The Radio Family
Translated by Mike Mitchell
Afterword: Joseph McVeigh
400 pp, 5.5 x 8.5 inches 0
ISBN : 9780857421913
Rs 595.00 (HB)
The Radio Family was a radio soap opera that was broadcast by Radio Rot-Weiss-Rot (Red-White-Red) in the American sector of occupied Vienna in the 1950s. Presumably conceived as a contribution to the re-education of the population after the defeat of the Nazis, the programmes focused on the Florianis, an Ã¯Â¿Â½ordinaryÃ¯Â¿Â½ middle-class Viennese family, Ã¯Â¿Â½eavesdroppingÃ¯Â¿Â½ on them in their everyday life. Topics of current interest were regularly introduced in an incidental manner. The series was a great success with the public, so much so that when Austria regained its independence in 1955 the newly established Austrian Radio found that it could not simply axe the programme and it continued to be broadcast until 1960. Ingeborg Bachmann was at the beginning of her writing career when she became a member of the script team of three in 1951. The fifteen scripts she contributed were thought lost until they turned up in the literary estate of one of the other writers, JÃ¯Â¿Â½rg Mauthe, in the 90s. They provide a fascinating and often amusing picture of the way Austria saw itselfÃ¯Â¿Â½or, perhaps, wanted to see itselfÃ¯Â¿Â½in the early 50s. In situations ranging from birthdays parties, holiday plans to Christmas shopping and a visit to the theatre, they reaffirm middle-class Viennese GemÃ¯Â¿Â½tlichkeit, despite the occasional difficulty of making ends meet. Other more serious topics are touched on, from the problems of displaced persons, profiteering and currency fraud in the commercial sector, the appreciation of modern art and even, briefly, AustriansÃ¯Â¿Â½ involvement in the Nazi period. At this period Bachmann was establishing herself as a major German poet, but she also wrote radio plays. The episodes she contributed to The Radio Family that have now been brought to light, especially her portrayal of an average family, extend our knowledge of her development at an important formative stage. Born in Austria, Ingeborg Bachmann (1926Ã¯Â¿Â½73) is recognized as one of post-war German literatureÃ¯Â¿Â½s most important novelists, poets and playwrights. Influenced by Hans Weigel and the legendary literary circle Gruppe 47, BachmannÃ¯Â¿Â½s works include Die gestundete Zeit, Darkness Spoken: The Collected Poems of Ingeborg Bachmann, Malina and Simultan, among others. For many years a lecturer in German with a special interest in German literature, Mike Mitchell has worked as a literary translator since 1995. He was awarded the 1998 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translation of Herbert RosendorferÃ¯Â¿Â½s Letters Back to Ancient China. He has also translated Peter HandkeÃ¯Â¿Â½s Till Day You do Part or A Question of Light, Max FrischÃ¯Â¿Â½s An Answer from the Silence, Drafts for a Third Sketchbook and Thomas LehrÃ¯Â¿Â½s September, all published by Seagull Books. He received an award in 2012 from the Austrian Ministry of Education, Art and Culture for achievements as a translator of literary works.
Ingeborg Bachmann is the author of Darkness Spoken, Malina and Simultan, among others.
For many years a lecturer in German with a special interest in Austrian literature, Mike Mitchell has worked as a literary translator since 1995. He was awarded the 1998 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translation of Herbert Rosendorfer’s Letters Back to Ancient China. Mitchell has also translated Peter Handke’s Till Day You do Part or A Question of Light and Max Frisch’s An Answer from the Silence, both published by Seagull Books.