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Famous people from Switzerland
(1882-02-02 - 1941-01-13 )
, Address in Zurich: 5 Usher's Island Dublin
Although not prolific, Joyce is regarded as one of the most important stream-of-consciousness novelist and influential writers of the 20th Century. Writers with the calibre such as Samuel Beckett, Salman Rushdie, William Burrough, Mairtin O’ Cadhain and Thomas Pynchon, to name a few, have been greatly influenced by Joyce's unique and innovative use of language in such masterpieces as the 700-page ‘Ulysses’ (1922) and ‘Finneganns Wake’ (1939). The latter is incredibly complex and few readers can comprehend its meaning. Joyce is also known for his short-story series, ‘Dubliners’ (1914), which provides a glimpse of “our dear dirty Dublin,” and an autobiographical novel, ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ (1916). He only wrote one play, ‘Exiles’ (1918). Joyce died in 1941 in Zurich.
(1827-06-12 - 1901-07-07 )
, Address in Zurich: 9 Zeltweg
Not much is known about Spyri's personal life, but she is reputed as one of the world's renowned authors of adorable children's books. The timeless tale ‘Heidi’ is often mistakenly considered to be her first literary achievement, however, it was actually preceded by a stream of novels for young readers and adults alike. Regardless, they all fell into oblivion after ‘Heidi’ was published in 1880. A talented storyteller and a sensitive observer of children's nature, Spyri based her major work on her girlhood memories. Not only was it translated into numerous languages and adapted to screen many times, but it has also become one of the all time most popular stories for children.
(1879-03-14 - 1955-04-18 )
, Address in Zurich: Moussonstrasse 12
I've now written Utrecht off, and dear Zurich can go take a running jump...
Einstein was an ingenious scientist and social activist whose legacy to science, which is enormous and highly-impacting, spans several fields. He researched the thermal properties of light with a low radiation density, contributed to statistical mechanics by developing the quantum theory of a monatomic gas and carried out inestimable work relating to atomic transition probabilities, as well as relativistic cosmology. Einstein was one of the master-minds behind the Manhattan Project. To him we owe the broadly recognisable mathematical equation, E=MC2, where E stands for energy, M for mass and C for the speed of light. For his study on the photoelectric effect he received the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics. Some of Einstein's important writings include ‘General Theory of Relativity’ (1916), ‘Investigations on Theory of Brownian Movement’ (1926) and ‘The Evolution of Physics’ (1938).
(1813-10-17 - 1837-02-19 )
, Address in Zurich: Spiegelgasse 12
In the short span of his life (only 23 years), Buchner wrote astonishingly innovative and perceptive plays, which are regarded today as masterworks. Such works include a full-length tragedy: ‘Danton's Death’ (1835), a romantic comedy: ‘Leonce and Lena’ (1836) and a marvellous fragment: ‘Wozzeck’ (1837). All three were significantly different from other dramatic works of the time regarding their psychological handling and that they provided an impulse for the development of modern schools of drama, especially the Epic Theatre of Brecht and the Theatre of the Absurd of Ionesco. Bruchner is looked upon as a precursor of naturalism, as well as expressionism. Aside from being a dramatist, he also penned brilliant pieces of political commentary. His 1834 illegal pamphlet, ‘The Hessian Courier’, is among the greatest political treatises in German. He died in Zurich.
Carl Gustav Jung
(1875-07-26 - 1961-06-06 )
, Address in Zurich: Kusnacht
I found myself with a large number of my Zurich friends and acquaintances, on an unknown island, presumably situated not far off the coast of southern England.
Regarded by Freud as his heir-apparent, Jung was an ingenious psychiatrist whose brilliant theories opened up a whole new field of psychological study. He split the psyche into three parts: the ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. In Jung's theory, the collective unconscious consists of archetypes, with the self archetype being the most crucial one. Other important archetypes include the mother, the shadow, the persona, the anima (or animus), the child, the hero, the animal, the trickster, the original man, the mana and the God. Significantly enough, with regard to their personality types, Jung categorised people into introverts and extroverts. He also distinguished four ways (functions) in which we prefer to handle the world: sensing, thinking, intuiting and feeling. He had a disagreement with Freud, after publishing his book ‘The Psychology of the Unconscious’ (1913). Jung died in Zurich at the age of 85.
(1819-07-19 - 1890-07-15 )
, Address in Zurich: Das Haus zur Sichel, Am Rindermarkt
A Swiss writer and poet, Keller is well-known his for his autobiographical novel ‘Der grune Heinrich’ (Green Henry), as well as for the novella ‘Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe’ (Romeo and Juliet in the Village, 1876), where he reset the action of Shakespeare’s tragedy in a small Swiss village. Although he began his education at the Industrieschule in Zurich, he was expelled for his political views and he had to start working at the age of fifteen. As a result, Keller started an apprenticeship to the landscape-painter Steiger, and in 1837, his new master was the water-colourist Rudolf Meyer. Such experience let him enrol at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Upon his return to Zurich, he devoted himself to writing and published his first collection of poems in 1846. Later, Keller studied at the University of Heidelberg and worked in Berlin. His other notable works are ‘Die Leute von Seldwyla’ (The People of Seldwyla) and ‘Zuricher Novellen’ (Zurich Novellas).
(1911-05-15 - 1991-04-04 )
, Address in Zurich: Heliosstrasse 31
Frisch, a native of Zurich, is remembered as a playwright, novelist and an architect. Considered one of the most interesting writers in German literature after World War II, he concentrated on human identity, moral issues and political commitment. After graduating from the Realgymnasium, he began studies on German literature in 1930 at the University of Zurich. His father's death forced him to quit after only two years and look for a job; therefore, Frisch become a journalist and columnist for the ‘Neue Zurcher Zeitung’. The author visited Germany for the first time in 1935. During the years 1936-1941, he studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. His most frequently read novels are ‘I'm Not Stiller’ (1954), ‘Homo Faber’ (1957) and ‘Wilderness of Mirrors’ (Mein Name sei Gantenbein, 1964). Among his dramas, the most notable are ‘Andorra’ and ‘The Fireraisers’. Together with Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Max Frisch is esteemed as the most influential Swiss writer of the 20th Century.