jueves, 28 de febrero de 2019

Thomas Bernhard

Thomas Bernhard photographed in 1957
Photograph by Helmut Baar

Thomas Bernhard

(1931 - 1989)

Novelist, poet, and playwright Thomas Bernhard is one of the great German-language writers of the latter half of the 20th century. His work is often described as acerbic, misanthropic, and unrelenting. Influenced by Kafka and Wittgenstein, Bernhard’s novels unfold without paragraphs in intricately patterned musical motifs. According to Michael Hofmann in the London Review of Books, “Before we talk about the quality of the opinions, or the kilotonnage of the diatribes, or the relentlessness of the assault (is anything exempt?), we ought to talk about the patterns of repetition and variation in the unspooling sentences of the unparagraphed prose. If Bernhard is anything, he is a stuck harpsichord record, knocking out its trapped and staggered shards of shrilly hammered phrases.” Bernhard’s first published works were poetry, including the collection Auf der Erde und in der Hölle (1957). Bernhard’s first novel, Frost (1963, translated by Michael Hofmann, 2006), was a collection of notes made by a medical student sent to follow and observe an elderly painter. The painter’s rants and his pessimistic understanding of the task of the artist in post-war society set the tone for many of Bernhard’s novels and plays.

According to the New Yorker’s Ruth Franklin, “All the elements of his [Bernhard’s] intensely pessimistic world view—remorseless fury at a callous universe, lack of faith in human relationships, manic pursuit of aesthetic perfection—were likely set by the hardships of his youth.” Thomas Bernhard was born to an unwed mother in a Dutch clinic; he never met his father and was possibly the child of a rape. His maternal grandparents in part raised him, in Salzburg, Austria. Bernhard’s grandfather, an obscure writer named Johannes Freumbichler, exerted considerable influence over Bernhard, who went on to model many of his most self-righteously vitriolic characters after Freumbichler. Bernhard later called his walks and discussions with Freumbichler “the only useful education I had.” Bernhard’s mother remarried when he was six, and the family moved to Germany. There, Bernhard endured bullying and schoolyard misery; in 1943, at the height of World War II, he was sent back to Salzburg to a National Socialist Home for Boys. He dropped out of school at age 15. In 1949, his hopes for a career in opera were dashed when he developed a lung infection that led to the chronic illness that plagued him for the rest of his life. He began to write in the hospital, however, and much that is known about his life comes from his five-volume autobiography Gathering Evidence (translated by David McLintock, 1985). 

Bernhard published dozens of novels, plays, and collections of poetry in his lifetime. Works that have been translated into English include Gargoyles (trans. Richard and Clara Winston, 1970), The Lime Works (trans. Sophie Wilkins, 1986); Correction (trans. Sophie Wilkins, 1979), The Loser (trans. Jack Dawson, 1991), Wittgenstein’s Nephew (trans. David McLintock, 1989), Woodcutters (trans. David McLintock, 1987; also published as Cutting Timber: An Irritation, trans. Ewald Osers, 1988), Old Masters (trans. Ewald Osers, 1989), and Bernhard’s last published novel, Extinction (trans. David McLintock, 1995). A selection of Bernhard’s poetry was published as In Hora Mortis/Under the Iron of the Moon (trans. James Reidel, 2006). English translations of Bernhard’s plays include Histrionics: Three Plays (trans. Peter Jansen and Kenneth Northcott, 1990). Bernhard famously banned republication of his work, or production of any of his plays, in Austria for the 70 years following his death. 



The Unrelenting Novels of Thomas Bernhard

Often characterized by a seething loathing of social decor, patriotism, and ego, and fed by years spent suffering from tuberculosis and a gathering madness that would eventually force him to spend two years in a sanatorium, Bernhard's work is some of...

April 17, 2013

During the 58 years of his life, the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard (1931–1989) composed more than 60 works of fiction, theater, poetry, and nonfiction, including at least 29 books currently available in English. He is considered by many to be the greatest author in the German language since World War II. Often characterized by his seething loathing of social decor, patriotism, and ego, and fed by years spent suffering from tuberculosis and a gathering madness that would eventually force him to spend two years in a sanatorium, his work is some of the blackest, most bare-teethed realist writing available. Over the past several years, Vintage has been reissuing his novels as a series, enabling me to finally fill in the gaps in my reading of his most notable translated work.
Frost (1963)
Written in a plain, almost diary-like catalog of days, Frost follows a young doctor taking up the company of a dying and reclusive painter in order to report on him to his mentor. Even this early on in his career, Bernhard is able to use a simple narrative about the daily activity of human company as a showroom for his black philosophies, ranging from critical to insane. As they talk and walk around the town, the painter, pretty much at what you could call the end of his rope, goes on diatribes and casts his ideas on every inch of the surrounding world, creating a seemingly simple but unrelenting sprawl of criticism and shit talk. The ideas accumulate and grow in on one another until it becomes difficult to know the real from the unreal. Not one of my favorites of Bernhard’s, but compelling in how it sets up the style he will grow only more intense about with each subsequent work.
Representative Sentence: “Terminal illnesses are like exotic landscapes.”
Gargoyles (1967)
This was the first book of Bernhard’s to be translated into English, and the one that began his rise to fame. There’s a rather strange symbiotic sort of texture here: the book begins by following a doctor on his rounds in a small town, treating odd characters who are sick or confined, while exhibiting to his son, who is along for the day, all that can go wrong. After a small strange tour of homes, they end up at the castle of a prince, who essentially takes over the voice of the book with endless ranting about the minds of men: their foolishness, their delusions, their egoism, their lack of spirit or intellect, their exhaustion. Throughout the 100-page rant, a tension that could only be found in the likes of Bernhard develops, riding the weird gap between the bizarre and tedious prince and the nearly silent father and son, climaxing not with plot but with a sublimely monotonic and almost pummeled sort of feeling, again one that the future Bernhard will bend even harder onto the reader.
Representative Sentence: “Sometimes the actual existence and the pretended existence of a person merge in a way that is fatal for him.”
Marking a distinct turn from the mostly socially concerned matters of Bernhard’s previous work, The Lime Works is probably the most bizarre, bordering on surreal, of all his novels. At its center is the story of a man who buys an old stone labyrinth and moves into it with his crippled wife. He intends to use this isolation to write a masterwork on human hearing, and forces his wife to take part in a series of strange experiments by way of research. But even in her captivity, the man blames his wife’s presence for his inability to complete the work, culminating in an insane mesmeric rant about the nature of creation and concentration at the end of which, taking place at the book’s beginning, he shoots his wife twice in the head. This is perhaps the most twisted of Bernhard’s maniacal creations, and the first to appear as a single unending paragraph, the format for the majority of his subsequent work.
Representative Sentence: “It was possible to have anything in your head, and in fact everybody did have everything in his head, but on paper almost nobody had anything.”
Correction (1975)
This was the first Bernhard novel I read, and it’s still my favorite. Coming off the bizarre enclosure of The Lime WorksCorrection goes even deeper into the black. It’s so unrelenting that it becomes a kind of wonder of desolation, of frustration, though in a way that is so blunt and fucked it feels only more and more near. The overlying idea here is the presence of a cone, built by a man named Roithamer for his sister to live inside of in the middle of a forest. But when she enters the cone, his sister dies, and Roithamer kills himself in grief, leaving the narrator to go through Roithamer’s plans and papers for the cone’s construction and the unblinking rhetoric of the surrounding world’s corruption, darkness, and destruction, to the point that even the identity of the speaker and the suicided Roithamer begin to blur together, in a voice. It’s not necessarily the easiest introduction to Bernhard’s body, but it is certainly one of the most densely deathly books around and worth a read.
Representative Sentence: “Had the idea of building the Cone not surfaced, he would still be in England today, but his life had to turn out as it has, in fact, turned out, the idea of the Cone brought his life to a new high-point, the highest possible in fact, I now said, the six years he spent on the Cone were undoubtedly the high-point of Roithamer’s life, certainly the perfecting of the Cone was.”
Concrete (1982)
Concrete is interesting in that it is a monologue delivered by a man who meant to write another book instead. He is driven into a kind of endless paranoia by the presence of his sister, whom he knows may appear at any moment and interrupt his work. As a result, instead of focusing on music, which was the original topic of his book, the author is flooded with anxiety over being unable to ever become what he wants, to do what he wants, as he realizes this has always been the case, in all things, at the price of his entire life. It’s a refreshingly short, infuriatingly honest account of being human among humans, in constant conflict, terrified.
Representative Sentence: “All our lives we’ve been looking for something, in the end for everything imaginable, and never finding it, always wanting to achieve everything and not succeeding, or else achieving it and losing it at the selfsame moment.”
The Loser (1983)
The Loser is again unique among Bernhard’s plot structures in that it incurs a close relationship among three men: the pianist Glenn Gould and two of his former classmates. One of those classmates serves as the book’s narrator, who, witnessing Gould’s genius in school gave up his craft, after realizing he would never be as great as his classmate; the other student, recognizing the same thing, killed himself. Many speculate that Bernhard, who was himself obsessed with music as a student but forced to give it up partially as a result of his tuberculosis, based at least the spirit of the mesh of contemplation of genius, failure, and methods of handling obscurity on his own most personal struggles. Perhaps the most immediately accessible and oddly moving of Bernhard’s whole career.
Representative Sentence: “When I get up I’m revolted by myself and everything I have to do.”
Woodcutters (1984)
Intentionally or not, Woodcutters is probably Benhard’s funniest book, if we can define funny as being a total social dick. Basically, the narrator goes to a party he doesn’t want to thrown by people he doesn’t like and sits in a wingchair waiting to eat dinner while thinking hateful things about the others at the party. He mentally pisses on them for acting tasteful when they have no taste, acting cultured when they worship shit, and begging for social praise by throwing a party for a pompous actor who shows up several hours late—all of this on the day of a funeral for one of their old friends, a woman who had just committed suicide. Bernhard’s monologue of hate continues to build the scene into a social spectacle of egoism and flaunting and pretension until the guest of honor finally arrives. The novel is particularly odd in how it draws you into the social spectacle while simultaneously making you hate the speaker and the spoken of. In short, it engrosses you in the weird ways people try to go about being people in one another’s eyes.
Representative Sentence: “At Kilb he made himself look vulgar and ridiculous by screaming This food’s abominable, in the same way, it now occurred to me, as he’s made himself look vulgar and ridiculous hundreds and thousands of times in my presence.”
Extinction (1986)
Bernhard’s last and longest novel might in the end be my favorite of all, if for wholly different reasons than Correction. Much of Bernhard’s work during his final years fixated on the social hells of ridiculous social climbers and shitty artists, and this is the most intensely critical of those people, to the point where it rather directly acknowledges that there’s no one who isn’t fucked. Written as an autobiographical account of the son of a wealthy family who has just received word his parents and brother have been killed in a car accident, he somewhat reluctantly returns home to oversee the mass funeral. What follows is a massive and unflagging criticism of every element of the town where he grew up, from his family’s shoddy treatment of employees, to a massive library held in disdain, and, most significantly, his parents’ Nazi ties. There’s something hypnotic about Bernhard’s monolithic-paragraph style, and the flood of formal language he uses to pull apart the character of anything he sees, including the narrator himself. Subtle in its implications, and not so subtle in its disdain, Extinction is about as pointed an antisocial firestorm as could be imagined.
Representative Sentence: “My sisters had gleefully recited to me the names of all who had announced that they would attend the funeral, and the list was headed by the Gaulteiters, the SS officers, and the members of the Blood Order.”


