Even though Franz Xaver Kroetz is known primarily as a playwright, he has been productive in other genres as well. He has written numerous poems, novels, short stories, and diaries, and he has been a frequent contributor to newspapers, magazines, and journals.
In the late 1960’s, a group of West German writers chose to write in a form that seemed out-of-date; the genre they selected became known as the “critical folk play .” Its subject was no longer the dramatization of the traditional virtues of the simple folk, but the naked portrayal of the life of the common man in the country, the villages, and the small towns. The most important writers who engaged in this type of literature were Martin Sperr, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wolfgang Bauer, Harald Mueller, Wolfgang Deichsel, Heinrich Henkel, and Franz Xaver Kroetz. They chose as their most influential precursors Bertolt Brecht,Ödön von Horváth, and Marieluise Fleisser, writers who had dealt with sociopolitical problems of the Weimar Republic that seemed acute again during the period of the Grand Coalition (1966-1969), when the fledgling democracy of the Federal Republic—for lack of a real parliamentary opposition—appeared to be in danger. Sperr and Fassbinder had already made their mark when Kroetz, a relative latecomer among the playwrights of the “critical folk play,” skyrocketed to fame in 1971. Although the others were soon forgotten, Kroetz’s plays continued to enjoy public and the critics’ attention and acclaim during the 1970’s and the early 1980’s. He has been by far the most frequently performed German playwright during this period and has been dubbed by his admirers as the “Wunderkind” of contemporary German theater.
Kroetz’s initial reception was in part based on a misperception: His work was seen as scandalous, pornographic, and exotic, and as such it was categorized as...
Blevins, Richard W. Franz Xaver Kroetz: The Emergence of a Political Playwright. New York: Peter Lang, 1983. Examination of Kroetz’s political agenda during the 1970’s.
McGowan, Moray. “‘Die Stadt ist der Metzger’: The Crisis of Bavarian Peasant Identity in Franz Xaver Kroetz’s Bauern sterben.” German Studies Review 19, no. 1 (February, 1996): 29-40. Detailed discussion of Kroetz’s social conservatism.
Mattson, Michelle. Franz Xaver Kroetz: The Construction of a Political Aesthetic. Washington, D.C.: Berg, 1996. Precise study of the peculiar relationship between politics and aesthetics in Kroetz’s work.
Walther, Ingeborg. The Theater of Franz Xaver Kroetz. New York: Peter Lang, 1990. Thorough analysis of Kroetz’s communicative use of dialogue.