Claudio Magris

was born in 1939 in Trieste. He graduated from the University of Turin and is professor of Modern German Literature at the University of Trieste. He is an essayist and columnist for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and other European journals and newspapers. Professor Magris is a member of several European academies and was a senator in the Italian Parliament from 1994 to 1996. His first book on the Habsburg myth in modern austrian literature rediscovered central European literature. His journalistic writings have been collected in Dietro le parole (Behind Words 1978) and Itaca e oltre (Ithaca and Beyond, 1982). He has written essays on Hoffmann, Ibsen, Svevo, Musil, Hesse and Borges. His novels and theater productions, many translated into several languages, include Illazioni su una sciabola (Inferences on a Sabre, 1984) Danubio (The Danube,1986), Stadelmann (1988) and Un altro mare (A Different Sea, 1991) and Microcosmi (Microcosms, 1997). Magris was awarded the Erasmus prize 2001.


The fair of tolerance

Essay for the Erasmus Prize 2001

Tolerance and its contradictions constitute a universal problem, which today confronts both conscience and legislation with an urgency hitherto unparalleled in history, writes Claudio Magris. A united Europe will find its universal principles – the core of a tolerance that is more than nobly rhetorical – put to a severe test. Only if the objective difficulties are not underrated can one hope to overcome them.