Primary Materials

Gargoyles, translated by Richard and Clara Winston, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1970.

"The Joiner" (a story), translated by David Horrocks, in Parallel Text: German Short Stories 2, Penguin Books Ltd, London, 1976.
Correction, translated by Sophie Wilkins, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979.
Gathering Evidence, translated by David McLintock, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1985.
Wittgenstein’s Nephew, translated by Ewald Osers, Quartet Books Ltd., London, 1986.
The Lime Works, translated by Sophie Wilkins, University of Chicago Press, 1986.
Cutting Timber, translated by Ewald Osers, Quartet Books Ltd, London, 1988.

Woodcutters, translated by David McLintock, University of Chicago Press, 1989. (another translation of the above book)
Concrete, translated by Trans. David McLintock, Quartet Books Ltd, London, 1989.
Old Masters, translated by Ewald Osers, Quartet Books Ltd, London, 1989.

Histrionics: Three Plays, translated by Peter Jansen and Kenneth Nothcott, University of Chicago Press, 1990.
The Cheap-Eaters, translated by Ewald Osers, Quartet Books Ltd., London, 1990.
The Loser, translated by Jack Dawson, Quartet Books Ltd., London, 1992.
Yes, translated by Ewald Osers, Quartet Books Ltd., London
On the Mountain, translated by Russell Stockman, Quartet Books Ltd, London, 1993.
Extinction, translated by David McLintock, Quartet Books Ltd., London, 1995.
The Voice Imitator, translated by Kenneth Northcott, University of Chicago Press, 1997.
Heldenplatz, a play, translated by Gita Honnegger and published in Conjunctions:33, Fall 1999.
Three Novellas: Amras, Playing Watten, Walking, translated by Peter Janse, Kenneth Northcott, and Brian Evenson, University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Secondary Materials

Books on Thomas Bernhard
Calandra, Denis. New German dramatists: a study of Peter Handke, Franz Xaver Kroetz, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Heiner Müller, Thomas Brasch, Thomas Bernhard and Botho Strauss. London: Macmillan, 1983.
Dowden, Stephen D., Understanding Thomas Bernhard, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1991.
Hens, Gregor, Thomas Bernhards Trilogie der Künste. Der Untergeher, Holzfällen, Alte Meister. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 1999.
A short summary on the publisher’s site: 
Honegger, Gitta Thomas Bernhard: The Making of an Austrian, New Haven: Yale UP, 2001.
Konzett, Matthias, (ed and introd), A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002.
The introduction on line:
A short summary on the publisher’s site: 
--------- The Rhetoric of National Dissent in Thomas Bernhard, Peter Handke, and Elfriede Jelinek, Rochester, N : Camden House, 2000.
A short summary on the publisher’s site: 

Long, J. J., The Novels of Thomas Bernhard: Form and Its Function, Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2001.
Short summary here: 
Markolin, Caroline; Hartweg, Petra (tr); Skwara, Erich Wolfgang (afterword), Thomas Bernhard and His Grandfather Johannes Freumbichler: 'Our Grandfathers are Our Teachers', Riverside, CA: Ariadne, 1993. 
Info at Amazon
Martin, Charles W., The Nihilism of Thomas Bernhard: The Portrayal of Existential and Social Problems in His Prose Works, Amsterdam & Atlanta, Georgia: Rodopi, 1995. 277 pp.
Special Thomas Bernhard Issue, Modern Austrian Literature, 1988; 21(3-4)
Special Section on Thomas Bernhard, Pequod: A Journal of Contemporary Literature and Literary Criticism, 1992; 33: 52-133

