Claudio Magris was born in Trieste on 10 April, 1939.
His intellectual formation is linked largely to two cities: Trieste, where he was born, a crossroads for both peoples and cultures, and Turin, where, with the guidance of Leonelli Vincenti, he graduated in German Language and Literature at the Faculty of Literature of the University of Trieste.
In 1963, Magris published his first book: Mito asburgico nella letteratura austriaca moderna, which became the recurrent theme for all his later works.
His untiring work as a scholar is demonstrated by the huge number of critical reviews, translations, prefaces, as well as papers and articles published in newspapers and magazines in Italy and abroad.
After publishing a number of essays of a specifically Germanic nature, such as Wilhelm Heinse (1968) and Tre studi su Hoffmann (1969), Magris resumed his principle discourse concerning the loss of totality as a condition of modern man in Lontano da dove (1971), an analysis of the works of writer Joseph Roth and of Hebrew and Yiddish literature.
He began writing for the Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera" in 1967, and his essays have been collected in Dietro le parole (1978) and Itaca e oltre (1982). 1982 saw the publication of Trieste. Un’identità di frontiera, which Magris co-wrote with Angelo Ara; in 1984 his essay L’anello di Clarisse. Grande stile e nichilismo nella letteratura moderna was published, and in the same year his Illazioni su una sciabola (Inferences from a Sabre), his first short story, which brought the author to the attention of the wider public.
In 1986, Magris published Danubio (Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea), a spiritual and cultural journey through space and time which, like his other works, enjoyed huge success with the critics and with the public, and has been translated into numerous languages.
Drawing upon his many years of theatre experience, as both a scholar and a translator of works by Büchner, Grillparzer, Ibsen, Kleist and Schnitzler, Magris completed his drama Stadelmann, which was staged in 1991 by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Resident Theatre Company under the direction of Egisto Marcucci.
In 1991, Magris published his novel Un altro mare (A Different Sea), followed in 1993 by a short story entitled Il Conde. His monologue Le Voci was published in 1995, and Microcosmi (Microcosms) in 1997. His latest work is a collection of essays, Utopia e disincanto, published in 1998.
His career has been recognized by many national and international prizes, as well as honorary degrees from the Universities of Strasbourg (1991), Copenhagen (1993) and Klagenfurt (1995) and numerous literary prizes including the San Giusto d’oro (1984), the Bagutta Strega (1997), and the special Prize for Culture awarded by the Italian Prime Minister (1998).
During the XII Legislature, Magris served as a Senator of the Italian Republic.
He lives and works in Trieste.