THIS BLOG AND THE HTTP://WWW.HANDKE.SCRIPTMANIA.COM PROJECT ARE DEVOTED TO THE GREAT WORK AND PERSON OF THE AUSTRO-GERMANIC-SLOVENIAN AUTHOR PETER HANDKE DISCUSSION SPILLS OVER TO http://handke-watch.blogspot.com/ http://www.artscritic.blogspot.com [the Milosevic controversy summarized] link to slideshowhttp://picasaweb.google.com/mikerol/POSTED?authkey=YeKkFSE3-Js#

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

an incremental, eventually complete, essay by essay review of editors Frank Pilipp and David Coury's THE WORKS OF PETER HANDKE

] Here comes an incremental, eventually complete, essay by essay review of editors Frank Pilipp and David Coury's THE WORKS OF PETER HANDKE with essays by Professors Scott Abbot, Thomas Barry, Robert Halsall, Frank Pilipp, Karl Wagner, Maria Luisa Roli, David Coury, Fritz Wefelmeyer, Christiane Weller, John E. Davidson, Andrea Gogröf-Vorhees, Mirielle Tabah, and Frank Pilipp and David Coury, Ariadne Press, 2006


b] As I am in the process of completing a monograph on Handke's drama for the TDR Enactment series and have just completed my third take on Handke's involvement in matters Yugoslavian

http://www.artscritic.blogspot.com [the handke/ milosevic controversy; also see

http://www.handkeyugo.scriptmania.com for my first two, more exploratory, takes on the over-all controversy] as well as just having written an odd vari-angled book on Handke, in German,

http://www.kultur.at/lesen/index.htm [prosa/ dem handke auf die schliche] I will first

[1] address Abbott's piece on Handke's Yugoslav texts;on-line as of this sending at:

http://handke-discussion.blogspot.com/




[2] Fritz Wefelmeyer essay on Handke's drama; and [3] the other contributions in whatever order strikes me as most pertinent in light of the preceding, or maybe not when I have nothing to add, or am too ignorant, all of which I hope will not amount to a review the length of the book under review, but provides me with yet a different tack form the many I have taken so far.


c] But first a word about the book's publisher, Ariadne, who sings obscurely in editions of 500 copies because none of its books are ever reviewed. It is not reassuring when one of their predictably clunky productions has on its back cover - 40 years after the fact of Handke's 1966 appearance at the Group 47 meeting in Princeton, the appearance that year of his first novel, Die Hornissen, and the premiere of Publikumsbeschimpfung [Public Insult as I now call it - that Handke achieved prominence in 1968.

Further, re this one of the worlds most dreadful publishers: Having signed more than a half dozen contracts with Ariadne, including the gift to these swine of my best translation, Handke's WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES , plus extensive postscript, I have never received a single statement of sales, not that sales are to be expected, since A. does not send out review galleys not even of the most elementary kind to Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly, which explains why, in ten years, they have not managed to sell even their first print run of 500 of W.A.T.V. [I get my figures from the original proprietor, Suhrkamp, to whom, when asked, A. eventually render their minuscules], whereas not a single book of Handke's twenty plus published American titles ever sold less than 5,000 copies, with many going into multiple editions and published in mass quality paperback.

Ariadne persists in its Austrian Culture funded spendthrift ways, using translation funds to subsidize themselves, under the safety net of the cost of 10 k just as a fee to file claim in Federal Court; so that unless you live in Riverside County, CA. you lack recourse, small claims court.


d] One further note, prior to medias res. Professors Barry and Abbott are contributors to the handke.scriptmania on-line project

http://www.handke.scriptmania.com


and its 12 + subsites.... drama 1+2, prose 1+2; scholar, film, translation, psychobio, bild, etc.

