Günter Eich

1907 Born in Lebus on the Oder as son of Otto Eich (1874-1942), manager, farmer and temporary land agent and Helene Eich, born Heine (1880-1918).
1908 -18 Several moves of the family because of changing work of the father on estates in the Mark Brandenburg. Stays in Arenzhain and Finsterwalde.
1918
Family moved to Berlin. Father works as accountant and tax advisor. Eich’s mother dies.
1920
Death of grandmother Heine. Eich stays with the grandparents Eich at Oettingen together with his younger brother Hans. Remarriage of the father with Irma Altenrath, the former housekeeper of the family.
1922
Eich moves to Leipzig-Gohlis. Attendance at St. Nicholas School. Beginning friendship with Erhard Göpel.
1925/26
Eich graduates from high school. Beginning studies of Sinology in Berlin. Friendship with Martin Raschke, later also with Willi Fehse and Jürgen Eggebrecht.
1927
Under the pseudonym Erich Günter, first poems are published in the Anthologie jüngster Lyrik (anthology of recent lyrics), which was edited by Willi Fehse and Klaus Mann. First prose Europa kontra China (Europe vs. China) published in the journal Die jüngste Dichtung (latest poetry).
1927/28
From the winter semester: studies of Economics and Commercial Sciences in Leipzig.
1928
Connections to Hermann Kasack and Oskar Loercke.
1928/29 Study of Sinology in Paris. Dramatic drafts, poems, essays, translation attempts. Contacts to Philippe Soupault.
1929
Martin Raschke and Adolf Artur Kuhnert establish the journal of poetry Die Kolonne. Zeitung der jungen Gruppe Dresden (The Column. Newspaper of the young group Dresden) within Wolfgang Jess Dresden Publishing House. Until the end of 1932, Eich is a regular employee, publishes poems, prose, drama, one radio play, essays and reviews (sometimes under the pseudonym Georg Winter). Circle of friends includes inter alia Horst Lange and Oda Schaefer.
1930
Eich’s first volume of poetry is published by Wolfgang Jess Dresden Publishing House. On 14 March, first broadcast of Dreigespräch aus einem Drama (Trialogue from a drama) (directed by Eugen Kurt Fischer), on 24 July, first broadcast of Hörfolge Zürich 1915-18 – Geist und Gewalt (Hörfolge Zurich 1915-18 – spirit and violence) by Erhard Göpel and Günter Eich (directed by Eugen Kurt Fischer), both times by MIRAG Leipzig broadcasting.
1931
On 9 April, first broadcast of the first radio play Leben und Sterben des großen Sängers Enrico Caruso (Life and death of the famous singer Enrico Caruso) (together with Martin Raschke) in the Funk-Stunde Berlin (Radio-hour Berlin) (directed by Max Bing). Eich’s first play Der Präsident (The President) is created.
1932 Termination of his study. Eich becomes a freelance author of the Kolonne-editorial in Dresden; he lives together with Martin Raschke and Adolf Artur Kuhnert. His radio play text Ein Traum am Edsin-gol(A dream at Etsin-gol) appears in the last volume of the Kolonne.
1933 Eich moves back to Berlin. He writes radio plays and series for several German broadcasters. On 25 May, first broadcast of the radio play Die Glücksritter (Soldiers of Fortune) by Deutschlandsender broadcasting; on 20 December, premiere of the stage version at Schiller Theater (directed by Fritz Peter Buch; music by Mark Lothar). Start of the radio series Deutscher Kalender. Ein Monatsbild vom Königswusterhäuser Landboten (German Calendar. A monthly picture from the Königswusterhausen herald) (together with Martin Raschke, until 1940 a monthly one-hour program).
1934-39
Most productive broadcasting time of Eich in a quantitatively sense. Summer house in Proberow at the coast of the Baltic Sea, Pommerania. His circle of friends in Berlin includes persons like Jürgen Eggebrecht, Peter Huchel, Hermann Kasack, Horst Lange, Oda Schaefer; contact with V.O. Stomps and Oskar Loercke.
1935
Katharina. Eine Erzählung (Katharina. A Story) published in the magazine Das Innere Reich (The Inner Reich) (book edition 1936). On 24 March, first broadcast of the radio opera Das kalte Herz (The cold heart).