Essay and Chapters of Books

Anderson, Mark, “Notes on Thomas Bernhard,” Raritan: A Quarterly Review. New Brunswick, NJ. 1987 Summer; 7(1): 81-96.
Anderson, Mark M., “Fragments of a Deluge: The Theater of Thomas Bernhard's Prose,” Konzett, Matthias (ed. and introd.). A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002, p. 119-35.
Anonymous, [Thomas Bernhard] Book Forum: The Review for Art, Fiction, and Culture. 2001 Fall; 8(3): 17-23.
Barry, Thomas F., “On Paralysis and Transcendence in Thomas Bernhard,” Modern Austrian Literature. 1988; 21(3-4): 187-200.
Barthofer, Alfre,” The Plays of Thomas Bernhard: A Report,” Modern Austrian Literature. 1978; 11(1): 21-48.
Bostick, Alan D., “Thomas Bernhard: An Appreciation on the Occasion of His Death,” The Review of Contemporary Fiction, 1990 Spring; 10(1): 289-294.
Bozzi, Paola, “Homeland, Death, and Otherness in Thomas Bernhard's Early Lyrical Works,”in Konzett, Matthias (ed. and introd.). A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002, p. 71-87.
Brokoph Mauch, Gudrun, “Thomas Bernhard,” in Daviau, Donald G. (ed.). Major Figures of Contemporary Austrian Literature. New York : Peter Lang, 1987, p. 89-115.
Burgin, Richard, “Notes on Concrete: Of Dostoevsky and Dogs,” Pequod: A Journal of Contemporary Literature and Literary Criticism. 1992; 34: 174-79.
Carpenter, Charles A., “The Plays of Bernhard, Bauer, and Handke: A Checklist of Major Critical Studies,” Modern Drama. 1981 Jan.; 23(4): 484-491.
Cousineau, Thomas J., "Thomas Bernhard," Review of Contemporary Fiction, Vol. XXI, No. 2, 2001, pp. 41-70.
Craft, Robert, “The Comedian of Horror,” The New York Review of Books. 1990 Sept 27; 37(14): 40-48.
Craig, D.A., “The Novels of Thomas Bernhard: A Report.” German Life and Letters. 1972; 25: 343-53.
D'Adamo, Thomas, “A Reader's Guide,” Book Forum: The Review for Art, Fiction, and Culture. 2001 Fall; 8(3): 20-23.
Daviau,-Donald-G, “The Reception of Thomas Bernhard in the United States,” Modern Austrian Literature (MAL). Riverside, CA. 1988; 21(3-4): 243-276.
Dierick, Augustinus P., “Thomas Bernhard’s Austria: neurosis, symbol or expedient?” Modern Austrian Literature 1979, 1, p. 73-93.
Dierick, Augustinus P., „Die verrückte Magdalena. An early short story by Thomas Bernhard, German Life and Letters 1981, p. 267-271.
Doherty, Monika, “Discourse Theory and the Translation of Clefts between English and German,” A Festschrift for Ferenc Kiefer, in Kenesei,-Istvan (ed.,preface, and introd.); Harnish, Robert M. (ed., preface, and introd.); Gervain, Judit (assistant, ed.). Perspectives on Semantics, Pragmatics, and Discourse. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Benjamins, 2001, 273-92.
Dowden, Stephen D., “A Testament Betrayed: Bernhard and His Legacy,” in Konzett, Matthias (ed. and introd.). A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002, p. 51-67.
Dowden, Steve, “Thomas Bernhard's Austria,” Partisan Review. 1994 Fall; 61(4): 624-27
Eben, Michael C., “Thomas Bernhard's Frost: Early Indications of an Austrian Demise,” Neophilologus. 1985 Oct.; 69(4): 590-603.
Edwards, Thomas S. "Fools and Charlatans: Translating Thomas Bernhard." Translation Review No. 30/31, 1989. pp. 61-65.
Eisner, Nicholas, “Theatertheater/Theaterspiele: The Plays of Thomas Bernhard,” Modern Drama. 1987 Mar.; 30(1): 104-114.
Esslin, Martin, “Beckett and Bernhard: A Comparison,” Modern Austrian Literature. 1985; 18(2): 67-78.
Esslin, Martin, “A Drama of Disease and Derision: The Plays of Thomas Bernhard,” Modern Drama. 1981 Jan.; 23(4): 367-384.
Federico, Joseph A., “Millenarianism, Legitimation, and the National Socialist Universe in Thomas Bernhard's Vor dem Ruhestand,” The Germanic Review. 1984 Fall; 59(4): 142-148.
Fetz, Gerald A., “The Works of Thomas Bernhard: 'Austrian Literature'?,” Modern Austrian Literature. 1984; 17(3-4): 171-192.
----------, “Kafka and Bernhard: Reflections on Affinity and Influence,” Modern Austrian Literature. 1988; 21(3-4): 217-241.
----------, “Thomas Bernhard and the 'Modern Novel',” in Bullivant, Keith (ed.). The Modern German Novel. Leamington: Berg, 1987, p. 89-108.
Franklin, Ruth, "The Art of Extinction: The bleak laughter of Thomas Bernhard." 2006, The New Yorker, December 26.
Frederico, Joseph, “Heimat, Death, and the Other in Thomas Bernhard's Frost and Verstörung,” Modern Austrian Literature. 1996; 29(3-4): 223-42.
Gelus, Marjorie, „The Advantage of Death: Thomas Bernhard's Attaché an der franzosischen Botschaft und An der Baumgrenze,“ Modern Austrian Literature. 1988; 21(3-4): 69-88.
Godwin Jones, Robert, “The Terrible Idyll: Thomas Bernhard's Das Kalkwerk,” Germanic Notes. 1982; 13(1): 8-10.
Gorner, Rudiger,” The Broken Window Handle: Thomas Bernhard's Notion of Weltbezug,” in Konzett, Matthias (ed. and introd.). A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002, p. 89-103.
Gorner, Rudiger, “The Excitement of Boredom: Thomas Bernhard,” in Sebald, W. G. (ed., pref., introd.). A Radical Stage: Theatre in Germany in the 1970s and 1980sOxford : Berg, 1988, p. 161-173.
Griesemer, John, “An Actor Reads Bernhard,” Pequod: A Journal of Contemporary Literature and Literary Criticism. 1992; 33: 113-23.
Gross, Robert F.,Jr, “'The Greatest Uncertainty': The Perils of Performance in Thomas Bernhard's Der Ignorant und der Wahnsinnige,” Modern Drama. 1981 Jan.; 23(4), 385-392.
Gruber, William E., "Sights unseen: withholding information in the plays of Thomas Bernhard." Goliath, Gale Group, Cengage Learning, published on line March 22, 2002.
Hoesterey, Ingeborg, “Visual Art as Narrative Structure: Thomas Bernhard's Alte Meister,” Modern Austrian Literature. 1988; 21(3-4): 117-122.
Hoffmeister, Donna L., “Post-Modern Theater: A Contradiction in Terms? Handke, Strauss, Bernhard and the Contemporary Scene,” Monatshefte für Deutscheunterricht, Deutsche Sprache undLiteratur. 1987 Winter; 79(4): 424-438.
Honegger, Gitta, “Acoustic Masks: Strategies of Language in the Theater of Canetti, Bernhard, and Handke,” Modern Austrian Literature. 1985; 18(2): 57-66.
--------------, “Wittgenstein's Children: The Writings of Thomas Bernhard,” Yale School of Drama. 1983 Winter; 15(1): 58-63.
---------------, “Language Speaks. Anglo-Bernhard: Thomas Bernhard in Translation,” p. 169-85 in Konzett, Matthias (ed. and introd.). A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002, p. 169-85.
---------------, “The Stranger Inside the Word: From Thomas Bernhard's Plays to the Anatomical Theater of Elfriede Jelinek,” in Konzett, Matthias (ed. and introd.). A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002, p. 137-48.
----------------, “Bernhard Minetti as Bernhard's Minetti,” Yale School of Drama 2000; 30(1): 49-87.
----------------, “Fools on the Hill: Thomas Bernhard's Mise-en-Scene,”  Performing Arts Journal. 1997 Sept; 19(3(57)): 34-48.
---------------, “Thomas Bernhard,” Partisan Review.1991 Summer; 58(3): 493-505.
Hornung, Alfred, “Reading One/Self: Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, Peter Handke, John Barth, Alain Robbe-Grillet; Sel. Papers Presented at Workshop on Postmodernism at XIth Internat. Compar. Lit. Cong., Paris, 20-24 Aug. 1985,
in Calinescu, Matei (ed.); Fokkema, Douwe (ed.). Exploring Postmodernism. Amsterdam : Benjamins, 1987, p. 175-198.
---------------, “Fantasies of the Autobiographical Self: Thomas Bernhard, Raymond Federman, Samuel Beckett,” Journal of Beckett Studies. (1989); 11-12: 91-107.
Ibsch, Elrud, “From Hypothesis to Korrektur: Refutation as a Component of Postmodern Discourse,” Papers presented at Workshop on Postmodernism, Sept. 21-231984, Univ. of Utrecht, in Fokkema, Douwe Wessel (ed.); Bertens, Hans Willem (ed.). Approaching Postmodernism. Amsterdam : Benjamins, 1986, p. 119-133.
----------------, “The Refutation of Truth Claims,” in Bertens, Hans (ed., foreword, and notes); Fokkema, Douwe (ed., foreword, and notes); Valdes, Mario J. (preface). International Postmodernism: Theory and Literary Practice. Amsterdam, Netherlands : Benjamins, 1997, p. 265-72.
Indiana, Gary, “Thomas Bernhard,” Book Forum: The Review for Art, Fiction, and Culture. 2001 Fall; 8(3): 17-18.
Jeutter, Ralf, “Polarity and Breathing-Aspects of Thomas Bernhard's Plays,” in Finlay, Frank (ed.); Jeutter, Ralf (ed.). Centre Stage: Contemporary Drama in Austria. Amsterdam, Netherlands : Rodopi, 1999, p. 181-92.
Jopling, Michael, “'Es gibt ja nur Gescheitertes': Bernhard as Company for Beckett,” Journal of European Studies. 1997 Mar; 27(1 (105)): 49-71.
Joyce, Steven J., “The Denial of Alterity: Malaise and Polyphony in Thomas Bernard's Heldenplatz,” in Bialas, Zbigniew (ed.); Krajka, Wieslaw (ed.). East-Central European Traumas and a Millennial Condition. Boulder: East European Monographs, 1999, p. 59-86.
Joyce, Steven, “Kismet and Continuities: Post-modernism and Thomas Bernhard's Der Theatermacher,” Colloquia Germanica: Internationale Zeitschrift für Germanistik. Lexington, KY. 1991; 24(1): 24-37.
Kersten, Lee, „Austrian Film and Seeing/Hearing Voices in Bernhard/Radax Der Italiener,“ Interdisziplinare Konferenz uber Geschichte, Kultur und Gesellschaft Osterreichs im 20. Jahrhundert, Germanistisches Institut, Monash Universitat 16-18 Mai, 1980, in Bodi, Leslie (ed.); Thomson, Philip (ed.). Das Problem Osterreich: Arbeitspapiere. Clayton, Australia : Monash Univ., 1982, p. 105-110.
Lepschy, Christoph, “Bernhard Reads Kleist, II: A Text as Murderer,” in Debatin, Bernhard (ed. and introd.); Jackson, Timothy R. (ed. and introd.); Steuer, Daniel (ed. and introd.). Metaphor and Rational Discourse. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1997, p. 251-57.
--------------, “Bernhard Reads Kleist, I: A Marionette Theatre as a Writing Machine,” in Debatin, Bernhard (ed. and introd.); Jackson, Timothy R. (ed. and introd.); Steuer, Daniel (ed. and introd.). Metaphor and Rational Discourse. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1997, p. 13-24.
Leventhal, RobertS., “The Rhetoric of Anarcho-Nihilistic Murder: Thomas Bernhard's Das Kalkwerk,” Modern Austrian Literature. 1988; 21(3-4): 19-38.
Long, Jonathan, "Thomas Bernhard's Die Macht der Gewohnhei" in Hutchinson, Peter (ed.), Landmarks in German Comedy , 2006 Lang, pp. 211-226
--------------, "Narration and Repetition in the Late Novels of Thomas Bernhard" in Fetz, Gerald (ed.), Thomas Bernhard: Retrospective Essays , 2003, Ariadne Press.
--------------,“Ungleichzeitigkeiten: Class Relationships in Bernhard's Fiction,” in Konzett, Matthias (ed. and introd.). A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002, p. 187-208.
--------------, "Resisting Bernhard: Women and Violence in Das Kalkwerk, Ja and Auslöschun." 2001, Seminar 37, pp. 33-52

