Publication Date: October 2010
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Friedrich Durrenmatt is considered one of the most significant playwrights of our time. During the years of the Cold War, arguably only Beckett, Camus, Sartre, and Brecht rivaled him as a presence in European letters. In this ALTA National Translation Award-winning new translation of what many critics consider his finest play, Joel Agee gives a fresh lease to a classic of twentieth-century theater. Durrenmatt once wrote of himself: "I can best be understood if one grasps grotesqueness," and "The Visit" is a consummate, alarming Durrenmatt blend of hilarity, horror, and vertigo. The play takes place "somewhere in Central Europe" and tells of an elderly millionairess who, merely on the promise of her millions, swiftly turns a depressed area into a boom town. But the condition attached to her largesse, which the locals learn of only after they are enmeshed, is murder. Durrenmatt has fashioned a macabre and entertaining parable that is a scathing indictment of the power of greed and confronts the perennial questions of honor, loyalty, and community.
About the AuthorFriedrich Durrenmatt was born in 1921 in the village of Konolfingen, near Berne, Switzerland. He wrote prolifically during the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, taking particular interest in human rights and the preservation of Israel. He is the author of numerous books published by the University of Chicago Press, including "The Pledge".
Joel Agee has translated Elias Canetti, Friedrich Durenmatt, Gottfried Benn, and a collection of Rilke's letters, "Rilke and Benvenuta: An Intimate Correspondence". He won the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize for his translation of Heinrich von Kleist's "Penthesilea, " a verse play. He is the author of "Twelve Years: An American Boyhood in East Germany" and lives in Brooklyn.