Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Der Besuch der alten Dame [The Visit]

(2026 words)
  • Gerhard P. Knapp (University of Utah)

When Friedrich Dürrenmatt wrote his “tragische Komödie” (tragic comedy) Der Besuch der alten Dame [The Visit, 1956], he had already tested his innovative concept of tragicomedy in the previous play, Die Ehe des Herrn Mississippi [The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi, 1952], an “open” parable in the Brechtian tradition, witty and brimming with puns and grotesque effects, meant to challenge his audience to re-think reality along the lines of an anti-mimetic counter-conception to the miserable real world of Cold War and ideological strife. In his Theaterprobleme [Problems of the Theater, 1955], written immediately before The Visit, he provided the theoretical foundations of his …

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Knapp, Gerhard P.. "Der Besuch der alten Dame". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 August 2004
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]