Elfriede Jelinek bigraphy, stories - Austrian playwright, novelist, Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004

Elfriede Jelinek : biography

20 October 1946 -

Elfriede Jelinek ( born 20 October 1946) is an Austrian playwright and novelist. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004 for her "musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power."

The Nobel Prize

Jelinek said she felt very happy to receive the Nobel Prize, but she also felt "despair for becoming a known, a person of the public". Known for her modesty and subtle self-irony, she – a reputed feminist writer – wondered if she had been awarded the prize mainly for "being a woman", and suggested that among authors writing in German, Peter Handke, whom she praises as a "living classic", would have been a more worthy recipient.

Jelinek was criticized for not accepting the prize in person; instead, a was presented at the ceremony. Others appreciated how Jelinek revealed that she suffers from agoraphobia and social phobia, paranoid conditions that developed when she first decided to write seriously. Both conditions are anxiety disorders which can be highly disruptive to everyday functioning yet are often concealed by those affected, out of shame, or feelings of inadequacy. Jelinek has said that her anxiety disorders make it impossible for her to go to the cinema or board an airplane (in an interview she wished to be able to fly to New York to see the skyscrapers one day before dying), and she felt incapable of taking part in any ceremony. However, she stated in another tape message: "I would also very much like to be in Stockholm, but I cannot move as fast and far as my language."

In 2005, Knut Ahnlund left the Swedish Academy in protest, describing Jelinek's work as "whining, unenjoyable public pornography", as well as "a mass of text shovelled together without artistic structure". He said later that her selection for the prize "has not only done irreparable damage to all progressive forces, it has also confused the general view of literature as an art"."". Boston Globe, October 12, 2005.

Awards and honors

  • 1998: Georg Büchner Prize
  • 2002: Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis
  • 2004: Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden for Jackie
  • 2004: Franz Kafka Prize
  • 2004: Nobel Prize in Literature
  • 2004: Stig Dagerman Prize
  • 2004: Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis
  • 2009: Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis
  • 2011: Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis


Jelinek was born on 20 October 1946 in Mürzzuschlag, Styria, Austria, the daughter of Olga Ilona (née Buchner), a personnel director, and Friedrich Jelinek. She was raised in Vienna by her Romanian-German Catholic mother and Czech Jewish father (whose surname "Jelinek" means "little deer" in Czech).http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/elfriede-jelinek

Her father was a chemist, who managed to avoid persecution during the Second World War by working in strategically important industrial production. However, several dozen family members became victims of the Holocaust. Her mother, with whom she shared the household even as an adult, and with whom she had a difficult relationship, was from a formerly prosperous Vienna family. As a child, Elfriede suffered from what she considered an over-restrictive education in a Roman Catholic convent school in Vienna. Her mother planned a career for her as a musical wunderkind. Elfriede was instructed in piano, organ, guitar, violin, viola and recorder from an early age. Later, she went on to study at the Vienna Conservatory, where she graduated with an organist diploma; during this time, Jelinek tried to meet her mother's high expectations while coping with her psychologically ill father. Jelinek also studied art history and theater at the University of Vienna. However, she had to discontinue her studies due to an anxiety disorder, which resulted in self-isolation at her parents' house for a year. During this time, she began serious literary work as a form of therapy. After a year, she began to feel comfortable leaving the house, often in the presence of her mother.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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