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Born in Klagenfort, Austria, Bachmann studied philosophy at the University of Vienna; her Ph.D. dissertation was on Heidegger. An experimental and prolific writer, she wrote poems, radio plays, stories, and novels, which often contained fairy tale motifs. Among her best-known works are Das dreißigste Jahr (The Thirtieth Year, 1961), Malina (1971), and Simultan (Three Paths to the Lake, 1972).