I have known Tom Barry for about 20 earth cycles round the sun. These affiliations I do not think will influence my assessment of their work, though I may put critical comments more kindly than my Ezraish side might otherwise.


e] However, let me signal, ahead of the time of getting down to specifics, my immediate pleasure at the reading that Scott gives Handke's Yugoslavia texts, no matter our interesting difference of opinions in some very important matters; and my dissatisfaction with Fritz Wefelmeyer's piece on Handke's theater. Not to address, in 2006, the extraordinary change that Handke's drama began to undergo, with the transitional [1975-1990] Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other , its first product being the Goethe-Euripedean drama of the "Rolling on the River" aristocracy of the working class, Walk About the Villages; to do an excellent job, once again, on "Public Insult" and a fair job on Handke's last major effort, The Play about the Film about the War [1999] but not to understand how "Ride Across Lake Constance" or Hour work, and to ignore Handke's "Faust", The Art of Asking, etc. etc., is not "what the world needs now." I will discuss the preface when I come to the editors own pieces. But let me note: why is it that full professors, exposed for decades upon decades to beautiful texts, end up writing like the most pedestrian of apparachiks.


f] You may think of me as the Franz Kilb of Handke studies, if you remember that gnat in the navel of the economy who owns one share of every every publicly traded stock and who throws a stink bomb at each stock holders' me eting - in that so revelatory Raimundian/Brechtian tragic farce, THEY ARE DYING OUT, and yourselves, Germanicists, combined, as Gerard Depardieu who takes the Kilb-Kalb into a "Schwitzkopf," [sweatbox]




who is proud not to "owe nobody nuttin'", no fealty to any German department now that my somewhat crimping 10 year stint as visiting scholar at the Udub has come to an end; with no interest in having a position of any kind in any department of that kind anywhere in the world; thus in a position to shoot my pigeons where I spot them and safeguard my sparrows. In short, I am an equal opportunity offender.

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[1-A]

Scott Abbott and I must be the two most expert in matters Handke-Yugoslavian in the U.S. In my own now 20 year long Handke project, Handke's involvement in this sub-rubric of Handke studies has proved a long and arduous but ultimately fascinating detour. Without the detour to a part of the world I have only the most superficial personal but pleasant acquaintance, I would no doubt think, like no end of halfway intelligent people who have a limited time to disgorge the junk that their brains absorb from the media, that the Serbs were to blame and that Slobo indeed was the worst kind of big bad wolf, first cousin to Saddam Hussein, or Hitler, Caucescou, or Stalin. I would know little more about that part of the world and what went down during its disintegration than I do about tribal warfare in the Congo, and its history, and the interests that prevail there.

The first coming of the Handke/ Yugo controversy in the mid 90s, on publication of his A Winter's Journey, was my introduction to doing research on line, in something like "real time"; by its second coming, during the Kosovo war in 1999, I was proficient; by its third coming, in 2006, at Handke's for me entirely predictable self display at the Milosevic funeral, each, often contradictory, Handke statements about his relation to the big bad woolf of Pozarevac, of whom he is so oddly protective, reached me within a day. Meanwhile, I think I know why Handke is so protective of Slobo, and who knows Handke may even be right that he is only a tragic figure, a failed Yugoslav Lincoln, no matter that he was condemned, for murder, posthumously, in Belgrade. I myself think that at least in part Handke's protectiveness is a question of transference from Handke's affection of his father grandfather figure, and yet another instance of wishful thinking. But see for yourselves, the


http://www.artscritic.blogspot.com [the handke/ milosevic controversy] contains most quotes and links to the controversy as it played out in France and Germany. My own first two takes, which Handke rather liked, and which once again I withdrew from being published as a book... they can be found at

http://www.handkeyugo.scriptmania.com


I had a sense that that was not the end of it, as it wasn't though I think the Milosevic funeral and its consequences were it.


Abbott's piece is fine, first rate and useful to me in emphasizing Handke's ability - when he has a pencil in hand, as opposed to when he delivers himself of spoken tirades, righteous whole sale condemnations, or ejaculations of pain that testify to how to the quick the disintegration affects [ed] him - to allow contradictions, differentiations into his text, via phenomenological noted observations... that are then reflected upon, more defensively than what Scott calls "dialectically", starting in the reprieve A Summer's Postscript. As a trained analyst now, and warier than ever of the entire German school of irrationalist philosophers, Scott's venture into Nietzschean murkiness and Heidegger, once again makes me take preference in the system prcpt. , how sense impressions - both ex and internal, mediated by the brain, in collaboration with the generative language system, once the brain has grown that function, can put these impressions into communicable impressions, first as duh duh duh, then into syntactical order, leaving the entire exciting prior existence in and ex utero unverbalized, confined to the realm of the unconscious, unverbalizable except in the analytic deep sea diving experiment. The treasure that the sled brings up in this instance are not volcanic worms, but the gift of understanding. I come out as a nominalist who does not believe in inevitability although I am surrounded by birds and students who appear to move predictably as any herd animal. Actually, my crow friends' often unpredictable behavior surprises me more than that of the undergraduates.

