Well-known literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki dies at 93
Doyen of German literary criticism presided over literary pages of the daily ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine’ for 15 years
Germany’s famous literature critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki delivering a speech during a Berlin commemoration service on International Holocaust Memorial Day last year. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/Reuters
Marcel Reich-Ranicki, the doyen of German literary criticism for half a century, has died aged 93.
He presided over the literary pages of the Frankfurter Allgemeine daily for 15 years, where he championed new writers and poets and clashed regularly with Germany’s literary giants, from Günter Grass to Martin Walser. The latter hit back at his often vicious reviews in 2002 with the controversial revenge fantasy novel Death of a Critic.
Born in 1920 in the Polish city of Wloclawek, he grew up in Berlin but was deported with his parents and brother and lived in the Warsaw ghetto from 1940.
In his best-selling autobiography Mein Leben he wrote movingly of his parents’ deportation to Treblinka, his brother’s decision to swallow cyanide and his own narrow escape with his wife, Teofila.
The couple moved to Germany in 1958, she died in 2011. Reich-Ranicki is survived by a son.