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Kaschnitz, Marie Luise (1901–1974)

German poet and writer. Born in 1901 in Karlsruhe, Germany; died in 1974; married Guido von Kaschnitz-Weinberg (a Viennese archaeologist), in 1925.

Selected writings:

Liebe beginnt (Love Begins, novel, 1933); Griechische Mythen (retellings of Greek myths, 1943); Menschen und Dinge (Men and Things, essays, 1945); Gedichte (Poems, 1947); Totentanz und Gedichte zur Zeit (Danse Macabre and Poems for the Times, 1947); Zukunftsmusik (Music of the Future, 1950); Das dicke Kind und andere Erzählungen (The Fat Kid and Other Tales, 1951); Ewige Stadt (Eternal City, 1952); Das Haus der Kindheit (The House of Childhood, 1956); Neue Gedichte (New Poems, 1957); Lange Schatten (Long Shadows, 1960); Dein Schweigen—meine Stimme (Your Silence—My Voice, 1962); "Zoon Politikon" ("Political Zone," 1962); Wohin denn ich? (Where Am I To Go?, 1963); Ein Wort weiter (One More Word, 1965); Gespräche im All (Conversations in Space, 1971); Kein Zauberspruch (No Magic Formula, 1972).

Marie Luise Kaschnitz was born in 1901 into the aristocratic von Holzing-Berstett family in Karlsruhe, Germany. She enjoyed writing from a young age and used it both as a release from and a means of understanding the world around her. Her observation of and reflections on that world remained the basis for her work throughout her life, although her writing became less bound by tradition and absolute realism as she matured. She was also influenced by Georg Trakl, Friedrich Hölderlin, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, and Samuel Beckett. Kaschnitz's protagonists are often children or young adults experiencing the difficulties of growing up and coming to a self-realization, as well as adults attempting to come to terms with their pasts. As for many artists, World War II and its profound implications also influenced her later work. Men and Things, a collection of essays published in 1945, describes the devastation of war-torn Germany, and much of her postwar poetry is informed by an understanding of how conditions in the world impact upon even the most personal of emotions and events. Her early poetry has been described as "grandiloquent and elegiac" as well as poignant, and her short stories are said to "have a haunting quality."

In 1925, Kaschnitz married Guido von Kaschnitz-Weinberg, a Viennese archaeologist. The couple lived in Königsberg, Marburg, Frankfurt, and Rome, where he died in either 1958 or 1962. After her husband's death, Marie Luise Kaschnitz moved to Frankfurt am Main and then back to Rome, where she died in 1974.

Karina L. Kerr , M.A., Ypsilanti, Michigan

Kaschnitz, Marie Luise (1901–1974)

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