I do not think it required, and Winter Journey's opening chapter makes that clear, a trip to the region to conclude that the word was out among the western media to find a single culprit [the Serbs] and one chief mover of evil [Slobodan Milosevics] for the voodoo doll hunt to be on. The only surprising thing about that is that you can, perhaps need to, find/create such a simple Manichean formula every few years anew, whereas an African native will have just one doll with him that he will stick with pins and needles all his life.


To my own great surprise I ultimately found myself in considerable agreement with Handke, despite the ugliness of his tirades, and despite the fact that his Yugoslavia text, the exception being the near great " The Play about the Film About the War," do not provide any kind of historical overview, or time line of the process of disintegration of the Federation. My chief dissatisfaction is with Handke's surprising - surprising for his having had two Partisan uncles killed during WW II - lack of appreciation [the twice repeated "We were never meant to be a union" of the "Canoe" play does not quite suffice] of the centrifugal forces that had built up, and not just during the past 100 + years, since the secession of the Ottomans [who converted some Serbians, the way that Turks say that Bulgarians do and vice versa], the accession and dis-accession of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and the dreadful things that happened during and subsequent to the occupation by Hitler's troops. For I can well see why some of the tribes, whose federation agreement allowed for secession, wanted to go it on their own, at least try that way. However, Handke's "idiocy", coming out form under several years of self-imposed verbal monkishness in 2005 with the pronouncement that the Western Power "had committed a near perfect crime" in getting these tribes to chose an independent way, is not exactly what is called a differentiated, "third way" statement, is it? If the perfect crime was the Italian and then German take-over of the Dalmatian coast in 1941, German recognition of two provinces [Slovenia and Croatia] seeking independence would not to seem close to committing a crime. And Handke, let us not forget this, is a trained lawyer, and only did not take his exams because he knew he would succeed as a writer. The "Canoe" play at least alludes to Yugoslavia's odd status during the cold war, as the U.S. one communist s.o.b., whose economic assistance propped up a makeshift mixed socialist economy; sort of like a huge West Berlin along the Adriatic, wonderfully artificial indeed. The difference between Handke's essayistic, uncliched, non-platitudonous writing in the travelogue sections of the three travelogue books and his pronouncements make me once again away of the immense difference between the Handke with a pencil in Hand and the Handke with a mega or microphone and of the statement, in "No-Mans-Land" novel that it was the differentiations in the Roman penal code [he might also have mentioned Wittgenstein] that brought some order into his angry adolescent noggin. But see anon.




1-B]

I like Scott's piece, it is an extremely valuable careful reading of these texts, and it makes me want to go back to them once more: what greater compliment is there from reader to reader? However it is entirely wrong and sentimental, except in his elaboration of Handke's Thucidean phenomenological narrative procedure, in focusing, in opening with a quote from the Skopje section of For Thucydides {F.T.}, denoting Handke's wish, or observation that different feathered friends can live halfway peaceably together; he mistakes his own projection into one of Handke's projection screens; one only finds out what a nice guy Scott Abbot is. The various sometimes marvelous short pieces that make up F.T., as so many if not all of Handke's art products, are designed as projection screens, inference from these ambiguities to Handke's personal, momentary, or more enduring feelings opinions risk projecting the reader's, in this instance, Abbott's own wishes into the text. I think only artistic judgments about them are possible, the rest is inferential supposition. They produce states of mind, whether these are the same states, or approximate to Handke's, there can be no certainty on that score.


