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Translated from German Wikipedia
Josef Weinheber (9 March 1892 in Vienna – 8 April 1945 in Kirchstetten, Lower Austria by suicide) was an Austrian lyric poet, narrative writer and essayist.



Brought up in an orphanage, Weinheber was, before his authorial career, a casual labourer, and from 1911 to 1918 a postal service worker. In 1919 he made contributions to the newspaper The Musket. In 1918 he left the Roman Catholic Church, and became Protestant in 1927.

In 1920 his first volume of lyric poetry appeared, „Der einsame Mensch“ (The Solitary Man). Weinheber was principally under the literary influence of Rainer Maria Rilke, Anton Wildgans and Karl Kraus. He was on most friendly terms with his author-colleagues Mirko Jelusich and Robert Hohlbaum. From 1931 until 1933 and from 1944 Weinheber was a Member of the Nazi party.

With the publication of his volume of poems "Adel und Untergang" (Nobility and Ruin) he became one of the most distinguished poets of his time. Especially admired was the volume "Wien wörtlich" (Vienna Verbatim), which is partially written in Viennese dialect. However the forty Odes comprising the Cycle "Zwischen Göttern und Dämonen" (Between Gods and Demons) of 1938 are considered his poetical masterpiece.

Falling prey to alcohol during the later events of the War, he took his own life at the time of the advance march of the Red Army; but however, this notwithstanding, he left behind a clear-sighted parting letter.

Distinctions and Honours

  • 1936 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Prize
  • 1941 Grillparzer Prize (jointly with Mirko Jelusich)


  • Der einsame Mensch, (The Solitary Man, poems) 1920
  • Von beiden Ufern, (Of Both Shores, poems) 1923
  • Boot in der Bucht, (Boat in the Bay, poems) 1926
  • Adel und Untergang, (Nobility and Ruin, poems) 1934
  • Wien wörtlich, (Vienna Verbatim, poems) 1935
  • Vereinsamtes Herz, (The Heart made Lonely, poems) 1935
  • Späte Krone, (Belated Crown, poems) 1936
  • O Mensch, gib acht!, (Mankind, Take heed!, poems) 1937 (ein erbauliches Kalenderbuch für Stadt- und Landleute)
  • Selbstbildnis, (Self-portrait, poems) 1937
  • Zwischen Göttern und Dämonen, (Between Gods and Demons, poems) 1938
  • Kammermusik, (Chamber-music, poems) 1939
  • Dokumente des Herzens, (Documents of the Heart, poems) 1944
  • Hier ist das Wort, (Here is the Word, poems) 1947
  • Das Waisenhaus, (The Orphanage, Novel) 1924


  • Albert Berger, Josef Weinheber (1892-1945). Leben und Werk - Leben im Werk (Salzburg: Müller 1999). ISBN 3-7013-1003-3
  • Albert Berger, 'Götter, Dämonen und Irdische: Josef Weinhebers dichterische Metaphysik', In: Klaus Amann und Albert Berger (Eds.): Österreichische Literatur der dreissiger Jahre (Vienna, etc.: Böhlau 1985). ISBN 3-205-07252-9
  • Harry Bergholz, Josef Weinheber. Bibliographie (Bad Bocklet etc.: Krieg 1953). (= Bibliotheca bibliographica 14).
  • Christoph Fackelmann, Die Sprachkunst Josef Weinhebers und ihre Leser. Annäherungen an die Werkgestalt in wirkungsgeschichtlicher Perspektive (Vienna/Münster 2005). ISBN 3-8258-8620-4
  • Jan Zimmermann, Die Kulturpreise der Stiftung F.V.S. 1935 - 1945. Darstellung und Dokumentation. Edited by the Alfred-Toepfer-Stiftung F.V.S. (Hamburg, Christians 2000).
  • Fritz Feldner, Josef Weinheber. Eine Dokumentation in Bild und Wort (Salzburg etc., Das Berglandbuch 1965).
  • Edmund Finke, Josef Weinheber. Der Mensch und das Werk (Salzburg etc., Pilgram 1950).
  • Friedrich Heer, 'Josef Weinheber aus Wien,' in: Frankfurter Hefte 8, (1953), pp. 590-602.
  • Rudolf Ibel, Mensch der Mitte. George - Carossa - Weinheber (Hamburg,: Holstein Verlag 1962).
  • Friedrich Jenaczek, Josef Weinheber 1892-1945. Exhibition set up by the Josef Weinheber Society in the Austrian National Library, 7 December 1995 to 31 Jänner 1996. (Kirchstetten: Josef Weinheber Society 1995).
  • Paul Anton Keller, Dreigestirn. Josef Weinheber, Max Mell, Josef Friedrich Perkonig. Begegnungen. Erinnerungen (Maria-Rain, Petrei 1963).
  • Franz Koch, Josef Weinheber (München, Langen/Müller 1942).
  • Dietrich Kralik, Josef Weinheber. Ehrendoktor der Philosophie der Universität Wien (Vienna, Verlag der Ringbuchhandlung anno 1943). (= Wiener wissenschaftliche Vorträge und Reden; 5)
  • Eduard Kranner, Als er noch lebte. Erinnerungen an Josef Weinheber. (Krems, Faber 1967).
  • Walter Marinovic, Deutsche Dichtung aus Österreich. Schönherr - Weinheber - Waggerl. (Vienna, Österr. Landsmannschaft 1997). (= Eckartschriften; 143)
  • Josef Nadler, Josef Weinheber. Geschichte seines Lebens und seiner Dichtung (Salzburg, O. Müller 1952).
  • Heinrich Zillich (Ed.), Bekenntnis zu Josef Weinheber. Erinnerungen seiner Freunde (Salzburg, Akad. Gemeinschaftsverlag 1950).

External links

  • Literature of and about Josef Weinheber in the Catalogue of the German National Library [1]
  • Extract about Josef Weinheber in the Austria-Lexikon of aeiou [2]
  • Edition of the Poems of Josef Weinheber [3]
  • Vienna Landstraße District Museum, Weinheber Room [4]


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