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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 2002

Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Kaufbeuren, Germany 1929) read German Studies, Literature and Philosophy at the universities of Erlangen, Fribourg, Hamburg, and others, and completed his academic training at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1955 he graduated as a doctor with his thesis on the poetic theory of the Romantic writer, Clemens Brentano. He worked as a news editor with Stuttgart radio, and taught until 1957, when he published his first book, a volume of poetry entitled "A Justification of Wolves". His professional life has moved between literature, teaching and publishing. A tireless traveller, he has lived in Norway, Italy, the United States and Cuba.

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He was a member of the "Group 47" between 1965 and 1975. He founded the magazine "Kursbuch" in 1965, and has been the director of a literature collection, "Die andere Bibliothek", since 1985. Enzensberger´s work forms part of the rebirth after the end of the Second World War of the traditions of reform and of looking outwards beyond Germany that were hallmarks of the new German democracy. With his open cosmopolitanism, he has played an outstanding part in contemporary debate. An artist who uses a direct, urban language, his poetic ideal is for poetry not to exist in isolation but for it to be seen as an aesthetic piece of work on a continuum with other popular literary forms of expression, such as the theatre, the novel, media art and critical journalism.

He is considered to be one of the most lucid, versatile writers in modern thinking, and has punctuated his essay work -which includes such titles as "Europe, Europe: forays into a continent"- with theatre, film documentaries and poetry. His vast literary production has been translated into more than forty languages, and includes works such as "Details" (1962), "Politics and Crime" (1964), "Mausoleum" (1975), "The Philanthropist" (1984), and "The Short Summer of Anarchy: Life and Death of Buenaventura Durruti" (2000) or "Lighter Than Air" (2002).

He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo Jacobi, Georg Büchner, Pasolini, and Heinrich Böll, and this year he has also been awarded the Ludwig Börne Prize. He is also a member of the "Pour le Mérite" order.

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