1936 Das festliche Jahr. Lesebüchlein vom Königswusterhäuser Landboten (The festive year. Reading book of the Königswusterhausen herald) is published. On 11 May, first broadcast of the Weizenkantate (Wheat cantata).
1937
Start of the radio series Der Märkische Kalendermann sagt den neuen Monat an (The Märkische Calendar Man announces the new month) by the Reichssender Berlin, which was broadcasted from 3 August, 1937 until 31 July, 1939. On 22 September, first broadcast of the radio play Radium.
1939 Eich lives in Berlin, Landgrafenstrasse 12 and in Poberow. On 10 August, conscription into the Luftwaffe as driver and radio operator.
1940
Leave of absence in order to complete his radio play Rebellion in der Goldstadt (Rebellion in Gold City) (first broadcast on 8 May). On 22 June, marriage with Else Burk. Eich moves to Berlin-Wilmersdorf.
1941/42
After mediation by Jürgen Eggebrecht, Eich was transferred to the censorship office of Wehrmacht libraries in Berlin.
1942
Katharina published as field post edition, Lebendes Wort Nr. 28(Living Word No. 28).
1943
Transfer to Dresden; last meeting with Martin Raschke. Eich’s apartment in Berlin is destroyed by an airstrike. Nearly all manuscripts are lost.
1944/45
Deployment to air defence in Bavaria, later in the Ruhr region. In April 1945, Eich gets imprisoned in the American POW camp in Remagen.
1945
In summer, release from captivity. Eich moves to Geisenhausen near Landshut, where he lives until 1954.
1945/46
Eich writes poetry, prose, radio play drafts and dramatic sketches. Lyrik der Kriegsgefangenschaft (Poetry of war captivity) is completed. Publications in anthologies (De Profundis) and in the magazine Der Ruf (The Call). Contact with old friends like Hermann Kasack, Horst Lange, Georg von der Vring and with new fellow authors like Alfred Andersch, Karl Krolow, Hans Werner Richter.
1946/47
Participation in the project of Der Skorpion (The scorpion) magazine; reviews for the Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz newspaper; publication of poems in the anthology Deine Söhne, Europa (Your sons, Europe) (edited by Hans Werner Richter), member of the Gruppe 47 (Group 47).
1948
Eich creates childrens’ radio plays after fairy tale templates for Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcast). Participation in a meeting of Gruppe 47 in Jungenheim. After the currency reform, Eich creates two film scripts. Gedichte aus den dreißiger Jahren und der Nachkriegszeit (Poems from the Thirties and the Postwar Period) published.
1949 Eich lives in Hohenfeld on Main until his divorce in November. New poems Untergrundbahn (Subway) are published by Ellermann Publishing House in Hamburg. Participation in the Gruppe 47meeting in Marktbreit.
1950
Eich moves back to Geisenhausen. Intense work on radio plays: Die gekaufte Prüfung (The purchased examination), the first original post war radio play, arises. In May, Eich receives the first award of Gruppe 47 during a meeting in Inzigkofen. On 21 July, first broadcast of the radio play Geh nicht nach El Kuhwed! (Do not go to El Kuhwed!). Radio play Die Träume (The Dreams) arise.
1951
Numerous original radio play programs: 19 April Träume (Dreams), 14 June Sabeth, 1 July Fis mit Obertönen (Fis with overtones), 9 September Unterm Birnbaum (nach Fontane) (Under the pear tree (by Fontane)), 18 October Verweile, Wanderer (Tarry, wanderer). Acquaintance with Ilse Aichinger at the Gruppe 47 meeting in Bad Dürkheim. On 21 May, award of the Literaturpreis der Bayerischen Akademie der Schönen Künste (Literature Award of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts). Transcription of Chinese poetry for the anthology Lyrik des Ostens (Poetry of the East) (1952).
1952
First broadcast of several radio plays: 3 February Die Andere und ich (The other and me), 15 August Der Tiger Jussuf (The tiger Yusuf), 28 October Die Gäste des Herrn Birowski (The guests of Mr Birowski). Participation in the Gruppe 47 meeting in Niendorf (Ilse Aichinger becomes laureate). Beginning friendship with Wolfgang Hildesheimer.
