Adolf Muschg was born in 1934 in Zollikon in the canton Zürich. He studied German studies, English studies and philosophy in Zürich and Cambridge and earned his doctoral degree in 1959 with professor Emil Staiger. From 1970 to 1999, he was professor for German language and literature in Zürich. In 1994, he received the Büchner Prize. From 2003 to 2005, he was the president of the Academy of Arts in Berlin.