Mickel, Karl 1935-2000

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MICKEL, Karl 1935-2000

PERSONAL: Born 1935, in Dresden, Germany; died June 20, 2000, in Berlin, Germany. Education: Attended Humboldt University.

CAREER: Writer and poet. Humboldt University, East Berlin, East Germany (now Germany), lecturer in economics; member of Berliner Ensemble, 1970–78.


Lobverse & Beschimpfungen, Mitteldeutscher Verlag (Halle, East Germany), 1963.

(Editor, with Adolf Ender) In diesem besseren Land. Gedichte der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik seit 1945, Mitteldeutscher Verlag (Halle, East Germany), 1966.

Vita nova mea (poetry), Aufbau-Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1966.

(Author of libretto) Paul Dessau, Einstein: Oper in drie akten, prolog, zwei intermezzi und einem epilog: 1972 (opera), Henschelverlag (Berlin, Germany), 1973.

Einstein/Nausikaa. Die schrecken des humanismus in zwei Stücken (title means "Einstein/Nausikaa. The Horrors of Humanism in Two Parts"), Rotbuch-Verlag (West Berlin, Germany), 1974.

Eisenzeit (poetry; title means "Iron Age"), Mitteldeutcher Verlag (Halle, East Germany), 1975.

Gelehrtenrepublik: Aufsätze und Studien, Mitteldeutcher Verlag (Halle, East Germany), 1976.

Odysseus in Ithaka: Gedichte, 1957–1974 (poetry), Reclam (Leipzig, Germany), 1976.

Volks Entscheid: 7 Stücke, Reclam (Leipzig, Germany), 1987.

Gedichte 1957–1974 (poetry), Mitteldeutscher Verlag (Halle, East Germany), 1990.

Schriften, Hanser (Munich, Germany), 1990.

Raubstücke, Mitteldeutscher Verlag (Halle, East Germany), 1990.

Palimpsest: Gedichte und Kommentare, 1975–1987, Mitteldeutscher Verlag (Halle, East Germany), 1990.

Lachmunds Freunde (novel), Mitteldeutscher Verlag (Halle, Germany), 1991.

Halsgericht: Schauspiel, Oper, Film (collected works), Mitteldeutscher Verlag (Halle, Germany), 1993.

Schriften. Fünf Gelehrtenrepublik: Geiträge zur deutschen Dichtungsgeschichte (collected works), Mitteldeutscher Verlag (Halle, Germany), 2000.

Contributed lyrics to Requim für Lumumba, Nova (Berlin, Germany), 1971; wrote libretto for radio opera Die Gebeine Dantons by Friedrich Schenker; contributed essay to Peregrinus proteus by Christoph Martin Wieland, C. H. Beck (Munich, Germany), 1985; contributed material to Die Braut von Messina; oder, die feindlichen Brüder: Ein Trauerspeil mit Chören by Friedrich Schiller, Deutsche Schillergesellschaft (Marbach, Germany), 1997.

ADAPTATIONS: Mickel's poems have been set to music in Das Alltägliche: Fünf Orchesterlieder für Sopran, Tenor und Orchester (1980), Edition Peters (Leipzig, Germany), 1982; and Die Friedensfeier. Danton-Fragmente; Commedia, Wergo (Mainz, Germany), 1983.

SIDELIGHTS: Socialist avant-guard poet, essayist, and novelist Karl Mickel studied economics and wrote political texts before turning to the poetry and prose that established his reputation as one of the most talented East German writers of the cold war era. Critic Max A. Wickert observed in Books Abroad that Mickel's chief theme in his criticism was "that the tension between a utopian vision … which seems always false because unrealized, and an untransformed present which is true but unsatisfactory, must lead to a declaration of the reality of vision so that the present can be seen with a transformed consciousness." In his poems, Wickert pointed out, Mickel used the Brechtian "inversion of existing materials"; these included reworking such traditional poetic forms as the sonnet and the ode, and updating the work of poets such as John Donne, Lord Byron, and Catullus. Likening Mickel's work to the early poems of W. H. Auden, Wickert added that Mickel's irony "is almost always critical disillusionment without the romantic guilt."

In addition to poetry, Mickel was the editor of In diesem besseren Land, a poetry anthology that caused controversy upon its publication in 1966.



Books Abroad, 1969, Max A. Wickert, "Karl Mickel," p. 211.

Nemet Filologiai Tanulmanyok Arbeiten zur deutsche Philologie, December, 1979, Ursula Heukenkamp, "Der Lyriker Karl Mickel," p. 237.

Weimarer Beiträge, Volume 38, issue 1, 1992, Anselm Haverkamp, "Heteronomie," p. 5.



BerlinOnline, http://berlinonline.de/ (July 20, 2000).

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