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Thursday, December 31, 2009

LETTER TO ROBERT SILVERS + NY REVIEW OF BOOKS RE: J.S. MARCUS


  The below cover letter to Bob Silvers + NYRB  
plus the attachment RE: J.S  MARCUS  HUGELY DAMAGING PIECE
also at:

will go to about 2500 people
 First to 
this "hard core" of Handke aficionados


 and with attachment will be posted at:

which has its own blog.


That site  has the J.S.  Marcus piece in all its 7 thousand word glorious misery!
if you happen not to subscribe to the NYRB and do not have access to its archive. 


I can also send it to you.


Do not hesitate to forward to possibly interested parties,
and to e-mail  Bob Silvers rsilvers@nybooks.com
letters@nybooks.com
endorsing or whatever


You will note that I am tough on Handke when I feel it is justified.
That lends this decimation of J.S. Marcus and of the NYRB's edititorial practices credibility [?]





 Just imagine
 - what if Handke had not got off that plane to Lockerbee?, in London, back then?

Gracias,

 
MICHAEL ROLOFF
AN OPEN LETTER
TO ROBERT SILVERS, THE NYRB
Re:  J.S. MARCUS
"We are the market.
We are the world. We are the power.
We write the history… That’s the way it is.
That’s the way it has to be.
We are the language."
From Handke’s VOYAGE BY DUGOUT


AN OPEN LETTER
TO ROBERT SILVERS, THE NYRB
Re:  J.S. MARCUS
"We are the market.
We are the world. We are the power.
We write the history… That’s the way it is.
That’s the way it has to be.
We are the language."
From Handke’s VOYAGE BY DUGOUT
posted at:
&
where you can comment
& in as much as my letter specifically addresses Marcus’s comments on Handke’s EINBAUM/ VOYAGE BY DUGOUT
And in greater detail
at the CANOE page of
the second of the handkedrama sites.
& at:
where again you may comment:
in its 7 thousand word entirety can also be found at:
===========================================
  
Dear Bob,  


This is a detailed exposition - point by point - critique and disavowal - of one J.S. Marcus’s
Volume 47, Number 14 · September 21, 2000
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/13838

heinous, crude, accusatory, by and large utterly ignorant and unperceptive, nay one could call it an assassination attempt on Handke, an 
atrocity to which you refused to run my letter of disagreement [which I make part of my “note” on the Handke play VOYAGE BY DUGOUT, both of which I will send separately], a publishable brief letter where, however, I merely addressed "Marcus's" baldly – baldy will not do now that I scalp him! – utterly but uniquely ignorant literary opinions. - 
I myself had not reached anything conclusionary about Handke's to me then still somewhat puzzling involvement in matters Yugoslavian, but especially not about all that went into the making of that disintegration – Marcus it appears in 2000 had all the “facts” at his command and so could say that Handke “impugned the facts,” and perhaps you and your fellow editors, too, were in some kind of general agreement if not to the disposition of the facts but at least how you were disposed towards them to permit this unknown scribe to ascribe impugning; and, then, to Handke in the play VOYAGE BY DUGOUT, which finally exists in translation – thus the reason for this missilethat he “did entirely without them”, as in fact he really did since, unlike e.g. Johannes R. Becher’s STALIN SCHLACHT, Handke has always prided himself on not putting tanks on his stage, if you get what I mean what a stage is? And letting stage action and nothing else onto his so playfully instructive play space. 
Whatever inhibitions I may have had with respect to addressing both Handke’s involvement and the “facts” that went into the disintegration have meanwhile disappeared, thus this letter; disoriented as this once abandoned child can so easily be, I then take the trouble to orient myself so much more thoroughly so as to ride a little less insecurely on Rosinante.
I shared that 2000 letter with a number of people, my friend and once agent, the now deceased Robert Lantz, and they all felt that I stood on pretty good ground, Robbie, who cared for Handke, prayed that you would publish it - you apparently did not, or perhaps you did not want to see the worst piece ever to appear in your pages taken note of, an atrocity, an atrocity with consequences, as detailed here. And you yourself know only too well what influence the NYRB has on all those who don’t do their own thinking and researching, who merely want to natter at cocktail parties – the reaches of such laziness are amazing! Reviewers, that lazy riff raff.
A truly amazing piece the Marcus piece is considering that you had published good enough pieces by Michael Wood and Frank Kermode in your pages for you to run something as uncomprehending as this immensely injurious piece under the aegis of the NYRB. But perhaps the NYRB does not even consult its own archives as a refresher to its institutional memory. The piece looks like an off-shoot from Susan Sontag's comment at the time that "Handke is finished in New York" who had originally supported my effort to land him at Farrar, Straus. Dear truly loved Susan – what a great American car body and a with a mind and not in but to boot! – rehearsing Beckett in Sarajevo and then theatrically showing her friends “back in the U.S.S.R” what evading snipers was like, and writing in the New York Times  Magazine, on the occasion of the Kosovo war, “now the Serbians are the victims” – alas, all our pipsqueak vantages as we forget the 500,000 displaced Serbians from Croatia! Perhaps the Marcus piece was meant as a coup de grâce for not toeing the party line on Yugoslavia. It certainly did the trick.
I think we first met when Fred Seidel sent me to you, I must have been in or just out of Grad School and you, at Harper’s, wanted a piece on US Higher Education. I could do you one now after having been a visiting scholar at the Udub as it calls itself, and so glad to have escaped the clutches of those privileges. No doubt if I had been a hotshot I would have grabbed the opportunity, but the very thought of it, and that it produces the likes of J.S. Marcus, and my being seizes up. I think it must have been because of Fred that I knew Whitney and somehow hung around the founding crowd, still very disoriented in NY, feeling my way. Later we saw a bit of each other and had the occasional lunch at Patsy’s.

I had thought that the NYRB was serious in its idea to produce an alternative to the NY Times Book Review, which in their last review of Handke committed yet another atrocity by that non-reader Neil Gordon who teaches “realism” at the New School! Hear Hear!
My and many another shorter letter to the Book Review on the occasion of this atrocity also went unpublished, but you can find it at:
in a roundup of the Handke reception, such as it is. James Wood I was glad to find out entirely agreed with me – always so glad not to be regarded as entirely bonkers! Meanwhile I have come to appreciate what a tough act it is to put out so much readable copy to the unwashed crowd of “innelectuals”, and that the Brits seem to be better at it; and that a little controversy, even if it is spurious, as the one on psycho-analysis about a decade or so was, can help the churn. Language is something we take a bath in, and perhaps because he is so literate David Bromwich’s brain is magicked out of existence at sonorous Obambi prose.
As editor and publisher I could not fail to notice that one of those long reviews in the NYRB did absolutely nothing for sales. People read or at least glance at those long pieces and think they KNOW! Thus a negative review in the NYRB will definitely depress sales, can do no end of harm, and your Marcus piece sure did when Conjunctions then cancels its plan to publish an excerpt from VOYAGE, or a proto-post menstrualist like Benjamin Kunkels pays heed to something like Marcus… and on and on among the review Gesindel, the riff-raff as Handke calls them… that daisy chain of lazy opinion makers. Thus the “long essay review,” as it favors the reader with the notion that they know enough, better be at least within the continuum of what can be entertained at the time of the then knowledge: Marcus falls way off the cliff of the norm at nearly every moment.
You are most welcome to run this critique as a letter to editor, it will fill a few of your generous pages, you don’t need to pay letter writers, and it would definitely stir a needed controversy. Point by point, dirty tail by dirty detail.
At the time, you promised to forward my letter to the writer, who is noted as living in Berlin. I never heard from him. He appears only once more in your pages, with a Letter from the Danube, perhaps he has drowned meanwhile and been devoured by a sturgeon, as best as my searches in your archives find. So I imagine he is a real person and not a fictional attack dog hired for the purposeful occasion of attacking Handke who was getting it from nearly all sides at that time and has ever since from great humanists like Michael McDonald of The American [Imperialist] Interest, at R. Wilson’s American Scholar, which sure has gone to the dogs since that fellow started editing it, where McDonald accused Handke via a John Updike quote – we are talking 2007! – of being under the sway of Robbe-Grillet in his 1974 novel A MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING! And, at The Weakly Standard, of writing Chomskyish idyllics in his 2002/ 2007 Crossing the Sierra Del Gredos! These then the only links to Handke that sweet fuddy duddy Dennis [“The Mutton”] Dutton, who runs ArtsDaily
from Kiwiland, will link to; and who then lets me know, after I complain to the Chronicle of Higher Education under whose aegis Artsdaily runs, that he has nothing against Handke.  Well he did not link to William Gass’s piece on Handke’s No-Man’s-Bay at the L.A. Times, the only peer response Handke has had in these many years since Richard Gilman did a piece on Handke’s theater early on, nor a quite perceptive one of Del Gredos that ran at the Washington Post where the Canadian novelist reviewer noted that Handke made you see the world anew – and to achieve that was the mark of a major writer. And that is what two of the bloody genius’s greatest plays “Ride across Lake Constance” and “The Hour we Knew nothing of Each Other” do, too: they clean out your clock. I am going to clean out Mr. Marcus’s clock in quite a different fashion. With all these folk and the NY Times Book Review and the American Scholar etc. this might be called “piling on” Handke=The Skandal. I can think of skandalons they are so immense, they aren’t really mentioned, are they? 
Marcus it appears is also an occasional writer in the Travel section of the New York Times – the section I detest more than any other, each piece comes with the appropriate ads, is tied to them – but certainly the right place for him, perhaps Marcus even wrote that piece that showed two Slovenian ex-doctorands now that the  abstract , as J.S. Marcus calls it, little country is part of the EU, working in one of those inns frequented by German and Austrian Mercedes owners, smiling their cool Slovenian grins, a book that proved to me how right Handke was with the first, and gentlest, of his books on the disintegration of the Yugoslav Federation" Abschied vom Neunten Land - where 9th Land  is the land of peace, an important province for a hypersensitive autist with such deep longing for peace what with such a streak of violence in him, three near epileptic fits a day, who as a young man was one of the angriest, most nauseated, enraged ever - and occasional  "sacred rage" as he calls his Tourettish explosions! Who certainly had one of last centuries major love child fits all over the media, our great exhibitionist did, it seemed both his Grandpa Sivec and his Mom, Maria were being torn to pieces!...And if one sees something of the  kind: well that troubled child, you try to understand it! No? instead of beating up on him. See:
the exhibitionist love child posing, certainly the most photographed and posed writer ever. And continued to with his visit to the funeral of the Big Bad Wolf of Požarevac, Milošević, [who supposedly killed all those lambs all by himself!] as I made a bet with myself that Handke would, when it became clear that the Hague Tribunal that would be far better off trying some American Geo-political Monsters, would let Milosevic die in prison, that my man would show up there:and, winning my own bet, treated myself to a bottle of Dom and a gram of the best flake and celebrated my win with a lissome wench at the wedding suite of the best fleabag hotel in this hick town as I hadn’t done for about thirty years!
Not only that, my Handke bébé, as of J. D. Marcus having had a go at him, has written quite a number of other texts on the subject,[*] in one of which - THE CUCKOOS OF VELICA HOCA – he finally stops excoriating the world of reporters and proves that he is a hundred times better, and if you had an ounce of guts left you would have that text translated and publish it, because it would set the bar of reportage higher than anything that’s around now. Handke no longer just sputters with rage: he has become an intimate respectful loving and caring reporter. As in this photo of him taken where he appears to be following the observation of the [by him] so enviously detested Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s observation that after the men were done you could see all those old women cleaning bricks for a rebuilding:
The Velica Hoca page
is devoted to that book and I suspect Scott Abbott could translate it. Krishna Winston has no end of other things of his to translate. I will only translate Josef Winkler these days, of whom the bloody ignorant country hasn’t heard no matter that two books of his are in English. However, I wouldn’t bet more than a cent on a magazine that has backed a variety of war criminals – “Wreck another plane, bombs away McCain” and General Wesley Clark of Belgrade and infra-structure-destruct “shock and awe” infamy – on doing anything of the kind. McCain of course paid an undeserved price, but could not claim at DeHague that such enthusiastic Indian warrior dare-devilishness was done “under orders”, so he will merely have the label “war criminal” attached to his lapel together with the other pins, but serve no more time; the NYRB is just one degree to the center of Kristol’s Weakly Standard these days, and I’m sure you all could enjoy a laugh together at whatever P.J.’s. And “The Weakly” even runs the occasional perfectly acceptable review. And it appears by the latest issue, off you all are to “Surgistan” with Obambi. 
Now follows a point by point critique of Marcus’s atrocity. An even more detailed decimation, focusing just on Marcus's take on Einbaum/ Voyage will reach you with my sending of VOYAGE. You will note that even in 1999 I was not in complete disagreement with a few points that Marcus then made about a year later about the play, and then there are these odd moments when he is on the verge of being on to something! “Marcus [occasionally] on the Verge” we will entitle this ever so generously then. Perhaps with so many brilliant Marcuses around, you just happened to pick the one louse there has to be in such a plethora? 
I would also have you note, unless you had already noticed, that I am in the enviable, I say to myself, position of being able to both champion Handke’s work, by pointing out the fundamental possibilities he avails the logos, whose first translator and editor I happened to be in this country, and to criticize it when I feel really critical, as I have rarely, some minor matters here and there, but quite severely in the instance of some matters his latest novel Morawische Nacht - albeit it contains stretches of the most amazing writing that I have come on in my near seventy years of deciphering lettering, and I will have to go back and read it a third time once it is translated to make sure I was not, my whole body was not hallucinating and tremoring with what Handke manages to accomplish in a few sections, and with a classical style that exceeds Goethe and Flaubert combined.[see the Morawian Night page at:
the second of the two prose sites and:
and also as a person, for some of the extremely ugly things he has done. As he once confessed: “When I am bad I am really bad, and when I am good I am an angel.” Veridad. He also mentioned to his most frequent interviewer over the years that he wished the day would come that he could be a real “Schuft” [bastard], Mueller replied that he had lots of time left for that, and I would say that Handke has accomplished it multiply, [Handke can be utterly oblivious of what he does, tends to wake up about ten or twenty years later, which is extremely funnee!], as Wim Wenders mentioned to me here in Seattle, godfather to his second daughter, Handke invariably hurts those closest to him, quite aside being a bastard child to start off with, but of Shakespearean talent at times.  Alright, let’s have at it, sorry about the long pre-amble, which sure ambled, but I had, have a lot to get off me chest!
Note that another politically themed Handke play -  "Storm Still" [about a Slovenian partisan uprising in Spring 1945] - another Shakespeare derived title – ["they sure took their time, THOSE Partisanen!” is all I can say] will premiere under Klaus Peymann's direction at the Burgtheater, Vienna in February 2010 or "O-Ten" as which it will be known "o-then!” Send someone other than Marcus I pray!
You have committed a grave  service to your readers and to literature with that J.S. Marcus piece,  nay you have committed a kind of crime for which in more regulated regions you might be decapitated. Make amends, Bob Silvers while you still have the time!
MICHAEL ROLOFF
http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name
Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society
This LYNX will LEAP you to my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS:
http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html
"MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS! +
THE FIREPLUG OF FILIALITY REINSURE YOUR BUNGHOLE!" {J. Joyce}
"Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben]


NAMES TO APPEAR IN THE MAIN TEXT OF THIS COMMUNICATION:

scott abbot, krishna winston, ralph mannheim, gitta honegger, john rockwell, frank conroy, richard gilman, michael wood,
frank kermode, james wood, william, GREIL marcus, jim krusoe, edmond caldwell, neil gordon, michael mcdonald [of "the amurrican interest"], dennis ["tsweet fuddy duddy mutton"] dutton, robert wilson [of "the amurrican scholar"], the 'reichs-kanickel' i.e. marcel reich ranicki, lothar struck, svetlana of byzantine [de] construct, benjamin kunkel, marie colbin, 
Amina Schwartz-Handke, sophie semin, libgart schwartz, siegfried unseld, roger straus,  henry james, naom chomsky, ludwig wittgenstein, peter strasser, weinzierl, Erich Wolfgang Skwara, umerto eco, milosevic, riki'c, Karadzic, Tomislav Nikolic, zejlko dujkic, zarko,  ramsey clark, roger cohen roger cohen roger cohen, steve erlanger, Herbert Mathews harold brodky,  elizabeth hardwick, barbara epstein, guenter grass, heinrich boell, leila vennewitz, peter weiss jakov lind, pannah grady, alan ginsberg,  ted ziolkovsky,  susan sontag, beckett, hans werner richter, hans magnus enzensberger, juergen habermas,  wim wenders, generals sturm von bordwehr and wesley clark, john mccain, robert musil, erich kuby, steve glass, elaine kaufmann, kafka, klaus peymann, rolf hochhut, heiner kipphart, bert brecht, heiner mueller, euripedes, goethe, hermann hesse, Josep Palau Balletbó, karls kraus, Thomas BernhardAmbassadors Peter Galbraith, Richard Holbrooke, Brzezinski, Presidents Carter, Reagan and Bill Clinton, Castro, Tjudman, IzetbetgowitchIsaiah Berlin, Gottfried Benn, Klaus Mann, Hölderlin, Hermann Lenz, Thomas Mann, Einstein, Freud, Dostoyevsky, among others






“Marcus [occasionally] on the Verge”
Marcus quotes in: GRAY
since he feels that that is Handke’s coloring
I am YELLOW JACKET!
Handke quotes in Green
One or two Scott Abott quotes
  Others, Colbin, Caldwell etc…     

