Obituary for Hans Magnus Enzensberger
A philanthropist is gone
He loved nursery rhymes, math textbooks and adult encyclopedias: the German scribe and great philanthropist Hans Magnus Enzensberger died on Friday at the age of 93. memories of an encounter.
Always smiling: Hans Magnus Enzensberger was a philanthropist.
Daniel ArnetEditor of Sunday Blick magazine
Hans Magnus Enzensberger († 93) was a different kind of intellectual: frowning and looking snooty was not his style; There was always a gentle smile playing around his lips – like when he received me in October 2001 for an interview in Munich (D).
“I think it’s downright rude to bother others with your worries, depression and bad moods,” he told me at the time. It is part of the occupational disease of many artists to be offended and to whine. He much preferred making people happy with his countless books – as a poet, editor and translator.
Born in Kaufbeuren (D) in 1929, he grew up with three brothers as the son of the Nuremberg chief postal director. Hans Magnus opposed the Hitler Youth and, after the war, studied literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, among other places, which he completed in 1955 with a doctorate.
“Life isn’t infinitely long”
In 1957, “defense of the wolves” was the first publication of his own poems – more than a dozen other volumes of poetry were to follow. Enzensberger remained true to poetry throughout his life, but also found it in nursery rhymes (“Allerleirauh”, 1961) or numbers (“The number devil. A pillow book for everyone who is afraid of mathematics”, 1997).
His cultural magazine Kursbuch, founded in 1965, was an important mouthpiece for the student movement. 20 years later he founded the bibliophile book series The Other Library, in which he published the encyclopedia by Denis Diderot (1713-1784) and a declaration of love to poems under the pseudonym Andreas Thalmayr.
“There is no subject that is so remote that it doesn’t find a place in poetry,” Enzensberger told me at the time. In addition, one can say as much in a few lines as in a hundred pages of a novel. “It’s enormously economical,” he said. “Life isn’t endless either.” A big one has left us – Magnus is Latin and means big.