Handke, the extreme misanthrope, who even takes his oldest friends on instant mushroom searches so as not to find himself locked in a room with them; the Handke who opted his play rights out of the "Verlag der Autoren," the one socialist enterprise to survive the 60s, and called this grouping fascist, and threw in his own autocratic leanings with the autocratic Gauner Siegfried Unseld, first recipient nonetheless of the Siegfried Unseld Preis, to keep him tied to a disintegrating Suhrkamp Kultur, whom he portraits in such devastating fashion in several of his book, a not very good socialist or rainbow coalition makes, except wishfully I suppose. [Indeed, Slovenia has turned into another Andorra, you can follow its progress in the N.Y. Times travel section: Ph.D.s are now innkeepers. Yet in a recent interview with N.Z.Z. Handke surprisingly endorses western investments in Belgrade that are changing the city scape, and comes out sounding like a Western globalist investment banker with the primacy on economic development, unless he was leading his interviewer by the nose to test whether the interviewer knew his previous position; it is the same interview in which Handke stated that he felt Milosevic was innocent because of the way he had smiled when the charges were read to him in De Haag; and in which one comes away with the feeling that Handke is amazingly well versed and sophisticated in matters of internal Serbian politics.]


A great Thucidean indeed, equipped not only with great verbal, but, more importantly, unusual painfully acute perceptual powers, to note items in the forever moraine, the principle, as of early on, of "the innerworld of the outerworld of the innerworld" prevails. [I address Handkes capacities and abilities as a kind of regular American reporter in section K of dem handke auf die schliche in some real detail and so will only link to it here:

http://www.kultur ]

Also, let us not forget over his pure observational powers that Handke for decades on end expressed his utter hatred and contempt for matters German, for reasons of having had a German stepfather, and that he regretted his arrogant depiction of his real father, in Sorrow Beyond Dreams, only many years later. [see the biographer Pichler as compared to the other Pichler Handke scholars for this.]

Handke, moreover, is the great artificer of states of mind, most radically when he uses various procedures to create dissociations in the audience, say in Ride Across Lake Constance, or My Foot My Tutor , most powerfully in The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, but also in some syntactically ingenious prose texts, for didactic, linguistically moral purposes.

Handke quite knowingly creates "projection screens"[or vacuums!] in which we can find ourselves and come to our senses, also verbally. Although in some instances in these pure travelogue parts of these texts I not only come under the impression that Handke is somewhat defensive but that the doubting that he introduces is purposive, that is, is not dis-interested.This past year, the circumstance of the Milosevic controversy finally forced Handke to speak the unequivocal platitude that yes, Srebrenice was the worst war crime to have been committed in Western Europe since the end of WW II.

Although Handke expresses the occasional wish to return to a virginal state entirely devoid of opinions [vide Hour, which achieves this state in the audience], he never succeeds for long, in that respect is like most other Joe Does or Mary Janes. Not only does Handke create projection screens, but these constructions produce states of mind, most pleasurably I found in the case of The Repetition which - its long periods, its syntax - thus the title of my 1500 page opus: "Handke, the Master [sometimes dictator] of Syntax" - made me, too, walk about as a "King of Slowness" in the Chapparal of the St. Monica Mts. for half a dozen years from the mid 80s to early 90s, while training to be a psychoanalyst; i.e. any inferences as to Handke's predisposition to people living together peaceably that might be drawn from the Skopje piece, possibly at the moment of writing, could be contradicted by what for me is a further purposely ambiguous image, that of the tent of United Nation type flags collapsing at the end of The Play about the Film About the War. Also, for example, as a director who favored the NATO intervention in a part of the world whose often unending century old tribal warfare had to be put to a stop for no end of reasons, I might be able to skew a production of that play in favor of the three internationalists: by that I mean to indicate at once that Handke, as an artist, ever since Walk About the Village's ]W.A.T.V.] epigraph "everyone is in the right", in his art, as compared to his often violent, hurt to the quick, public pronouncements, ejaculations, his private ranting and cussing, remains as true as he can to hoeing the line of ambiguity. I would think that even the Socratic or call it dialectical process of the Essay on Tiredness is meant to achieve ambiguity as to the very idea of tiredness? For example, I was puzzled until just now why with the wide choice Handke had of citing Serb-hating pieces in the U.S. press he quoted the so excellent, one of the best American journalists, Michael Danner. It is not just I don't think that Handke took violent irritated umbrage at any representation other than his own of what went down in Yugoslavia, as he did, like that irritated
Wild Man in the recent play Subday Blues, as Handke the so over-irritable himself does, at a host of matters [that then make one ask what inside him, in his psyche, in his very brain so irritates him], but that the Danner quote serves the purpose of ambiguity better than numerous pieces from the New Republic, or most hideously those of Roger Cohen from the N.Y. Times ever could. The monstrously ignorant Stephen Marcus, the New York Review of Book's hatchet man for teaching Handke the lesson of pain of being politically incorrect, then came to the defense of Danner without having the faintest on what line of ambiguity Handke was writing, or what he was about. After the Vienna premiere of the piece Handke had himself interviewed by his daughter Amina, and I think only being just a tad cute, insisted on an ambiguous reading of his play, distancing it, salvaging it, from his personal opinions. Marcus I believe said that "The Bearskin" woman was Handke's own voice, it might as easily be that of "the Greek reporter" who wants to come back out of the cold, but it is also that of "the directors" and of the "forest madman" in an instance of a playwright with a grand self such as Handke's who refuses, and in an instance such as "Canoe" ought not to be pinned down to a single position except as creator for a piece of art that is criticizable only within its own terms. This being the long way round of saying that I doubt that Handke will hold it against Scott that Scott works his way up and down the treacherous Utah mountains on a mountain bike.