V
olume 47, Number 14 · September 21, 2000
Apocalypse Now
Die Fahrt im Einbaum oder Das Stück zum Film vom Krieg [The Journey in the Dugout Canoe, or The Piece about the Film about the War]
by Peter Handke
Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 126 pp., DM 32.00 (paper)
Scott Abbott’s translation is called:
VOYAGE BY DUGOUT: THE PLAY ABOUT THE FILM ABOUT THE WAR
Unter Tränen fragend [Questioning Through Tears]
by Peter Handke
Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 158 pp., DM 36.00
OTHER BOOKS REFERRED TO IN THIS ESSAY
My Year in the No-Man's-Bay
by Peter Handke, Translated from the German by Krishna Winston
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 468 pp., $30.00
A Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia
by Peter Handke, Translated from the German by Scott Abbott/ Viking, 83 pp., $17.95
A Sorrow Beyond Dreams
by Peter Handke, Translated from the German by Ralph Manheim
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 70 pp., (out of print)
In print with New York Review Books!
Repetition
by Peter Handke, Translated from the German by Ralph Manheim
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 225 pp., $ 18.95
Plays: 1
by Peter Handke, Translated from the German by Michael Roloff, with an introduction by Tom Kuhn
Methuen, 308 pp., $17.95 (paper)
Abschied des Träumers vom Neunten Land [The Dreamer's Farewell to the Ninth Country]
by Peter Handke
Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 50 pp., DM 19.80
Sommerlicher Nachtrag zu einer winterlichen Reise [Summer Afterword to a Winter Journey]
by Peter Handke
Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 92 pp., DM 24.80
Der Himmel über Berlin: Ein Filmbuch [released in America as "Wings of Desire"]
by Wim Wenders, by Peter Handke
Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 170 pp., DM 29.00
Noch einmal vom Neunten Land [One More Time from the Ninth Country]
by Peter Handke, by Joze Horvat
Klagenfurt: Wieser Verlag, 110 pp., DM 29.80
On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House
by Peter Handke, Translated from the German by Krishna Winston
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 185 pp., $ 23.00
1] J.S. Marcus’s hook begins like this and it at once familiarizes the reader with several of his favorite adjectives: “grey” and “abstract”  and “detached”
“One of the last German films to win an international following was Wim Wenders's 1987 fantasy Wings of Desire, about an angel, played by Bruno Ganz, who longs to be mortal; he sees everything but feels nothing. The film is remarkable for its muted black-and-white images of West Berlin, which shows up on screen as a blank, almost abstract, cityscape (the Potsdamer Platz, then in the shadow of the wall, appears, memorably, as a vacant lot), and for its stern, incantatory dialogue.
Wings of Desire was co-written, we are told, by Wenders and the Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke; but the story and the effect of the images, like the dialogue, bear the mark of Handke, generally regarded at the time as the premier prose stylist in the German language, and one of post-war Europe's most recognizable literary figures.
At the end of the film, Ganz's angel finally gets his wish and becomes merely human — unlike Lucifer, he is redeemed by his fall, and the film is submerged in a haze of color. Handke has lately taken his own fall: he has put himself at the center of a resounding controversy by forsaking his gray world of detachment and longing…” [ my emphases throughout- M.R.]
I once analyzed the film and the screenplay and in the process made several interesting discoveries: [1] that Handke can be the ultimate scavenger of his own work, since he wrote only several long poems that are new, most famously of course his “The Song of Childhood” which is all over the web in no end of translations, and through whose eyes the film is filmed and magicks Berlin and the world, which is what made the film such a success:
Song of Childhood
By Peter Handke
When the child was a child
It walked with its arms swinging,
wanted the brook to be a river,
the river to be a torrent,
and this puddle to be the sea.
When the child was a child,
it didn’t know that it was a child,
everything was soulful,
and all souls were one.
When the child was a child,
it had no opinion about anything,
had no habits,
it often sat cross-legged,
took off running,
had a cowlick in its hair,
and made no faces when photographed.
When the child was a child,
It was the time for these questions:
Why am I me, and why not you?
Why am I here, and why not there?
When did time begin, and where does space end?
Is life under the sun not just a dream?
Is what I see and hear and smell
not just an illusion of a world before the world?
Given the facts of evil and people.
does evil really exist?
How can it be that I, who I am,
didn’t exist before I came to be,
and that, someday, I, who I am,
will no longer be who I am?
When the child was a child,
It choked on spinach, on peas, on rice pudding,
and on steamed cauliflower,
and eats all of those now, and not just because it has to.
When the child was a child,
it awoke once in a strange bed,
and now does so again and again.
Many people, then, seemed beautiful,
and now only a few do, by sheer luck.
It had visualized a clear image of Paradise,
and now can at most guess,
could not conceive of nothingness,
and shudders today at the thought.
When the child was a child,
It played with enthusiasm,
and, now, has just as much excitement as then,
but only when it concerns its work.
When the child was a child,
It was enough for it to eat an apple, … bread,
And so it is even now.
When the child was a child,
Berries filled its hand as only berries do,
and do even now,
Fresh walnuts made its tongue raw,
and do even now,
it had, on every mountaintop,
the longing for a higher mountain yet,
and in every city,
the longing for an even greater city,
and that is still so,
It reached for cherries in topmost branches of trees
with an elation it still has today,
has a shyness in front of strangers,
and has that even now.
It awaited the first snow,
And waits that way even now.
When the child was a child,
It threw a stick like a lance against a tree,
And it quivers there still today.
[2] That the naturalistic dialogue is either Wenders or was created by the actors during the filming, since Handke refuses to write naturalistically, but since Handke was not present during the filming itself and the idea for a film about angels had been Wenders it is exceedingly speculative to decide what idea derives from whom, or what happened in the editing room, and it was better to concentrate on the work as a whole. It is a long quite demanding essay and it appeared in the St. Monica review which was then edited by Jim Krusoe, but a good section of it can be found at:
J.S. Marcus begins in typical fashion, for him and many another writer in the age of celebrities, by mentioning that the film is famous for being famous, and that Handke is now also famous for being infamous. The transition from the fallen angel to the “fallen Handke” is the kind of specious transition that you find rarely among good enough reviewers, say in the New York Times or the New Yorker or L.A. Times which have many good ones on film and art. These hooks are meant to have a noose at the end, and the noose in this instance is called “romanticism”, on which Handke, at the end of J.S. Marcus’s [J.S. from now on] piece is accused of having strangled himself, and a very specific Serbian one at that. That is, between the hook and the noose is a narrative that those habituated to narration can follow, and if really followed he had and responded to what Handke’s prose had turned into by the year 2000 would have discovered that the kind of magicking that the film performs is also performed and ever more successfully thereafter by Handke’s “gray” prose!
Although Handke early on wrote  a  lovely essay called “Literature is romantic,” he is not Lord Byron yet by a long shot, and if you read the highpoint of his “Home Coming Cycle” [1] the dramatic poem play Walk About the Villages [2] and everything that whelms out of the treasure chest he built himself there, you notice that our man is as fiendishly critical as ever if not more so, also of many features in Serbia, no matter that he has stuck to his Balkan guns as I will update my I hope patient readers at the end of a kind of decimation of J.S. 
Marcus pathetic impressionistic way of describing, his repeated use of the term gray world of detachment is the oddest when applied to a writer whose every sentence becomes more and more anchored in images lying behind the syntax and where the syntax itself, later in the form of dream syntax, subliminally engages the reader on a far deeper than ordinary level of communication, who with the 2007 novel film opera KALI has re-acquired the great narrative style, sentence by sentence. see the KALI page at:
http://www.handkeprose2.scriptmania.com
You can go anywhere, as of Handke’s third extended prose text, ­The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, and notice that Handke is anything but “gray” whatever gray might actually mean when applied to prose:
 “While the child was speaking, sentence after sentence, a strip of light traveled beneath the plane which was flying at a perceptively lower altitude now, moved across the plateau, and caused a band of asphalt to shimmer, a reservoir to glitter, an irrigation canal to flash. A topsy-turvy new world on the first day of the journey [but hadn’t several days passed already?]: the sky above the glass roof nearly as black as night, with a hint of the first stars, and down below the sunlit earth. In similar fashion, on the way to the airport, an ancient crone, without her dentures, had come towards her, driving a factory-new race car, as if trying to set a new record, the car’s number emblazoned from stem to stern. And similarly, the outskirt’s troupe of drunks had been hauling cases of beverage from the super market to their lairs in the wood – without exception bottles of mineral water. And was that possible? a flock of wild geese, flying past the plane window in a long, jagged V formation from right to left: “Arabic writing,” the boy commented. And could there be such a thing: in the same fashion a swarm of leaves swept past the window, holm oak leaves typical of the plateau? And where and since when did this exist?: and next a pale-pink of snowflake like blossoms, as if the almonds were abloom and had almost finished blooming, now in February early March.” [page: 77-79 of Del Gredos. You can see how Handke makes matters fabulous when he cooking as he is nearly entirely for the first ten chapter, and it is something to behold how he inhabits a woman’s consciousness, when she is not being the ice queen; and here something that, basically, falls into the realm of the strictly realistic convention, also fabulous, I find, in its way: "None of the other trees had such spreading crowns as the giant oaks, or oak giants. At the same time, the branches in the crowns were inter-woven, forming a dense mass. And nothing made a more powerful impression of devastation than all the oak crowns lying smashed on the forest floor. Yet even these almost countless heaps of broken limbs offered something to observe. On its way down, one of these giant trees had fallen on its equally large, equally broad, giant neighbor, which in turn had fallen on the oak in front of it and now they lay there as a single trunk, forming a sort of transcontinental line, all pointing toward a common vanishing point at the very end of the continent.” What is noticeable, too, is Handke’s sparse use of adjectiva – well, J.S. who must be the kind of fellow who really digs vivid writing, Tom Wolfe, Salmon Rushdie? Since J.S. also makes a mis-description of Handke’s first novel, Die Hornissen [I will not anticipate what I have to say about his idiocy on that score] except to mention that Handke’s second novel, Der Hausierer’s, [The Panhandler/ Peddler] main text - it exists in various Romance language translation - consists of nothing but impressions left on the consciousness of a terrified being in a room. It’s half dozen or so sections have descriptions of the procedures of the crime novel. Handke, as we also know from his 1971 Short Letter, Long Farewell, just republished by NYRB Books, with a first rate appreciation by Greil Marcus, played with the conventions of the U.S. black mask novel. These works, including the play My Foot My Tutor and Radio Play One, also quite a few poems from his Innerworld of the Outerworld of the Innerworld all play with and conquer anxiety. Handke, who is indeed somewhat sinister, and for good reason, became a virtuoso at that; until his first wife split and the lay-abroad had a tachycardia attack, as lay-abroads like that usually do under such circumstances, became panicked, fugued! And wrote great literature about it! The three long poems in Nonsense & Happiness [Urizen Books, 1976], A Moment of True Feeling, Farrar, Straus 1975] and the diary novel, process notes of automatic spontaneous notations Weight of the World [F.S. & G. 1977]. As a kind of supreme phenomenologist Handke is immediately accessible to readers of impressionism. Being somewhat autistic, Handke uses himself as his own material via a series of focused personae throughout his burgeoning work: as pure consciousness in Der Hausierer; and as Josef Bloch, the “German Writer,” Keuschnig, the “Left-Handed Woman”, Sorger, Loser, “the writer” [of An Afternoon], Keuschnig again, the “Pharmacist of Taxham”, an ex-bankieress, an woman opera singer, most recently as “ex-writer,” in each instance variously transforming what he has acknowledged can be unrolled [“vom autobiographischen aufrollen,” see his book-length weekend’s conversation with Herbert Gamper, ICH LEBE DOCH NUR VON DEN ZWISCHENRAUEMEN - for once Handke is not lying and playing games with one of his interviewers] into a thoroughly re-imagined prose text that communicates his state of mind and takes over the states of minds of real readers, Freudenstoff, Peter Strasser has called it and reading books of Handke’s such as No-Man’s-Bay or Crossing the Sierra del Gredos has put me into such a joyous state… and my guess is that Handke’s sheer love of writing communicates itself, subliminally. Formally successful, each book is also a lesson in writing. You may not wish to follow the instruct, but you will be glad to see what the teacher can show.  
As to “detached”: Handke is the writer who said to himself: “Write everything with passion,” which of course does not imply that you have roaring Italian arias, but that the passion goes into the construction of a text, passionately dispassionate as we may recall Stephen Deadalus proceeding in Portrait of the Artist. Not that Handke did not have some real problems accessing his own feelings, until they surfaced at about the time that he wrote the 1974 novel A MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING, after his first wife had left the lay-abroad, no doubt finding him to be as cold a fish as his second wife did, a cold fish who was always writing, as of puberty, nearly at every moment of the day, terrorizing his entire family, as we can find out as of the 1981 WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES, his greatest and richest work by far, it has every facet manifested, exhibited, and as is described at greater length in the sometimes extremely autobiographical 2008 MORAWISCHE NACHT. Think of him as a musician possessed by one brilliant idea after the other, and it becomes easier to take - after all you are not married to the guy nor his child.
2]“He became famous, indeed infamous, as a very young man for exquisite, absurdist… [my emphases m.r.]” Handke’s plays are never absurdist, that only applies to the one playwright with both whose formalism and playfulness he has affinity: Ionesco. As to ”exquisite”: Handke comes out of Latin “clarity”, precision, Wittgenstein, differentiation as you find them in legal texts, he has a very light touch - that  shows his affinity for Austrian playwrights Horvath and Raimund, exquisite would mean Proustian, Valery. Handke is not a jeweler, to put it that way, not even the short pieces in Once More for Thucydides [1980 New Directions] ought to be called “exquisite” if that term has meaning and use. Handke was not famous for any of those matters, though famous he was indeed. Infamous he has made himself only since his intervention in matters Yugoslavian.
a] His first play, the 1965 PROPHECY, does the same thing as Susan Sontag’s essay “Illness as Metaphor” – it excoriates similes and stupid metaphoric thinking and it does so in Handke’s serial fashion, playfully and unrelentingly.
b] Offending the Audience, which I now call Public Insult [the word “Abuse” having become too fraught] addresses an audience and tells it all about going to the theater and what it will experience as it experiences – as it exists on the world stage - with the effect of making the audience as self-conscious about theater and their own BEING IN THE WORLD - as Mr. Handke is about language, and ends with the delivery of the offensive come-on curses in the form of musically arranged sets of cuss chords: just like old Franz Josef Haydn had his drum roll Surprise Symphony. Handke is a didacticist, a language educator, an activist Wittgenstein, and can be a real pain when he turns self-righteous judge and jury [see anon], his now priestlyness bothers me less because it is infused with his immense capacity for love.
c] Self-Accusation, the obverse of Public Insult, and the most frequently performed of his early pieces, turns the table on himself, and drives the series of failures of the person to obey the claims the super ego has on it to a point where we have the first instance [that I know of] of Handke’s later characteristic pathos - the unreachability of the ideal, which most famously attains a climax in Nova’s great final Hoelderlinesque aria at the end of Handke’s 1981 Walk about the Villages which was published in this country in 1995 and which, if J.S. had read and half-way understood it, would have clued him in on Handke’s changed playing procedures, not that he evidently has the faintest about what was involved initially, nor did idiot Neil Gordon for that matter despite claims to the contrary, and the recourse Handke began to take to Euripidean and Goethean techniques while driving forward his modernist project, and so might just have obviated no end of stupid statements of J.S.’s about Einbaum/ Voyage or alleged coldness; boy is Villages hot! What a heart test it is too! And what a way to find out why so many of the cold hearted have heart attacks. On the other hand, by the time that J.S. comes to misportray VOYAGE it is clear that he has not the faintest about drama.
e] The wordless 1967 My Foot My Tutor is the purest and poetic demonstration ever of the master slave sado-masochistic relationship, in a wonderful rural setting. Nothing absurd about that, is there? Anyhow, not as long as we remain in the world of ordinary language. Noticeable, too, how Handke sustains his formal procedures.
All these plays – from the 1965 PROPHECY to the 1973 THEY ARE DYING OUT – also exist within their time and its conversation about these matters, not in a vacuum, although Handke’s approach, his conceptions are sufficiently fundamental, keenly conceived,  to outlive their immediate circumstances, 1968 and all that!
f] The 1968 Kaspar is not a “retelling of the Kaspar Hauser story,” it merely abstracts one sentence from it, “I want to be like someone else was once.” Max Frisch, appropriately, called it THE play of the fatherless generation. It is Chomsky and Wittgenstein rolled into one and a half hours of language education; and once I got a bead on my man’s psychic dimensions, I can see him as that Kaspar who was never successfully Kasperfied, whose autism keeps breaking out, as he moves so discombobulatedly on stage. In some ways Kaspar is pure determinism, its final sentence “goats and monkeys,” [Othello] repeated several times over is neither nihilist nor absurd.
g] The 1969 Quodlibet [As You like It.] is THE statement of his artistic work as a dramatist: the play works on the principle of auditory hallucination – “Catch the conscience of the King” – that is, of an audience that is now king! Handke creates projection screens, also in his novels, projections which absorb the reader’s self; playfully of course. You can then either think, or not. In Quodlibet a bunch of World Stage Characters parade around - C.I.A. KGB, great whores of the world, Geopolitical monsters, one J.S. Marcus - muttering monosyllabics which this Finnegan’s Wake aficionado translated into Joycean puns along those ambiguous lines. Handke does not care for Joyce, or perhaps just not for Ulysses, so he has said several times, though he used the rhythms of the end of The Dead for a section in No-Man’s-Bay, just as he has some bees from Beckett’s Molloy buzzing around in the Chaville woods, can’t really tell whose bees are more metaphysical! But I give very good odds that my infinitely competitive lord knew what he was doing.
h] The 1970 Ride Across Lake Constance starts with a maid in black face vacuuming the stage, and that is what Handke then proceeds to do with stage practices, with boulevard theater, the first character waking from a dream and the characters engaging in that maddening specious Wittgensteinian Socratic questioning - not just of language but of everyday activities, and you listen to that for an hour and half of ever more sinister goings, are subjected to it, and it is the weirdest experience I have ever had, I as its translator who hadn’t the faintest how that would play and what effect a performance would have on me, and I had absolutely nothing to compare it to until I entered psychoanalysis: the famous “good hour” where the cobwebs are cleaned away, the world looks fresh, the angers and conflicts, the passions are assuaged, that kind of catharsis, better than good love making and how you can feel afterwards even. Absurd? No, neither the procedure nor the effect. I wish friend Richard Gilman had experienced the play before writing about it and merely pointing to Wittgensteinian procedures in it, a very different thing to read and be subjected to! Handke creates “happenings” in the best sense of that word.
Jannings: Not that I know
George: If you don't know it, then you haven't heard of it either. But the expres"George: And have you ever heard of a "fiery Eskimo"
sion "a flying ship" - that you have heard?
Jannings: At most in a fairy tale.
George: But scurrying snakes exist?
Jannings: Of course not.
George: But fiery Eskimos - they exist?
Jannings: I can't imagine it.
George: But flying ships exist?
Jannings: At most in a dream.
George: Not in reality?
Jannings: Not in reality.
pause
George: But born losers?
Jannings: Consequently they exist.
George: And born trouble makers?
Jannings: They exist.
George: And therefore there are born criminals.
Jannings: It's only logical.
George: As I wanted to say at the time...
Jannings: [interrupts him] "At the time"? Has it been that long already?
i] If your man missed the humor in the previous plays, he cannot have missed it in They Are Dying Out, especially in Act One, with its antics of business folk talking the Marxist and Revolutionary lingo of the Sixties, language games of a more specific kind now, some of which calcified into the P.C. of the following decades. This is within the comic tradition of the best that Austrian theater, Raimund, has to offer; Thornton Wilder, you may recall, had fine traffic with that tradition, too.
Though the volume with my 12 translations is listed with the article, J.S. literally has not the faintest. Why did you pay a purblind to write nonsense?
Bob Silvers, Wasn’t there an editor in the house, I believe Elizabeth Hardwick was still alive, Barbara Epstein?
3]”threatening rants, and were scandals when they opened in Germany in the 1960s. Kaspar, the best known of these dramas…” There is not one single “rant” threatening or otherwise in any of these or any other play Handke has written. Some wonderful monologues in Dying Out, which contains one attack aria that Handke re-uses in the section of the “Internationals” of Einbaum/VOYAGE. Handke is best considered as a composer, and there exist a handful of dissertations that demonstrate the musical form of these plays. Handke becomes more and more graceful a matter no one in this utterly klunky country appears to have noticed. As matter of fact, there exists a Handke industry, which even by the time J.S. shat his shit in your pages, numbered close to a hundred books, and some thousand of articles, few if any of as low a quality as J.S.’s.  
4]“A Sorrow Beyond Dreams is Handke's masterpiece, a short, concentrated, mysteriously exhaustive portrait of his mother, from whom history and circumstance have removed most traces of an identity; as a character, she is weirdly, poignantly, blank…
Maybe J.S. ought to have his eye checked or the spectrum in his vocabulary that responds to descriptions. Otherwise, he is not all that dreadful for once. However, Maria Sivec comes through to me as anything but a blank, as very clearly delineated, but am unfamiliar with such unhappy Austrian or German lives, although not with the waste of love and effort that women in all classes suffered, except for  those that became professionals, or if they were Junker wives knew how to run an estate and ride a horse if their husband was off to war and got himself killed, as so many did. J.S. needs to take the adjective cure. Aside the impression I have of Maria Sivec as a young and adventurous woman who fell in love too easily as which young woman and man does not, and her trying to make a life for herself, also in Berlin, the mistake she makes in her choice of a surrogate father for the utterly beloved illegitimate Peter baby, the truly dreadful image that sticks is of the preparations she made, so as not to leave a mess: by putting on diapers. Handke recently was interviewed by his friend, the fine writer Weinzierl, who now edits the Welt Feuilleton. There Handke states that he feels his mother decided to kill herself chiefly at the thought of the return of her dreadful husband, the detested Bruno Handke. Peter was actually seeing a lot of her, I thought that he had been berating himself for having neglected her, as it looks if you read the book, and he describes how distant he had become, and it occurs to me to wonder: had no one heard of divorce, or at least separation in Griffen in 1971?
5] Born into a seemingly feudal world of peasants and landowners (Handke depicts his mother's father as a kind of freed serf)…” Has J.S. had read Sorrow and Repetition carefully he would have discovered that Old Man Sivec was anything but a Serf, a proud small farmer carpenter, who kept working his way back out from one financial crisis of that time in Austria after the other, but became the father figure for the fatherless Handke with whom Handke then identified himself, and who voted for the first Yugoslav federation back in 1921, which would lead your sleuth on the right trek to appreciate why a federated Yugoslavia, a successor to the K.u.K. federation, was important also to his grandson; why the Serbs, initially under Milosevic, the defenders of the Federation, then upon its dissolution became Handke’s particular love, the kind of conflation that occurred there… perhaps they really got more of a shaft than  the other tribes.
“Repetition, often regarded as Handke's best novel, is a companion piece of sorts, in which language (Slovenian) and circumstance (a walk through Slovenia) are used to create an identity for the Austro-Slovenian writer-narrator. Handke has described the two books as opposites. A Sorrow Beyond Dreams is concerned with the oppression of language. Handke's mother, with no voice of her own, must rely on the cheerful, monstrously inappropriate banalities of her time.  Repetition describes the regenerative powers of language — Handke's narrator travels through Slovenia with the help of a turn-of-the-century German-Slovenian dictionary.” Not that bad actually, J.S., you are verging! Handke even made his own Slovene-German dictionary at the time of the writing and rewalking of his high school graduation trip, and subsequently translated from Slovenian, and you [I] leave reading the book in the late 80s, not only walking like the king of slowness Handke had become, good the guy’s got himself a firm identity and he’s at least half a Slovene, if he needs that, no skin off my nose. Meanwhile, even as of J.S.’s writing in 2000, it is pretty well understood that No-Man’s-Bay [1992 in German/ 1996 in English; and Crossing the Sierra del Gredos [2002 in German, 2007 in English, are Handke’s two really big efforts; wonderful shorter works galore, LEFT HANDED WOMAN, THE THREE ESSAYS,  recently the extraordinary KALI, the forthcoming in English DON JUAN… As to The Repetition, it had a truly spectacularly understanding review in The Guardian, in the NY Times the reviewer advised the author that he ought to have his young student, Filip Kobal, as he crosses the border to Slovenia, it’s around 1960, go into a tirade against Tito. Go check out the NY Times Book Reviews and its daily take on Handke, and by and large you will be appalled all over again. Not at the beginning in the 60s to early 70s with Frank Conroy and John Rockwell. Repetition is the book that Handke announced with the  last sentence of Sorrow: “I will get back to all that once more later” and then did and re-arranged the family constellation entirely.
6]“The predominant atmosphere in both books, however, is one of detachment; in Repetition, the descriptions of the Slovenian countryside are almost…” I must have read at least a 1000 psycho-analytic case histories; very coolly written: I supply the tears where I know oceans of them were shed on the couch. J.S. needs to re-examine his use of detached, take a look at how Joyce describes his procedure in Portrait of the Artist. It appears that J.S. wants to contrast Handke’s way of writing his novels with his engagement for the Serbians – well, even the three Yugoslav travel books, the parts that are strictly phenomenological are just as “detached”.
7]  His work may be set almost anywhere in Europe and America, but there is remarkably little of the world in that work; the landscapes and cityscapes are undifferentiated, reduced, often, to abstract visual sensations
Handke is a phenomenologist, he is noted for how rooted, site specific his work is! Whole books and essays have been written on the subject, look at the work of Mireille.Tabah [a] ulb.ac.be. GOALIE is obviously set first in the Viennese Prater Section, SHORT LETTER ever so obviously all over the USA, LEFT-HANDED WOMAN begins with a very beautiful description of the undulating Paris as it look from Clamart/Meudon, where Handke was living at the time and also filmed the book; ACROSS in Salzburg, the chief reason for writing that book was to memorialize its surround, I could go on and on. J.S. must be one of the biggest morons ever to set words on paper! Or whatever, the only reason I am doing this is because this shit appeared in the vaunted NYRB.
8]Handke's prose doesn't translate well into English, but in German it has remarkable power, a sort of full-throated subtlety — he would seem to combine the directness of a writer like Hemingway with the astringency and ease of Don DeLillo, though he has his own, invariably alienating purpose….”…Handke’s work does what he, who has translated from five languages, does: it takes the translator by the elbows; he has taken me, Krishna Winston, Scott Abbott, and Ralph Mannheim by their best elbows, he thought my translation of his WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES was better than any translation he could have imagined. Well, t’wouldn’t have been feasible without an original text, which daft as my man can be he clear forgot for a while in his enthusiasm he himself had written! This is yet another of J.S.’s bald ignorant assertions, since he is so ill-versed, so utterly ignorant that then is all he can do. Amazing that you, Bob Silvers and your editors who must have at least glanced at the Handke books that you gave out for review would let this merde pass and go into print.
Here some samples and a link to the site that addresses Handke as a translator:
You have a sample of Scott Abbott’s in his translations of JUSTICE FOR SERBIA and VOYAGE BY DUGOUT coming, and of Krishna Winston’s work on DEL GREDOS above, who succeeded Ralph Manheim midway of his work on the so highly and specifically localized – Lineares, Soria, Paris - THREE ESSAYS [Farrar, Straus, 1993], and boy did Handke get lucky with Krishna! Mannheim did fine work except, I found, especially with the beginning of A SLOW HOME COMING [which American edition of this 1979 title novel also contains the 1979 walking journal book, THE LESSON OF ST. VICTOIRE [1980] and the 1981 memoir A CHILD’S STORY,  just re-issued by NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS BOOKS] he failed to find the adequate rhythms. Here two samples of my work. The early plays were pretty straightforward, except that they needed to be tested by actors mouths, as they then were, however the KASPAR was only for the UK Methuen edition thereof. Handke got lucky there with me, not only that I knew my Shakespeare courtesy of my lunatic of an OSS stepfather but also courtesy of my knockabout with the tongue of the street,[3] which is where the re-emigrated Ralph Mannheim is sorely lacking in all his work. With DYING OUT matters began to be more challenging, by the time I got to WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES we were in the realm of great and powerful poetry. However, he also got quite unlucky with Gitta Honegger’s translations of HOUR and the ART OF ASKING where the National’s London Production commissioned a new translation of what is one of the great unspoken text in the German language [it’s syntax takes you by the scruff of yours and doesn’t let go until the end, I only know of one other text like that, Heiner Mueller’s HAMLET MACHINE] of stage directions. AART OF ASKING, prior to its English language premiere. needs at least a thorough revision, but “Ekel” Peter has only himself to blame, he hates it when he gets caught with his hands in the cookie jar, and becomes as humorless as death, the confessed liar does!
From the three long progressively more fugueing poems in Nonsense and Happiness, Urizen Books, 1976, at the end of which my man had a panic attack and ended up in a hospital with a tachycardia:
“This fall time passed nearly without me
and my life stood as still as then
when I had felt so low
I wanted to learn to type
and waited evenings in the windowless ante-room
for the course to begin
The neon-tubes roared
and at the end of the hour
the plastic covers were pulled back over the type-writers.
I came and went and
would have not been able to say anything about myself.
I took myself so seriously that I noticed it,
I was not in despair merely discontent.
I had no feeling for myself and no feeling for anything else. (…)

