Michael Andreas Helmuth Ende (12 November 1929 – 28 August 1995) was a German author of fantasy and children's literature. He is best known for his epic fantasy work The Neverending Story; other famous works include Momo and Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver. His 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:
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.
He was born in Garmisch (Bavaria, Germany), son of the surrealist painter Edgar Ende. He died in Filderstadt (Germany) of stomach cancer.
Ende was born November 12, 1929 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Bavaria, Germany). An only child, his parents were Edgar Ende, a surrealist painter, and Luise Bartholomä Ende, a physiotherapist (Coby 258). Since his artwork was banned by the Nazi party, Edgar Ende was forced to work in secret. In 1935, when he was six, the Ende family moved to the "artists' quarter of Schwabing" in Munich (Haase 55). Growing up in this rich artistic and literary environment influenced Ende’s later writing.
Ende attended the Maximillians Gymnasium until schools in Munich were closed due to bombings in 1943 (Colby 258). He resumed school at the Waldorf School in Stuttgart. It was at this time that Ende first began to write stories ("Michael," par. 3). He aspired to be a "dramatist," but wrote mostly short stories and poems (Haase 55). In 1945, sixteen year old Ende was drafted into the German army, but deserted and joined an anti-Nazi group for the remainder of the war (Colby 258; “Michael,” par. 3).
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