Deciding not to practice, some fair purchase on my own traumatic German childhood, and once you have purchase you can deal, my great test case, a case of cases if ever there was one, proved the one nearest at hand, the case of Peter Handke. It was while reviewing "Across"[ Chinese des Schmerzens - a kind of repetition of Moment of True Feeling - but now with Rusdealesaque Stifterian-Lenzian descriptions that honor the surrounds of Salzburg while the protagonist Loser's unhappy consciousness acts out no end of destructive matters] that Handke's "caseness" began to dawn on me: the moment I realized that when Loser said "no" he ought to have said "yes" between the "no" and the "yes" dawns the wide spectrum of ambiguity.

Loser's sadistic super-ego, the pulling out of the legs of harmless daddy-long legs; the so unproductive self-berating that was going on, the mystifications about yet another pursuing furious woman - which now that that woman has spoken up is anything but mysterious. As a matter of fact, around 1991 I had a case study which Donald Daviau, then of Ariadne, wanted to publish; but some matters did not wash: and did not until I came on Handke's mentioning to his Eckermann, Herbert Gamper, that he still had occasional autistic moments. A great deal fell into place at that point that had not made sense, Handke's being a kind of idiot savant, his untrammeled talent if and when he holds pencil in hand; but also his frequently oafish behavior, his proclivity for Tourettish verbal productions, which, if formalized as at the end of " Public Insult," are not really insulting but funny and awakening, whereas otherwise... only a trained analyst can handle psychotic production being tossed at him, hold them, and look, or rather "listen past them" into what is going on in the patient or between patient and analyst. However, prior to the so complicating factor of Handke's autism, I had become aware, as a researcher, reader, sleuth of the plethora of consequences to Handke's being in the world of a decade of exposure to violent drunken primal scenes [just read Handke's own enumeration in his Assaying of Tiredness]: all you need to - no one that I have read, including Tilman Moser, the only other person to concern himself with Handke from this perspective - is read between the lines of Sorrow Beyond Dreams . Forget about the ultimately unhappy life of Ms. Sivec-Schönherr-Handke [Handke's name might have been Schönherr, that of his biological father, a German Army paymaster from Northern Germany who fathered him while stationed in Griffen in 1942, but, though he was Ms. Sivec's love of her life, refused to divorce his first wife, leaving her depressed, ensuring what is called anaclytic - anlehnende - depression in her first born son, her love child].

All I did was look at these details a bit more closely, follow them up, cross reference within this huge body of self-display, Handke's mounting oeuvre, and follow them where they might lead, like a forensic scientist, or a lawyer, making a finding: without knowing in the slightest, initially, not the faintest where the material might lead me. But it is all there: including, most importantly, Handke description of putting something over his eyes during these scenes; the earliest instance of not wanting to know, and in this instance on the part of someone with the super-sensitive super-high-resolution that much more irritable sense of sight of the autistic eagle eyes, dog nosed, sonar eared who goes occasionally color blind and thus does not have a driver's license and is dependent on friends like Darko,Zarko etc. to drive him around, or who has taken no end of buses and provides amazing snapshots of passengers in buses [to put it this way instead of becoming hideously technical]: autism is a painful condition because, one important factor, the sensory input is far higher than the standard processor, modulator can accommodate. These are matters of the brain. The askewness in the brain manifests itself in the skewed behavior of idiots you meet as they used to be called, slightly different from the rest of us, for whom Handke expresses such frequent affinity, the great "Play about the Film About the War" has two of them, the "Forest Madman" and then a split-off part, "The Complete Madman."