A diary I wanted to keep
consisted of a singe sentence
“I’d like to throw myself into an umbrella”
and even that I hid in shorthand
The sun has been shining for four weeks
and I have been sitting on the terrace
and to everything that crossed my mind
and to everything I saw
I only said “yes yes” (…)
”The longer I think the more Siberian the wind that blows through my head”
I read in James Hadley Chase (…)
I had the need to love someone
but when I imagined it in detail
I became discouraged
In The Man Without Qualities I reached the sentence “Ulrich examined the man”
(“man”, too, Musil meant disparagingly)
when nausea stopped me from reading on
That perhaps was a sign that things were looking up for me
Occasionally I thought of my child
and went to him
only to show him that I was still there
Because I had such a guilty conscience
I spoke very distinctly to him (…)

At that time in summer
when the grass was still dense and long colorful toys lay strewn about in it
and someone said
“That lies there like a child’s dream”
(Before I wrote that
I had to laugh very intimately
But it fit the facts –
and without conceptual exertion)...

In this monstrously glowing autumnal world
writing too seemed nonsensical to me
Everything pressed itself so much upon me
that I lost all imagination (…)

In the papers I read that a wealthy aristocratic banker’s wife had said “The rich became even richer under this government. You won’t believe me
BUT MY HUSBAND WAS FURIOUS ABOUT THAT.”
That perked me up absurdly
Once a woman sat before me
so beautifully
and I thought
“I have to get very close to her
so that her beauty can unfold itself.”
but she shriveled
when I approached her (…)

flies died everywhere obtrusively
I picked them up and threw them in the wastebasked
When I turned on the faucet
I always caught the chlorine donation (…)

… and when I went to the mailbox
I was so blinded by the asphalt
I had to put my hand over my eyes
so as to be able to greet the dark figures approaching me
Finally, then, at dusk
at the gabled house diagonally opposite
the EDEKA sign glowed
consolingly yellow
and I went shopping
The shop was so bright and quiet
the manager was counting the receipts
the freezers hummed endearingly
and the fact that the chives I bought
were held together by a rubber band
practically moved me to tears (…)

Then at night
I slept with the garden shears beside me
and the child fidgeted with trembling hands
screaming in his bed
When I closed my eyes I could open them only one by one
Yes, I had once known how I ought to live
But now everything was forgotten
I would not even perceive a fart
as something physical
I’m really in a bad way’
I know one shouldn’t stop like that
but there’s no alternative”
with precisely those words
- Speedy Gonzales of concepts –
- I wanted to stop
even before I started to write
Then with the insolence
of self-expression
what was thought-out beforehand became even ghostlier
word by word
and really with one jolt
I again knew what I wanted
and again felt eager for the world
(As a boy when a feeling of the world overcame me
I only felt the desire tot WRITE something
now a poetic desire for the world usually
only occurs when I write something)
“I am feeling again” I thought
But I made a slip of mind
and thought “I am reeling again.”
In the last few days
nature became musical
It s beauty
became human
and its magnificence so intimate
I sloshed with pleasure through the dead leaves
walked behind the perfumed poodle
The bushes moved
as when soldiers are on maneuvers
are camouflaged behind them
The deep brown fir trees stood animally physical
before the window
and at one place in the ominous landscape
the birch tree leaves glinted as bright
as a cry of pain
“Oh” I thought
Farther away smoke drifted past behind houses
and the TV antennas in front became monuments
With every day you saw more branches among the foliage
the few leaves of grass grown back since the last mowing
glowed so intimately
that I became afraid of the end of the world
even the façade of the houses
smiled in my human reflection
“It hurts so much!” I heard a woman say of the jet trails in the sky (…)

Deep at night
it became bright again
Crushed from the outside
I began to curdle
in full consciousness
Unfeeling my cock twitched
larger
from breath to breath
“Don’t wake up now!” I thought
and held my breath
But it was too late
Nonsense had struck again
Never before had I felt so in the minority
Outside the window
nothing but omnipotence
At first a few bird sang
then so many
the singing
became a racket
the air an echo chamber
without pause or end
Such a down
suddenly no memory
no thought of the future.
I lay stretched out long in my fear
did not dare
open my eyes
relived the winter night
when I did not turn once
from one side
to the other
gnarled by the cold then
now stretched out
illiterate from the horror outside me (…)

The unleveled rolling plazas
in the large graceful city
this repetition of the open country
with the horizons of hills
amid the houses
the land
prolonged into the city
onto these plazas
where you were over-whelmed as nowhere else
by horizon longing…

When I climbed out of the subway
even the dog shitting on the sidewalk
struck me as magicked
I shuddered with disbelief
suddenly I was THE OBJECTIVELY LIVING THING
My cock lay strangely forgotten
between my legs
Joy rose from the deepest depths
and replaced me
“I can be happy” I thought
“Why don’t you envy me!”
For days I was beside myself
and yet as I wanted to be.
I ate little
talked just to myself –
needless so happy
unapproachable so full of curiosity
selfless
and self-confident(…)

I as inspired machine
everything happened by chance:
that a bus stopped
and that I got on
that I rode the ticket’s worth
that I walked through the streets(…)

The cats sniffed around in the mausoleums
of the large cemeteries
Very small couples sat in the cafes
and ate Salade Niçoise together…

I was in my element
clucking
But in my dreams
I hadn’t yet lost all interest
Straggling slime track
of the snail person.
I was not ashamed
was only angry.
I made myself wishless
by drinking too much
The twitching eyelids became irksome
The passersby were walk-ons
who behaved like stars
“Levi-Jeans-People! I thought
“Ad-space bodies!”
-“Which says everything about you” I thought
without the earlier sympathy.
I became superficial with crossness(…)

In any case:
a DIFFERENT NONSENSE
without deathly fear
My heart throbbed for no one
and the city was foreign to me again
from all its familiar landmark
(…)

In a friend’s apartment
I sat absentmindedly
my ears buzzing
and heard my own soulless voice
Being happy all I could remember
was happiness
being unhappy merely unhappiness
Indifferently I recounted
how okay everything had been with me.
Then we talked about fucking
The sexual expressions
provided us with the unabashedness
for everything else
Anyone joining us we greeted
with obscenities
and let loose
they lost their strangeness(…)

Everything without being horny
In the upper deck of the bus
the total strangers grinned
as they listened to us
and felt at home with us
What exhibitionism
as soon as one of us
suddenly mentioned something!
But there was always someone
who found a hint of sex
in the allegedly other…

Yet no one talked about him or herself
we only fantasized
never the embarrassment of true stories
How the surrounding flourished then
and the pleasure of the sour wine in
the heartiness of the sour wine
in the cylindrical glasses
Don’t stop!
The indescribable particular
of the grim new age
and the order of their lost connection
in the dirty stories
Hello meaning is back!(…)

Then it got serious
and the seriousness hit so quickly
that it didn’t want to be me
who was meant
Then I became curious
then ruthless
I would take a woman to the next best toilet
No more flirting
no more obscenities
no more double entendres
instead of “fucking” I now said:
“sleep with you”
- if I said anything at all.
I pared my fingernails
so as not to hurt you too much
In my horniness
I could suddenly call nothing
by its name
Before I had found a metaphor for sex
in the most unsuspecting things
now
during the experience
we experienced the sexual acts
as metaphors for something else(…)

On a cold indescribable day
when it does not want to become dark and not bright
the eyes neither want to open nor shut
and familiar sights don’t remind you
of your old familiarity with the world,
nor as new sights magick a feeling for the world
-  the Two & One poetic world feeling –
when there exists no When and But,
no Earlier ad no Then,
dawn sweaty
and evening still unimaginable
and on the motionless trees only quite rarely a single twig snaps
as if it had become slightly lighter,
on an the indescribable day like that,
on the street,
between two steps,
the sense is suddenly lost:
the black man walking toward you
in his leather coat –
you want to slug his face,
and throttle the woman
reading off her list before you in the shop.
And more and more often
the thought frightens you
how you nearly did it
- a jolt was still lacking, the mysterious
JOLT
with which love set in at one time
or the wild resolve to lead life your way,
the certainty of a formless kind of immortality…
(Then you read in the papers of some who succumbed to this jolt and you wonder why there are still so few.)
Wherever you look now – everything greenish-discolored at such moments
as on a too briefly discolored photo,
the objects half complete,
and no hope of completing them,
every sight a rotted fragment
without the idea of a plan,
which became lost,
still raw-girdered and already a ruin,
which you avoid,
fearing you will collapse with it(…)

excrescence of an excrescence
- if only the eyes would close,
- of you could only squint at such moments,
soothe the nausea in the eyeballs,
- and it would be just MOMENTS (after which you could sigh) –
but not this TIMELESS, EMPTIED-OUT, SPEECHLESS, FUTURE-REPRESSING, INANIMATE, SENSELESS HUMBUG
IRREMOVABLE FROM THE ZENITH, SCRATCHING YOUR
SOUL FROM YOUR BODY.
- Someone has stopped on the street
and cannot go on:
not only he has stopped,
everything else has too,
and so it seems that he walks on,
and that the rest walks on too.
But he is only pretending to walk; and the way he regards the horizon at the end of the street is also feigned;
and the French fries which he smells somewhere while he pretends
to walk
- it might be altogether somewhere else –
he only notices
as a last kindness toward himself;
actually he does not smell anything any more,
and the French fries are homeless remnants
from that already unimaginable time
when every object still hugged its meaning:
recollection of a picture in a church where the Just stand beneath the Blessed Virgin’s coat.
Yes, everything has turned into abrasive outer world in this state
and in the open-skull an unappetizing something, once called brain
puffs itself up in the draft.
Instead of consciousness
nettle-like vegetation
skin sensations and allergy:’
an incalculable time of rashes,
of goose bumps,
of eczemas,
of soreness.
An unpleasant itch
when the lips accidentally touched each other
- you have become ticklish to yourself. (…)

