Blaise Cendrars, pseudonym of Frederic Sauser, (born Sept. 1, 1887, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switz.--died Jan. 21, 1961, Paris, Fr.), French-speaking poet and essayist who created a powerful new poetic style to express a life of action and danger. His poems Paques a New York (1912; "Easter in New York") and La Prose du Transsiberien et de la petite Jehanne de France (1913; "The Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jehanne of France") are combination travelogues and laments.Poetry, to Cendrars, was action sealed into words by bold new devices: simultaneous impressions in a jumble of images,..
Jeremias Gotthelf, pseudonym of Albert Bitzius, (born Oct. 4, 1797, Morat, Switz.--died Oct. 22, 1854, Lutzelfluh), Swiss novelist and short-story writer whose vivid narrative works extol the virtues of Bernese rural people and defend traditional church and family life.The son of a pastor, Bitzius studied theology at Bern and Gottingen and took part in the political activities that ended the rule of the aristocracy in Bern. After becoming pastor of Lutzelfluh, in the Emmental, in 1832, he made great efforts to enlighten the local people and tried to bring about universal education. He founded..
Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, (born Oct. 11, 1825, Zurich--died Nov. 28, 1898, Kilchberg, Switz.), Swiss writer noted for his historical tales and his poetry.After completing his schooling, Meyer began to study law but suffered from depression, which compelled him to enter a mental home for a time. A long stay in French Switzerland, largely in Lausanne, gave him a thorough knowledge of French literature and culture; he also took up history, studying abroad in Paris and Italy. Rome, and especially the work of Michelangelo, was one of the decisive experiences in his life; Michelangelo's monumental..
Johanna Spyri, original name Johanna Heusser, (born June 12, 1827, Hirzel, Switz.--died July 7, 1901, Zurich), Swiss writer whose Heidi, a book for children, is popular all over the world. Her psychological insight into the child mind, her humour, and her ability to enter into childish joys and sorrows give her books appeal and lasting value.After her marriage in 1852 to Bernhard Spyri, a lawyer engaged in editorial work, she moved to Zurich. Her love of homeland, feeling for nature, unobtrusive piety, and cheerful wisdom gave both her work and her life their unique quality. Her books include..
Albert Steffen, (born Dec. 10, 1884, Murgenthal, Switz.--died July 13, 1963, Dornach), Swiss novelist and dramatist, one of the leading writers of the anthroposophical movement founded by Rudolf Steiner (q.v.).Steffen's early works were compassionate messages of alarm at the disastrous effects of modern technological civilization and secularized thought in human relations. Moved by these problems, he joined the anthroposophical movement in 1907, settling at its centre in Dornach, near Basel. (Steffen was later president of the Anthroposophical Society and was editor of its review,..
Heinrich Federer, (born Oct. 6/7, 1866, Brienz, Switz.--died April 29, 1928, Zurich), novelist who imparted new vigour to Christian fiction in Switzerland.Federer started to write when asthma, from which he suffered all his life, put an end to his work as a priest in 1899. He then worked as a journalist in Zurich and after 1907 as an independent writer. He had been raised in the Roman Catholic tradition among peasants and mountains of the Sarner region, and these themes remained, with local variations, predominant in his books. His warmhearted Roman Catholicism was derived from his greatest..
Albin Zollinger, (born Jan. 24, 1895, Zurich, Switz.--died Nov. 7, 1941, Zurich), poet and novelist, the leading figure in the revival of Swiss poetry between World Wars I and II.Zollinger was a primary school teacher who lived in or near Zurich all his life except for four years (1903-07) in Argentina. Three-quarters of his work was written in the last 10 years of his life, during which he consumed himself in creative activity. Following Impressionist trends, he became a master of landscape description, inspired by a refined sensuous delight. He was also preoccupied with the burning aspiration..
Robert Faesi, (born April 10, 1883, Zurich, Switz.--died Sept. 18, 1972, Zollikon), Swiss poet, dramatist, short-story writer, and literary critic, noted for his trilogy of novels on Zurich life and for important critical studies of literary figures.Faesi combined his literary activity with a professorship of German literature at the University of Zurich from 1922 to 1953. His poems in the collections Aus der Brandung (1917; "From the Surge") and Der brennende Busch (1928; "The Burning Bush") are socially significant products of World War I and postwar Expressionism. His Fusilier Wipf..
Karl Viktor von Bonstetten, also called Charles Victor Von Bonstetten, (born Sept. 3, 1745, Bern--died Feb. 3, 1832, Geneva), Swiss writer (in both French and German) of wide cosmopolitan interests and outlook.Of a conservative and patrician family, Bonstetten for 12 years had to resist being forced into the traditional career of municipal magistrate. Instead he studied Horace and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, traveled abroad, and cultivated friendships in the liberal intellectual circles of Geneva (1763-67), Leiden, England, France, Germany, and Italy. After his return to Bern and his father's..
Jakob Schaffner, (born Nov. 14, 1875, Basel, Switz.--died Sept. 25, 1944, Strasbourg, France), Swiss writer who lived in Germany from 1913. He belonged to a new generation of Swiss writers who, searching for uncompromising greatness and believing in life as a boundless adventure, broke away from the saturated tradition of middle-class society.Schaffner was orphaned at an early age. He described his life in four autobiographical novels: Johannes (1922), Die Junglingszeit des Johannes Schattenhold (1930; "The Youth of Johann Schattenhold"), Eine deutsche Wanderschaft (1931; "A German..
Robert Walser, (born April 15, 1878, Biel, Switz.--died Dec. 25, 1956, Herisau), Swiss poet and novelist hailed after his death as a genius.After abandoning his studies at age 14, Walser took accounting lessons and attempted unsuccessfully to become an actor. He took up various humble occupations--butler, clerk, assistant librarian, and bookseller. His life was marked by a sense of alienation and a desire for solitude, also reflected in his literary work, which influenced some of the most renowned writers of the 20th century, including Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, and Elias Canetti. Among..