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Heiner Müller
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Heiner Müller

Heiner Müller (January 9, 1929December 30, 1995) was an East German dramatist and writer.

Müller was born in Eppendorf, Saxony. He joined the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, SED) in 1947 and began serving for the German Writers' Association (Deutscher Schriftsteller-Verband, DSV) in 1954. Müller initially became one of the most important dramatists of the German Democratic Republic and won the Heinrich Mann Prize in 1959.

His relationship with the East German state began to deteriorate, however, with his drama Die Umsiedlerin (The Resettler Woman) which was only staged once in 1961. Müller was removed from the Writers' Association in the same year. The East German regime remained wary of Müller in subsequent years, preventing the premiere of Der Bau (Construction Site) in 1965 and forbidding his Mauser in the early 1970s. Müller began to work together with West German ensembles and theater houses more and more in the 1970s and 80s, directing premieres of some of his best-known works in Munich (Germania Tod in Berlin (Germania Death in Berlin), 1978), Essen ( Hamletmaschine (Hamletmachine), 1979) and Bochum (Der Auftrag (The Mission), 1982).

Due to his growing world-wide fame, he was able to gain more widespread acceptance in East Germany again, as well. He was admitted to the Academy of Arts of the GDR in 1984, but almost at the same time became a member of the Academy of the Arts of West Berlin in 1986. Despite earlier honors, Müller was not readmitted to the East German Writers' Association until 1988, shortly before the end of the GDR. After the fall of the Wall, Müller even became president of the Academy of the Arts of the GDR for a short time in 1990.

The last five years of his life Müller continued to live in Berlin and work all over Germany and Europe, mostly producing stagings of his own works, but writing few new texts. Müller died in East Berlin in 1995, being acknowledged as one of the greatest living German authors and the most important German dramatist since Bertolt Brecht.

An edition of his complete works is currently being edited and published by Suhrkamp, seven of nine planned volumes having been completed (as of 2004). Among his better known works, other than those already mentioned, are Wolokolamsker Chaussee (The Road to Volokolamsk) Parts I-V, Verkommenes Ufer Medeamaterial Landschaft mit Argonauten (Desolate Shore Medea Material Landscape with Argonauts), Philoktet (Philoctetes), Zement (Cement) and Quartett.

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