Michael Andreas Helmuth Ende
(12 November 1929 — 28 August 1995) was a German writer of fantasy and children's literature. He was born in Garmisch (Bavaria, Germany), son of the surrealist painter Edgar Ende. He died in Filderstadt (Germany) of stomach cancer.Die unendliche Geschichte
(The Neverending Story
) is Ende's best known work. Other books include Momo
and Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer
(English title Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver
). Michael Ende's works have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 20 million copies, and have been adapted into motion pictures, stage plays, operas and audio books.
Ende was one of the most popular and famous German authors of the 20th century, mostly due to the enormous success of his children's books. However, Ende was not strictly a children's author, as he also wrote books for adults. Ende claimed, "It is for this child in me, and in all of us, that I tell my stories," and that "[my books are] for any child between 80 and 8 years" (qtd. Senick 95, 97). Ende often found frustration in being perceived as exclusively an author for children, considering himself rather a man intending to speak of cultural problems and spiritual wisdom to people of all ages in his works; he wrote in 1985:
- "One may enter the literary parlor via just about any door, be it the prison door, the madhouse door, or the brothel door. There is but one door one may not enter it through, which is the child room door. The critics will never forgive you such. The great Rudyard Kipling is one of a number of people to have suffered from this. I keep wondering to myself what this peculiar contempt towards anything related to childhood is all about."
Ende's writing could be described as a surreal mixture of reality and fantasy. The reader is often invited to take a more interactive role in the story, and the worlds in his books often mirror our reality, using fantasy to bring light to the problems of an increasingly technological modern society. Not least of all because of having attended a Waldorf school as a child, his writings were influenced by anthroposophy. Ende was also known as a proponent of economic reform, and claimed to have had the concept of aging money in mind when writing Momo