--------------, “Veracity, Mendacity, Absurdity: Form and Its Function in Thomas Bernhard's Der Stimmenimitator,” Forum for Modern Language Studies. 1996 Oct; 32(4): 343-53.
Lopate, Phillip, “On Not Reading Thomas Bernhard, Pequod: A Journal of Contemporary Literature and Literary Criticism. 1992; 33: 72-83.
Lorenz, Dagmar, “The Established Outsider: Thomas Bernhard,” in Konzett, Matthias (ed. and introd.). A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002, p. 29-50.
McLintock, David Robert, “Tense and Narrative Perspective in Two Works of Thomas Bernhard,” Oxford German Studies. 1980; 11: 1-26.
Malkin, Jeanette R.,”Pulling the Pants Off History: Politics and Postmodernism in Thomas Bernhard's Eve of Retirement,” Theatre Journal. 1995 Mar; 47(1): 105-19.
-------------, “Thomas Bernhard, Jews, Heldenplatz,” in Schumacher, Claude (ed. and introd.). Staging the Holocaust: The Shoah in Drama and Performance. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge UP, 1998, p. 281-97.
Martin, Charles W., “The Nihilism of Thomas Bernhard: The Portrayal of Existential and Social Problems in His Prose Works,” Amsterdam : Rodopi, 1995. 277 pp.
Mavrikakis, Catherine, “To End the Glorification of Suffering,” Bucknell Review: A Scholarly Journal of Letters, Arts and Sciences. 1998; 42(2): 124-35.
Mehigan, Tim, „Violent Orders in Robert Musil's 'Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften' and Thomas Bernhard's 'Kalkwerk',“ in Huppauf, Bernd (ed. and introd.). War, Violence, and the Modern ConditionBerlin: de Gruyter, 1997, p. 300-16.
Meyerhofer, Nicholas J., “The Laughing Sisyphus: Reflections on Bernhard as (Self)-Dramatist in Light of His Der Theatermacher,” Modern Austrian Literature. 1988; 21(3-4): 107-115.
Motola, Gabriel, “Thomas Bernhard's Austria,” Pequod: A Journal of Contemporary Literature and Literary Criticism. 1992; 33: 54-62.
Mura, David, “Waiting for the End: Bernhard's Concrete,” Pequod: A Journal of Contemporary Literature and Literary Criticism.1992; 33: 100-12.
Murphy, Bruce, “The Shadow of Life: Negation, Nihilism, and Insanity in Thomas Bernhard's Correction,” in Fischlin, Daniel (ed.). Negation, Critical Theory, and Postmodern TextualityDordrecht : Kluwer Acad., 1994, p. 157-71.
Murphy, Bruce, “Madness and the Ideal, Pequod: A Journal of Contemporary Literature and Literary Criticism. 1992; 33: 92-99.
Naqvi, Fatima, " The Man of Taste Reconceived: Mastering Aesthetics in Thomas Bernhard's Alte Meister." Monatshefte für deutschsprachige Lituratur und Kultur, Vol. 96, No. 2, Summer 2004.
O'Neill, Patrick, “Endgame Variations: Narrative and Noise in Thomas Bernhard's Das Kalkwerk,” in Gaede, Friedrich (ed.); O' Neill, Patrick (ed.); Scheck, Ulrich (ed.). Hinter dem schwarzen Vorhang: Die Katastrophe und die epische Tradition. Tübingen: Francke, 1994, p. 231-41.
Olson, Michael, P., “Playing It Safe: Historicizing Thomas Bernhard's Jews,”Modern Austrian Literature. 1994; 27(3-4): 37-49.
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Plow, Geoffrey, “The Affliction of Prose: Thomas Bernhard's Critique of Self-Expression in Korrektur, Ja and Der Stimmenimitator,” German Life and Letters. 1991 Jan; 44(2): 133-42.
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Reinelt, Janelle, “Performing Justice for the Future of Our Time,” European Studies: A Journal of European Culture, History, and Politics. 2001; 17: 37-51.
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Riemer, Willy, “Thomas Bernhard's Der Untergeher: Newtonian Realities and Deterministic Chaos,” in Konzett, Matthias (ed. and introd.). A Companion to the Works of Thomas Bernhard. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002, p. 209-22.
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domingo, 10 de febrero de 2019

Tomi Ungerer

Tomi Ungerer



Tomi Ungerer
(1931 - 2019)
Tomi Ungerer was born in Strasbourg in Alsace in 1931. He has lived and worked in New York, Canada, Ireland and Strasbourg and his work has been widely acclaimed with numerous honours and awards.
The world of Tomi Ungerer knows no borders.
Dynamically creative, his multifaceted career makes him difficult to categorize.

Tomi is an award winning illustrator and a trilingual author.
He has published over 140 books ranging from his much loved children’s books to his controversial adult work. He is famous for his sharp social satire and his witty aphorisms and he ranges from the fantastic to the autobiographical.

His career has also encompassed Architectural design, Invention, Advertising and Sculpture.

Ungerer’s work forms an important commentary on the social and political changes that have occurred since the second half of the 20th century.
He is renowned for his iconic Advertising campaigns and political posters against the Vietnam War and Racial Injustice which were representative of the burgeoning political consciousness in New York in the 1960’s.
His political engagement has continued to this day in campaigns against Racism and Fascism, for Nuclear disarmament, Ecology and numerous Humanitarian causes including important campaigns for European integration and in particular for Franco-German relations.
In 2003 the Council of Europe chose Tomi Ungerer as their first Ambassador for Childhood and Education and in 2007 the Tomi Ungerer Museum in Strasbourg opened its doors to the public and has since been voted one of the 10 best museums in Europe by the Council of Europe .

Tomi and his mother, 1931
Tomi Ungerer 1931


Jean-Thomas Ungerer, aka Tomi, is born in Strasbourg on November 28, the son of Alice (nee Essler) and artist, historian, engineer and astronomical clock manufacturer Theodore. A brother Bernard, eight years older and two sisters – Edith and Vivette, precede him.
Tomi Ungerer 1935

After the death of her husband, Madame Ungerer and her four children move to Logelbach, near Colmar.
Tomi’s drawings from 1939 – 1945 bear witness to his wartime experiences.
Tomi Ungerer 13931939-1948
In 1940, Alsace is annexed by the Germans, and Tomi undergoes Nazi indoctrination at his school in Colmar where French is forbidden. In winter 1944/45, he sees at first hand the battle to liberate the Colmar pocket, the last German Bridge head over the Rhine. His drawings from the time bear witness to these wartime experiences. French teaching is reinstated in schools. Speaking Alsation is banned at school.
Tomi joins the boy scouts and his Carnets (Notebooks) tell of numerous bicycle trips made throughout France.
Tomi Ungerer 19501950-51
After failing the second part of the Baccalauréat exam (in a school report, his headmaster describes him as a “willfully perverse and subversive individualist”), Tomi decides to hitchhike to the North Cape. In Lapland, he crosses the Russian lines. His drawings of the period are influenced by existentialism.
Tomi Ungerer 19521952-53
He joins the Méharistes (French Camel Corps) in Algeria, but is discharged after falling seriously ill. In October 1953 he goes to the Municipal School for Decorative Arts in Strasbourg. Tomi is kindly asked to leave after one year.
In 1954 – 55 Tomi became increasingly interested in the US.
Tomi Ungerer 19541954-55
Increasingly interested in the US, he starts visiting the American Cultural Centre and befriends American Fulbright students. He travels widely across Europe (to Iceland, Norway, Yugoslavia and Greece), hitchhiking and working on cargo vessels. Between trips Tomi earns a living as a window dresser and advertising artist for local businesses.
Tomi Ungerer 19561956
Tomi sets out for New York with 60 dollars in his pocket and what he later describes as a “trunk full of drawings and manuscripts”.
Ursula Nordstrom 19571957
He meets the children’s book editor Ursula Nordstrom at Harper and Row who publishes his first children’s book The Mellops go Flying. It is an immediate, award winning success. He does his first advertising campaign for Burroughs machines but also collaborates with numerous magazines such as Esquire, Life, Holiday, Harper’s, Sport’s Illustrated and The New York Times.
Tomi Ungerer 19581958 – 62
Tomi completes the Mellops series and publishes many other books for children, including Crictor, Adelaide, Emil, The Three Robbers and Rufus, which win numerous prizes, as well as satirical books like Horrible and The Underground Sketchbook. He begins a long-term collaboration with Daniel Keel of Zurich-based publisher Diogenes Verlag who has since become his main publisher.
Tomi Ungerer 19621962
He holds his first major exhibition in Berlin where he meets Willy Brandt and Günther Grass. Tomi becomes busily engaged in the Civil Rights movement against segregation and the Vietnam War. He publishes numerous posters which are notable for their radical stance.
Tomi Ungerer 19661966-67
(Self)Publication of The Party, a book in which Tomi expresses his aversion towards New York elite society as well as Fornicon. Tomi becomes the food editor for Playboy magazine. He is commissioned to create sculptures for the Canadian World’s Fair Pavilion. He rents a studio in Montreal where with Gordon Sheppard and Francois D’Allegret he created “The Wild Oats” a movie company.
Tomi gets married and moves to Nova Scotia in Canada where they start farming; an experience he later describes in Far Out isn’t Far Enough and Slow Agony. (1983)
In 1972 Tomi does drawings for the election campaign of Willy Brandt’s SPD party. Percy Adlon films Tomi Ungerer’s Landleben in Canada.
Tomi meets Robert Pütz with whom he will collaborate on numerous advertising campaigns.
Tomi Ungerer 19751975
Tomi renews his links with Alsace by donating a substantial part of his work and his toy collection to the Musées de Strasbourg. He illustrates Das Grosse Liederbuch, a collection of popular German songs which sells well over a million copies.
Tomi Ungerer 19761976
He moves permanently with his family to the Republic of Ireland.
Tomi Ungerer 19791979
Publication of the satirical works Babylon and Potitrics, also Abracadabra, a collection of advertising work done jointly with Robert Putz in Germany.
Tomi Ungerer 19811981
Retrospective exhibition at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs (Louvre) in Paris celebrates 25 years of Tomi Ungerer’s career. The exhibition moved to Munich where there were over 120,000 visitors, then to Düsseldorf, Hambourg Dublin and the Royal Festival Hall in London where one third of the show was closed down having met with strong objections.
Tomi Ungerer 19821982
Tomi is made a Commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters and is appointed Chargé de Mission by Jack Lang the French Minister of Culture.
Tomi films for Channel 4 (GB) with Celia Lowenstein a documentary called Fascination Fascism.
The Schwarzbuch is published by Stern and is awarded the prize of best political book of the year in Germany.
Tomi Ungerer 19831983
The Goethe Foundation in Basle awards him the Jacob Burckhardt prize.
Tomi Ungerer 19861986
After frequent trips to Hamburg, he draws and writes a book about the life of professional dominas called Schutzengel der Holle / The Guardian Angels of Hell.
Tomi Ungerer 19871987
Tomi is appointed Chargé de Mission by the French Ministry of Education.
Tomi Ungerer 19881988
He designs the Janus Aqueduct in Strasbourg, a monument celebrating 2000 years of the city’s existence and symbolizing its dual culture.
Tomi Ungerer 19901990
Tomi is awarded the Legion d’Honneur in Paris. He creates the Kultur Bank to promote Franco-German cultural exchanges. Tomi joins the interministerial board for Franco-German Relations, headed by the minister André Bord.
He publishes Amnesty Animal and he is made honorary president of the European SPCA.
Tomi Ungerer 19911991
Publication of À la Guerre Comme À La Guerre (Later published in English as Tomi, A Childhood Under the Nazis), a memoir of his experiences during World War 2 under the occupation of the Nazis.
Tomi donates another 4500 drawings and his collection of 2500 antique toys to the city of Strasbourg.
Tomi Ungerer 19921992-93
The American Biographical Institute lists him as one of “500 World Leaders of Influence”. He takes part in numerous humanitarian operations such as for the French Red Cross against AIDs and for Amnesty International.
He is awarded the Order of the Deutsches Bundesverdienstdreuz for his work in the field of Franco-German relations.
Tomi Ungerer 19941994
Publication of Poster, a collection of all his advertising work.
Tomi Ungerer 19951995
In France, he is awarded the National Prize for Graphic Arts by the Ministry of Culture.
Tomi Ungerer 19961996
A colloquium is devoted to his work at the National Library in France.
Tomi Ungerer 19971997
Publication of Flix, Tomi’s first children’s book since 1970.
Tomi Ungerer 19981998
He is awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Prize, the most prestigious children’s literature prize. An evening is devoted to his work on Arte, the renowned Franco-German television arts channel.
Tomi Ungerer 19991999
He is awarded the European prize for Culture. He designs a kindergarten in the shape of a cat for the city of Karlsruhe.
Tomi Ungerer 20002000
Tomi is promoted to Officer of the Legion d’Honneur.
Tomi Ungerer 20012001
Tomi exhibits in Tokyo at the Itabashi Art Museum.
Taschen publishes Erotoscope, a large collection of his erotic work to commemorate his 70th birthday.
He has an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Strasbourg entitled Tomi Ungerer et New York.
Le Nuage Bleue is made into an animated film.
Tomi Ungerer 20022002
Tomi and Freddie Raphael create the European Centre of Yiddish Culture.
Tomi Ungerer 20032003
Tomi donates his private collection of over 3000 documents about fascism and its origins to the Bibliothèque Departementale du Bas Rhin.
As Ambassador for the Region of Alsace, he is decorated with the Cross of Baden Wurttemberg.
Tomi is named Ambassador for Childhood and Education by the Council of Europe and he drafts the Declaration of Children’s Rights.
Tomi Ungerer 20042004
Tomi is awarded the Erich Käistner Literary Prize.
He is awarded an honorary Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Karlsruhe.
Tomi Ungerer 20072007
Tomi donates his personal library of over 1500 volumes, which were incorporated into the Tomi Ungerer museum which opened this same year. The Tomi Ungerer Museum in Strasbourg is unique because it is the first time in French history that a government-funded museum has been established on behalf of a living artist. It was financed by the City of Strasbourg and the French Ministry of Culture. With a stock of over 8000 drawings, the museum changes its exhibit every 4 months and is curated by Dr. Therese Willer.
A full-length animated movie of The Three Robbers comes out in Cinemas in France and Germany.
Tomi is awarded the Franco-German prize for Journalism in Berlin and the Prize of the Berlin Academy presented by the eminent German art critic Werner Speis.
Tomi has a Retrospective Exhibition including his new sculptures at the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl near Cologne.
Musee Tomi Ungerer Strasbourg2009
The Tomi Ungerer Museum is chosen by a Council of Europe Architectural Commission as one of the top ten museums in Europe.
- Legion d'Honneur France (1990)
- Order of the Deutsches Bundesverdienstdreuz Germany (1993)
- National Prize for Graphic Arts France (1995)
- Hans Christian Andersen Prize for children's literature (1998)
- European Prize for Culture (1999)
- Officer of the Legion d'Honneur France (2000)
- Named Goodwill Ambassador for Childhood and Education of  Council of Europe (2003)
- Erich Käistner Literary Prize (2004)
- Awarded an honorary Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Karlsruhe (2004)


