Immer wieder spüre ich, auf die Schwelle zum Reich der Erzàhlung gelangt – »wo ich hingehöre!« –, das als eine überwältigende Wohltat. Es ist der Eintritt in das, was Wittgenstein poetische Stimmung nannte, wo die Gedanken so lebhaft würden »wie die Natur«. Aber dazu brauche ich immer wieder die Stille und die Menschenleere; nicht freilich die Menschenferne/ Again and again, having reached the threshold of narrative – “which is where I belong” - I feel this to be an overwhelming blessing. It is what Wittgenstein called poetic ambience, where thoughts can become as lively “as nature.” But for that I keep needing quiet and isolation from human beings; of course not distance from human beings.
Schwellenbewusstsein hiesse: die Aufmerksamkeit für das Ding jetzt auf das nächste dann übertragen (28. August)/ Awareness of thresholds/transitions might mean: to transfer/displace my attention from the one thing now onto the next.
This line was rhythmically punctuated by the ruined crowns, or crown ruins, w3hich had the appearance, lying on the ground, of enormous cages, cages intended for games, for they were wide open in all directions, with remains of tangled branches..."
[As a matter of fact, read that entire section of the destruction of the forest from the bottom of page 37 to the end of the chapter on page 44 and if it’s not your cup of tea, as we know you can’t really talk anyone into liking something.]
Now something that I find less than illustrious, it derives from the "Polvedera" section Chapter 17, pages 207-214, which when I reached it struck me, the first time, as merely written, not experienced and felt as the destruction of the forest section, so apparently is: to me!:
Raised by grandparents who were avid travelers, or vagabonds, to be more precise, who seemed to change their nationality with every border they crossed, she had pined for a while in her youth for the long-lost land of her birth in eastern Germany, familiar to her not from her own memories but rather from stories, and later from dreams as well.
We are sitting on a bench in the park gazing out on the pond, and I see something swimming in the pond, and the Turk is gazing out on the pond:
We are gazing at the pond, and I see an object swimming in the pond, and the Turk is gazing at the pond:
We are gazing at the pond, and I see a tuft of grass, propelled by swimming ducks, making its way to the shore, and the Turk is gazing at the pond:
We are gazing at the pond, and I see a tuft of grass swimming shoreward, propelled by swimming ducks, and then I see the tuft of grass floating away from the shore, propelled by ducks swimming in the opposite direction, and the Turk is gazing at the pond:
We are gazing at the pond, and I see a tuft of grass that, propelled by swimming ducks, was about to be washed ashore and then, propelled by ducks swimming in the opposite direction, was about to be washed back into the middle of the pond and now, propelled by ducks intersecting the two groups of ducks that are swimming in the opposite direction, float suspended in place, and the Turk is gazing at the pond:
We are gazing at the pond, and I see an object I took to be a tuft of grass or something I took to be an object that I believed was a tuft of grass suddenly disappear after it had moved in place, and I stop moving my head in time with the object on one and the same spot: that is to say, I am startled or, I am startled, that is to say, I stop moving my head in time with the object on one and the same spot, and no longer move at all, and the Turk is gazing at the pond:
We are gazing at the pond, and I see a duck surfacing with a tuft of grass in its bill, and I am tired of gazing and am satisfied, and the Turk is gazing at the pond:
We are gazing at the pond, and, without seeing anything, I remember the sports writer who talked about death, and the Turk is gazing at the pond:
A Turk and I, we are sitting in the park on a bench and are gazing at the pond: I am sitting in the park on a bench next to a Turk with a thickly bandaged finger: I am sitting on a bench in the park next to a Turk with a thickly bandaged finger: next to me on the bench in the park there suddenly sits a Turk with a thickly bandaged finger, which he is extending away from his other fingers: in the park on a bench sits a Turk with nine unimpaired fingers which he presses to the palms of his hands: on a bench in the park sits a Turk with a thickly bandaged finger and gazes out at the pond.
On my return from pastoral Mexico in 1993/94 I became aware of the disintegration & of Handke’s controversial involvement in what became a parallel war. Knowing of my man’s extreme exhibitionism, I initially found his so involvement and so publically very much suspect. Although I was well along with a psychoanalytic monograph on Handke and had followed his taking a Slovenian direction with his installation of his grandfather as a father figure in The Repetition, I did not, as did lots of Slovenians, until further study, appreciate why someone who seemed to hold Herderian views on the existence of independent tribes and liked lots of check-points between them, then favored the continued existence of a fragile federation to such an extent that he might also support the Yugoslav federal government [Milosevic] in its endeavor to hold that union together. Noting that Handke’s Slovenian grandfather had voted for the first Yugoslav Federation back in 1921 [Slovenia was independent from 1919 to 1921 after WW I] I acknowledged that as an impetus quite aside Handke’s walking and visiting the entirety of that country as it is laid down not only in The Repetition and Die Hornissen, and in wonderful sequences in No-Man’s-Bay or his, age 23, having written Hornissen on the Island of Krk.