Aside from the metaphor of "pillow over your head," the not wanting to see, but the peeking of the infinite voyeur Handke, a child, especially in a primal scene situation - in Handke's case, that of a love-child who had exclusive use of an infinitely doting exquisitely beautiful mother for the first two years of his life - will masturbate to remain whole, not to split. The birth of rage, Handke's difficult relationship with his wives. The birth of someone who needs to keep a pencil in hand to stay whole, productive, fated, condemned to write. Handke's productiveness is that of a symptom, so that when he is not writing he is translating.


I will stop here: but it is important I think to be very mindful of the "blanket over the eyes", the looking obliquely, and the oblique representation of the hideous, the fantasy of a different world, the creation of it in the world of words, the calming of anxiety as soon as he holds a pencil in hand of someone who used to say that he was "born into terror"... as indeed he was as of age two. I think that oblique representations of horror as we come upon them in Die Hornissen and Der Hausierer, a primal scene observation if there ever was one, buried within a host of defensive literary techniques [think the way fear is toyed with in Radio Play One] which of course are then so much more interesting than the obscene terrifying heart of the world; in Across, in Walk About the Villages where the horror, too, is only alluded to, it remains off stage as well; in My Foot My Tutor where violence could break out at any moment, in Singular and Plural , where the Turk averts his wounded thumb, but suddenly the memory of "the sportswriter who talked about death" surges up, and in similar instances in the travelogue parts of the three of his altogether eight Yugoslavia related books can be explained, fundamentally, from this near aboriginal ten year primal scene exposure, no matter the variety of literary procedures that Handke employs, literary procedures as defensive maneuvers, which, ever so fortunately, leave the reader's imagination freedom to roam. In perhaps his greatest text, the opening chapter of the novel Langsame Heimkehr we have an Indian appear, threatening Sorger with a set of chains... In that setting what Handke calls the "historical" of violence can appear for once, also in Across of course. For the Alaska book this has a rightness as those who have worked among the natives there will testify.


I-C

Handke was charged with two matters, one of being lyrical where he should have "implored in tears," which the official readers who ask him to keep saying "bad bad dog" seem not to notice when he does implore and you can hear the tears, and of denying the "Holocaust" being committed by the "Serbians": it is is on that background of the prohibition of that denial that the entire controversy played out. And which brought a host of worthies on to the stage to parade their humanitarian wherewithals. Worst of all the grand exhibitionist Susan Sontag, a splendid and splendidly important essayist, once friend, instrumental in helping me persuade Farrar, Straus to become Handke's American publisher; and first rate when it came to assessing U.S. moral culpabilities, doing her thing rehearsing Beckett's Endgame in Sarajevo; then miserably, unforgettably, writing, in the Serb eating NY Times Magazine, at the time of the Kosovo campaign "now the Serbs are the victims," saying that she would never read another Handke book because he did not inveigh, speak in the same platitudes in which she did; Salmon Rushdie a book tour inconvenienced by the Yugoslav war and the side war that Handke had started, not knowing the first thing about Yugoslavia, nominating Handke as "idiot of the year", the German author Buch who likes to cuddle Albanians; Ely Wiesel who instantly, ignorantly, ideologically expressed sympathy for the victims, the Albanians, who ate the likes of him as a young boy for breakfast not long ago. No end of foreign tourists of humanitarian sympathy... all for the show back home! The great exception Handke, no less a showboat, but one with expertise and affection, who instantly tried to retract his saying "The Serbs are the new Jews" or however he put this ejaculation that only manifested how injured his being was; so that you, thinking analytically, begin to dwell on, as I did, what in this affair might be able to injure his psyche so to the quick. At least to my own halfway satisfaction, the answer to this question is related to Handke's installation of his Slovenian grandfather Sivec as the father figure during the promised re-writing of Sorrow Beyond Dreams, that is during his acquisition of a second primary identity as that of Filip Kobal in The Repetition; and of course to Handke's two Partisan uncles who perished during WW II and whose wartime letters became heirlooms in Sivec household: the Handke who wishes to be a classic in his own lifetime many of whose works have managed to become an heirlooms during my battles! As an analyst who can crack some very difficult equations, I could not be made happier by Handke's Art of Asking, which refuses, tries not to ask in any or the usual fashions, and rids my mind of the constant querying, at least for a while.