Tomi Ungerer is multi-talented creative force.
Best known as an author, he has published over 140 books ranging from his much-loved children’s books to his controversial adult work. He is famous for his sharp social satire and his witty aphorisms and he ranges from the fantastic to the autobiographical. Tomi writes in French, English and German. His books have been translated into over 28 languages.
He is also an illustrator, a sculptor, an inventor, an achitectural designer and was highly successful in advertising. His work is recognised worldwide and a significant body of his art is on exhibition in The Musee Tomi Ungerer in Strasbourg.


Tomi’s Books give a wonderful insight into his creative genius, never resting on his laurels he is always pushing boundaries, challenging us and exploring humanity. His sharp wit and satirical tone is compelling engaging and sometimes uncomfortable…
Harper and Row published Tomi’s first children’s book in 1957, “The Mellops Go Flying”, which was an immediate and award winning success. Since then, Tomi has published over 30 Children’s books including classics such as “The Three Robbers”, “Moonman” and “Crictor”. In 1998, he was awarded the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Prize for children’s literature.
The bulk of his work has been published since 1958 by Diogenes Verlag in Zurich.
Tomi has also published many other genres of books making his work difficult to pigeonhole or categorize. His published work charts a diverse path; from books documenting different chapters in his life such as “A Childhood Under the Nazis” to books of social satire such as “The Party” and books expressing his views on animal welfare such as “Amnesty Animal”.
While Tomi’s books have continued to be published in many languages, his work fell out of favour in the English language speaking world until recently. In 2008, Phaidon started to re-issue Tomi’s books, starting with his back catalogue of children’s books, determined to bring “the most famous children’s book author you have never heard of” back into the limelight!



Otto – The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear published in English for the first time by Phaidon. This childrens classsic is a powerful and beautiful book told first-hand by Otto, a German-born teddy bear who is separated from his Jewish owner, lives through World War II, and is reunited with his original owner 50 years later.
This is an autobiographical tale of a teddy bear named Otto.
Otto is a German-born teddy bear. His first memories are of being stitched together and being given to David, a Jewish boy living in Germany before WWII. David and his best-friend Oskar always play with Otto, using him for pranks, games and even teaching him to type on a typewriter. Life is a lot of fun for the Otto.
However, one day, David starts to wear a yellow star on his jacket. He and his parents are soon carted away by men in leather coats and uniforms. David decides to give his dear teddy bear to Oskar.
Many lonely days pass for Oskar and Otto. But even gloomier days soon arrive when Osakar’s father is drafted into the army and the bombings start.
One day, a sudden explosion sends Otto flying through the air and into the middle a raging battle-field. The teddy bear is spotted by a soldier, but the moment the soldier picks Otto up, they are both shot through the chest. Otto and the soldier, an American G.I., are taken away to a hospital.
In hospital, the soldier keeps Otto by his side. When he recovers, he pins a medal on Otto’s chest, saying that Otto saved his life, taking the brunt of the bullet. The story makes papers and Otto becomes a mascot of the soldier’s regiment. The teddy bear is then taken to America and is given to a sweet girl called Jasmin, the soldier’s daughter.
But Otto’s new home and happiness is once again brutally ended when he is snatched away by mean and violent street urchins, who hit and trample on him and throw him into a bin. Otto is then picked up by an antiques dealer and taken to his shop.
Years and years go by, until one rainy evening, when a bulky man stops and carefully examines the shop window. The man recognizes the bear instantly buys him. It is Oskar, Otto’s old friend.
The story of Oskar, a German tourist and survivor of the war finding his teddy bear in America soon makes the papers. And the day after Otto’s picture appears in the paper, Oskar’s telephone rings: it is his old friend David. And so, the three friends finally reunite, sharing the sorrows and pains of war and living a peaceful and happy life together. Otto now keeps himself busy, typing the story of his life on David’s typewriter.
Children will become attached to this loving, innocent protagonist, and will naturally be interested in his life story. Tomi Ungerer deals with one of the darkest chapters of history and pulls off the challenge admirably. This tale will prompt reflection and important questions without causing undue fear.

Moon Man

Moon Man is a beautiful and timeless childrens classic. A gentle satire that tells of the adventures of the Moon Man, who leaves his “shimmering seat in space,” catches the “fiery tail” of a passing comet, and lands on earth to sample the activities that he has longingly observed from above…
Moon man has been translated into twelve languages since it was first published. The book was written and illustrated by the award winning childrens author Tomi Ungerer. Now re-published by Phaidon this childrens classic is once more available in English.
Moon Man won the Book Week prize for books for children aged 4-8 when it was first published in 1967 and Maurice Sendak described it as ‘Easily one of the best picture books in recent years‘.

The Three Robbers

The Three Robbers tells the story of three fierce black-clad robbers who terrorize and plunder the countryside, armed with a blunderbuss, a pepper blower, and a huge red axe…
The Three Robbers has been translated into sixteen languages and has sold millions of copies in the 45 years since it was first published. The book was written and illustrated by the award winning childrens author Tomi Ungerer. Now re-published by Phaidon this childrens classic is once more available in English.


