Manasseh dedicated in his essays increased EU and global justice issues. At this pan-European or global contexts Manasseh is particularly critical of the democratic political deficits, which are taken as ostensibly structural factors in the constraint and adjust the prospect of possible alternatives. He is the European Union does not generally critically, but due to his criticisms, the democratic political deficits, especially with the influence and power of individual nation-states, whereas it positively evaluated purely European institutions such as the Commission. In The European Landbote (2012 ) he depicts are not small-minded supranational EU institutions and bureaucracies in Brussels in evolution of the " Habsburg myth" of Claudio Magris on the "European Myth ".

Appreciation and criticism

Discussions about the essays of Manasseh have repeatedly updated in the arts pages of German newspapers. Andreas Dorschel finds a " comparable enlightening political economy of Austrian nationality" was " to obtain currently nowhere ". In Menasses "Dismantling political phrases as" Cast "the great Austrian tradition of linguistic criticism on; quite unösterreichisch 's is at the same time, to call a lie a lie Consistently Manasseh has the courage, the successful ones on the safe path to the iconicity in the Austrian culture located. to choose as an opponent. " Criticism of the essayistic work Menasses, his methodology and his theses to Austria can be found in the collection of essays collateral damage. Essays on the blue-black turning in Austria by Michael Amon. Other posts and reviews of Menasses essayistischem work includes, among other things 99 - The Journal of the New Forum literature.

Prizes, Awards and Scholarships

With the prize money, which received Manasseh for the Austrian State Prize for Cultural Journalism, he founded in 2000, the Jean Amery - price new for essay writing.


  • Sense-certainty. Novel. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1988.
  • The social partnership aesthetics. Essays on Austrian spirit. Special number, Vienna 1990.
  • Blessed times, fragile world. Novel. Residenz, Salzburg, Vienna 1991.
  • The land without qualities. Essay on Austrian identity. Special number, Vienna 1992.
  • Phenomenology of Entgeisterung. Story of the disappearing knowledge. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt / M. In 1995.
  • Reverse thrust. Novel. Residenz, Salzburg, Vienna 1995.
  • Hysteria and other historical errors. Nachw: Rüdiger Wischenbart. Special number, Vienna 1996.
  • Superstructure and underground. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt / M. In 1997.
  • With Elizabeth and Eva Manasseh: The last fairy tale princess. Ill.: Gerhard Haderer. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt / M. In 1997.
  • With Elizabeth and Eva Manasseh: The most powerful man. Ill.: Kenneth Klein. Deuticke, Vienna, Munich 1998.
  • Stupidity is feasible. Accompanying essays to a halt of the Republic. Special number, Vienna 1999.
  • Explain to me Austria. Essays on Austrian history. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt / M., 2000.
  • The expulsion from hell. Novel. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt / M., 2001.
  • That was Austria. Collected Essays on land without qualities. Edited by Eva Schörkhuber. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt / M., 2005.
  • The destruction of the world as will and idea - Frankfurt lectures on poetics. Edition Suhrkamp 2464, Frankfurt / M., 2006.
  • The paradise of the unloved. Political theater piece. Premiere October 7, 2006 at the Staatstheater Darmstadt
  • Don Juan de la Mancha or the education of desire. Novel. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt / M., 2007.
  • The end of the hunger winter. Reading, Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-455-30595-1
  • Talk Band: Hans -Dieter Schütt: Earth is the farthest star. Discussions with Robert Manasseh. Karl Dietz, Berlin, 2008.
  • Doctor Hoechst - A fist game. A tragedy play. World Premiere 25 April 2009 at the Staatstheater Darmstadt. Director: Hermann Schein
  • I can tell everyone: stories from the end of the postwar order. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt / M., 2009.
  • Permanent revolution of the terms, lectures on the concept of clarification, essays, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-518-12592-2
  • The European Landbote, The rage of the citizens and the peace of Europe or Why the gift of democracy fought a soft must, Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Wien 2012, ISBN 978-3-552-05616-9

Secondary literature

  • The world seems hopeless. On Robert Menasses, Trilogy of Entgeisterung '. Edited by Dieter pride. Frankfurt / M.: Suhrkamp, 1997.
  • Joanna Drynda: Beautiful appearance, unclear His. Poetics of Austria criticism in the work of Gerhard Roth, Robert Manasseh and Joseph Haslinger, Poznań 2003. ISBN 83-88856-26- X
  • Verena Holler: Fields of Literature: A literature sociological study on the example of Robert Manasseh. Frankfurt / M. among others: Peter Lang, 2003.
  • Robert Manasseh. Edited by Kurt Bartsch and Verena Holler. Graz / Vienna: Droschl, 2004.
  • Kathrin Krause: Robert Menasses ' trilogy of Entgeisterung '. A contribution to the theory of the novel. Bielefeld: Aisthesis 2005.
  • Aneta Jachimowicz: The difficult whole. Postmodernism and the trilogy of Entgeisterung by Robert Manasseh. Frankfurt / M. among others: Peter Lang, 2007.
  • Matthias Beilein: 86 and the consequences. Robert Schindel, Robert Manasseh and Doron Rabinovici in the literary field in Austria. Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 2008 ISBN 978-3-503-09855-2.