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Elfriede Jelinek

Awards: Georg Buchner Prize-1991 ; Franz Kafka Award-2004; Nobel Prize in Literature-2004

Born: 20/10/1946 in Murzzuschlag, Styria, Austria

Citizen: Austrian

Language: German

Austrian novelist and playwright whose father was a Czech Jew and was a chemist by profession and mother was Romanian-German catholic. Over restrictive education in a Roman Catholic School had a stressful impact on her personality and this resulted in an anxiety disorder( known as Agora phobia and social phobia) which she suffered from. Her difficult relationship with her mother further compounded the problem. She mostly stayed at home and even could not visit a movie hall or board a bus. Even she could not attend the Nobel Function and a video message was posted by her.

   She mostly grew up in Vienna and studied art history and graduated in organist Diploma. Alongside, she also learned to play violin, guitar, piano and other musical instruments. Her literary talent blossomed at an early age. Her first publication was  Lisas Schatten(1967). Her most notable work is The Piano Teacher. In the beginning, her theme was feminism,& female sexuality. According to her, power and aggression mostly drove relationships. Her novel Lust so vividly narrated sexuality and abuse that many criticized the book as a pornographic one. She later shifted to social criticism. Jelenik was mostly known to German speaking readers and to the outside world, she was a stranger till she got the Nobel Prize.

  Even the selection was marred in controversy. Swedish Academy member, Knut Ahnlund resigned from his membership in protest against selection of Jelenik for the award.describing Jelinek's work as "whining, unenjoyable public pornography", as well as "a mass of text shovelled together without artistic structure"

  She had leftist leanings and was a member of Austrian Communist party from 1974-91.

Marriage: She married Gottfried Hungsberg in June, 1974. Gottfried was from Munich and she had to shuttle between Munich & Vienna which was like a tale of two cities as she  jokingly once remarked. The couple have no children.

Influences: Austrian writers Ingeborg Bachmann, Robert Musil and Peter Handke.  

Notable Works: Die Ausgespervten-Wonderful,Wonderful Times(1990) ; Die klavierspielerin-The Piano Teacher(1988),Lust(1989); Die kivder der Tote-The Children of the Dead(1995) ;Greed(2000) ; Lisas Schatten(1967)

Elfriede Jelinek

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