Delightful and artistically nourishing.” –The New York Times Book Review, December 21, 2008
Though he has never been much out of it, the spotlight seems to be shining particularly brightly right now on Mr. Ungerer … Both Mr. Ungerer’s approach and his visual style — inspired by Saul Steinberg, with elements of George Grosz and Paul Klee — seemed to have seeped into the DNA of children s literature.” –The New York Times, July 27, 2008
Ungerer is a wizard at whittling a story down to its smoothest, most streamlined essence, as shown in this reissued tale of a trio of ruthless highwaymen … This master class in storytelling should be required reading not just for children, but current children’s-book authors.” –Cookie Magazine, November 2008


This is a selected Bibliography of Tomi Ungerer's work and is divided into Childrens Books written and illustrated by Tomi, Childrens Books illustrated by Tomi, Books for Adults written and illustrated by Tomi,  Books for Adults illustrated by Tomi, Texts by Tomi, books about Tomi and Catalogues of principle exhibitions.
This selected bibliography was compiled by Thérèse Willer of the Musée Tomi Ungerer in Strasbourg. For expediency, it does not attempt to catalogue the publication of every translation as Tomi's books have been translated into many languages.
Children’s Books Written and Illustrated by Tomi Ungerer
The Mellops Go Flying, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1957.
Sechs kleine Schweine, Munich, Georg Lentz Verlag, 1962.
Mr Mellops baut ein Flugzeug, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1978.
Les Mellops font de l’avion, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1979.
The Mellops Go Diving For Treasure, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1957.
Die Mellops auf Schatzsuche, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1979.
The Mellops Strike Oil, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1958.
Familie Mellops findet Öl, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1978.
Les Mellops trouvent du pétrole, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1980.
Crictor, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1958.
Crictor, Munich, Georg Lentz Verlag, 1959.
Crictor, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1963.
Crictor, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1978.
Adelaide, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1959.
Adélaide, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1978.
Adelaide, das fliegende Känguruh, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1980.
Christmas Eve at the Mellops, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1960.
Familie Mellops feiert Weihnachten, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1978.
Les Mellops fêtent Noël, Paris, L’École des loisirs, « Lutin poche », 1980.
Emil, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1960.
Émile, Paris, L’École des loisirs, « Lutin poche », 1978.
Emil, der hilfreiche Krake, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, Kinder-detebe, 1980.
Rufus, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1961.
Rufus, die farbige Fledermaus, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, Kinder-detebe, 1980.
Die drei Räuber, Munich, Georg Lentz Verlag, 1961.
The Three Robbers, New York, Atheneum Publishers, 1962.
Die drei Räuber, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1963.
Les Trois Brigands, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1968.
Snail, Where Are You?, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1962.
Escargot, où es-tu ?, Paris, Circonflexe, « Aux couleurs du monde », 1992.
The Mellops Are Spelunking, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1963.
Die Mellops als Höhlenforscher, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, Kinder-detebe, 1978.
Les Mellops spéléologues, Paris, L’École des loisirs, « Lutin poche », 1980.
One, Two, Where’s My Shoe?, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1964.
Une chaussure sachant se cacher, Paris, Circonflexe, « Aux couleurs du monde »,1992.
Orlando, the Brave Vulture, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1966.
Orlando, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1978.
Orlando, der brave Geier, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, Kinder-detebe, 1980.
Der Mondmann, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1966.
Moon Man, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1967.
Jean de la Lune, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1969.
Zeralda’s Ogre, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1967.
Zeralda’s Riese, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1970.
Le Géant de Zeralda, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1971.
Ask Me a Question, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1968.
The Hat, New York, Parent’s Magazine Press, 1970.
Le Chapeau volant, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1971.
Der Hut, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1972.
I’m Papa Snap And These My Favourite No Such Stories, New York, Harper & Row, 1971.
Papa Schnapp und seine noch-nie-dagewesenen Geschichten, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1973.
Les Histoires farfelues de Papaski, Paris, Tournai, Casterman, 1977.
The Beast of Monsieur Racine, New York, Farar, Straus and Giroux, 1971.
Das Biest des Monsieur Racine, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1972.
La Grosse Bête de monsieur Racine, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1972.
No Kiss for Mother, New York, Harper & Row, 1973.
Kein Kuss für Mutter, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1974.
Pas de baiser pour Maman, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1979.
A Storybook From Tomi Ungerer. A Selection of Old And New Fairy Tales,New York, Franklin Watts, 1974.
Tomi Ungerers Märchenbuch, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1975.
Allumette, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1974.
Allumette, New York, Parents Magazine Press, 1974.
Allumette, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1974.
Tomi Ungerers fünf fabelhafte FabeltiereCrictor, Adelaide, Emil, Rufus, Orlando, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1980.
Flix, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1997.
Flix, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1997.
Flix, Niwot (Colorado), Roberts Rinehart Publishing Group, 1998.
Tremolo, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1998.
Trémolo, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1998.
Tremolo, Niwot (Colorado), Roberts Rinehart Publishing Group, 1998.
Otto, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1999.
Otto, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1999.
Die Blaue Wolke, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 2000.
Le Nuage bleu, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 2000.
Neue Freunde, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 2007.
Amis-amies, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 2007.
Children’s Books llustrated by Tomi Ungerer
Millicent E. Selsam, Seeds and More Seeds, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1959.
Mary Stolz, Fredou, New York, Harper & Row, 1962.
Miriam Ungerer, Tomi Ungerer, Come into my Parlor, New York, Atheneum, 1963.
William Cole, Frances Face Maker, Cleveland, New York, World Publishing, 1963.
John Hollander, A Book of Various Owls, New York, W. W. Norton & Co., 1963.
Jerome Beatty, The Clambake Mutiny, New York, Young Scott Books, 1964.
Jeff Brown, Flat Stanley, New York, Harper & Row, 1964.
Id., Der flache Franz, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1980.
William Cole, Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls, Cleveland, New York, World Publishing Co., 1964.
Barbara Brenner, Mr. Tall & Mr. Small, New York, Young Scott Books, Addison Wesley Publishing Co., 1966.
William Cole, Oh, what Nonsense!, New York, The Viking Press, 1966.
André Hodeir, Warwick’s Three Bottles, New York, Grove Press, 1966.
Id., Warwick und die drei Flaschen, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1967.
Id., les Trois Bouteilles de Warwick, Paris, Circonflexe, 1993.
William Cole, What’s Good For A Four-Year-Old?, New York, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1967.
Id., Vieles gibt’s, das jederzeit vier Jahre alte Kinder freut!, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1969.
William Cole, Look! Look! The Giggle Book, Dublin, The Obrien Press, 1967.
André Hodeir, Cleopatra Goes Sledding, New York, Grove Press, 1967.
Id., Kleopatra fährt Schlitten, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1982.
Edouard Lear, Lear’s Nonsense Verses, New York, Grosset & Dunlap, 1967.
William Cole, A Case of the Giggles. Rhymes Giggles, Nonsense Giggles, Limerick Giggles and Joke Giggles, Cleveland, New York, World Publishing Co., 1967.
Jean B. Showalter [adapté par], The Donkey Ride, New York, Doubleday Publishing Co., 1967.
Id., Der Bauer und der Esel, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1971.
Id., le Paysan, son fils et l’âne, Paris, L’École des loisirs, « Lutin poche », 1975.
Barbara Hazen, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, New York, Lancelot Press, 1969.
Id., Der Zauberlehrling, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1971.
Barbara Hazen et Adolphe Chagot, l’Apprenti sorcier, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1971.
William Cole, That Pest Jonathan, New York, Harper & Row, 1970.
William Cole, Oh, How Silly!, New York, The Viking Press, 1970.
William Cole, Oh, That’s ridiculous!, New York, The Viking Press, 1972.
Johanna Spyri, Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1978.
Id., Heidi, Monts et Merveilles, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1979.
Id., Heidi, Tonbridge (Kent), Ernst Benn Ltd, 1983.
Johanna Spyri, Heidi kann brauchen, was es gelernt hat, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1978.
Id., Heidi devant la vie, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1979.
Das kleine Kinderliederbuch, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1979.
Das lustige Diogenes Schulfibel, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1980.
Bernhard Lassahn, Das grosse Buch der kleinen Tiere, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1989.
Janosch, Das grosse Buch vom Schabernack, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1990.
Books for Adults
Horrible. An Account of the Sad Achievements of Progress, New York, Atheneum Publishers, 1960.
Tomi Ungerer’s Weltschmerz. Eine Bilanz der traurigen Errungenschaften des Fortschritts, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1961.
Inside Marriage, New York, Grove Press, 1960.
Der schönste Tag, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1960.
Ho Ho Hochzeit, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1971.
Der Herzinfarkt. Ein Stundenbuch für Geschäftsleute, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1962.
Der erfolgreiche Geschäftsmann. Ein Stundenbuch für Managers, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1976.
The Underground Sketchbook, New York, The Viking Press, 1964.
Les Carnets secrets de Tomi Ungerer, Paris, Denoël, 1964.
Tomi Ungerer’s Geheimes Skizzenbuch, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1968.
Der Sexmaniak, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1968.
The Party, New York, Paragraphic Books, Grossman Publishers, 1966.