The sky above the crane could be a picture,
which rekindles the necessary patience,
but the well-worn sky heals nothing either,
nor the word that soothes so often,
which you say to yourself:
the clouds grow repulsively
lie in unholy havoc,
wind-wrecked,
and the earth too, leveled to the horizon.
Everything wind-wrecked.
Everything mixed up.
And everything expressionless.
AND EVERYTHING COMPLETELY EXPRESSIONLESS. (…)

and feel in the wrong toward others
and regard your states just one of those states:
as if you behaved “like a schoolboy
not to be taken seriously.
So you don’t take yourself seriously in company
but the nonsense is too real,
and therefore unbearable.(…)

but even the prettiest sight now diminishes life.
A bombing attack of nonsense on the world:
right behind the house wall the earth breaks off
into whirlpools of
the indefinable
(some call it ocean trench, others space, others hell)
and on the last atoll a children’s carousel turns
tinkling, god forlorn.
Stop! Gaze at this picture:
Did not the lids lower over the eyes at this sight?
- It is no picture: and if so, it went under from your impatience
with the last bit of earth.
The gloom where the earth was
distinguishes itself from the gloom
of the indefinable all around
only by its fresher black,
and now even the whirlpools are streaming in…(…)

in the shattering environment,
which had been on the verge of soothing itself,
your dyed in the wool HUMBUG breaks forth aain,
world-wide and skin-tight…(…)

or another time
a typewriter shop,
you stare down at the machine
with paper to try it out,
and there
among the people in the shop,
read:
“O desespoir! O villessee! O rage!...”
- Your eyes grow wide,
whatever you look at
LAUGHS
after such long nonsense, suddenly there was so much of the world’s abundance. (…)

a feeling also returns
to your own ugly, deaf face,
and the indescribable day
becomes describable,
it wanes
and when you look at the woman again
you notice she isn’t smiling at all,
but only has an expression:
even the expression on her face
seemed like a smile to you.(…)

gradually you begin to picture these different women
even as something mythical
-old hiccup of poets drunk on being –:
when a woman with water in her leg climbs in,
more awkwardly than the others,
and kindly destroys the facile PICTURE…
And what do you bring home in the evening?-
Such sights for example,
the sight collector answers proudly.
And how do you order them?-
Because the fear of the nonsense is over
they no longer need an order.
And your own impression? –
Because the nonsense is over the sight has simultaneously become the impression.
And the actual words?-
When I see something, I only say: O God!
or: No!
or: Ah!
or simply call out: The evening sky!
or whimper softly..
And yet –
Beware of the musicality of the world!
Beware of the happy ending!
For even when the indescribable day came
you had been warned of previous indescribable days,
as in a fairy tale,
before you walked through the forest,
of the good fairy
or of the talking animal,
- and must,
as in the fairy tale,
have forgotten the warning after all.
At least,
instead of the all too anecdotal happiness,
you cling to the moment
when the nonsense let up and the new familiarity was felt as pain.
The dreams are in the offing.
They are there:
A large red cherry falls slowly past you down the elevator shaft.(…)

the time when you can dream
is a sensible time.
Already you nod to yourself in the street and shake your head; munch like a child an apple before falling asleep;
walk straight through puddles
and again say “merry go round”
instead of “carousel”…
On a cold bright morning
still imbued by a long
bliss-kindling dream
where you were
what you can be
-the dream itself was the fulfillment –
and at the sight of the wide sky
behind the edge of the city
you look forward to growing old for the first time,
and in front of the child
who looks at you
after he has knocked over the glass,
you think
if the child wouldn’t have to look at you like that any more –
that might be the real way.
fini
NOW A SERIES OF QUOTES FROM WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES [1981]
"At dusk it is quiet and empty there, the mounds are enshrouded , the glaciers have melted just now, it is ten thousand years before out time, and it is our time...."
"The last dramas are those of places..."
"Land, lower your flag and coat of arms. Valleys all, strike your hymns, forget your names. Ways here, shelter yourself in namelessness... Construction site, here, you too, as in the old saying, animate yourself in nameless simplicity."
"We are the figures walking in the distance through the fields, the silhouettes in the cross country bus which drives through the snow plain. Our shadow faces fill the first to last subway are and only in the curves do our eyes briefly lose touch..."
"I saw this spot as the colors and forms which had been cleansed of everything secretive, everything parochial, everything atmospheric, everything typical, everything manic...."
"A few centuries ago it was the practice in this valley to make so-called leaf-masks. Between woodcut leaves a a mouth opened and out looked human eyes. Once I saw us - not just us three - thus together in the foliage, I walked late in fall through a large park that was covered with fallen leaves, the afterglow of the sunset sky on them, the leaves moved lightly between the blades and sometimes one of them also leaped up or flipped over, and while I moved slowly through the leaves all our faces and all our stores rose form the foliage: it was one face and one story, and this one face and the one story that I know now, should be the goal of the work, not only of my work but of all our work. The movement of these fallen leaves in the grass was the gentlest that man has ever seen! But now it is as though only a few single leaves chased after me in the dark crackling and rusting like dogs or pursuers."
"Wretched is everything, from here to the horizon, and here is the pain, forever. I will turn to me dead. Haven't they been the green field on my breast time and again? It is them I address in the dark, and they appear, in the eye of the cat, in the branch brushing the window in the night-wind, even in the humming of the ice box. The skeletons lie there stretched on in the earth and can be approached. I will squat down with them, and that will do me good. No, they don't want anything from me and are not angry. I think myself free of everything - and they are there, not as the dead but as my saints and helpmates. I show my profile to the false abundance of the here and now and they form the interface profile in empty space. I let them be around me and my evil blood flows differently. My dead are not ghosts of the night - they are part of the brightest daylight, and I touch them not when I sleep but when I rest...
From the end of W.A.T.V.  
HANS: [softly to his three colleagues]: Say: "Sorrow"
THE THREE: "Sorrow."
HANS: "Who helps?"
HANS: Look away from me.
ANTON: The river has dried up.
IGNATIUS: The milk stand torn down.
ALBIN: The village tavern without wine.
HANS: It is becoming hard to walk on the earth.
ANTON: The sun is made of ice.
IGNATIUS: It refuses to shine.
ALBIN: I see behind the evil moon an even more evil one rise.
HANS: Gaze, stars, finally down on different earthlings.
ANTON: The man at the well is a good-for-nothing.
IGNATIUS: The barefoot lady no longer lifts the hem of her skirt in the grass.
ALBIN: The boy with the red vest spits on us.
HANS: The girl at the well is no longer an image of life. Sing the song of woe. Scream in rhythm. Rise against so-called creation and, with all your might in the wrong key sing our song of woe and revenge. [They wail off key with all their might.]
ANTON: Sunken the shores of love.
IGNATIUS: I lie twitching on no beach.
ALBIN: My brain twists and turns in the broken-in-two nutshell, no man with the password helps me to get out, no one will sit down sweetly beside me, my despairing glance meets no pair of eyes, my lips twitch in bewilderment, and I pant for no heaven in the last waves before the nought-nought-nought.
HANS: [turning to the Old Woman]: "There is no consolation."
THE OLD WOMAN: "There is no consolation."
HANS: There is neither knowledge nor certainty, there is nothing whole, and what I think I think alone, and what occurs to me alone is not the truth but an opinion, and there is no such rule as universal reason, and collective human destiny walks about more than ever as a ghost.
THE OLD WOMAN: The vinegar sponge doesn't even have vinegar an more.
HANS: The man with the redeeming glance is rattling full of millstones.
HANS: Church spires jut like spears in enemy country.
THE OLD WOMAN: The side-wound has a stench, and the ruby-red gleaming stars are the killer bear's.

So much for the “grey” poet Peter Handke, who re-invented alternating discourse [in lieu of hideous naturalistic dialogue] we will now all take up a collection to pay to give eyes to the sightless J.S.
directness of a writer like Hemingway with the astringency and ease of Don DeLillo,
As for the idiotic helplessness of describing a writer in terms of other writers - the other recourse aside impressionistic loads of adjectives that folks of the ilk of J.S. have - comparisons of this kind are only useful and justified in the case of, say, Hemingway copy cats. Handke uses the standard classical style in an extremely economical manner initially, eventually reacquiring the whole range, and because he has that genius access to syntax and the dream-film screen on which within which he writes he is a virtuoso. Dangerously virtuoso like even. As of about the mid-70s.
full-throated subtlety…???What might that be, warbles  like a Robin?? Full-spectrum grey?
9]“The important distinction in Handke's work is between the writer, or the writer's surrogate, and everything else; indeed one is so separate from the other that Handke can at times sound like an idiot savant whose talent is writing.”  I am not quite sure what the hell J.S. means by “writer” and “writer’s surrogate”, and am amazed that THE VAUNTED EDITOR ROBERT SILVERS WHO EDITS UNTIL THE DEPTHS OF NIGHT let this piece of nonsense pass. I don’t think J.S. means that Handke then delegates someone to impersonate himself? However it is one of those moments when your man, Bob Silvers, might be on the verge of being on to something: Yes the man with the pencil in his hand at his desk, or in a hollowed out tree in the Fôret de Chaville, or the moments as he walks, with friends, or by himself and pulls a writing tool and notes down an observation – Handke is cooking nearly all the time – he was certainly as a young man – he is not the same guy as when he brays out to the media, or makes self-righteous pronouncements – but then who is? Handke becomes calm when he writes, after all he did not call himself “the new Kafka” for nothing, it turns out that he is a hysteric, which dramatist isn’t? And being autistic he is or was a kind of awkward Kaspar, with the frequent added piquancy of a tad from old man, Messieur Tourette.
Handke once said: “When I am good I am very good, when I am bad I am very bad.” I would say that he is rarely very bad with pencil in hand, far too frequently when he addresses the world through the media, gives vent to his jealousies, ugly opinions, and ultra bad when it comes to his behavior to women, nearly as bad as his hated stepdad Bruno Handke - that came as a big surprise; and it has landed Handke in a lot of hot water and cost him a lot of friends. And it at those moments, too, that he can be said to be as “humorless as death” as he himself knows better than anyone else; but fine pieces of writing that ironically attack that streak in himself, such as The Tablas of Daimiel [this is a pdf. file which I also have on my disk and can send].
only really count as long as he writes them. In no time at all, with Günter Grass on the ropes for owning up to having been in the Waffen SS as a 17 year old, Peter Handke, not only jealous of Grass fame but of all the media attention Grass is getting will unloose an attack that “Everyone knew at age 17 [in 1945] what the Waffen SS did… and besides Grass has been doing nothing but writing the same book over and over.” To which my reply was “Everyone at the age of 30 knows not to nearly kill his two year old daughter with a smack to the head in a fit of irritation or beat up women like his gruesome stepdad… and quite a number of other utterly reprehensible matters… “  On the score of Grass never quite matching his first two books: Handke is severe on writers repeating themselves and in that arena cannot be charged with gross hypocrisy, each book is a new problem solved, and so is nearly each play.
10] The Hornets — an account of village life written in the manner of Alain Robbe-Grillet—…” Back to nonsense: it is not an account, it is a novel… I hate using that word: but it is a kind of ultimate de-construction that precedes Handke’s subsequent development into a full-fledged writer of lyrical prose: The Hornets, it exists in Romance language translations, is Handke’s first attempt, there would be many more, to translate the experience of the “as if” into independently existing works of literary art, which then become  experiences for the reader. As to Handke and Robbe-Grillet: The grilled Robbe supplied a kind of screen, a scrim, a grid to control the whelming associations. Handke was, even during his early days, a very warm writer compared to the great engineer Robbe Grillet. Think of Mondrian, Max Bill, painterly orderliness within which much can be done. I translated a section from The Hornets as part of my essay on Handke’s development as a prose worker and it can be found at the
and on the handkeprose2.scriptmania.com site. It is very interesting book, it makes the reader’s imagination work even more than the subsequent DER HAUSIERER. What a total and complete idiot J.S. is, it is beyond breathtaking!
11]. The Latin, the Slavic, and the Germanic overlap in Slovenia, and in traveling there, one has the impression of a composite European setting, of a Slavic Scandinavia on the Mediterranean coast; of an abstraction. Slovenia is stirringly vague—a correlative of sorts for the best of Handke's work.” How Slovenia can be an abstraction of any kind is also beyond me, this is the most absolute bullshit, both about Slovenia being abstract and The Repetition. But it gives me the idea that J.S.’s brain is made of porridge or that it has been stirred into slurry and thus his recollection, if he has any, then deserves abstract as an adjective!
12] He had come to be known as an apolitical writer, as an aesthete of sorts, an admirer of the refined prose of Austria's great Biedermeier novelist Adalbert Stifter. As his interest in Slovenia grew, however, so did traditionally Romantic elements in his writing. Handke's "Slovenia" was a mythical place, a part of the larger, more remote myth of what Handke calls "the great Yugoslavia." J.S. might make up his own mind - come to be known-  and not be just another other-directed rumor pipeline like Neil Gordon, the NY Times reviewer, head of the New School’s creative writing program, and fiction editor of the Boston Review.
(1) The question of what kind of political writer Handke might be, is indeed of interest:
a] He certainly does not campaign for any candidate for dog catcher in the Fôret de Chaville, at least not to my knowledge; and he chided Grass for doing so in campaigning for Social Democracy with Willie Brandt [“Grass, write better novels, stop this stupid campaigning.”]; in one of the long poems in Nonsense and Happiness {Urizen Books, 1976} he describes a politician, I think a Frenchman, campaigning on T.V. as treating the electorate as sparrows who are meant to eat out of the palm of his hand. True or not?
Handke befriended a variety of powerful people, also politicians from very early on in his career, they sought him out, it’s a European tradition, his genius was quickly recognized, Austrian Presidents, he decimated that unmentionable ex-Nazi who had headed the UN for a while prior to assuming the Austrian Presidency and then being shooed into retirement; most famously of course Handke befriended the Milosevic family, he was asked to be a witness for the Milosevic defense at DeHague, but refused since in fact he had no knowledge of the crimes of which Milosevic stood accused and I imagine – here I am allowing myself a speculation – only as someone who surrounded himself with other artists, not that unusual in Europe at all of course, could only have spoken to that. And so he might have: but I think that was a bit much of exposure even for my man. A witness on the stand has to be excused, he is locked into position.
Why ought an ever upwardly mobile Hoveling {my translation of Handke’s self-appellation Keuschnig, someone who was born in hovel, and might just not be chaste=keusch} refuse an Angel, a Maezaen? Best as I can tell, Handke has never been lax to describe some of these men, e.g. his very powerful publisher in the most critical light if he felt they deserved it, or simply described them, which in Handke’s phenomenological x-ray method usually suffices once and for all. Rarely does he carry on at length as he did in his description of a man I call the Reichs-Kanickel in The Lesson of St. Victoire for the stupidest and nastiest and most uncomprehending reviews ever. Early on he berated the German language writers whose themes were exclusively social and political - he might not have said anything, but his contrariness comes also into play there. For Handke literature was romantic from the beginning, an adventure although he seems to have envisioned a large body of work, too.
b] However, if you look just at the early plays, and the language criticism they perform, you might arrive at the notion that Handke’s politics are rather more fundamental than what in every day speech is called “political”, it verges on the Confucian/ Taoist belief that a hale language is a fundamental requirement for a successful healthy polis, which is where the writers and poets come in, and slews of propagandists and pundits of all kinds are slaughtered. “If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything. — Confucius Words that J.S. might keep in mind. Easier said than done, Confu, Baby!
 (2) aesthete of sorts. Well what sort? I would say that Handke is aesthetically, each of his senses hypersensitive, grounded in his nervous system, and wounded. Handke has an aesthetic, it is most clearly articulated in a section in WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGE, but that does not make him what is ordinarily known as an esthete. Handke is still I imagine under the mistaken belief that aesthetically presented texts have an easier way of accessing the minds of reader than the humdrum of every day prose and of newspapers. J.S. is living proof of the very futility of that. The J.S.es of this world might make one a nihilist – see anon for J.S.’s bullshit on that score.
You might say that Handke is as sensitive to words as a cat is to a drop of water; and having such a short fuse, to put a very complicated explosive matter in ordinary language, blows a fuse rather easily, or throttles the Prater movie house cashier – for whatever, the Goalie who needs to be trigger happy, no?
Elsewhere I have said that Handke has the eyes of an eagle, the nose of your best hound, the skin of a porpoise… and that excess of pure sensory input itself at one time led to no end of his many nauseas; “threshold” was Freud’s understanding; he is extremely sensitive to ugliness, again that does not make one an esthete, he lacks the anal erotic component that you find in typical esthetes, in Germany Botho Straus comes to mind, Ernst Jünger, Stefan George, and galore in ye olde u.s. of a.
an admirer of the refined prose of Austria's great Biedermeier novelist Adalbert Stifter Thomas Mann, whose work Handke apparently now detests [not that that keeps him from accepting the Thomas Mann prize while giving the money back to the Bavarian Academy – the prize givers adorn themselves more with the names of those they bestow their prizes on! - now that he’s sold his note books to different institution for a cool million Euro, nor from beautifully simplifying down Mann’s famous Chinese Box style] Mann and Handke share admiration of the writing style of the equally dark lyrical epic writer Stifter, and the epic lyrical writer Hermann Lenz, who for once does not appear to have a dark side. I would say that Stifter, but more importantly Goethe and Flaubert are the two mountains that Handke really succeeds to improve on, or bring up to date, I would say he has succeeded, matters that neither J.S. nor the NYRB have the faintest of.
13] The book [Justice for Serbia] itself becomes a kind of sustained, serious joke: we never leave Handke's sight, as he produces his own rigorously distorted account…”   Well, no: Handke does three things in Justice [1] He describes his unhappiness with accounts he has read and seen; “It was principally because of the war,” Handke writes in Justice for Serbia, “that I wanted to go to Serbia, into the country of the so-called aggressors.. I felt the need to travel into the Serbia that became, with every article, every commentary, every analysis, less recognizable and more worthy of study, more worthy, simply, of being seen… Yes, with each sentence I too have asked myself whether such a writing isn’t obscene, ought even to be tabooed, forbidden – which made the writing journey adventurous in a different way, dangerous, often very depressing (believe me), and I learned what “between Scylla and Charybdis” means.  Didn’t the one who described the small deprivations (gaps between teeth) help to water down, to suppress, to conceal the great ones? Finally, to be sure, I thought each time: but that’s not the point.  My work is of a different sort.  To record the evil facts, that’s good.  But something else is needed for a peace, something not less important than the facts.
[2] he curses the media; and [3] he writes only what he has seen on a trip to his translator friend’s place… How that can a kind of sustained, serious joke or joke of any other kind is beyond me. Handke for good reason is a “peace seeker”, in A SLOW HOMECOMING he looks for signs of peace in geological formations in Alaska! If half aware, each of us knows that our experience, what we see, hear, is only our experience, and ours only… Scott Abbott who befriended Handke via friendship with Handke’s Serbian translator whom he met at Tübingen, was along on one trip, the one that preceded Imprecating, in Tears. And perhaps he can tell us to what extent Handke’s description of that journey coincides with his own. A Princeton PH. D. who has been teaching and writing and translating will have something of his own version; of course this was Scott’s first time in Yugoslavia, although he and Zarko had traipsed along Handke’s Repetition route to Slovenia at one time, Zarko probably following Handke’s advice that his translators ought to familiarize themselves with the places Handke describes in his books – there are essays on the subject of how well rooted in PLACE Handke’s books are, you idiot! What J.S. seems to call for is that Handke do exactly what he set out NOT to do: say the same thing again in the same language, become one with the unisono chorus. Why there was such a near entire unisono among the “innelectuals” really deserves a separate treatment, why “they” then were together, as they told themselves, as they had not been since the days of he Lincoln Brigade! Like every other sheep, they too would like to be at ease with their conscience and feel good… while priding themselves on having used their noggins. To paraphrase the end of J.S. piece which wonders when Handke will tell us what is was like to have been a Serbian nationalist, etc.: when will the uniform mindset about the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the simple minded blame game among Western intellectuals cease?
14]“In talking about his Slovenia essay, Handke characterized Slovenian nationalism as childishness: "…Every child probably wishes that his village was a kingdom." In A Journey to the Rivers (Handke likes to call it a "tale"), the Serbia of late 1995—a country in the hands of mafias, with a collapsed economy, and overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of refugees, a country in which acknowledged war criminals were greeted as heroes—is turned into a vast, rather bucolic village. Handke alternates between reverential descriptions of the Serb people (in Serbia, he claims, he has discovered "for the first time a sense of something like a Volk") and muted pastoral descriptions of Serbian landscapes. He does let himself occasionally be distracted by the menacing detail. For instance, on the banks of the Drina—the border between Serbia and Bosnia, and just downstream from the killing fields of Srebrenica—he finds a child's sandal.”.
Ah here it is: Belgrade in the hands of the mafia, corrupt Belgrade as currently Kabul – whenever you read something along those lines – as you could endlessly at the time - you can be sure that c’ruption is especially severe in D.C. and New York, and that we need a bit of diversion from the fact that you might as well wall in Wall Street, say laterally across at Fulton Street in downtown Manhattan, and declare the entire area south of it a high class white collar federal prison. Ditto for sections of D.C. As to acknowledged or known war criminals, the U.S. has more of them who will never go to trial, except occasionally before their own court of conscience, than any in the word. "We are the market. We are the world. We are the power. We write the history… That’s the way it is. That’s the way it has to be. We are the language." I would add to this: We are the Martians and we need to defeat ourselves.” As  to the people or the parts of Serbia/ Yugoslavia he visits being turned into a rather bucolic village. reverential descriptions of the Serb Handke is certainly capable of reverence, but JUSTICE is devoid of anything of what J.S. ascribes to his text; real feeling for the people as a whole comes through in MOURNING IN TEARS, when he encounters the older confused woman, who is bereft for an explanation about what has transpired. Handke skips an angry stone across one river I recall, where some bodies are said to have washed down… it seems unacceptable, obviously not just to J.S. that Handke record his own observations and not pitch the same language.     
“As a matter of course, almost of technique, he churlishly attacks other commentators, such as the French "new philosopher" Alain Finkielkraut ("an incomprehensible chatterer for a Croatian state"). He dismisses Joseph Brodsky — who, in an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times, early and accurately diagnosed the nature of Serbia's motives — as writing "with a rusty knife." He goes on to dismiss virtually all events reported on during the wars as unbelievable, for no other reason, it seems, than the fact that they have been reported. Here he is writing about the massacres at Srebrenica (the emphases are his):
Why such a thousand fold slaughtering? What was the  motivationFor what purpose? And why, instead of an investigation into the causes ("psychopaths" doesn't suffice), again nothing but the sale of the naked, lascivious, market-driven facts and supposed facts?
For once I tend to agree: Handke also does the same thing in Morawische Nacht. Madelain Allbright becomes Ganzhell, which has a certain humor in German, and might in English if you called her Maid Madelaine Oh-So-Bright? however if I were to pun on this lady and lover of the KCU, the not so long a Jew for breakfast lunch and dinner Kosovo Albanian rabbits, I would pun on the lady’s happening to forget her Jewish origins and original Jewish name. Korb, Koerbel, one giving such a one to herself, that joke works really well in German. I have the hunch that Handke dismisses these other well-known scribes not only for reasons of disagreement but because he hates the fact that there are others in the light, taking some of the lime away from him! They are what Handke calls “place displacers” of his place in the sun! However, he certainly was on the nose in calling Joseph Brodksy a “rusty nail” [see anon]. I have read what most of the others wrote, but can’t really speak to it myself. What I miss in Handke’s texts, except in VOYAGE [which twice acknowledges that both the first and the second Yugoslav federation were born under an ill star] is a certain respect for the nationalist ambitions of the other tribes: nationalist and ethnic and religious beasties, after all, had been growing world wide at least since the early 70s, and especially in Eastern Europe. If people want to make their own mistakes, let them…
15]We are meant to wonder if these "massacres" are not just another of the "alienating rumors" Handke refers to at the beginning of the essay, similar, as he suggests later, to claims of Bosnian Serb culpability in the shelling of Sarajevo's marketplace…” Handke certainly never denied anything he saw with his own two eyes, vide his visit to Srebrenice in Summer Sequel where he has a surrogate, in his metaphoric, theatrical fashion, scream over and over again: “I don’t want to be a Serb” at the sight of the slaughter; and where my reaction was and still is: Who told you to be a Serb fellow, you half Slovene half German with an Austrian passport? Who at one time advised for greater difficulties in getting from one principality to the other, for rough roads! With the media flooded with photos and tales of saleable [!] atrocities, Handke’s self-acknowledged tendency to deny, his wish to keep the Serbian/ Yugoslav self-image pure went, I would say on the defense attack. I wish Handke were not as all too human in that respect. But I think his overall notion that it itself is a kind of crime to exclusively blame “the Serbs” [whoever they really are?] or Milosevic is really true, at least he introduced some skepticism into the proceedings – blaming or assigning blame guarantees a failure of understanding. A few years ago Handke got into an argument in France when he pointed out that the Bosnian Muslims, too, had committed crimes, and the French journalist pointed out that the crimes of the Bosnian Serbs were far graver: and we are in the world of the “body count” and of endless revenge.     
16] Peter Handke can be willfully obscure.
I would entirely disagree, Handke is as lucid as they come, it is J.S. who is evidently unusually dense. Handke’s work does not become “obscure” unless you track down the ancient figures concealed in certain texts, such as in “The Day that went Well” – one of the  Three Essays [1993, F.S.G.], or the allusions contained in the images that appear in succession in that play of images that is The Hour that we knew of Each Other [1992 Suhrkamp/95 Yale U.P.], matters of that kind. A number of first rate scholars have done that. But, say, a sentence such as “children run under the wind” in VILLAGES is anything but obscure even if it derives from Kafka and that nearly every sentence of Villages has that kind of weight of culture standing behind it: and that in a certain sense it subscribes to Handke’s wish to write a play consisting entirely of haikus. Handke revives and revivifies these old or not so old perfect chestnuts, and either they hit home in the here and now, they pop in the mind or stay clammy and cold, or they don’t. His work poses none of the problems of a Pound or Joyce in that respect. The aforementioned “Daimiel” title is an obscure allusion, the text itself is anything but.
17] His books are mildly hallucinatory; Again, if J.S. were a reader and able to analyze what he experiences as he reads and learn to be articulate, he might have realized “I am on the verge”. Of course I have no idea whether by “mild hallucinations” J.S. means the same thing, experiences these texts as I do, however, it becomes clear from his dismissive descriptions of Handke’s texts, especially of ONE DARK NIGHT, that Handke’s ability to write in dream syntax – yes, folks, dreams have a syntax, too – is of no consequence to him. Just some Ivory Tower activity! As written - mildly hallucinatory – is just another assertion… meaning precisely what? That they induce states of mind? Are intense? Evocative of unexpected mental phenomena?  Handke writes on what is called the dream screen, in an inbetween state of mind, where he has access to the ability to formulate syntactically to turn prose into a film experience for the sensitive reader [as of the 1987 ABSENCE] and in that sense is a modernist, in absorbing a new medium into prose writing. The experience of the real reader who allows himself, who is absorbed by this experience, say in DEL GREDOS or the 2007 filmed opera as his text made me read KALI, is astonishing, for the power and beauty prose acquires in this manner, quite a trip quite an opera, and I myself feel, much as I admire the immense technical brilliance of the performance, that my man is becoming a Wagnerian. Handke can do anything in prose, he is capable of any effect, vague and precise, as the case calls for. So far I have not seen him use cheap rhetorical flourishes.
18]West German writers' movement(associated with realistic, or morally minded, writers like Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass), for treating language as a means rather than as a kind of end, a trait which he characterized as "the impotence of description." Handke, at Princeton in 1966, did not attack Böll [who I don’t think was there? And some, like his translator Leila Vennewitz thought Böll wrote as a Mozart would] nor Grass who was and slapped the upstart on the back as did Peter Weiss, for bringing a bit of life into the proceedings, the “impotence of description” referred to the there read texts, including Handke’s own. Later he also, in I am an Inhabitant of the Ivory Tower, attacked works that made it their business to be only socially engaged. He was not only of a different literary background and generation, he needed to differentiate himself.
As Handke began to speak, somewhat tentatively, I was sitting to the left of the formidable German Journalist Erich Kuby that day at Princeton whom I had met a few years before in Hamburg; not yet as shrilly as he can now be, in public. Kuby knew who that was who was making his first public happening and was quickly shushed by the master sergeant in charge of the Gruppe 47, Hans Werner Richter, for disregarding the rule that only comments on specific texts were permitted, not general attacks; certainly a sensible rule among such a wild and wooly grouping which  basically amounted to a kind of national creative writing class, that now went public in a big way.
I noticed a number of other matters about Handke at Princeton and at a party that Jakov Lind and I and Pannah Grady gave for the Gruppe at Pannah Grady’s apartment in the Dakota for German and American writers to meet. 1] At Princeton a lüsternden / -unloosed envious animalistic ambition - look passed over Handke’s face at the sight of Max Frisch, the dean of German writers you might call him, since he was not involved in the social controversies, an exceedingly vain man as I came to know him, I had seen that look on someone’s face only once before, late on a snowy night at Elaine’s restaurant, dump at the time, as Jackie O and a troupe of stars from the world of arts entered the establishment, which, as they walked out, Elaine Kaufmann said, “what do you know, I got it made” [and probably got on the phone to “Suzy”] and that look did not pass over Elaine’s face, and once more in my life,  on someone’s heavily bearded visage, which however could not conceal his lips, and who unfortunately became the partner in a publishing venture; these are very animalistic expressions of a certain kind of hunger, and you remember them…. And they spell a certain kind of danger for anyone who comes too close or involved with anyone like it, or stands in their way.
2] Ted Ziolkowski, a Princeton Professor of German and Hesse expert, after lunch with Handke, told me that Handke had proclaimed himself as “the new Kafka,” as Handke did also to West German T.V. on the top of the Empire State building!
3] At the party I asked Handke why he was wearing dark glasses in such eminently well modulated lighting conditions and he indicated that he had eye problems [the fellow who would later write the forever memorable line: “nausea of the eyeballs”] and this observation became then one of the pillars, or sluice gates leading me to Handke’s autism and his very special sensitivities and woundedness; and
4] as Alan Ginsberg approached us as I was about to engage Handke in a second conversation and as Ginsberg asked me to translate that he wanted to fuck Handke I noticed a villager’s sadistic grin pass over Handke’s face: it turned out that he thought Ginsburg was propositioning me, whereas, after G. repeated his request, he was treated to my blue eyed Prussian stare, and backed off. I protect my guests. Ginsburg and Co, Pannah had a predilection for the Beats who then wrecked some expensive vases. Later I would read Handke’s texts, notice that the s.o.b. was a genius when I translated and directed his early plays, in some odd way he was in touch with the music of the spheres; that his first novel was too difficult to do in the U.S. and only decided not to translate DER HAUSIERER when Handke revealed to me that it was chockfull of quotes from U.S. detective story type novels, moreover from their German translation. In retrospect, I ought not to have been that quickly daunted at the prospect of locating them in the German texts [I was not going to take the chance of retranslating them back into American – that would have been like diving into that “empty swimming pool”] but at least asked if he could point out whence they came from in the German editions.
Phenomena… and then you track down their why and whence. Two phenomenologists encountered each other back in 1966.
19] When a questioner, apparently a journalist who had been to Sarajevo during the siege, testified to the "shock" he had felt there, Handke shouted, "Go home with your 'shock' and shove it up your ass."  The word used was “Betroffenheit” which is not really shock but means deep concern, being profoundly touched. Handke’s violence of speech in that instance was part and parcel of his violence towards all those who disagreed with him, Enzensberger, Habermas. Not a pretty sight, memorably ugly to the ears. Habermas for his gruesome bureaucratic endorsement of the airstrikes on Belgrade had his status as philosopher forever disallowed; Enzensberger whom Handke appears to have enviously detested from the start, was treated to an ad hominem insult that applied far more to Handke himself who project endlessly. If Handke was going to convince people that they had reached the wrong conclusion based on the information available to them, that I don’t think was the best way of going about it. He was having a fit, my Mama’s boy was! No end of things are not mutually exclusive, the world can end at any moment, as it began, a single pebble and the whole moraine goes on the move. Each detail is separate from the other.
20] “I had the impression that his grasp of events was confined to a radical skepticism of published reports, and that he no longer seemed especially interested in the wars, or even in Serbia itself. Handke's interest—or, rather, his obsession—seemed confined to defending, by any means, the dignity of his "text," in presenting his stylized unreliability as a kind of higher reliability.”…  Handke’s interest in the fate of the Serbians, especially the enclaved, poverty-stricken minority in Kosovo persists to this day, and I can’t argue with anyone’s impressions, nor with my own, which are sometimes mistaken as I then acknowledge to myself. Here a fine quote from Justice for Serbia that might allay the second part of the above paragraph:
Nothing against those - more than uncovering - discovering reporters on the scene (or better yet: involved in the scene and with the people there), praise for these other researchers in the field!  But something against the packs of long-distance dispatchers who confuse their profession as writers with that of a judge or even with the role of a demagogue, and, working year after year in the same word and picture ruts, are, from their foreign thrones, in their way just as terrible dogs of war as those on the battleground.” [Scott Abbot translation]
Voyage is dedicated to the memory of the Catalan journalist Josep Palau Balletbó – [the author of  EL ESPEJISMO YUGOSLAVO , a book I have not read] and to the theater as a free medium. J.S. would appear to be a “long distance dispatcher” par excellence! Scott Abbott who is the only person to have seen this letter, added the following comment:

Your discussion of shock/Betroffenheit on page 70 in the context of Marcus' claim that Peter is only worried about the “dignity of his text” is a good beginning. I guess I'd add the sense Peter has, that all good writers have, that words matter (thus "the first casualty of war is language"). 

Doesn't Peter mean this in the way the poet cited in Rilke's "Malte Laurids Brigge" does? On his deathbed he hears someone in the hall misuse a word. He gets up, goes out and corrects the word, and comes back and dies. This has nothing to do with the dignity of his text, but with seeing and tasting and describing as well as possible. Peter believes in language. Only in language. That can make him laughable to someone who doesn't believe in words. [Great for the world of words, not that of wives I call out from the sidelines!]

21]That summer he returned to Serbia, and this time he crossed the Drina and, after traveling in Bosnia, wrote another travel piece, A Summer Afterword to a Winter Journey, asking that his readers—once again—question the fact of the Srebrenica massacres...I repeat what I said above. Handke may be unreliable, J.S. as a reader does not exist: Handke certainly never denied anything he saw with his own two eyes, vide his visit to Srebrenice in Summer Sequel, as which I would render the title of that book, where he has a surrogate, in his metaphoric, theatrical fashion, scream over and over again: “I don’t want to be a Serb” at the sight of the slaughter. J.S. is able to impugn denial to Handke without having read the text, and thus joins the chorus of non-reading impugning idiots. Handke is certainly as capable of wishful denial as the next person, but not in such an instance and a half dozen visits. J.S. either needs a new set of eyes, or maybe ought never be allowed near a keyboard again, not to mention certain Arabian practices, lying being the theft of truth. 
22]”If Handke sought to impugn the facts in A Journey to the Rivers and its "afterword," in his recent play, The Journey in the Dugout Canoe, he does away with facts altogether…”
The implication, admission here is that J.S., and his editors, are in full knowledge and understanding of the fact that the world is flat and that the sun revolves around the moon, and that we are all utterly brilliant moon calves. On a more serious note: that it’s the goddamned Serbians did it, chiefly the big bad Wolf form Pogarevic, he started four wars, and he lost them all, and by god we’ll put him on trial and hang him, and….”we have all seen it on T.V. We’ve read it a thousand times and so it must be true, and we all want to be known as good and righteous Amurricans and so we get Ambassador Galbraith to arm to Croatian Goats, defend the Serb Muslisms [what a propaganda tool that will be down the road] import some of our left-over Mujahadeem to help them fight Kardzic] and arm the Kosovo Albanian rabbits to the teeth…
I ask J.S. to impugn my facts, nothing but the fact Ma’am, slam bang thank you Ma’am, for your facts, you are the best laid fact yet:
1] National Security directives under Reagan declaring economic warfare on Comecon including Yugoslav Socialism; [very much on the order of the destabilization of Afghanistan under future Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmee “The Peanut” Carter and Ziggy “Our Polish Princess” Brzezinski.
2] A Socialism that indeed started to wither, and where the center does not hold, a fragile center holding various ethnic though also related tribes, with a variety of religious affiliations, Roman Catholic Croatia, Orthodox Serbians, Muslim Serbians and Kosovo Albanians, the closest we get to the Mr. Disney’s once indigenous 1000 Dalmatians, and with no end of fairly recent mass killings during and subsequent to World War Two – hell, Bill Clinton’s instinct was right on; and Sec Baker as I could read in the NYRB saying he didn’t have a Texas hound dog among those Dalmatians once the cold war was over and no longer needed our Commie S.O.B.… and politicians among all those groups exploiting the nationalist and other magnetic fields, and the Kraut Foreign Minister recognizing the independence of the successor regime to the Fascist Ustacha state… what do you expect in such a wonderful brew, J.S., Bob Silvers... And then, given such one-sided press coverage, such a witch hunt among the frogs as you had in France, the one devil theory taking over, what do you expect a great newspaper reading rabbit-stew consuming exhibitionist, seeker for justice, like Peter Handke, what do you expect him to do and what with other exhibitionists like Susan Sontag in Sarajevo… And I am leaving out several other currents that started to flow, and the world wide neo-liberal that exhibited itself in Yugoslavia in the form of independent operators with private armies… the chief problem in the coverage, as best as I can tell, is the near exclusive focus on Sarajevo and what transpired there.  
Handke could be absolutely righteous for once and in good conscience, no denial, no hypocrisy! And of course the miserable Salmon Rushdie had his reading tour not only interrupted by the bloody war but by all the Handke publicity and without knowing zilch about Yugoslavia had to call Handke “idiot of the year.” That’s what you get if you look at the way the cookie crumbles and the tea leaves read. You other-directed ignoramus. No, with the respect of objecting to French coverage Handke happened to be even more correct than he imagined! It would of course be nice if the disintegration had called a time-out and allowed Handke to do finely detailed analysis of the intricacies of the media coverage and how that daisy chain perpetuates itself, it would have been nice to have a Habermas run conference where the “best argument won” [however that is decided, perhaps General Sturm von Bordwehr will tell us how?], and that is an idea, that kind of time-out conference amidst war is certainly on that will be endorsed in the academy, a lot of fund to be had at these conferences, but since not of that was about to happen  Handke basically made a mish-mash of it, as he did in the play, where I wish he had resorted exclusively to the coverage of Roger Cohen who, if you look under “Roger Cohen – Milosevic” in the New York Times you come up with 1060 results,  and if you do Cohen-Yugoslavia many more thousands. Cohen’s photo essay in the NY Times Magazine, where you could find photos of the war next to the Benetton ads, and where he blamed Milosevic personally for the burning of each and every farmstead showed the direction of his “reporting.”
http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch?query=roger+cohen+milosevic&more=date_all&n=10&prev=93&frow=103&page=11 
To be fair to  Mr. Cohen, once he wrote his book on the subject he became a more differentiated writer, yet in his hatred of Serb nationalism he never explains why with the other ethnicities going in that direction, the Serbs might not be equally beastly. So I would have just made a mish-mash of Cohen’s stuff, and left Danner and Wechsler alone who look to me to be the better reporters and bright enough to unravel what really went down; that is, to become historians.
As astonishing as Handke’s single-handed action [but accompanied by translator and painter friends and others] was the reaction to it: we have, or had a kind war of iconic images. With respect of his coverage of the disintegration of a county he claims to love, Roger Cohen played, within the precincts of the New York Times, pretty much the same role as Herbert Mathews did for Fidel Castro in the Sierra Madres and the fall of Batista in 1959; except of course that there were no end of other reporters, Steve Erlanger being the only NY Times reporter who, as Belgrade Bureau chief, then struck me, as he has in all his work, as having an even-handed approach. It is of course a story of the media playing a hugely influential role in persuading Clinton to intervene as he did. But I imagine that these are “the facts” that Mr. J.S. refers to as being so well known and understood by the medianized as not being in need of elaboration. So this is a lesson of being willingly propagandized, as compared to the war of aggression on Iraq which had to be propagandized via paranoia and lies. Both wars involved a demonstration of U.S. air power and of shock and awe; that is, of the exercise of state terrorism on the most grandiose scale. Even the “innelectuals” in this country could all watch T.V. and all the human rights hyenas could sing “bombs away” – the general psychosis had a field day. And then compare the uniformity of their opinions with the uniformity of opinion during the Spanish civil war. There were many wars, lots of separate wars in the disintegrating Yugoslavia; there were lot of independent operators; a one sided media war; and the parallel Handke controversy. Handke managed to introduce the only humor into the proceedings, often inadvertently of course. A kind of Kaspar having a fit as his mother is grandfather is killed and his mother being raped and torn apart.
One matter that Handke continues to be charged with, but that J.S. does not make in so many words, is that of denial. Presently Handke denies ever denying anything! And I can only laugh out loud! I myself think that if his strong brain could get a grasp of the common psychological phenomenon of denial, that can go so deep, is so deeply attached, profoundly cathected but has become so trivialized meanwhile, he would understand himself; and over the course of time have written a series of long calm papers on his involvement in all of that, chiefly to explain it to myself.
Denial is a common and even essential human psychological capacity, necessity. In Handke's case it became emphatically necessary during his childhood trauma, you read in SORROW BEYOND DREAMS of his pulling the blanket over his head during his exposure to violent drunken primal scenes, ten years of that, later in life Handke will manifest all the symptom characteristic of that exposure, nauseas, angers galore [see his Essay on Tiredness], however, Handke is a true love child, if ever there was one, at least he was during the first two years of his life when he and his mother was all they had was each other, and even intra-uterine since she married the sur-name-providing Bruno Handke while still in love with the love of her life, a Herr Schoenherr, from the Hartz region in Thuringia; thus the title of my psychoanalytic monograph:
PETER HANDKE: WOUNDED LOVE CHILD.
http://handke-discussion.blogspot.com/ and in the my Psychoanalytic Monograph, ”Peter Handke: Wounded Love Child at: http://analytic-comments.blogspot.com/                                        Denial, of course, comes in more “flavors” than do the constituents of sub-atomic particles, those famous quarks; what is the Higgs boson of denial? as I myself know only too well. It was Loser’s denial, instances where he ought to have said yes, but said no in Handke’s 1984 novel ACROSS that actually led, in 1989, to the Handke project, I had never thought, initially, that I would ever do more than maybe write a little book about what became involved in translating his work, especially his richest, WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES, and at a crucial time during my own analysis, in 1982. That play shows every aspect, every facet of Handke’s, it is immensely rich, both his generous and his darkest most murderous impulses; that is, it is rich in contradictions, as you would expect someone with his wound to have them, and as you can find it in violent irruptions not just in his work, but in public outbursts and in hideous actions. But the murders have been only committed on paper, and acknowledged as impulses, especially in his most recent novel, DIE MORAWISCHE NACHT.
Denial, however, is also one of the sources of the creation for his "other-worldly" yet so physically concrete art, texts. [“Close your eyes, and another world will arise” are approximately the opening lines of ACROSS] On the other, I have never known someone who sees so much, is such a great phenomenologist. If you read his JUSTICE FOR SERBIA carefully you notice that he refuses to report anything he has not seen, and when, e.g. he sees corpses floating down one of those rivers, he angrily skips a stone across it, instead of falling into the standard – say Roger Cohen - language; he reports his wife Sophie Semin saying to him, about Srebrenice, "and so you are going to deny that too?" - which means that he himself is aware of his tendency to deny. And not so long ago he denied the shelling of Dubrovnik, to some visiting Croatian magazine and t.v. reporters in Chaville, for whom he cooked up a feast whereas our nausea prone lord  even takes the closest friends these days immediately for a march through the woods on a mushroom hunting expedition - our Media-hoerige great writer. You can see the shelling of Dubrovnik on YouTube. Handke would probably say that it’s a fake, indeed it is weird to see a medieval town being shelled from across the bay! Looks like a movie set, cute, harmless, puff goes the weasel! Not at all like the Siege of Berlin. But would anyone stage all those different filmed records, and there are more than these:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6Mw5zXUtZ4
 Very funny, and then tried to suppress that he had said so once again! Even more touching! Handke is running a little scared these days now that he has woken up to some of the consequences of his actions [see anon].
Denial occurs for two main reasons, one because acknowledgment creates unbearable pain, the other for reasons of self image, which can be just as painful, and also as in the foolish case of Ahmanijibad of Persia because he wants to eliminate the raison dêtre of Israel, that is for propaganda purposes, and thus Ahmanijibad if he ever goes to Germany or Austria faces some serious prison time! The fourth, in Handke’s case, that I imagine he can’t imagine anything that beautiful and harmless being shelled. Denial, scotomization, has been criminalized meanwhile, it derives from the field of psychoanalysis, my analytic caste, and it is a monstrosity to criminalize denial, in France I gather denial of the Turkish genocide of Armenians has meanwhile been criminalized… once you go down that road you end up at the very heart of hypocrisy and have people as in the middle ages going around with death heads in their hands, saying that they will not deny death. I well know the origin of the prohibition of denial as an aftermath of the Shoah, but it is a mistake. The miseries of the German “Historiker Streit” also played a role.