On superficial glance there seems a bit of truth to both charges, of being too lyrical and denying, though if his accusers pursued his oblique travelogues texts they would realize that something else is going on as Scott enumerates and elaborates so much more patiently than I could. Handke doesn't deny though he admits to wanting to, the way you do when you don't want to admit to yourself that the bitch is cheating. Even recently, in an interview with a Croat paper he claimed once again, as he did in Winter's Journey [where he notes his the wife's asking him whether he wanted to deny everything] that the inner city of Dubrovnik could not possibly have been shelled, after all he celebrated his own 45 th birthday there, pointing not only to Handke's extreme self-involvement but to the wish that the dream continue to exist, and that he will be infuriated if it is disturbed.

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So these beautiful travel texts - written in each instance shortly after his return to his desk, utilizing to whatever degree no scholar will be able to tell I hope for many years to come, recourse to Handke's extraordinary trove of daily diaries - indeed provide a highly individual record of visiting, revisiting those parts of the world... However, aside from keeping us mindful of the other events that unfold during war time, that you can manage to be calm during a storm... In that respect I do not think these texts are anything like or connect in any meaningful way to the Versuche, the Three Assayings, as I prefer to call them in English, which are formalized, highly focused narratives [Tiredness employing a Socratic dialogue form] or circular narratives [Jukebox + Successful Day] anchored in particularized locales, attempts to narrate around particular topics; although I tend to agree with Scott in the instance he quotes from Successful Day where a kind of Adornoesque procedure can be found too.



Wonderful, interesting as each of the travel texts and the 9th land book is, I think that The Play about the Film about the War is by far the most valuable thing to have come out of this venture, unless the recently promised novel on the tragic character of Milosevic is more than yet one another excuse pulled out of our rabbit's hat as reason for Handke's so exhibitionistic attendance at the funeral in Pozarevac. However, the just - February 2007 - published Vorwintererzählung Kali, would not seem to be it.


But the disintegration of that dream wish certainly accounts for moments such as "imploringly in tears" [as I would translate Unter Tränen Fragend] when Handke finds yet another surrogate to speak for him, as he did that Serbian, in Srebrenice in "A Summer Postscript" who keeps exclaiming over and over that he does not wish to be a Serb, which made me write: "Whoever has asked Peter Handke to be a Serb in the first place, except possibly the real father figure otolith of his identity, his Slovenian grandfather Sivec who already voted for the Yugoslav federation during the 1921 Plebiscite. [Slovenia was an independent country from 1919 to 1921]. Handke himself, in an interview with his friend Thomas Deichmann wondered whether his metaphorical and theatrical way of his writing in these travelogues had not militated against their comprehension.


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* Among the Yugoslavia texts I include not only 9th Land, but also Noch Einmal zum 9ten Land, [Wieser Verlag], the three travelogues Winter's Journey, A Summer's Reprieve [as I would call it in American]; Imploringly in Tears [ditto says this translator who is keenly aware of titling], but also Rund um das grosse Tribunal [the Handke cat walking around but never confronting that hot dish]; and the 2005 Damiel, published in Literaturen, which details his interesting reason for then not appearing at the Milosevic trial. This text includes a wonderful section detailing how Handke keeps catching himself, in the play of conscience, ultimately always coming out in the right. Unfortunately his sense of humor about his own self-righteousness only holds at his desk, in not time he got on his big righteous horse and condemned Grass for the infamy of having been in the Waffen SS for 45 days as a 17 year old, no doubt without having read Grass' "Zwiebelschaelung." Alas.

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MICHAEL ROLOFF http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html