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Sunday, January 21, 2018

ROLOFF'S OBSTDIEBIN/ FRUIT THIEF COMMENTARY

This is/ will be a running occasional sometimes daily commentary on, initially, my first reading of Peter Handke's 2017 epic DIE OBSTDIEBIN / THE FRUIT THIEF 
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i am reading it very slowly. a few pages at the time. and making comments quite disconnected as i go along
you are most welcome to add yours if you so like!
or i can create a page of your own for you

depending when i get up = with the birds 5 am or to bed - around 9 - before i start to write or once i am done . and as compared to DIE WIEDERHOLUNG or NIEMANDSBUCH even SIERRA DEL GREDOS i think reading it incrementally is appropriate in this instance.... at once is far too much to assimilate... many paragraphs are veritable lessons in paragraphing and writing! as an overall narrative those who complain that handke sure is taking his time in getting going have a point but it is a boring one since that is not why one / i read handke ... its several books in one . however, what  
writes here "Diese Diskrepanz zwischen epischen Genresignalen und den alltäglichen Erzählinhalten verweist darauf, dass Cervantes’ Don Quijote als intertextueller Bezugspunkt eine mindestens ebenso große Rolle spielt wie Wolfram von Eschenbachs Texte. Die „Obstdiebin“ erscheint so als eine Ritterin der traurigen Gestalt im Frankreich der Gegenwart, die in den Details der Orte, durch die sie wandert, jederzeit ein „längstvergangenes“ Zeitalter wiedererkennen will und sich begeistert auf die „Mühlenbackbrote“ der letzten verbliebenen Mühle im Ort Chars stürzt, um dort den Geschmack vergangener Zeiten aufzunehmen. Im Unterschied zu Cervantes’ Urmodell des modernen Romans ist die Diskrepanz zwischen dem epischen Willen des Protagonisten zum Abenteuer und dem prosaischen Mangel an Gelegenheit dazu bei Handke jedoch nur selten komisch ausgestaltet – am ehesten noch im ersten Drittel des Romans, der selbstironisch die Figur des alternden Erzählers einführt. Die Geschichte der Obstdiebin lädt vielmehr dazu ein, die Protagonistin auf der Suche nach Orten der „Unzeit“ zu begleiten. Benötigt wird dabei freilich eine Leserin respektive ein Leser, die oder der sich auf das Genrespiel des Textes geduldig einlassen und die damit verbundene Verlangsamung des Erzählens aushalten kann."
this does not interest me at all and strikes me as purely academic in the bad sense of that word.

as to connection it is important to become very careful once this alexia actually appears about a fourth of the book in. handke takes possession of cergy-pontoise ... there's a rohmer film buries in the book as well.. again not the sort of thing that interests me... so far none of the geniale grammatical ingenuity that transposes between dream or film and text. x michael r
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Ab Seite 228  - als Alexia in dem in Clergy-Pointoise versteckten uebergegeblieben Dorf Courtdimance in ein Haus in dem eine Trauerandacht statfinded – bis 232 schreibt Handke so zart und leise wie ich noch niemals einmal Prosa gelssen habe. Vermeer!




==============
OBSTDIEBIN reminds me that Handke has meanwhile become a Germano-Austrian-Slovenian-FRENCH author! and that his new native land – where he has lived for a quarter century and written two plays in French - will perhaps appreciate how he manages to assiduously take possession of the Vexin plateau and the Picardie and its individual towns such as that agglomeration Cergy-Pointoise. Odd that he feels he needs to construct an upper class bourgeois background for Alexia the fruit thief, if i needed an alter ego i would have just left her as the hippie girls she really seams to be, like Handke the flaneur in girlish garb-----------
 Alexia resembles the LEFT-HANDED WOMAN  - LHW from now on – in doing all kinds of left-handed odd things, like Handke’s favorite walking backwards, if only a few steps, prior to setting out on a hike. In other respects what is odd is to find her in a kind of ‘normal’ family situation, with an amazingly solicitous dad, and for a mom, the Bankieress of SIERRA DEL GREDOS – matters of that kind make me wonder about Handke the genius cogitating and then coming up with something perfectly ordinary.