As I then read Handke’s texts and his various public statements during the three followable comings of this controversy - tirades his ex-inamorata Marie Colbin called them - they struck me rather as the wounded cries of a child, thus “amour fou”, and that then put the question of authenticity on the back burner. Petulant acts such as returning the Büchner Preis, his disavowal of any worth in Habermas as a philosopher for having supported NATO intervention – I was reminded how much sounder my man was with pen in hand instead of his loose mouth. The first of Handke’s Yugoslavia texts – Neunte Land – struck me as a form of wonderful special pleading, and I think it’s the best of the lot, although I came to quite agree [and not only with Handke] that the trigger for the disintegration was Herbert Genscher’s recognizing the independence of Slovenia and Croatia, I did not feel that anywhere [except I suppose the great play that Handke got out of the experience, The Trip in the Dugout Canoe: The Play about the Film about the War,
for my piece on this] did Handke really appreciate the drive, the desire of the various tribes to try to go their own way [regardless of their being manipulated, fools have to be allowed to make their mistakes?]. The purely descriptive parts of the other texts are of course quite wonderful, as usual, and that Handke wrote in metaphor and refused to abide by the cliché expressions in which his “humanity hyenas” as he so fittingly calls them, want you to express you condolences – that itself led to misunderstandings galore – the source of most misunderstandings, after all, as Nietzsche said, is that the dog was God’s first misunderstanding... one guess as to the second - but it occurred to me, it puzzled me and still does to no end why someone who only left law school just
before graduating because he was already successful as a writer and had the idea that a law degree might enable him to hold the sinecure of an Austrian Cultural Attaché, should go about his witnessing in this way, no matter how beautiful. Indeed the idyllic persists even during war, I recall it only too well from my early childhood days during WW II. However, Handke’s charge against the French media’s anti-Serbian campaign I then found confirmed by the same simple-minded process in the United States, a process in which the so-called intellectuals – definition of which is a modicum of skepticism and reflection and research if possible – proceeded to follow like the rest of the media fed sheep. I believe Handke also preferred the Yugoslav federation over the fat EEU.
Fondly as I recalled the few months I once spent in Dubrovnik, it really was not in my well-laid plans to sniff out all the reasons for the disintegration. Of course it is manifold, and needs to be thought of sequentially, three dimensionally. And I came up with the following summary reasons:
1] A hollowed out socialism; Handke himself noted in Felsfenster n 1988 how much colder matters had become; and devolution into ethnic identities
2] A state the urges of whose various ethnicities were barely contained under
3] The end of the cold war and the U.S.
unwillingness to keep footing the bill for “our” Commie S.O.B.
4] The world wide urge in a younger generation for a neo-liberalist agenda,
which in Yugoslavia took certain extreme forms such as roaming young war
5] Thus Genscher’s acknowledgment of Croatian independence in some sense, though precipitating – but let us not forget that it would have happened anyhow.
6] Tjudman’s making the Croatian Serbs 2ndclass citizen, and you know the hideous rest. The U.N.and NATO intervention were near inevitable or the wars would still be
going on, that the final upshot would be the U.S. base Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, ah well, NATO has been the U.S. hound dog for a long time!
7] And of course "the media" and their needs, which Handke can only curse, and of course how do you have time in extremis to lay down all the proof of distortions and lies.
There have been three comings of the “Handke-Yugo Controversy.” The
first on publication of “A Winter’s Journey”; the second, on the event of the Kosovo war; and the third on the occasion of Handke’s so ostentatious visit – I knew he would as soon as I realized that the Tribunal would let Milosevic die in prison – at his funeral. My guess is that the way these controversies have played out pushed Handke into a more obstinate Pro-Serbian position than he wishes to occupy, for being hailed as the sole defender of Serb national interest and Serb anti-EEU nationalism. He is of course entirely right in that considering the continued simple-minded blaming of the Serbs. With every other tribe allowed its nationalism, why not the Serbs too? The single most hideous statement I found in what is now a good-sized book shelf worth of stuff on these controversies was Susan Sontag’s in the Sunday N.Y. Times magazine at the time of the bombing of Belgrade and Yugoslav infrastructure: “Now the Serbs are the victims.” Even assuming that that statement contained a modicum of sympathy, it demonstrated in nuce how ignorant one can become rehearsing “Endgame” in Sarajevo. And her statement and my judgment of it [and this piece of ignorance does not disqualify work of hers that I cherish, as I continue to mourn her absence on the scene] as she tried to disqualify Handke for having his
own, so much more differentiated and rooted take on the matter. Handke
of course never denied anything, rather the opposite especially in the contentious matter of Srebrenica, not that he isn’t as capable of wish fulfillment as anyone else, however he tried to put different emphases.
Handke in Kosovo, assisting an ancient Serbian.