Handke in his play EINBAUM / VOYAGE BY DUGOUT has the case of the Serbian bystander of an atrocity who was arrested in German for not intervening back in Serbia and who was then condemned to five years in a German prison for that inaction - Handke represent this case, which really happened [and he befriended the man, visited him in prison, and was witness at his wedding], through a character called "the Forest madman" and “the utter madman”, splitting him up, because the fellow, when the Germans finally saw the error of their ways and sent him back to Serbia, he was despised: what had he done - he had watched, witnessed an atrocity, about which he could do nothing, he had not denied it even, but he was condemned for having seen! And remaining inactive – by the now conscience of the world, Germany! If you see where this insanity of prohibition of denial then leads to. Insanity! Suicide.  I am also appalled at French  denial of their 90% collaboration and passivity under German occupation, and then seizing DeGaulle's statement about "heroic la France" as a cover, who are some strange mongrels of Celts and Franken and Normans and Roman and who knows what else, just the way the Austrians seized on the opportunity to regard themselves as victims of Hitler, whereas 83 % of them were only victims of their hopes and wishes and hatred of Jews, and the way the French then treated the women who had slept with German soldiers, and that the Comedie Francaise canceled the production of a great play, Handke's THE ART OF ASKING. Handke has his monstrous sides in some ways, but I would say that denial in the instance of Yugoslavia is the least of it, and the French news media exclusively making Serbians and Milosevic's responsible is also an act of total idiocy.  You might say, that all the tribes became murderous, for reasons that they scarcely know.

J.S. then distorts Handke’s text by calling what Handke sees a distortion or in accusing him of pastoral idyllicism – the formulation “egg yolk yellow noodles” in particular appear to have upset the shit out of the German media. I well recall stretches of utter lyricism during my bomber plagued and traumatized childhood.
    What J.S. and so many French and German critics of these travel pieces want from Handke is, say, Roger Cohen, poor Roger [$ 200,000 k a year Mr. Sulzberger could save himself by letting you go?] type vivid reports of atrocities in vivid language – not in Handke’s allegedly grey noodle prose: without really being too aware, the masses with that mish-mash of the pornography of violence in their noggins ask for more of it, and the media delivers it, if not from one gruesome scene than the other, while the pornography of sex is prohibited, the pornography of violence really sells, and mish-mashes the brains that anesthetize themselves with hope, that they fasten on whatever piper comes down the road. Norman Mailer made some fine observations about that kind of pornography at one time, Handke happens to be the writer that Mailer could never be: he really can change consciousness while you experience his plays and his texts; doesn’t blow minds either, although the slightly demented like Lothar Struck start to swoon.

What is odd about Handke is that someone with the super-charged senses of an autist, who is the ultimate phenomenologist, registrar, as I noticed on our second meeting in NY in 1971, not only in his writing, could then be capable of denial. But it is of course a leap from the phenomenon to its explanation; how it came to be; and it is there that Handke is wanting. The man who wrote the great play THE ART OF ASKING which wants to do without “why and when and wherefore”!!! Handke, as pure phenomenologist, can be a medium. The first, the Alaska chapter of A SLOW HOMECOMING was so for me, because I had once spent nine months traipsing all of the interior of the state, I had a book’s worth of the most wonderful anecdotes, but the experience of THE WHOLE… I sort of knew it had been a major experience in my life, that encounter, but I would never have known how to articulate THAT EXPERIENCE WHOLE… somehow what Handke noted in that chapter, however, then did,  and did so by means of “namelessness” that’s what I mean with “medium”. He became it via thousands upon thousands of his sense impressions that he articulated in his phenomenological way, and that I – reading – a most complicated process of deciphering and immediate processing and reaction of my entire being, isn’t it? another instance of translating thousands upon thousands of signals… into an experience of re-experiencing. Thus when J.S. writes that Handke“ produces his own rigorously distorted account…”  he is far more presumptive than Handke ever is or that I would be in presuming what J.S.’s eyes see [or don’t see], ears hear [or don’t hear], etc. Moreover, in feeling that the Serbs ultimately were the greatest victims Handke actually then finds himself in agreement with the likes of Roger Cohen although they arrive at the conclusion in rather different ways and for different reasons. And Handke expresses no ethnic preferences in reaching that conclusion. I know  because I had a close friend and expert in autism send him a copy of my first long piece which merely sought to understand, for my own sake, his involvement, and I put in an intentional misreading along those ethnic lines: Handke picked up my distortion, otherwise seemed to be pleased.

Now back to VOYAGE/ EINBAUM:
Dugout [for short] fits nicely within the history of the several concepts of this kind by a variety of 20th century playwrights, it is within the by now more than half a century old honorable tradition of investigative, socially relevant morality plays as they come to us via Brecht, via Hochhut, Peter Weiss, Heinar Kipphardt, Heiner Mueller; and also certain British writers; of these, Grass’s The Plebeians are Rehearsing the Uprising, might be the most pertinent antecedent to Handke’s dramatic procedure here. Although J.S. J.S. makes the bald claim that Thomas Bernhard is the most important postwar Austrian dramatist it appears that he knows absolutely nothing about the tradition within which Handke is working here, nor does he understand the screenplay kaleidoscopic form, as J.S. calls for “action” about the same way one of the two hokey directors might! Handke has revolutionized theater, the way Brecht did, by inverting it, by bringing Brecht’s epic theater to a conclusion, by returning it to its Euripedean and Goethean origins in a modern way, and - especially in plays such as Lake Constance and Hour - creating rational catharses, estrangement, perhaps even inadvertently, considering how much of his being is projected into his text. Let me avoid intentional fallacies, difficult as that is.

J.S. is an ignorant prattler and bullshit artist, and of a very low order at that, who knows zilch about theater and proves his ignorance so self-devastatingly in this piece in the NYRB. He might have at least consulted the NYRB archives! J.S. [there has to be one idiot among the profusion of brilliant Marcuses in this world] and the Michael McDonalds and Neil Gordons will be as the detritus by the beach as the Handke whale passes by to become an Austrian postage stamp and statue and as scholar mice chew through his notebooks and drafts at the archives, and as the influence of his great dramas and what he has accomplished in prose writing is absorbed by the few.  And I have no compunctions in criticizing VOYAGE at the one section I think is badly done, as you can read in my own long expository note on that play posted at the handkedrama2 site and the handkedrama blogspot

I grant J.S. that Handke could have done a lot better in that great mish-mash if he had not used the Danner-Wechsler texts: the mish-mash as such is great of the stuff that most such texts make of the brains that expose themselves to them, but Roger Cohen’s stuff would have been more useful. And also, Handke must have been in a rush for re-using an attack area which he had used once before in THEY ARE DYING OUT. New wine in an old bottle, perhaps Handke is a one note pony when it comes to attack arias; after all, he uses a version of it once more in MORAWIAN NIGHT.
The only facts you can have on a stage is a PLAY, and the only reality a play has is as a play! And it’s relationship to the reality outside the theater, to place, to time, to history is invariably ambiguous, the suggestions it propositions send out.  Even the bloody Greeks knew that, and the only ones who don’t are American naturalists, who ask for “reality TV” because of their vanishing sense of reality, not enough of it around to consume for the factually industrialized and disneyied sheeples.  
23]“They shout violent, obscene threats, but somehow benignly—by the standards of the play, almost comically: "Say the word 'neighbor' one more time, and I'll cut your throat, or mine," one says. So Handke has a sense of mordant humor at least, J.S.?
24] “Three Western journalists appear, preposterously, as "mountain bikers," and harass everyone with their gruesome and self-important accounts of atrocities. The centerpiece of the play is an inconclusive debate between the mountain bikers (who, in chorus, say things like "We are the market. We are the world. We are the power. We write the history.") and a former journalist, called "the Greek," now a disgraced, clownish figure, who advocates a new language for talking about the war, as opposed to the distortions of the journalists, whom he calls "common-sense dolls." Eventually the mountain bikers — officiously referred to in the text as "the international ones" — collapse and are transformed into mere locals.”
In what way can that be said to be “preposterous” except by J.S. saying so? Meanwhile U.S. news folk are embedded with the troops, and who knows how far some of them take the “bed” part of that designation? I really wish them well at least in that respect. The reporters and media folk are as interchangeable as the lobbyists are with the various administrators of the fiefs.
Handke’s "We are the market. We are the world. We are the power. We write the history.. we are the language , precedes the Bush administration’s saying - “we decide what reality is” - if you recall that from about eight years ago! And millions of fascists in this country still cheer Bush! Handke has good antennae! The whole section of the Greek reporter fits the western, particularly the U.S. media to a T: Here a real excerpt so you can make up your own minds whether this is preposterous or not:
THE GREEK REPORTER:
 “You appear in the name of goodness, yet you have never left behind the least goodness in this country. Helpers? You’ve never helped yet. There is a kind of indifference more helpful than your humanitarian gesticulating. Your right hand caresses some like Mother Teresa while your left hand raises the sword of a criminal court against the others. Puny devils of goodness. Humanitarian hyenas. Aloof and formal in the face of suffering – you officious and public humanitarians. Mars corporations masquerading as guardians of human rights. You claim to be humanitarian sheriffs – and the humanitarian sheriffs in the westerns, isn’t it true, Mr. O’Hara, were usually incompetent or secretly corrupt. They were the villains.
O’HARA: Aren’t those prejudices, my son?

MACHADO: Let him express his prejudices, John. Prejudices make good film plots.

GREEK: The war has made the people from here bad, worse than they are. You carpetbaggers have become bad with the war, like you really are. Deaf and blind – unfortunately, not speechless, not speechless at all.

THIRD INTERNATIONAL: Medieval rhetoric.

GREEK: Those who wield sentences as bludgeons have the power. In earlier despotic regimes, that was the politicians. Now it is you. And while the small peoples here fought for scraps of earth, you conquered the whole world. In word and image the despotic lords over reality, you power rangers. Internationals? Extra-terrestrials. International court? Universal stingrays.

FIRST INTERNATIONAL: You’re not imagining an about face? We have to continue the way we began. We are now prisoners of our initial opinion. We must continue more vigorously, more shrilly, and above all in a monotone – monotone – monotone. That’s the way it is. That’s the state of affairs. It’s true: We’re sick of what we do, so sick of it. And we’re sick of each other. But what can we do? Should we suddenly say: The other ones, the ones not from here, are also guilty? Guilty in a different way? Impossible! That’s not the point. We must continue as we began, in full voice and if necessary with empty hearts. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it has to be. We are the language.
25]“The final scene—both flat and bracing, like the moments after waking from a dream — construes the play as an apocalyptic fantasy: the stage is emptied; the destruction, total. [Please: spare us your descriptive prose of what it feels like when you wake from your dreams, J.S., though you do require some kind of serious bracing, you assume that we share your experience! The world goes awry with assumptions.] Handke’s "Balkan war" cannot be explained or described, or even named; it will not be remembered as history, only as legend, as a ghost story. The rambling action (or lack of action; on stage, the play lasts well over three hours and, except for the suicide and the entrances and exits, very little happens) would seem to dramatize the act of forgetting, the way the present eats away at the past.”  Action action action. No, I would say rather a great deal happens, as every spoken sentence is a happening. However, since I did not see the production I do not know whether Peymann put on the text as it is published in its entirety. Handke, the realist, now writes what are called “Lese Dramen” – plays to be read, and thus some speeches that make their point when they are spoken and acted out can easily be cut and telescoped for performance. Scott Abbott saw the production and since he has meanwhile also translated the play will perhaps add something to my expository note on the play, or in some other fashion.
Here a note from Scott’s diary:Several hours ago NATO and the Yugoslav Parliament came to some kind of agreement ending the bombing after 78 days. And, I'm just back from the world premiere of Peter's "The Play of the Film of the War," directed by Claus Peymann. I’ve never attended the world premiere of a play of this magnitude; and I’ve seldom been this moved, this challenged, by a work of art. Peter has filmmakers John Ford and Luis Buñuel in a Serbian town ten years after the war trying to decide how to make a film of the war. Characters who appear before the directors tell conflicting and complex stories as the play feels its way to questions about war and its aftermath. The really bad guys of the play, three "Internationals" who know all the answers, who dictate all the terms, who can think only in absolutes, appear on the stage as follows: "Three mountain bike riders, preceded by the sound of squealing brakes, burst through the swinging door, covered with mud clear up to their helmets. They race through the hall, between tables and chairs, perilously close to the people sitting there. 'Where are we?' the First International asks. 'Don't know,' the second answers. 'Not a clue,' the third says."American and European moralists, functionaries with no hint of self-irony or humor, absolutists who run the world because of their economic power – these sorry excuses for human beings were depicted this evening as mountainbike riders. Žarko, I said, Don’t you ever tell Peter I ride a mountain bike. No, he whispered, I’d never do that. Rich with thoughts, savory with sentences, the voyage by dugout was also a riot of comic action in Peymann’s staging. It was over before I even realized it was underway. The play drew on several incidents from our trip, including when Peter put his coat around the shoulders of the OSCE woman in Višegrad. The long sentences and long speeches of the play felt like well structured seriousness. The play trusted the audience to pay attention, and rewarded those who did with intellectual and aesthetic depth. But the play is playful too, and Peymann's direction brought that out impishly. The juxtaposition reminded me of the scene near the end of "Wings of Desire" where Peter's long and reflective sentences are being spoken against the sounds and rock staging of Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds.
After the performance, flushed with enthusiasm and insight, I told Peter how well he had integrated that real event into an imaginative play. “Dr. Scott,” he chided. “Always the professor.”
26] Before 1996, Handke had a reputation as an aesthete, but also as something of a nihilist. In his new play, he has aestheticized the Yugoslav conflict and, with a nihilist's diligence, turned it into, literally, nothing; what remains are his words to that effect. ("What war?" asks the Fellfrau, the conscience of Handke's play, just before her dugout speech. "I don't know anything about a war.")
I address the matter of Handke’s aesthetics above. I imagine if this play in any way aestheticizes this war out of existence, you can say that of any historical drama. Here J.S., the idiot, appears not to comprehend the “as if”: the play is set ten years in the future, Handke’s plus-quam-perfect procedure as he practices it also in his novels, it’s the screenplay for the 28th film! And in a play set ten years in the future, you, or rather one character in the play, can also wish the war away, and a lot of all this damned healing that never leaves enough wounded scar tissue, will have occurred.
I have never heard of Handke’s reputation as a nihilist, he was haunted by the thought of suicide as a young man, I suspect because of the angers and nauseas that came with him out of his childhood, until that “moment of true” feeling, ever since he’s become nearly American positivist for me, a Dale Carnegie who sees beauty everywhere. Moron Marcus! The very DUGOUT [a bit heavy mode for this birch bark canoe man but fitting for the original Hawaiins] is some kind of symbol of undying spirit, Handke is a very earthy fellow, a gardener, mushroom picker, he enjoys his fame and power, has become an excellent dad to his second daughter where he makes up the miseries he inflicted on his first young girl, he scarcely ever comes even close to repeating himself! And that is a nihilist, what loose use of language! The fact that the war “on stage” is negated is only a form of artistic license, of the power of negative thinking. The “war” on stage is made “as if it never happened” – analogous to the King riding to the rescue of Mecky Messer at the end of The Three Penny Opera, analogous to no end of play endings, at least the play can have a happy ending, reality obviously does not. J.S. really is so entirely ignorant of drama and dramatic conventions….Nothing happens? No, no real tanks, just a lot of stage acting and playing. That’s all you get on stage. Suggestions, powerful images, playfully presented, strong language, dialectical arguments, humor – that the audience can then discuss, absorb, that rattles some of the set patterns in the mind. The play is a proposition to be entertained, as the two directors do the screenplay – if, say, I would hold J.S.’s firm view of the “facts” and were asked to direct this play, I would even be able to sway an  interpretation in J.S.’s direction. J.S. claims that the “bearskin woman” is Handke’s megaphone.  I would say: all the characters are his megaphone, and in that he is like Shakespeare. There is much ambiguity here, although by no means as much as in WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES or THE HOUR WE KNEW NOTHING OF EACH OTHER or in THE ART OF ASKING. The play is more narrowly focused, it is a model for plays about war.