The Party, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1969.
Une soirée mondaine, Paris, Albin Michel, 1976.
Fornicon, New York, Grove Press, 1970.
Fornicon, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1970.
Fornicon, Paris, éd. Jean-Claude Simoën, 1978.
Tomi Ungerer’s Compromises, New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970.
Tomi Ungerer’s Kompromisse, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1970.
Spiegelmensch. Ein deutsches Wintermärchen, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1973.
Adam und Eva, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1974.
America. Zeichnungen 1956-1971, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1974.
Freut Euch des Lebens101 Skizzen und Studien für ein deutsches Volks- und Kinderliederbuch, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1975.
Hopp, hopp, hopp. Liederliche Liederskizzen, Cologne (édition privée), 1975.
Totempole. Erotische Zeichnungen 1968-1975, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1976.
I Designi di Tomi Ungerer, Milan, A. Garzanti, 1976.
Cartoon Classics, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1977.
Babylon, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1979.
Babylone, Paris, Arthur Hubschmidt éditeur, 1979.
Politrics. Posters, cartoons 1960-1979, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1979.
Abracadabra, Cologne, Argos Verlag, 1979.
Abracadra, Paris, éd. Jean-Claude Simoën, 1979.
Symptomatics, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1982.
Cartoon Classics, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1982.
Tomi Ungerers Cartoons, Munich, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 1982.
Das Kamasutra der Frösche, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1982.
The Joy of Frogs, Londres, Souvenir Press, 1984.
Frisch, frosch, fröhlich, frei, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1985.
Les Grenouillades, Paris, Herscher, 1985.
Slow Agony, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1983.
Heute hier, morgen fort Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1983.
Far Out Isn’t Far Enough, Londres, Methuen, 1984.
Nos années de boucherie, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1987.
Rigor Mortis, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1983.
Tomi Ungerers Schwarzbuch, Hambourg, Gruner und Jahr AG & Co, 1984.
Tomi Ungerers Frauen. Zeichnungen 1956-1983, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1984.
Roberto Trulli [pseudonyme de T. Ungerer], Femme fatale, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1984.
Once in a Lifetime, Londres, Jonathan Cape Ltd, 1984.
Testament. A Collection of Satirical Drawings 1960-1980, Londres, Jonathan Cape, 1985.
Testament. Recueil de dessins satiriques 1960-1980, Paris, Herscher, 1985.
Warteraum. Wiedersehen mit dem Zauberberg, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1985.
Schutzengel der Hölle, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1986.
Tomi Ungerers Fundsachen, Ellert & Richter, Hambourg, 1987.
Derby, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1987.
L’Alsace en torts et de travers, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1988.
Schnipp-Schnapp, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1989.
Clic-Clac, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1989.
Tomi Ungerers Tierleben, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1990.
Les Animaux de Tomi Ungerer, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1990.
Photographies 1960-1990, Heidelberg, Braus, 1990.
Amnesty Animal, Bâle, Schweitzer Tierschutz, 1990.
Tomi Ungerers Hintereinander, Munich, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 1991.
À la guerre comme à la guerre. Dessins et souvenirs d’enfance, Strasbourg, La Nuée bleue/DNA, 1991.
Die Gedanken sind frei. Meine Kindheit im Elsass, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1993.
Tomi. A Childhood Under the Nazis, Niwot (Colorado), éd. Roberts Rinehart, 1998.
Fatras, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Les Vents d’ouest, 1991.
Tomi Ungerers Erzählungen für Erwachsene, Munich, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 1992.
Poster, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1994.
Affiches, Paris, L’École des loisirs, 1994.
Das liederliche Liederbuch, Munich, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 1994.
Cats as Cats Can, Niwot (Colorado), éd. Roberts Rinehart, 1997.
Katzen, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1998.
Les Chats, Paris, Le Cherche-midi, 1998.
Europolitain, Strasbourg, Anstett, 1998.
Hallali, Strasbourg, Argentoratum, 1999.
Erotoscope, Cologne, Taschen Verlag, 2001.
Cœur à cœur, Paris, Le Cherche-midi, 2004.
Vögel, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 2004.
Expect the Unexpected, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 2006.
Mes cathédrales, Strasbourg, La Nuée bleue/DNA, 2007.
Books for Adults Illustrated by Tomi Ungerer
[This list doesn’t include the many book jackets designed by Tomi Ungerer for Diogenes.]
Art Buchwald, The Brave Coward, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1957.
James Agee, Agee On Film, New York, McDowell/Obolensky, 1958.
Paul Rothenhäusler, Amerika für Anfänger. Ein Schnellkurs für Europäer,Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1960.
Dick West, The Backside of Washington, New York, Doubleday and Company Inc., 1961.
Esquire’s Book of Gambling [sous la direction de David Newman et d’Esquire Magazine], New York, Harper & Brothers, 1962.
Bergen Evans, Comfortable Words, New York, Random House, 1962.
Bennett Cerf, Riddle De Dee, New York, Random House, 1962.
Esquire’s All About Women [sous la direction de Saul Maloff et d’Esquire Magazine], New York, Harper & Row, 1963.
William Cole, A Cat Hater’s Handbook, New York, The Dial Press, 1963.
Ambrose Bierce, Die Spottdrossel, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1963.
Jerome Beatty, The Girls We Leave Behind, New York, Doubleday & Company Inc., 1963.
Silas Spitzer, Holiday Handbook of Adventures in Home Cooking, New York, Holiday Magazine, The Curtis Publishing Co., 1964.
Robert Thomsen, Games Anyone?, New York, Doubleday & Company Inc., 1964.
Paul Hencke, Tait Trussel, Dear N.A.S.A. Please Send Me a Rocket, New York, E. P. Dutton & Co., 1964.
The Monocle Peep Show [sous la direction de R. Lingeman & V. Navasky, conception : Gips & Danne], New York, London, Toronto, Bantam Book, 1965.
Kenneth F. Canfield, Selections from French Poetry, Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, Harvey House, 1965.
Curzio Malaparte, Nicht wahr? [édité et compilé par Tomi Ungerer], New York, Paragraphic Books Grossman Publishers, 1966.
Miriam Ungerer, The Too Hot to Cook Book, New York, Walker & Co., 1966.
Herbert Feuerstein, New York für Anfänger, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1969.
[Anonyme], School Life in Paris & Lovely Nights of Young Girls, New York, Grove Press, 1970.
A. W. Troelstrup, The Consumer in American Society, New York, McGrave-Hill, 1970.
Alice Vollenweider, Aschenbrödelsküche, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1971.
Rainer Brambach, Frank Geerk, Kneipenlieder, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1974.
Das grosse Liederbuch, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1975.
The Great Song Book, London, Ernest Benn, 1978.
Ben Witter, Liebesdienste, Hambourg, Hoffmann und Campe, 1976.
Alfred Limbach, Der Furz, Argos Press, Cologne, 1980.
Martin Graff, Vertiges, Strasbourg, BF éditions, 1984.
Danièle Brison, Tony Schneider, Jean-Louis Schneider, la Cuisine alsacienne,Strasbourg, Bueb & Reumaux, 1985.
Adrien Finck, Der Sprachlose, Kehl, Strasbourg, Bâle, Morstadt Verlag, 1985.
Adrien Finck, Fremdsprache, Hildesheim, New York, Olms Presse, 1988.
Eva Demski, Katzenbuch, Francfort, Frankfurter Verlaganstalt, 1992.
Dieter Wenz, Die Grenzen in den Köpfen, Bühl/Moos, Elster Verlag, 1992.
Lucien Baumann, Au rendez-vous de Samarcande, Strasbourg, Oberlin, 1995.
Anne Schmucke, Das grosse Katzenbuch, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1995.
Conrad Winter, Laconismes, Strasbourg, BF éditions, 1996.
Irenaüs Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Gewalt und Fürsorglichkeit, Zurich, Vontobel Stiftung, 1996.
Hans Peter B. Stuts, Flatterhaftes, Zurich, Vontobel Stiftung, 1998.
Gabrielle Herrmann, Hören, Zurich, Vontobel Stiftung, 1999.
Gabrielle Herrmann, Sehen, Zurich, Vontobel Stiftung, 2000.
Gabrielle Herrmann, Rücken, Zurich, Vontobel Stiftung, 2000.
Martin Meyer, Maestro, Zurich, Vontobel Stiftung, 2001.
Susanna Heimgartner, Unmässig gefrässig, Zurich, Vontobel Stiftung, 2002.
Robert Pütz, Du sagst es !, Cologne, Verlag der Buchhandlung König, 2003.
Claude Mollard, le Très Grand Véda, Paris, Gallimard, 2004.
Zvi Kolitz, Jossel Rakovers Wendung zu Gott, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 2004.
Robert Pütz, Es ist, wie es ist, Cologne, Verlag der Buchhandlung König, 2005.
Iso Camartin, Heimat, Zurich, Vontobel Stiftung, 2007.
Texts by Tomi Ungerer
Vracs, Paris, Le Cherche-midi, 2001.
Acadie, Paris, Le Cherche-midi, 2002.
De père en fils, Strasbourg, La Nuée bleue/DNA, 2002.
Es war einmal mein Vater, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 2003.
Books about Tomi Ungerer
Nishio Tadahisa, Tomi Ungerer, Tokyo, Seibundo-Shinkosha, 1967.
Jack Rennert, The Poster Art of Tomi Ungerer, New York, Darien House, 1971.
Id., The Poster Art of Tomi Ungerer, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1972.
Das Tomi Ungerer Bilder- und Lesebuch, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1981.
Patrick Hamm, les Cartes postales de Tomi Ungerer, Strasbourg, Éditions du Rhin, 1991.
Tomi Ungerer. Zum 60. Geburtstag, Zurich, Diogenes Verlag, 1991.
Paul Boeglin, Mon Alsace, Strasbourg, La Nuée bleue/DNA, 1997.
Catalogues from Tomi Ungerer’s Principal Exhibitions
Karikaturen, Zurich, Benteli AG, 1972 ; exp. Zurich, Kunsthaus, 16 septembre-19 novembre 1972.
Tomi Ungerer, Strasbourg, éditions des Musées de Strasbourg, 1975 ; exp. Strasbourg, Ancienne Douane/musée d’Art moderne, 28 septembre-9 novembre 1975.
Tomi Ungerer, Cologne, Argos Press, 1981 ; exp. Paris, musée des Arts décoratifs, 29 avril-27 juillet 1981.
Tomi Ungerer Cartoons, Gifkendorf, Merlin Verlag, 1981 ; exp. Hanovre, Wilhelm-Busch-Museum, 13 septembre 1981-10 janvier 1982.
33Spective, Strasbourg, Anstett, 1990 ; exp. Angoulême, Centre d’action culturelle « Les Plateaux », 20 avril-30 mai 1990.
Photographies 1960-1990 [sous la direction de Reinhold Misselbeck et Rainer Wick], Heidelberg, éditions Braus, 1990.
Jouets mécaniques métalliques. Donation Tomi Ungerer, Strasbourg, éditions des Musées de Strasbourg, 1993 ; exp. « Les jouets s’amusent », Strasbourg, Musée historique de Strasbourg, 3 juillet 1993-24 juin 1994.
Zeichnungen ! Tomi Ungerer. Schmuckstücke ! Günter Krauss, Stuttgart, Günter Krauss Schmuck, 1993.
Tomi Ungerer. Das Spiel ist aus. Werkschau 1956-1995, Marburg, Jonas Verlag, 1995 ; exp. Hanovre, Wilhelm-Busch-Museum, 18 juin-20 août 1995.
Tomi Ungerer. Zwischen Marianne und Germania, Munich, Prestel Verlag, 1999 ; exp. Hambourg, Kunstgewerbemuseum, 18 décembre 1999-18 février 2000.
Tomi Ungerer, Tokyo, Itabashi Art Museum, 2001 ; exp. Tokyo, The Asahi Shimbun Company, 24 février-25 mars 2001.
Tomi Ungerer et New York, Strasbourg, Musées de Strasbourg/La Nuée bleue, 2001 ; exp. Strasbourg, musée d’Art moderne et contemporain, 19 octobre 2001-13 janvier 2002.
With thanks to Thérèse Willer who compiled this selected bibliography.

