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The Pledge by Friedrich Duerrenmatt. New York. 1959. Knopf. Translated From The German By Richard and Clara Winston. 185 pages. Jacket design by George Salter.

 

A police detective's relentless search to find a child-murderer in this unconventional story of guilt, responsibility, justice, and fate from the Swiss writer, Friedrich Duerrenmatt. 

 

 

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  A child has been murdered. . . The official solution of the crime does not satisfy the inspector. He sets out on his own to find the bestial killer. Suspense mounts as the story turns into a bizarre tale of guilt and justice. The story of the sex maniac’s crime makes for harrowing reading, but the account of the detective’s decay as a citizen and a man constitutes an arresting and deeply moving human drama. He is driven by his pledge toward a stratagem as questionable as the crime itself.

 

 

 

Durrenmatt Friedrich Friedrich Durrenmatt (Duerrenmatt) was a Swiss author and dramatist. He was a proponent of epic theater whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II. The politically active author gained fame largely due to his avant-garde dramas, philosophically deep crime novels, and often macabre satire. One of his leading sentences was: 'A story is not finished, until it has taken the worst turn'. Durrenmatt was a member of the Gruppe Olten. Durrenmatt was born in Konolfingen, in the Emmental, the son of a Protestant pastor. His grandfather Ulrich Durrenmatt was a conservative politician. The family moved to Bern in 1935. Durrenmatt began to study of philosophy and German language and literature at the University of Zurich in 1941, but moved to the University of Bern after one semester. In 1943 he decided to become an author and dramatist and dropped his academic career. In 1945-46, he wrote his first play 'It is written'. On October 11 1946 he married the actress Lotti Geissler. She died on January 16 1983 and Durrenmatt married again in 1984 to another actress, Charlotte Kerr. Durrenmatt also some of his own works and his drawings were exhibited in Neuchatel in 1976 and 1985, as well as in Zurich in 1978. Like Brecht, Durrenmatt explored the dramatic possibilities of epic theater. His plays are meant to involve the audience in a theoretical debate, rather than as purely passive entertainment. When he was 26, his first play, It Is Written, premiered to great controversy. The story of the play revolves around a battle between a sensation-craving cynic and a religious fanatic who takes scripture literally, all of this taking place while the city they live in is under siege. The play's opening night in April, 1947 caused fights and protests in the audience. His first major success was the play Romulus the Great. Set in the year 476 A. D. , the play explores the last days of the Roman Empire, presided over, and brought about by its last emperor. The Visit which tells of a rich benefactor visiting her beneficiaries, is the work best known in the United States. The satirical drama The Physicists which deals with issues concerning science and its responsibility for dramatic and even dangerous changes to our world has also been presented in translation. Radio plays published in English include Hercules in the Augean Stables, Incident at Twilight and The Mission of the Vega The two late works 'Labyrinth' and 'Turmbau zu Babel' are a collection of unfinished ideas, stories, and philosophical thoughts. In 1990, he gave two famous speeches, one in honour of Vaclav Havel, and the other in honour of Mikhail Gorbachev Durrenmatt often compared the three Abrahamic religions and Marxism, which he also saw as a religion. Even if there are several parallels between Durrenmatt and Brecht, Durrenmatt never took a political position, but represented a pragmatic philosophy of life. In 1969, he traveled in the USA, in 1974 to Israel, and in 1990 to Auschwitz in Poland. Durrenmatt died on December 14, 1990 in Neuchatel.

 

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