However, section by section – though the book has a continuous overall narrative – it is broken up into self-contained sections of differing lengths – each of which is entirely perfect in and of itself – I don’t want to say gemlike because the perfection lacks that kind of self-conscious polish. Perfectly executed objective classical prose. 

http://handke--revista-of-reviews.blogspot.com/2017/07/die-obstdiebin.html


http://www.suhrkamp.de/buecher/die_obstdiebin_-_oder_-_einfache_fahrt_ins_landesinnere-peter_handke_42757.html

http://translation-plus.blogspot.com/2017/12/obstdiebin-translation-sample.html



OBSTDIEBIN which was #1 on the SWR bestseller list for a while - this is the equivalnt of the NY Times Book Review list - is now down to # 8. Still amazing for an extremely enjoyable but demanding book. 
https://www.buchmarkt.de/sortimenterservice/bestenlisten/die-neue-swr-bestenliste-ist-da-4/


For those who know Handke’s work ALEXIA, THE FRUIT THIEF/ Filcher will bear resemblance to his “LEFT-HANDED WOMAN”. Like LHW, Alexia is what Object Relations Theory  calls a “part object” – more than just a projection of the self, an either suffering [LHW] or as in Alexia’s instance a ‘happy go  lucky’ wishfulfilment aspect whom I can see Handke’s ability for make believe, his fantasy keeping him company as he visits his house in the Picardie – the happy part of Herr Handke – the unhappy part can be read in DER GROSSE FALL the book preceding FRUIT THIEF and that  SEAGULL PRESS is publishing as THE GREAT FALL  http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/G/bo28483408.html


http://handke--revista-of-reviews.blogspot.com/2011/03/der-grosse-fall-major-case-handkes.html


this Spring and a wonderful and very different book it is , but that it too involves walking and trundling in this case from a suburp to Paris


A further instance of Handke taking a part of himself and turning it into a living object, a person transpires in MY YEAR IN THE NO=MAN’S=BAY where he has a restaurateur open a restaurant  in the woods that makes the words most delicious word salad but too few folks come by and he goes broke as he moves deeper into the forest.  What surprised me initially about Hnndke the person that here was someone who had allegedly grown up pisspot poor who insisted on putting up in the best hotels and restaurants..

One mattter that this admirer of Handke's NO-MAN'BAY 

http://handke--revista-of-reviews.blogspot.com/2010/05/william-gass-review-ofmy-year-in-no.html


http://handke--revista-of-reviews.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-year-in-no-mans-bay-niemandsbuch-t.html


noticed at once was that FRUIT THIEF , written a decade or so later, shows a far greater and detailed familiarity with the neighborhood in which he resides. 


Another matter that might be noted at once is that the "fruit thief" Alexis the third time that Handke in his prose impersonates a woman - the first being LEFT-HANDED woman of the mid 1970s, then in more complicated, split fashion, the "Bankieress" of CROSSING THE SIERRA DEL GREDOS, and now Handke has invented a surrogate in order to explore the Picardie, someone else to go on a trip with, who is said to be the Bankieress's daughter -= the least significant signifier, although true enough in the sense that both are Ausgeburten of Handke's imagination which in this fashion frees itself from needing to tie what he observers and speculate ad invents to his own person, or the 'I' of a narrator. Since the "fruit thief' is said to have just returned from Northern Russia makes me wonder whether Handke spent time at its rivers recently ... its the first time that i ran across this mention. Handke is of coure a world traveler but Alaska and Japan are more usual reference point.

More needs to be said I expect about Handke's use of female personae - and I will. Moreover, doing so also hints at the source of his creativity, the male-female polarity, bi-sexual alement.


