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Eugéne Ionesco

Geburtstag: 26. November 1909
Todesdatum: 28. März 1994

Eugène Ionesco war ein französisch-rumänischer Autor. Er gilt als bedeutendster französischer Dramatiker der Nachkriegszeit und als ein führender Vertreter des absurden Theaters. Ab den 1980er Jahren trat Ionesco auch als Maler hervor.

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„Morgen für Morgen kommt man zur Welt.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

Der König stirbt. Deutsch von Claus Bremer (1924-1996) und Hans Rudolf Stauffacher (1923-1977). In: Spectaculum: Moderne Theaterstücke, Band 7. Suhrkamp 1965, S. 178

„It won’t matter to me at all whether the Church canonizes him or not. The important thing is that such a man existed.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

The Paris Review interview (1984)
Kontext: It’s a play about the life and martyrdom of a modern saint, who has just been canonized by the Church — or is it beatified? Which comes first? I’m not sure. Anyway, his name was Father Maximilian Kolbe, a Pole, and he died in Auschwitz. They were going to send some prisoners to a mine, where they would die of hunger and thirst. Father Kolbe offered to go instead of a man who had a wife and children and didn’t want to die. That man is still alive. … It won’t matter to me at all whether the Church canonizes him or not. The important thing is that such a man existed.

„I have never been to the Right, nor have I been a Communist, because I have experienced, personally, both forms of totalitarianism.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

The Paris Review interview (1984)
Kontext: I have never been to the Right, nor have I been a Communist, because I have experienced, personally, both forms of totalitarianism. It is those who have never lived under tyranny who call me petit bourgeois.

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„Béranger represents the modern man. He is a victim of totalitarianism — of both kinds of totalitarianism, of the Right and of the Left.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

The Paris Review interview (1984)
Kontext: Béranger represents the modern man. He is a victim of totalitarianism — of both kinds of totalitarianism, of the Right and of the Left. When Rhinoceros was produced in Germany, it had fifty curtain calls. The next day the papers wrote, “Ionesco shows us how we became Nazis.” But in Moscow, they wanted me to rewrite it and make sure that it dealt with Nazism and not with their kind of totalitarianism. In Buenos Aires, the military government thought it was an attack on Perónism.

„I abandoned criticism because I am full of contradictions, and when you write an essay you are not supposed to contradict yourself. But in the theater, by inventing various characters, you can. My characters are contradictory not only in their language, but in their behavior as well.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

The Paris Review interview (1984)
Kontext: The theater chose me. As I said, I started with poetry, and I also wrote criticism and dialogue. But I realized that I was most successful at dialogue. Perhaps I abandoned criticism because I am full of contradictions, and when you write an essay you are not supposed to contradict yourself. But in the theater, by inventing various characters, you can. My characters are contradictory not only in their language, but in their behavior as well.

„I let characters and symbols emerge from me, as if I were dreaming.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

The Paris Review interview (1984)
Kontext: I let characters and symbols emerge from me, as if I were dreaming. I always use what remains of my dreams of the night before. Dreams are reality at its most profound, and what you invent is truth because invention, by its nature, can’t be a lie. Writers who try to prove something are unattractive to me, because there is nothing to prove and everything to imagine. So I let words and images emerge from within. If you do that, you might prove something in the process.

„I am told, in a dream … you can only get the answer to all your questions through a dream.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

Speaking of a dream not fully remembered, in Fragments of a Journal (1966)
Kontext: I am told, in a dream... you can only get the answer to all your questions through a dream. So in my dream, I fall asleep, and I dream, in my dream, that I'm having that absolute, revealing dream.

„Perhaps there will be a morning of grace for humanity. Perhaps there will be a morning of grace for me.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco, buch The Hermit

The Hermit (1973)
Kontext: I thought that it was strange to assume that it was abnormal for anyone to be forever asking questions about the nature of the universe, about what the human condition really was, my condition, what I was doing here, if there was really something to do. It seemed to me on the contrary that it was abnormal for people not to think about it, for them to allow themselves to live, as it were, unconsciously. Perhaps it's because everyone, all the others, are convinced in some unformulated, irrational way that one day everything will be made clear. Perhaps there will be a morning of grace for humanity. Perhaps there will be a morning of grace for me.