Tomi Ungerer, 
rennaisance man of children's book illustration

The prolific author and illustrator is a goodwill ambassador for the Council of Europe and there's a museum in Strasbourg dedicated to his work. His 'fables' deserve greater recognition. 

By Joanna Carey
The Guardian, Friday 24 February 2012

illustration from The Three Robbers
'A timeless ­humour, appeal and relevance' … an illustration from Tomi Ungerer'sThe Three Robbers

With more than 150 books to his name, and a CV jangling with prestigious awards – including a European prize for culture and a Hans Christian Andersen award for children's literature – the versatile, trilingual, prolific and hugely influential author and illustrator Tomi Ungerer, now 80 years old, is something of a legend.

He's an officer of the Légion d'honneur and a Council of Europe goodwill ambassador for childhood and education. In Strasbourg, there's a museum dedicated to his work. He has lived in Ireland since 1975, so it's puzzling that in Britain he is virtually unknown.

Back in the 1970s my sons would frequently pore over an Ungerer book called No Kiss for Mother. Inspired by Ungerer's own memories, it's about a rebellious schoolboy kitten who loathes being kissed and cuddled. With its ruthless humour and wickedly funny, crepuscular pencil drawings, it had an anarchic, underground feeling, startlingly different from other children's books of the time. With schoolyard scenes of fighting, bloodshed, catapults and smoking, it reached the parts that other books didn't, and the gimlet-eyed kitten on the cover has an insolent expression that you'll recognise if you've ever been a teacher.

I've since tried to buy another copy, but it is long out of print. One publisher admitted to being a little wary of the "crazy" humour in some of Ungerer's books – in particular, his habit of including surprising, sometimes inexplicable details in his spreads. This, Ungerer says, keeps his readers on the alert: "Curiosity is vital. The finest gift you can give your children is a magnifying glass, so with a little effort they can make their own discoveries." To make it too easy is to curb the instinct to explore. So it's a cause for celebration that Phaidon Press is now republishing his books.

When we meet, Ungerer, having recently returned from an exhibition of his work at the Eric Carle Museum in Massachusetts, tells me he is enjoying something of a renaissance. Tall, white-haired and striking in his all-black attire, he resembles a latterday Franz Liszt, but instead of the composer's trademark silver-topped cane, Ungerer carries a walking stick with a stainless-steel doorhandle.

He apologises in advance for talking too much – he thinks I'll soon have had enough of the mordant humour that has long been his defence mechanism, along with aphorisms such as "you are what you make", "expect the unexpected" and "hope is a four letter word". "Don't hope, cope," he tells me twice – urging me to stop him if he repeats himself. But he's unstoppable, with an energy fuelled, he says, by anxiety and insecurity.

Born in Alsace, Ungerer had an eventful childhood. When the Germans occupied that French region in 1940, his mother tongue became a forbidden language. "Suddenly I was a refugee in my own country." Everyone had to learn German immediately, and schoolchildren were subjected to hideous Nazi indoctrination. His first assignment under this regime was to draw "a Jew".

Drawing has always been second nature to him, and at nine he became, in effect, a sort of junior war artist, visually recording life under German occupation – including the allied bombing, tanks, guns, ruined houses, flames – and creating caricatures of German soldiers. His detailed observational drawings are astonishing in their confident handling of perspective, composition and atmosphere – and the menacing tilt of war planes curving through the sky. His mother preserved those drawings, and in his book Tomi: A Childhood Under the Nazis, they illuminate his experiences in a way that few written accounts could match. The appalling things he witnessed left him with a desire to see an end to prejudice, intolerance, and what he calls the "absurdity of war", and he expressed these themes powerfully in his storytelling.

After the war, Ungerer explored Europe. Attracted by the US and the work of Saul Steinberg, he set off for New York, arriving in 1956 with "just $60 and a trunkful of drawings and manuscripts". He found instant success with a series of children's books about the adventures of an unsinkable family of French pigs, the Mellops, and their sausage dog. He also wrote Crictor (1958), the much-loved story of an old lady with a pet boa constrictor, has an engaging, quirky humour, and the detailed line drawings have an airy, delicate Parisian feel.

In New York, Ungerer swiftly became an award-winning, innovative graphic designer and illustrator for newspapers and magazines, and before long a leading figure in the world of advertising. He is dazzlingly multi-faceted, having also worked as an architect, painter and sculptor. Describing himself as an "archivist of human absurdity", his interests take in engineering, geology, watercolour painting, political satire and birdwatching. During a challenging period of self-sufficiency on a farm in Nova Scotia, he added pig farming and welding to his list of skills. His robust account of this period, Far Out Isn't Far Enough, is accompanied by fluid, atmospheric illustrations, and is further proof that he thrives on challenge.

In the 60s and 70s, he designed numerous posters, including one for Stanley Kubrick's film, Dr Strangelove. The immediacy of poster art enabled him to express with passion his rage about such things as the war in Vietnam, civil rights and segregation. But his outspoken radical views and political activism, and his interest in China, raised suspicions. He was also spotted playing poker with the Cuban ambassador, and he enjoys telling a cloak-and-dagger story of being apprehended by the FBI at a railway station in New York.

In addition, his controversial erotic drawings met with opprobrium; his children's books, having been hugely popular, were banned from the libraries, and allowed to go out of print. He was denounced as a commie and a beatnik – as he puts it, in a heavily accented stage-whisper: "At that time, my European sensibilities weren't appreciated or understood by the Americans." Years later, in London, there was a fuss when an exhibition of his work, having been well received at the Louvre in Paris, moved to the Royal Festival Hall. The controversial aspects not only raised eyebrows but also lowered the curtain on a third of the show.

Ungerer describes his children's stories as fables. There's always a message, and as a former adman he knows exactly how to deliver it. One of his finest books, now republished by Phaidon, is The Three Robbers (1963). The easy-to-read pictures are bold, with arresting, almost abstract composition and emotive use of flat colour.

Seen in scary silhouette, the eponymous robbers work by night on the highway, smashing carriages, terrifying passengers and stealing their riches. But one night, they stop a carriage that has just one small passenger, an orphan on her way to stay with a wicked aunt.

Tiffany is delighted to meet the robbers – this is an exquisite, pivotal moment in the narrative, in which fear evaporates, and text and illustration embrace. Finding no riches, the Robbers take the child and make her comfortable in their cave. When Tiffany discovers all the stolen treasure pointlessly stashed away there, she questions the robbers' intentions. She, of course, knows right from wrong, and soon the money is put to good use buying a splendid castle that becomes a happy home for all lost, unhappy and abandoned children. It is a perfectly pitched parable.

Moon Man (1966) is equally powerful. Having watched enviously as the people on earth enjoy themselves, the Man in the Moon daringly dives down to join them. Crash-landing on Earth, he's not welcomed, but regarded as an undesirable alien and put behind bars. There is an inspired moment when, sitting alone in his prison cell, Moon Man begins to get smaller. "Why, I must be in my third quarter," he thinks happily. Day by day he gets thinner and is soon able to slip through the bars.

Although they were first published decades ago, these beautiful, thought-provoking books have a timeless humour, appeal and relevance, and are accessible at all levels of understanding.

When he draws, Ungerer never uses an eraser, preferring to redraw something as often as 30 times to get it right, but without losing the spontaneity. He is rarely satisfied, and hates to look back at his work. Sure enough, when I am leafing through The Three Robbers with him, he seizes the touching picture of Tiffany gently cradled in the robber's arms, and finds fault with it. "That's not how I would do it now," he says with a rueful smile.


.ungerer_tomiungerer_3-1ungerer black powertomi-ungererTomi-Ungerer-Ohne-Titel_kleintumblr_m7s42lMRfr1r68b0fo1_1280Tomi Ungerer. Testament (Extraits de Fornicon). 05T.Ungererp25
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