The fruit thief itself, a certain Alexia is reported to first appear to the narrators as fragments of a phantasm, is reported to be a kind of decade-long occasionally irrupting phantasm, yet gradually materializes and is also connected in novelistic fashion with the Bankieress of SIEERA DEL GREDOS  as her daughter, whom I do not recall at all there. Then in FRUIT-THIEF she is reported to have just returned from Northern Russia, and her name is given in Russian - if these details confuse you as they have me just a tad, rest assured once the narrator starts reporting her actions, these details are of little matter. However, I have a hunch that she is the kind of McGuffin and traveling companion in the imagination that one can make up to keep one company as a child and then develop further as one's imagination falls in love with itself, and she takes on shape and form and detail. She is said to have a father, now an old bloke, who lives in Paris in Montparnasse and the whores are ancient wher he walks - it is an odd detail for our once Don Juan to mention in connection. This man is a most devoted father, as utterly empathetic as I found the author not to be to his first daughter - but haven't we all changed an in some respects for the better. The mother bankieress is supposedly nuts about the Picardie and the daughter sets out to find her - I don't quite see why Mr. Handke to detail an expedition into the Picardie where he and his wife own a second home needs to invent an honest to goodness family saga... not that there isnt some absolutely amazing writing and instructional prose after an initial few pages where the  book went flat for me as the family saga ensues. I am thinking in particular pagews 148-152 that is starts with the mention if Isac 'Babel, too, having been in the Vexin, the plateau which extends into the Picardie.


Alexia makes her first actual appearance on the train to the Picardie, as someone, a kind of bag woman who has stowed herself and her stuff under stairway in what appears to be a twin level train,  like St. Alexius,  which is an old joke, perhaps just Handke’s, that he resuscitates some pages later when her recounts her time in Russia, wasn't Alexius in one of the texts of INNERWORLD that I translated these many decades ago? But at first here is  then said not to be she, but when the train inexplicably is halted for a long while clambers out she turns out to be Alexia  for real, do we have reason to doubt the narrator, is that part of the game that is being played, not really as of page 125 anyhow. No matter the writer's precise description of her as bag lady or the way she walks across the fields she strikes me as a McGuffin, not at all essential to Handke's fascinating writing  - of a train trip for the first time instead of the usual bus. I sense no human connection to her on the part of the writer, no need for her, thus McGuffin 


perhaps this is what Handke means when he says he likes the medieval sagas that have, say, a woman who cuts off both her hands to make herself unattractive to the layabroads,. That is ‘improbable occurrence, magic, surrealism, foreshortening - Handke is such a marvelous writer it makes nearly no difference what he is writing about. Each sentence is a pearl, each paragraph a treasure instruction in how to write. Alexia does not seem to be someone so far with whom the aging writer is about to have an affair and whom he will seduce or who will roll into Don Juan's bed of her own accord. She is a curio for a trip into the country, a divertissement so far.

-------------------

Starting I would say with the story LONG HOMECOMING through the 80s ACROSS (Chinese des Schmerzens) and AFTERNOON OF A WRITER you can notice Handke introducing and taking command of a painterly quality; what becomes noticeably prominent in FRUIT THIEF ia a graphic delineating quality that strikes me as new, and the sciences in some of these paragraph length sections act like lines in a drawing , I keep being amazed at the challenges that Handke sets for himself and succeed in. Take a look at Handke's drawing in his Notebooks. I have a link to them on one of these sites and will put it in on Saturday.

http://handke-magazin.blogspot.com/2017/08/selected-comments-on-handkes-diary.html