1953
On 3 March, Eich receives the Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden (Radio Play Award of the War Invalids) for his radio play Die Andere und ich(The other and me) in Bonn. On 3 March, first broadcast of the radio play Die Mädchen aus Viterbo (The girls from Viterbo). On 24 June, Eich marries Ilse Aichinger in Munich.
1954
Eich moves to Breitbrunn am Chiemsee. On 22 May, birth of his son Clemens. First broadcasting of the radio plays Das Jahr Lazertis (The year Lazertis) on 25 January and Beatrice und Juana (Beatrice and Juana) on 4 May. Eich receives the Literaturpreis des Kulturkreises im Bundesverband der deutschen Industrie (Literature Award of the Cultural Committee of the Federation of German Industry).
1955
Botschaften des Regens, Gedichte aus den Jahren 1949-1954(Messages from the rain, poems from the years 1949 to 1954) is published. From May to August, Eich lives in Heinrich Böll’s house in Cologne. Travel to Portugal in September. First broadcast of the radio play Zinngeschrei (Tin cry).
1956
At the end of April, Eich participates in the Franco-German poets meeting at Vézelay. Meeting with Paul Celan. In autumn, lecture travel through Germany. For broadcasting, Eich creates the ten-part series Phantastische Erzählungen nach Texten von Rudyard Kipling, Nikolai Gogol, Pu Sung-Lin, Tania Blixen, Pierre Boulles, Wilhelm Hauff und anderen (Fantastic tales based on texts by Rudyard Kipling, Nikolai Gogol, Pu Sung-Lin, Tania Blixen, Pierre Boulles, Wilhelm Hauff and others).
1957 Birth of daughter Mirjam on 1 January. First broadcast of the radio plays Die Brandung vor Setúbal (The surf near Setúbal) on 2 May and Allah hat hundert Namen (Allah has one hundred names) on 18 June.
1958 Revision of several radio plays. Eich creates seven new radio plays. First broadcast of Festianus, Märtyrer (Festinaus, martyr) on 16 October and Die Stunde des Huflattichs (The hour of the coltsfoot) on 11 November.
1959
Eich receives the Schleussner-Schueller-Prize of Hessischer Rundfunk (Hessian Broadcast) for the new version of the radio play Die Mädchen aus Viterbo (The girls from Viterbo). On 31 October, Eich receives the Georg-Büchner-Prize of the Darmstädter Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung (Darmstadt Academy of Language and Poetry). His speech caused a stir.
1960 During spring in Zurich, in summer in Yugoslavia. On 9 November, first broadcast of the radio play Meine sieben jungen Freunde (My seven young friends).
1961 From October to December trip to the Balkans and the Middle East. Lectures at the Goehte-Institutes in Turkey, Syria and the Lebanon. Television production of the puppet play Böhmische Schneider(Bohemian tailors).
1962
Several lecture trips. From September to December trip through India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan. Return via Canada and the U.S. First broadcast of the radio play Der konfuse Zauberer (The confused magician) on 24 June.
1963
Eich moves to Großgmain near Salzburg. From October to November trip through Scandinavia.
1964
Publication of several poems and radio plays. On 15 November, first broadcast of Man bittet zu läuten (One asks to ring). Trips to Northern Germany, Paris and England.
1965 Eich receives the Förderpreis für Literatur der Stadt München(Promotion Prize for Literature of the City of Munich). In summer trip to Austria.
1966 Publication of several poems and Fünfzehn Hörspiele (Fifteen radio plays). In April, trip to Western Africa together with Ilse Aichinger.
1967 Die ersten Maulwürfe (The first moles) is published. Eich reads the play during the last meeting of Gruppe 47 in Pulvermühle near Erlangen. Lecture trip to Iran.
1968 On 9 November, Eich receives the Schiller-Gedächtnispreis des Landes Baden-Württemberg (Schiller Memorial Prize of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg). First clear signs of his disease.
1969 Gedichte. Prosa. Hörspiele, eine Textsammlung (Poems. Prose. Radio plays. A collection of texts) is published in Zurich.
1970 Publication of Ein Tibeter in meinem Büro (A Tibetan in my office) and 49 Maulwürfe (49 moles). First heart attacks.
1971
Exacerbation of the disease, new heart attacks.
1972 Eich publishes a selection of his poems. On 15 October, first broadcast of the radio play Zeit und Kartoffeln (Time and potatoes).
1972 On 12 December Eich dies in Salzburg.