Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

(de) Wir haben es nicht gut gemacht. / (en) We did not do it well.

31 March 2023 @ 18:00

An evening of conversation between Thomas Strässle (editor) and Barbara Mariacher, about the recently published exchange of letters between the Austrian poet, Ingeborg Bachmann, and the Swiss playwright, Max Frisch.

The published correspondence, “Wir haben es nicht gut gemacht” (We did not do it well) paints a surprising, new picture of the relationship between the two and questions the surviving judgments and statements of guilt. Between 1958 and 1962, they were a couple: Ingeborg Bachmann, the celebrated poet and author, who had just ended a relationship with Paul Celan, and Max Frisch, successful novelist and playwright. A letter complimenting her on a radio play marks the beginning of their relationship. The approximately 300 letters illuminate the life, loves and sorrows of one of the most famous couples of German-speaking literature.

Proximity and distance, admiration and rivalry, jealousy, flight impulses and fear of loss, as well as the problems of working in a shared home and the tension between being a writer and being together: the themes of the autobiographical testimonies are endless.

In the books of Bachmann and Frisch, their relationship left traces, some of which become clear only through the correspondence between them. The letters “Wir haben es nicht gut gemacht” are intimate communications and at the same time world literature.


31 March 2023
View Event Website


Embassy of Austria
Goethe-Institut Amsterdam
Swiss Embassy in the Netherlands


Goethe-Institut Amsterdam
Herengracht 470
Amsterdam, 1017 CA Netherlands
+ Google Map