Subsequent to the premiere in Vienna, Handke had himself interviewed by his older daughter Amina Schwartz-Handke, and the interview used to be online but is not any more. There Handke states something to the effect that no matter an artist’s personal political opinion, in a play such as Voyage artistic objectivity rules. I thought he was being just a touch cute in this instance since a variety of his own opinions do in fact enter the mouths of various character, no matter that also the opposite takes and opinions do. But VOYAGE is neither a propaganda piece nor is it nihilistic, nor is it parti pris – but he sure seems to hate mountain bikers. Here in Seattle all of them are young upwardly mobile brokers and the like. Gangs of them on Sunday! "We are the market. We are the world. We are the power. We write the history… That’s the way it is. That’s the way it has to be. We are the language." Indeed!
Handke kills off reality to tell his ghost story, and he has a purpose: he wants to turn the Bosnian Serb war criminal into a Balkan everyman. He is so insistent on the higher, eternal (ahistorical) innocence of his war criminals (whose outbursts begin to seem bratty, childlike), and on the specific evils of his journalists, that we have the impression the Yugoslav tragedy occurred because the West sent journalists there to cover it”. I recall Handke, rather foolishly, asking whether there had not been a von Stauffenberg to eliminate Karadzic. I can’t tell who J.S. has in mind with “Bosnian Serb war criminal”… if he means the forest madman,” I have addressed that story above, and he was not a Bosnian Serb. I don’t know if Handke suggests that the war would never have taken on these dimensions if there had been no Western exploitive news coverage: but it sure is a thought isn’t it, especially when I read the likes of J.S. and Roger Cohen and a lot of other newspapers and TV. reporters. They are ambulance chasers all, and the New York Times sends more than any other! As to Handke killing off reality I am sure he has a wish to that effect, but all he does is write prose in which you can dwell more happily, at least for a while, sorry folks, that’s all there is, but how did this sentence pass Bob Silver’s editing pen knife I ask meself! J.S. evidently sleeps with reality, all of it! Congrats! Happy New Year and Happy New Reality to you!
I have meanwhile taken another look at Joseph Brodsky’s piece in the NY Times
and it strikes me as a thoroughly confused and twisted piece of writing, and so Handke’s “rusty nail” looks like a very apt and succinct description, or you would need to take Brodksy apart and show up all its fallacies as I do here with “dear old flame of reason burning bright”, J.S. Marcus, and only because of the pages in which his shit appeared and because the damage it therefore caused. An entirely remedial effort, Brodsky is dead and fortunately was a somewhat better poet than editorialist.
Thinking of the kind of play I would write on the subject of the disintegration of Yugoslavia now: For a stage image platform:  J.S Marcus’s body and that of his ilk – big wide stage – and t’is  bombarded with facts upon facts, say starting with the end of WW II, Tito’s Partisans, Croatian Ustacha killing each other, Tito becomes the US’s commie SOB after Dimitroff is killed in Bulgaria, Tito receiving barrels full of dancing dollars that are transformed into tanks facing east; Tito playing his clever game of ethnic bridge, or is it pinochle [?]; the German foreign minister Genscher “recognizing” an independent Croatia, Tjudman making the Serbs in Croatia 2nd Class citizens, U.S. ambassador Peter Galbraith arming the Croatians … this onslaught of facts is in the form of arrows that stick on that stage body… it all ends with the stage body transformed into Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. "We are the market. We are the world. We are the power. We write the history… That’s the way it is. That’s the way it has to be. We are the language. We are tougher than Krupp steel, we bond and kill better,” is how Handke’s ditty is improved upon by a visiting Mormon chorus from West Point.

27]“Handke's journalists require a closer look….Handke, simply running the two together, comes up with changes of a sort that are reminiscent of what high school students do with encyclopedia entries. An example: referring to the Bosnian militia leader Naser Oric and his attacks on Serb civilians, Danner writes, "The climactic battle in Oric's campaign came on January 7, 1993…." Handke has Winner say, "The climax of the commander's success came on the day that the people from here celebrate two weeks later than we do, their special Christmas." Handke's second declamatory journalist is a woman called Lauren Wexler, who writes for The New Yorker, and whose article is a version of Lawrence Weschler's New Yorker piece about his visit to The Hague during the preliminary hearings of the first war crimes trial, which is remade into a triumphant partisan boast, with Weschler's references to "the Tribunal" turned into Wexler's "our tribunal."
Handke's manipulations attest, perhaps, to his sense of his own limitations as a writer: Handke's style is hermetic; he has no ear for the way people actually talk or write, and, even by German standards, is remarkably humorless. He needed satire for this play, however, and he achieves it primitively, through defacement…
I have already mentioned why I think the mish-mashing is terrific and why I think he would have been better off using the New York Times Sunday Magazine as his source, if American it had to be. As to the way people actually talk or write, Handke PRIDES himself on NOT writing naturalistic dialogue, you total idiot, if you haven’t figured that out after claiming to have read all the books cited in this review. In real life, and in his many many interviews he obviously talks as earthily but not in quite as stylized lingo a the character in the play. Utterly hopeless, J.S.! As to the canard “humorless”, I have addressed it already, and that indeed there are moments when Handke is not “laughing” as no end of news stories have it, and often at the most inappropriate moment, as only that kind of gauche idiot will, you can also look at all the photos I have of my exhibitionist, he is laughing on no end of them, but also has a lot of other expressions. Of course, there are matters, as already cited, when Handke can be as “humorless as death” – but that has nothing to do with any of his mixed national heritage where Marcus shows how awash he himself must be, or have been in Germany and Austria to hold that opinion.
In A Journey to the Rivers and in his later remarks, Handke seems to have been setting himself up as a latter-day Kraus, whose pioneering critique of language often took the form of attacks on the press; indeed Handke alludes directly to Kraus in his new play. But the difference between them is telling: Kraus only needed to quote to make a point; Handke, in search of the same effect, misquotes. I won’t repeat what I said above about mish-mashing and the need for it. Handke early on went way beyond Kraus. It appears he experienced the bombing of Belgrade as a kind of end of the world, well certainly a good hint of who will bring the world to an end anyway, Uncle Sam and his cohorts.
28. It was directed by Claus Peymann, a longtime friend and collaborator of both Handke and postwar Austria's greatest playwright, Thomas Bernhard. I have elaborated above what Handke has accomplished in the theater, it is of importance to world literature, Bernhard’s plays are local affairs; not in the same league. You can make a culture with Handke, Bernhard buries it in brown-green sauce as far as I am concerned.
 29] Eventually he went to a besieged Serbia, writing yet another travel piece—the basis of his new book—for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. He gave a long, preposterous interview to an Austrian tabloid, casting doubts on the accounts of expelled Kosovar Albanians. ("The refugees, the ones who have been driven out, all say the same thing word for word. Is that therefore believable?") Not having seen these T.V. casts with Kosovo refugees, I obviously cannot speak to that. But I can speak to the practice of “looping” for TV. broadcasts. In 1992 I was in Mulege, Baja California, Sur when Ballard of Woods Hole came with the Jason expedition to film the vents of the volcanoes that lie between Mulege/ St. Rosalia in Baja Sur and Guyamas on the eastern side of the Sea of Cortez/ Bahia California. The animals – sulfur based life, and sea life feeding on sulfur based creatures were supposedly being filmed live by the underwater sled or a camera on the bathysphere. Nonsense: all that was on a loop and broadcast for a week to kids all over North America – however, the voices that you heard were from live Scientists aboard ship who had to describe the same damn critters over and over! Imagine how exhausted they were! Their authenticity would have been in doubt, not that of the silent beings from the depths + Thus Handke’s suspicion might be well founded. If that really was the case that they said all the same thing, mine would have been too.
31] in May Handke's former girlfriend published an open letter to him in an Austrian magazine in which she accused him of beating her up, and Germany's tabloid press ran the story. In his 2007 novel DIE MORAWISCHE NACHT [see  
for a very detailed piece on this great grab bag, Handke introduces his admission to having beaten a woman, tactical concession defense, as a belated response to former lover and Lebensgefährte, collaborator on a film now Erinye Marie Colbin’s going public, during the Handke/ Yugoslavia publicity wars in the 90s, first in Der Falter, which was picked up by:
with a description of how Handke had nearly killed her. ["Ich höre noch meinen Kopf auf den Steinboden knallen. Ich spüre noch den Bergschuh im Unterleib und auch die Faust im Gesicht...   Solange es Männer gibt auf dieser Welt - Männer wie Dich - einäugig, unnachgiebig, machthungrig und Ego-breit - wird es auch Waffen geben und somit Kriege... Wer bist Du denn, daß Du Dich so wichtig nimmst? Bist weder groß, noch edel oder gar bescheiden und aufrichtig. Ein eitler Schreiber bist Du, der sich sonnt in der Rolle des 'einsamen Rufers.'... Irgendwie wirst Du diesem Krieg dankbar sein, denn er befriedigt auf perverse Weise Dein unstillbares Verlangen nach öffentlicher Anerkennung." A translation of her statement reads: „I can still feel my head bang on the stone floor. I can still feel the mountain hiker boots hit my stomach and your fist in my face… As long as there are men in the world – men like you – one-eyed, unyielding, power-hungry and egomaniacal – there will be weapons and therefore war… Who are you, to think of yourself as so important. You are neither great, nor noble nor modest nor honest. A vain writer is what you are, who suns himself in the role of the solitary prophet… In some way you will be thankful for this war [The Yugoslav wars of 1994] because it will satisfy your insatiable longing for public acclaim.” - I myself would have to say that while I have found Handke at other moments to be the most empathic, generous and sensitive friend… albeit at a remove, unless it become a matter of his precious self-image even if you were supporting his work, that ever so unfortunately I have to agree with each and every item that Ms. Colbin lists and was only surprised that it took so long for one of these women to speak up, in this instance an exquisite actress whom my man exploited in the film they made of a Margaret Duras book who, however, as the now Erinye who haunts Handke’s books as of the 1984 Across, and, after the beating, haunted him all over Salzburg so that he had to go to a pub at its edges with his friends, and who still haunts him Moravian Night, a Fury who evidently has little appreciation at the moment [the usual forgetfulness at moments of such irruptions of the good times once shared] she made her statement, initially to the Austrian Magazin Der Falter, that a certain kind of extreme narcissism - is required to do work at Handke’s genius – after all, he lacks the modesty of a Bruckner - level, and that his [in this instance insatiable compensatory need to exhibit his wound – and have a response, to make contact] is one of the major drives that produces the books. He describes his egomaniacal behavior toward the end of Moravian where we find the “ex-author” with his half-brother in Griffen, and the brother describes what a holy terror Handke had been already as an adolescent when he wrote, terrorizing the entire family. I once outplayed Handke at Tarok, a full account of that can be found at
and so discovered how he couldn’t handle losing, couldn’t handle being kept waiting, and a lot of other matters.
Unfortunately, after making this tactical concession in Morawische Nacht [that he had wanted to kill her, not just beat her up] to his accuser Marie Colbin, Handke goes into one of his formalistically utterly compleat explanations why he beat her in the first place – not leaving him alone any moment of the day that leaves the reader gasping and with no imagination, and thus has the hollowest of rings, the more so since Colbin is by no means the only woman Handke has beaten, certainly a surprise to those who have read SORROW BEYOND DREAMS, superficially, not to those who appreciate what it means to witness the father figure beat up the mother for a decade, and what this will do to a love-child intra-psychically. Don’t let what I say here keep you from reading MORAWIAN, one of his greatest beginnings, greatest endings, it was initially called SAMARRA, but Handke kept writing – and he ought to have kept writing until he got the whole of it as right as many of its parts are.

