Born in Vienna in 1954, Robert Menasse studied German literature, philosophy, and political science, and wrote his doctoral thesis on “Typus des Aussenseiters im Literaturbetrieb” (The Figure of the Outsider in the Publishing Industry). Menasse taught philosophy and aesthetic theory at the University of Sao Paulo. Since 1986 he has worked as a freelance writer, living primarily in Vienna.
In his writing, Robert Menasse has tirelessly focused on the history of Europe. In the book-length essay co-published with Ulrike Guérot in 2012, Der europäische Landbote (Enraged Citizens, European Peace and Democratic Deficits: Or Why the Democracy Given to Us Must Become One We Fight For The European Messenger), he declared that the Europe composed of nation states had failed and he made a case for a Europe composed of regions. This was followed by his 2017 German Book Prize-winning novel Die Hauptstadt (The Capital), which he researched while living in Brussels for several months. Die Hauptstadt is set in Brussels and in Auschwitz, Poland, the latter of which is slated to become a European capital as part of the celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of the EU Commission. In Menasse’s most recent novel, Die Erweiterung (Enlargement), on the other hand, Albania and the politics of EU expansion are center-stage. The author skillfully interweaves the historical and the anecdotal through multiple narrative strands and shows how political events impact people’s daily lives. Carsten Otte (SWR) reads the novel as “a bitterly comic and extremely pointed allegory of nationalism in Europe.”
Die Erweiterung. Roman. Suhrkamp 2022
Die Hauptstadt. Roman. Suhrkamp 2017
Der europäische Landbote. Essay. Suhrkamp 2012