„There were no longer words being spoken, but images being visualized. We achieved it above all by the dislocation of language. … Beckett destroys language with silence. I do it with too much language, with characters talking at random, and by inventing words.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

The Paris Review interview (1984)
Kontext: Beckett shows death; his people are in dustbins or waiting for God. (Beckett will be cross with me for mentioning God, but never mind.) Similarly, in my play The New Tenant, there is no speech, or rather, the speeches are given to the Janitor. The Tenant just suffocates beneath proliferating furniture and objects — which is a symbol of death. There were no longer words being spoken, but images being visualized. We achieved it above all by the dislocation of language. … Beckett destroys language with silence. I do it with too much language, with characters talking at random, and by inventing words.

„The most implacable enemies of culture — Rimbaud, Lautréamont, dadaism, surrealism — end up being assimilated and absorbed by it.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

The Paris Review interview (1984)
Kontext: The most implacable enemies of culture — Rimbaud, Lautréamont, dadaism, surrealism — end up being assimilated and absorbed by it. They all wanted to destroy culture, at least organized culture, and now they’re part of our heritage. It’s culture and not the bourgeoisie, as has been alleged, that is capable of absorbing everything for its own nourishment. As for the oneiric element, that is due partly to surrealism, but to a larger extent due to personal taste and to Romanian folklore — werewolves and magical practices. For example, when someone is dying, women surround him and chant, “Be careful! Don’t tarry on the way! Don’t be afraid of the wolf; it is not a real wolf!”—exactly as in Exit the King. They do that so the dead man won’t stay in infernal regions.<!-- The same thing can be found in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which had a great impact on me too. However, my deepest anxieties were awakened, or reactivated, through Kafka.

„He understands that the world is an enormous farce, a canular played by God against man, and that he has to play God’s game and laugh about it.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

canular refers to hoaxes, humorous deceptions.
The Paris Review interview (1984)
Kontext: You know, the Cathars believed that the world was not created by God but by a demon who had stolen a few technological secrets from Him and made this world — which is why it doesn’t work. I don’t share this heresy. I’m too afraid! But I put it in a play called This Extraordinary Brothel, in which the protagonist doesn’t talk at all. There is a revolution, everybody kills everybody else, and he doesn’t understand. But at the very end, he speaks for the first time. He points his finger towards the sky and shakes it at God, saying, “You rogue! You little rogue!” and he bursts out laughing. He understands that the world is an enormous farce, a canular played by God against man, and that he has to play God’s game and laugh about it.

„My thoughts were not yet organized or coherent at that age, but I had feelings, a certain nascent [[humanism], and I found these things inadmissible.“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

The Paris Review interview (1984)
Kontext: I remember one day there was a military parade. A lieutenant was marching in front of the palace guards. I can still see him carrying the flag. I was standing beside a peasant with a big fur hat who was watching the parade, absolutely wide-eyed. Suddenly the lieutenant broke rank, rushed toward us, and slapped the peasant, saying, “Take off your hat when you see the flag!” I was horrified. My thoughts were not yet organized or coherent at that age, but I had feelings, a certain nascent [[humanism], and I found these things inadmissible. The worst thing of all, for an adolescent, was to be different from everyone else. Could I be right and the whole country wrong?

„Beckett shows death; his people are in dustbins or waiting for God. (Beckett will be cross with me for mentioning God, but never mind.)“

—  Eugéne Ionesco

The Paris Review interview (1984)
Kontext: Beckett shows death; his people are in dustbins or waiting for God. (Beckett will be cross with me for mentioning God, but never mind.) Similarly, in my play The New Tenant, there is no speech, or rather, the speeches are given to the Janitor. The Tenant just suffocates beneath proliferating furniture and objects — which is a symbol of death. There were no longer words being spoken, but images being visualized. We achieved it above all by the dislocation of language. … Beckett destroys language with silence. I do it with too much language, with characters talking at random, and by inventing words.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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