I myself, as of about 1977 sought to be alone with Handke as little as possible, I found him to be sinister, although if anyone knew his genius his translators did, and also that he could be an angel, in the good sense, a matter I suspect that Ms. Colbin, the fury of furies of his in Salzburg who haunts his work as of ACROSS [1984] and also MORAVIAN [paranoid he is by now!], the guilt that is always part of paranoia, imagined or real, there are women like that, forever unforgiving, she shows up at the premieres of all his plays, and since she is yet another of those fairly well known actresses that Handke keeps hooking up with still reads Handke texts in public! And when she was younger she was exquisite, Handke met her on a bridge across the Salzach, the river that runs through Salzburg, which has been sort of mythified in No-Man’s-Bay into the Rio Grande as that now elephant piss stream flows beneath the bridge to Ciduad Juarez in A Touch of Evil – a truly nice touch that. I had a girlfriend who looked to be Colbin’s younger sister in Paris in the late 70s, and made it a point not to introduce her to Handke. Thus Mr. J.S. gets one point for having found Handke sinister on a televisions show. I keep thinking what luck Handke and I both had that his first wife and I didn’t run away with each other in 1971 when he seemed to be a couple with the “Austrian dramaturg” of SHORT LETTER LONG FAREWELL. He would have had his break down even earlier and I would never have got the chance to translate WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES! For, I used to have my problems, too: drag the beautiful wench home by her goldilocks and soon enough she will turn into the hated governess who bring out murderous impulses in me. However, my signifying grandfather had a far better sense of humor than old man Sivec, he was still making fun of the guards in his fourth concentration camp, although he then would not show his back either to his wife or his daughters after WW II, yet otherwise his sense of humor was intact.
 32] The Burgtheater production turned out to be an anticlimax — pompous. The performance dramatized the failure of the play: Handke, and now Peymann, cannot compete with the mere facts; they try, and fail, to extinguish the actual images of the Yugoslav wars and replace them with their own. Cannot compete with the mere facts I have addressed this already by pointing out that [1] the only facts you have on stage are a play;[2] that the play is presented as a screenplay, that is doubly removed, for the 28th film ten years after the war – perhaps the director who says that it is still too early is right: after all, all you get is a proposition, an “as if” and it exists in that realm. I wish  J.S. a rich, fact-filled naturalistic existence! We have Scott Abbott’s response above, I have collected a lot of German reviews at the CANOE page of the drama2.site
33] He does not mention [in WITH TEARS] that the party is part of Milosevic's regime. He describes the "strange homelessness that comes from [Risti´c] on this war-night." The fine Serbian director Zeljko Djukic who runs the Tutato Theater in Chicago tells me that Risti’c is / or at least was a kind of Serbian Riefenstahl! And that he remained loyal to Milosevic to the end. I can’t imagine why Handke ought to record the man’s party affiliation. As though he were suppressing something! This is either an accurate observation, or Handke is projecting his own feeling into Risti’c, or both. At any event: it is an impression he had: and he conveys it to us laconically. With reading all those Handke books, J.S. might have got at least a inkling of Handke’s “innerworl[d]-of the outerworl[d]-innerworld procedure, and of his working on that interstice! Nor does he appear to have noticed that Handke is a formalist – not that you need even know this word, as you don’t need to know the word rhythm to notice what rhythm is.
Trivial but globally telling of Marcus’ failure as a reader is his then having seen what no human eye has beheld, that is Risti’c’s Belgrade performance of Canoe, cancelled so I was given to understand because the director had “packed his bags’”.
It occurred to me to wonder as what J.S. might be employed as, to walk the dog, take out the garbage?
34] The second piece is filled with turgid prattle. Handke writes about a deserter he sees near the Kosovo border:“He comes from the adjacent (?) Kosovo, for a short (?) vacation (?) here at home (?), but it's as if he became scattered on the way, in search of his troop—not only through his running does he seem this way, also through his gaze, his stare, between consternation, dismay, endurance—and at the same time rejuvenescence adding to his youthfulness.” turgid prattle? It appears that J.S. who claims to have read a few texts has not caught on to Handke’s way of questioning his own text.
35]In a short preface Handke tells us that the book "is in almost direct correspondence with my notes…." The effect, apparently, is meant to provide the reader with an eyewitness account of literature-in-the-making.  The only “claim” I see Handke making is one of close correspondence to his impressions as noted down at the time.  Handke may be guilty of a lot of matters: pretentiousness is not one of them.
36] Questioning Through Tears turns out to be a highly selective account of what Handke sees as an apocalypse, or pre-apocalypse, with pungent or lyrical descriptions of Serb suffering, or lyrical accounts of resilient Serbness. In Srebrenica—"I am here for the fifth or sixth time"— Handke attends a Serbian Orthodox service.- "Mass: the women stationed to the left of the wall of icons (or cabinets); the men (not at all less in number) to the right." Then the now familiar, and rather exhausted, invectives against the "Super-information" of the "Superpowers." As expected, Handke scarcely mentions the Kosovar refugees, whose accounts, he again complains, are all the same, "word for word, phrase for phrase."  highly selective ? Was Mr. J.S. with Handke during that trip? Everything is selective. E.G. I am selecting the most grievous idiocies that J.S. commits – I could go on even longer and be even more devastating. I address the matter of what the Kosovar Albanian refugees said above.
38] The first victim of the war, Handke argues, is language itself — the capital letters stand for a kind of interchangeable wordlessness. But Handke's own believability is another victim. By now he is so discredited that we have no more reason to believe in, say, the bombed auto plant in the southern town of Kragujevac and its innocent victims than we do in the existence of Svetlana Vrbaski. We are imprisoned in Handke's imagination, and the only reality is the sound of Handke talking, narrating his own dream sequence. I would disagree with this facile syllogism: I approached the controversy knowing of Handke’s genius as a writer but also of his exhibitionism, thus he was suspect, and since I was engaged in a Handke project took my time to understand him, or as someone whom Handke and I both know, the first rate writer, Erich Wolfgang Skwara once put it to me: “One always wonders what he is up to now.” [Handke had just walked arm in arm with Umberto Eco through the halls of the Frankfurt Bookfair, at the publication of No-Man’s Bay, and if I had not known Handke and been well along on my Handke project,  I would no doubt have pretty much bought into whatever I read in the organs where I get my news, and put the matter aside as something I could do as little about as the slaughters in other parts of the world. If we merely do a depth probe of the coverage in the NY Times Magazine or of specialist Roger Cohen, you would have to conclude that language suffered grievously… and always does, especially during war time. Handke at least provides with matters that are believably Handke, authentic Handke. Handke’s impressions, his immediate observations have always been extraordinarily reliable, what is beyond his horizon of that he refuses to report. He makes far fewer truth claims than J.S. impugns him with!
39]In 1994, Handke published a much-awaited novel called My Year in the No-Man's-Bay, his longest book to date — over 1,000 pages in the German edition. The book is narrated by another autobiographical character, an Austro-Slovenian novelist, called Gregor (a favored name in the Handke oeuvre, recalling both Kafka's Gregor Samsa and Handke's uncle), who has a failed marriage and other failed relationships. The book turns out to be a predictable, if highly elaborate, Handke meditation on his tendency to live in language rather than in the world, not to mention in his own life; it is a sustained description of estrangement and, again, of the necessity and futility of writing.  
predictable,/ My Year in the No-Man's-Bay? I can’t imagine what is “predictable” about No-Man's-Bay but that it consists of words. If further proof is needed what a predictable non-reader J.S. is, his comments here are it. N.B. for short is Handke’s portrait of his six artistic sides, ex-cultural attaché Gregor Keuschnig [Hoveler] out of A Moment of True Feeling still somewhat Left-Handed-Woman, painter-film maker, reader, writer, priest – the only actual of the friends that Keuschnig has, and who is also an actual friend of Handke since his Seminary days, and of course represents Handke’s toughie country priest side. Those six sides are stitched together on the ground of this bight outside Paris in the Chaville Forest where Handke has lived since the later 80s, talking about not being LOCATED! It also incorporates some long sections about Yugoslavia and walking there. I myself read the book about five times, a couple of times in German and then thrice in English, at a 24/7 Hmong-run donut place on NE 45th Street in the evening among not just our donut maker Hmong “Lola” but as authentic a no-man’s place as you could find with Gogol’s lost souls, and various Dostoyevsky refuse, Smerdiakov, a Persian ex-computer programmer who had had a breakdown and who brought his gold fish in his goldfish bowl, the toothless cabbie, etc; in other words, in sacred company, and felt as good as I have only one other time in these fifteen years in Seattle and that was spending the summer of 2009 reading Crossing the Sierra del Gredos several more times, and then also writing about that, and so I know now what Peter Strasser meant when he wrote his book Peter Handke: Der Freudenstoff. Handke may be fairly impossible in person at times, a near criminal, all his love goes into writing and a real reader absorbs it through his texts, and responds in kind. Here and there I quibbled of course, this business about the book being set 7 years in the future and the German tribes being at war with each other, his making light of one of his worst period when he couldn’t get beyond the first sentence, rehearsed for years, of A SLOW HOMECOMING, in the Hotel Adams in New York in the late 70s - that showed disrespect towards his own suffering; as I also quibbled here and there with Del Gredos when my man seemed to have had a bad hair day and had to fake it a bit, and I haven’t made up my mind yet about the three “topes”, as I call them, those speed bump enclaves that hold up the heroine’s progress. But let us all celebrate that Maria Sivec loved her little bastard and didn’t abort him as she then did so many other pregnancies! J.S., you couldn’t predict anything, and are as responsive as worn out sandpaper.               
40] In a 1992 interview, Handke dismissed Hölderlin as "ill with Germanness"; in his novel, Hölderlin becomes instead a source of regeneration: reading his poems fills Gregor's "veins with new blood." The novel contains a few strange exaltations of violence, and tries to make connections between the mythical, the irrational, and the natural. I will check my interview collection for the Hölderlin opinion. Sounds like the sort of thing my man might say to put an interviewer on, or to be controversial, because Nova’s long aria at the end of Walk about the Villages is infused with the pathos of Hölderlin and the high thin air of his idealism – not a one note pony that Hölderlin! Around 1980 Handke wrote that he now understood Hyperion completely! And that was meant in sympathy. However, Handke, who has a German father and stepfather, and publisher in Siegfried Unseld, was tiresomely anti-German to an extent that you might doubt the slightest intelligence – all because of the hated stepfather Bruno Handke, whose last name is actually a mishmash of Polish.
40] There had previously been a connection between Handke's dissociative style and his willful irrationality (he published a manifesto with his first collected plays, saying as much), but in the novel we glimpse something beyond that. "I wished I would get sick," Gregor thinks, reflecting back on a spiritual crisis that some readers might describe as writer's block, "or that the Third World War would break out, so that I would at least not be so alone with my very own war…. What, pray, is “the connection?” now that J.S. mentions Handke’s dissociative style as  though this were a well-known feature [not a style anyhow, method perhaps and rational, too, when the ego has part in it] in There had previously been a connection between Handke's dissociative style and his willful irrationality you willfully rational being, J.S.? AS to “dissociative” style might J.S. have this in mind, the “Handke effect”:
http://thechagallposition.blogspot.com/2008/10/viewer-is-diverted-or-handke-effekt.html
I’ve been spending some time trying to figure out what makes reading Peter Handke’s fiction such an unsettling literary experience, and I think I’ve isolated one of the formal techniques he uses to achieve his peculiar ambience.  I haven’t given the secondary literature on Handke more than a passing glance, so forgive me (and maybe even gently inform me) if I’m retailing what turn out to be critical commonplaces about his work.
First, an example, from Handke’s 1997 novel, On A Dark Night I Left My Silent House.  I’ve chosen this one because the effect is fairly obvious here.  The protagonist, a pharmacist from a Salzburg suburb whose wife has left him, has gone for an evening drive and now sits on a stump in a roadside clearing near his car.  The novel is narrated in the third person, and seemingly a very “close” third, sliding at times into second person, as here: 
“Crouching down to see what was happening from close up; and besides, crouching you were closest to yourself.  Yet the field of vision remained as broad as possible: the parked car, in which, with the increasing dusk all around, a curious brightness seemed to have been trapped, the seats very obviously empty, and as if there were more of them than usual, whole rows of them; beyond it the airfield with the last plane rising into the air, at one window that passenger who thought he could rub off the haze on the outside on the inside; to the right, on the highway, an almost endless convoy of trucks, white on white, United Nations troops deployed against a new war, or rather returning from there (a few trucks were also being towed, half burned out); to the left, the training place for police dogs, at the edge of the forest, where one of the dogs seemed to have just got caught in a culvert and was howling piteously, while another, growling almost as piercingly, kept leaping at a man hidden behind a wall, burying its teeth in the ball of cloth in which the ‘fleeing criminal’ had wrapped his lower arm, then refusing to let go and hanging on stubbornly as the man ran in a circle with him, swinging the animal through the air.”
Even though the passage seems to be focalized through the protagonist’s perspective, it defies basic physics for many or even most of the specific details to be available to his point of view.  Most obviously, of course, the pharmacist wouldn’t be able to see the airplane passenger futilely wiping his window (and still less would he see the haze), but there are other distortions as well.  The crouching position described in the first line (after which no change in posture is given to us) makes it highly problematic that the protagonist could take in the convoy of UN trucks on the one hand and the policeman training his dog on the other, especially considering that the convoy is described as “almost endless” (i.e., seen disappearing into the horizon) and the dog trainer is at first “hidden” behind a wall.  Such a vista might be available to the pharmacist were he crouched on top of a hill, but he’s not.
In the Newtonian physics of conventional realism, what you see from a crouch is your shoelaces, yet we are assured that “the field of vision remained as broad as possible” (but not “his field of vision” or “the field of his vision”).  Could it be that when the pharmacist crouches to draw “closest to himself,” some other physics takes over, a kind of Handkean quantum mechanics?  It’s a strange new self-communion that has the result of seeming to evaporate its subjectivity into the evening air.
Even the switch to second person contributes to this evaporation, paradoxically suggesting at once a greater intimacy than the third-person – as if the pharmacist were now recounting his own impressions to himself – and a greater distance, in that the invitation to the reader to closer identification with the protagonist simultaneously dissolves his specificity as a particular, situation-bound pharmacist from a Salzburg suburb.  This move ‘closer to oneself’ is therefore ambiguous, and could include a swerve away from oneself or the discovery – even the in-habitation, so to speak – of the realization that one might not be one at all.
There are other things of note in the passage – the suggestive locution “on the outside on the inside”; the “white on white” of the trucks; the lurking savagery in the possible faraway war (Serbia?) and the police dogs in the middle distance – but the main effect, and what I’m calling (just for fun) the Handke-Effekt, is this destabilizing of conventional novelistic focalization, at least in its “close” variants (third-person limited, first person, and second person, leaving out for the moment third-person omniscient). Like Brecht’s Verfremdungseffekt or ‘alienation effect’, it’s a species of defamiliarization, but what it defamiliarizes most of all is the depiction of consciousness in traditional realism.  Conventional focalization overlaps with the sensorium of the character, so that the reader sees what the character can plausibly see, hears what the character plausibly hears, etc.; Handke subtly violates this.  Think of a sort of bathyspheric bubble around the character’s head, start moving the bubble to the left or right, or up and down, outside the range of physical plausibility, and there’s your Handke-Effekt. 
Part II of Edmond Caldwell’s piece ctd. at
What might be “irrational” about such a procedure, or connection with irrationality, as ordinary language understands that word?  You wilted flower, you last rotten petal of the enlightenment, J.S. Marcus?
In Handke's essays and interviews and outbursts, and in The Journey in the Dugout Canoe — which all seem of a piece, a Serbenwerk — there is a strong element of exaggeration, but with this new book his identification with the Serbs has become simply genuine. It would seem that he has never come back from Serbia, that he has disappeared into some colorful, bloody Balkan wonderland.
First: Let me bring the readers up to date on what Handke has published on the topic of Yugoslavia since Marcus had a go at him. We all know I think about his appearance at the Milosevic funeral and yet another Handke controversy, the third time around as it were, the guy certainly “stays in the picture” as he advises us to imagine to be once a day [!], as a refresher: the eyes of God the eyes of the media! That affront ended with the dismounting of his great play THE ART OF ASKING at the Comedie Francaise, the refusal of the city council of Düsseldorf to provide the money that went with that city’s Heine Prize, Klaus Peymann raising the money for the equivalent 50,000 Euro Berlin Heine Preis and their highly medianized trip to an enclave in Kosovo to which Handke gave the money, in 2007 I think this was. Look at the many photos of Handke taken with his Kosovo hosts: indeed he looks extremely happy and I am happy for him and his hosts! Everyone has their Yugoslav tribal pet, the German writer H.C. Buch has even adopted some original Dalmatian rabbitts in Kosovo! Handke has stuck to his guns and affects my reading experience of his texts neither one way or the other.
Handke also won a suit for libelous defamation against I think it was Le Nouvelle Observateur or Liberation.
There are two pieces on the de Hague tribunal, the Daimiel piece which I mentioned above, here the link once again, where Handke so nicely criticized himself for being a “hanging judge” prior to being one again in no time, this once of Günter Grass:
And a little book Rund um das Tribunal, where Handke is in DeHague but actually does not attend a single session… Perhaps he didn’t want to see that Milo the Bad Bad Wolf had at least one bloody fang? No, he doesn’t seem to want to honor a tribunal whose legitimacy he does not want to honor with his presence? I can’t say that such a tribunal that fails to bring no end of US war criminals to trial is anything but a farce. If Nuremberg is one of the highpoints and sets the bar for international justice – a treaty the U.S. for good selfish reasons refuses to sign – every president and national security adviser and sec def and many more would have been hanged since the United States became the inheritor of European imperialism.
There is the 2008 Die Kuckucke von Velica Hoca, mentioned initially, a magnificent piece of reportage of a week’s stay in that enclave, Handke takes a walk to an adjacent Albanian village, but that is all; his observation overall appears to be that there exists irremediable hatred between the two peoples; his chagrin is kept tightly in check as he only reports of the there and then.
Handke's work as writer of ever more accomplished prose cannot be said to have suffered, nay it flourished during his engagement, as Guenter Grass continued his elephant dance [as which Irving Howe these many years described it to me.] There is not only the 1995 DARK NIGHT, but the extraordinary 2002 CROSSING SIERRA DEL GREDOS, the 2004 DON JUAN, the 2007 KALI and 2008 MORAWIAN NICHT, the 2009 VELICE HOCA. His work as a playwright, too, continues, thought not on the same high order as before, a delicious play conceived with a Serbian director, LA CUISINE celebrates, wouldn’t you know it, Serbian hams! The 2004 SUBDAY BLUES [see the handkedrama2. site for an extensive discussion] formalizes what I call road rage, a subject where formalization, no matter how well done, struck me as the wrong approach. A section in MORAWIAN, the APACHE part of a trip to the Kosovo, would seem to do a better, more immediate job of that. In 2006 Handke premiered Spuren der Verirrten [Traces of the Lost] at the Berliner Ensemble which struck me on reading to be an off-shoot from HOUR THAT WE KNEW NOTHING OF EACH OTHER – but I would have to see it to be able to judge whether the twist that Handke gave HOUR in making the author a member, a participant in the play, lends it that desired different twist.
In 2008/9 Handke wrote a kind of rejoinder to Beckett’s KRAPP’S LAST TAPE, called "Bis  daß  der  Tag  Euch  scheidet  oder Eine Frage des Lichts". I have not read it, the book  was stolen, but it has received most interesting reviews from its performances at the Berliner Ensemble and at the Salzburg Festival. A translation of Euripedes HELENA is in the offing, as well as a big play  "Storm Still" [about a Slovenian partisan uprising in Spring 1945] for the Burgtheater in Vienna which its director Klaus Peymann describes as the counterplay to Bernhard’s HELDENSCHLACHT. We shall see.
MORAVIAN, drenched in Balkan, contains what could be called a “take out” from the subsequent Velica Hoca, a trip with Kosovo Serbian mourners to and back to their cemetery of their murdered brethren in Kosovo: it is one of several, of many utterly brilliant tours de force, where I wish the entire book had been one, and not turned into a grab bag, that trip is as powerful as anything that Faulkner or anyone I ever read ever wrote along that line, especially the sequence of a furious bus driver who keeps muttering Apache Apache to the song: it might be for what the Serbians suffered, but it could be the melody and the mettalica song [?] that accompanies human existence; an absolutely amazing piece of writing. As J.S. notes already in the year 2000, the German reviewers want to welcome the bastard back into their ranks: after all, they sort of know as a writer he is a kind of a Goethe or Stifter, a once every 100 years event, want to welcome the now even more bemedaled writer back in their ranks, and so seize on the one paragraph in the book where he expresses his own disgust with Balkan miseries and wishes to be back in the West with the kind of 5 star hotel that Handke prides himself on staying in; except for one reviewer with the wonderful name Rutchky who, I would say, correctly smells a big fat very much alive inextinguishable Balkan rat. Toward the end of the book, that contains a number of fantasies, the now [ten years hence, as in VOYAGE] ex-writer is in a big big limestone pit “Dolmine in the so “abstract gray J.S/” Slovenia with a weird Japanese girl reporter who appears to have been stranded in Yugoslavia during the war [Mr. Handke when did you have THAT affair?] and… Hey it’s Ramsey Clark … whom Handke must have encountered in deHague… the last three hold outs, ten year’s hence… for Justice for Serbia!

As to actions: there are those frequent trips to the Kosovo, especially the one when he and his director Peymann gave the Berlin Heine Prize $ 50,000 to the enclave – look how happy the guy looks on the photos [LINKS once more at the very end here] Handke received a piece of Serbian land; and was awarded the Cross of St. Lazarus awarded by the Kosovo Serbs in honor of their defeat at the hands of the Turks in 1384 is it? But didn’t have time, he said, to receive it in person: or suddenly shy of the photo op?… Well, you can see him shaking hands with the Serbian nationalist candidate
an interesting site that goes entirely overboard in its defense of the Serbians,



 “Austrian writer Peter Handke yesterday visited the SRS presidential candidate Tomislav Nikolic. On that occasion Handke said: ‘Never in my life have I voted in Austria, never in my life have I voted in France, either. But, if I had the Serbian citizenship, today I would vote for Tomislav Nikolic’,” reads the caption underneath photo on the left, published in January 23, 2008 edition of Serbian daily Politika.

Handke himself appears to be playing along with the German media make believe that he is now reformed and talks in Kasperfied language that Srebrenice and the whole damned business was the worst that happened in Europe since WW II, compliments the German reviewers how well they did by him whom until a short while back was calling riff-raff, which in fact quite a few are, though to a far lesser degree than… you guessed it: the dear olde u.s. of a. which indeed takes the cake once again! My guess, his publisher [s] have assigned him a handler! After all, his work, which is what counts… threatened to disappear in the controversy… book sellers refused to stock him, etc. etc. He has the kind of fanatical backers in one Byzantine lady who runs [de] construct
http://de-construct.net/
 and some otherwise half intelligent folks who are too befuddled by him to be willing to criticize him and just go
“beautiful” beautiful beautiful” as a demented bus passenger here in Seattle does, e.g. Lothar Struck at Glanz and Elend
goes soft in the head, who runs the otherwise intelligent and interesting begleitschreiben blog:
well, it’s all right to have your mind go soft over a woman I guess, Handke’s books mean to waken it!

Handke, himself, in No-Man’s-Bay, makes it very clear that “he is not the one” – but whenever has that stopped those in need of idols!
41 Many German cultural figures have vigorously attacked Handke, notably Günter Grass and Jürgen Habermas, but he has his loyalists. I would add future minister of culture, publisher of Die Zeit and now of Cicero, Michael Naumann, to this list who, in the mid 90s when he was the publisher of Holt, Rinehardt in the U.S., didn’t even want to hear the name of Handke, he was so much part of the New York, bien pensant crowd.
42] and Peter Turrinni, Austria's leading resident playwrights, have publicly defended him. (Jelinek called The Journey in the Dugout Canoe "partly infuriating, partly magnificent"). I have put a collection of German reviews at the CANOE page of:
I might agree with the brilliant truly original Jellinek if I had to put my estimate into one sentence – but when have you caught me doing anything of the kind?
43] Then J.S. prattles on…
“The Romantic sensibility changed, as the nineteenth century passed, from an idea about art and the artist to an idea about society and how it should be ruled—the "inner ideal," as Isaiah Berlin calls it, turned outward …and b-ses a bit about Isaiah Berlin, Gottfried Benn, Klaus Mann and insinuates: hey, that Handke is really some kind of reborn romantic fascist!
44] In 1997, between A Journey to the Rivers and The Journey in the Dugout Canoe, Handke published a short novel called On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House, which will appear in the US this fall. (Interestingly, Handke's American publisher neglects to include A Journey to the Rivers in the list of his translated work.) The book is a fairy tale, once removed. An unnamed pharmacist, from an anonymous postwar suburb of Salzburg, recounts a story to an unnamed, impassive narrator. One night, while wandering through a forest, the pharmacist was hit over the head and rendered mute; he soon found himself magically driving across an imaginary Europe with an unnamed poet and an unnamed Olympic ski champion. They had hallucinatory, near-murderous adventures in a Balkan-like village, improbably called Santa Fe. Afterward, the pharmacist returned home an unchanged man, except, he tells the narrator, now "my feet are bigger; I had to buy new shoes." Interestingly: I expect one of the ten editors Handke has had at his mediocre U.S. publisher since 1966 simply forgot or didn’t even know. As though they were trying to dissociate themselves being the nasty suggestion; truth of which could easily have been verified by one phone call.
There are many allusions to Yugoslavia in the novel, and it is tempting to think of the pharmacist's story as Handke's reflection on his own "journey." Yet the book does not accommodate such speculation; its blank reverie is a mere track record of the imagination at work, another dream sequence, framed, this time inside Handke's familiar, gray fantasy of detachment. As suggested above: an eye examination for J.S.; gladly foutre the bill! If only he could do a single paragraph in dream syntax! That poor fellow who is apparently haunted by the color “gray.” A blank? Only he. Large parts of the book transpire in Spain, I, however, love Handke’s nasty introduction of some damaged NATO trucks being hauled north on the Autobahn near Taxham/ Salzburg! See Edmond Caldwell comments above and excerpt.
45] Perhaps one day Peter Handke will explain himself in, say, a novel about an Austro-Slovenian writer who masquerades as a Serb nationalist. Until then his Serbenwerk endures as a celebration of irrationality. The reader retreats from it, from the tyranny of its impressions, its raving subjectivity. Handke has let himself become an instrument of the Milosevic regime, a state writer. If we resist Milosevic, then we resist this Handke and reapproach even the best of his previous work with that resistance in mind.
It is truly wondrous to see a complete ignoramus in literary matters, someone neither able to read nor describe, someone as blind as J.S. Marcus, calling, essentially, for a McCarthyite prohibition of Handke’s works and to have done so under the aegis of the bloody NYRB; and for that reason with hugely damaging effect in the United States. Handke was never the instrument of Milosevic or the Yugoslav state, he has nicely dissociated himself from demagogic ultra-nationalism, from Seheli; t’would that the NYRB did the same of the jingoist fascism so deeply ingrained in US. Marcus is proof of the  pudding of thorough-going Serb hatred, and no matter that I wish that Handke had gone about his business in a more civilized manner, that as Mensch he were less flawed, am I ever glad that at least there was one person who extended himself in this fashion, even if exhibitionistically , not entirely altruistically, to even the balance between truly mad Serb and Milosevic hatred that is far more irrational, that belongs to the darkest of dark ages of the witch hunt, of the one devil theory, and proves, in ways that would have turned Adorno and Horkheimer to stone had they beheld it, the truth of the dialectic of the englightenment taking a J.S. Marcus twist and in your pages, Bob Silvers!
Your “getreue Korreptitor” in Seattle
 Michael Roloff
===============================================
LINK OF LYNXES TO MOST HANDKE MATERIAL
 AND BLOGS ON THE WEB:


HANDKE LINKS + BLOGS SCRIPTMANIA PROJECT MAIN SITE:

http://www.handke.scriptmania.com
and 13 sub-sites
e.g.










http://handke-watch.blogspot.com/
[moravian nights discussion]
the newest:

contains the psychoanalytic monograph

http://analytic-comments.blogspot.com/

The Morawian Night Essay + Handke trivia


[dem handke auf die schliche/besuch auf dem moenchsberg, a book of mine about Handke]


[the  American Scholar caused controversy about Handke, reviews, detailed of Coury/ Pilipp's THE WORKS OF PETER HANDKE, the psycho-biological monograph/ a note on Velica Hoca/ ]
with three photo albums, to wit:

http://picasaweb.google.com/mikerol




[some handke material, too, the Milosevic controversy summarized]

MICHAEL ROLOFF
Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society
this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS:

"MAY  THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" + MAY THE FIREPLUG OF FILIALITY REINSURE YOUR BUNGHOLE!"" {J. Joyce}

"Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben]

















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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