http://handke-magazin.blogspot.com/2017/10/mit-den-malern-bin-ich-fertig.html

==============================


About a fourth into the book ALEXIA has appeared  materialized and intriguingly so. However, Handke now provides her with a family and family story.  Her mother is said to be the BANKIERESS from Sierra del Gredos and she has a dad who lives in Paris and is too old for the whores in  Pigalle to take an interest in him or he in them… and the writing turns flat before it picks up again with a wonderfully playful advice that her dad gives to Alexia for her tramping ways - this four page speech reminds of Handke the dramatist and how playful he can be when he wants to.  - One question that arises foe me is whether and to what degree this epic subscribes to Handke's statement that he is a "realist" - FRUIT THIEF rather strikes me as a mix of fine grained realism at the beginning and with respect to Alexia's invention as a form of fabulism that sheds no light on this category.  
an
 Our man is not a writer of family sagas – well since he envisions his epic being a kind of saga perhaps he can dispense with all psychology and state “Alexia lovee both her parents and particulary her youngr brother” without formulating any of the usual differentiation equivocation of feelings that we expect to be mentioned ina relationships. – as an aficionado I can see no good reason for bothering to flesh out her background since her interest is as a companion tramp for our  tramp narroto as he explores the landscape of the Picardie… .. it will be interesting to read H.s rationale for doing so aside possibly , once he decided on an overall saga form that includes a lot of biographical material to then obey the old formal saga laws…
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it is not that Alexia does not like mushrooms, but there is an extremely detailed scene in cergy-pontoise - a city agglomeration of recent years -  where she finds just about any green you might want in a salad plus a melon growing wild in this by and large brand new city - that being one of the points that these natural items exert themselves in the smallest of niches ditto for bats that she presumes require some kind of old hole to exist and there are no old holes in this brand new city - thus my comment about champignons which of some kind will grow in any mold and the wind will transport the spores. its a very nice long scene and handle has a good time describing the city along the way. "i want to preserve a piece of blue sky" as it says in UEBER DIE DOERFER. A genuine conservative! 

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mo feb 12 18


One of several matters that are very odd about this book is that Handke affixes certain young girl qualities to Alexia – a liking for Eminmen; and her having once been in Detroit like Handke, yet no boyfriend, so far, or so far ex while allegedly having roamed all over the world and being the daughter of very haute parents!


I am not altogether certain that these kinds of discrepancies between an allegel mediaeval type von Eschenbach tale and actual actuality realism can be or are overcome by a narrator who simply asserts “that's the way it is… or “meant to be “ or the great variety of the like formulaic imprecations or the accommodations of stylized monologue into a text that often shows handke the dramatist.  Not that anyone but the strict formalist in me is bothered as I plough on on the search for owls in Cergy-Pointoise

===========================

17-2-2018


Alexia continues to be a most  peculiar daughter of an upper middle class family as she supposedly is in search of her mother in the Picardie and has  a dream while she gets a good nite’s sleep in a real bed in a house in mourning.

The narrator keeps asserting that she’s “really been around” , a true vagrant by some of the descriptions, she supposedly attended one semester at the new university in Clergy-Pointoise!  She likes Eminem – no mention of girl or boyfriends! – or why she left home to become a vagrant , a vagrant of vagrants who seems to live a vegetable Paleo diet!

– I mean kids still leave home during and after high school or college and wander the world – but they do that within a context of their generation.  Now she has a dream of having a child,  a couple of pages of this and we are told that this dream has been dreamt for generations  if not forever.  Indeed,  it has it is the usual dream of girls in the early years of puberty – in Mexico we have “quinze anos” and lots of Mexican girls get pregnant then without givng  much if any thought tp marriage – thei want a kid that badly – in rural Mexico that is where kids, even adults, instantly put a protective hand in front of their genitals when they are frightened! All very natural!  My point is that any normal teenager -Alexia seems to be in her early twenties – knows what that dreams is = that she wants or misses having a kid.  My point is also that Handke in electing to have his experience of an expedition to the Picardie, and elaborating on his fear that the new will totally extirpate the old – first mention in WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES -
 told via a Personae., a mask, creates some unnecessary problems for himself – doesn’t he ask his own 2nd daughter Laocadie what life is like in her generation? The way he has Alexia’s father give her several pages of advise is a wonderfully funny also persiflage of that  kind of paternalism.  Handke may live to asocially to create any kind of social novel, I recall his saying when he left Salzburg that he could have written a book like Doderer’s STRUDELHOFSTIEGE – no doubt,  he was living within a social context and had sufficient context.  He may also be regarded as a French writer now, and the French certainly will once they get to read him on their Vexin plateau/ Picardie Clergy-Pointoise, and he has written  two plays in French.
===========================

On page 249 Handke performs one of his tricks. Alexia as she is finally leaving the house of mourning where she has spent a pleasant nite in a rare civilized bed {since child hood] turns into H A M LETINA! Handke doesn’t only just say so but has her act out insecurely changing her mind, back and forth it goes, unpredictably ….. until I at least was quite ready to strangle the strange beasty! But as compared to Hamlet Hamletian  has no good reason for her ambivalence. She is seized by a neurotic habit – thought I can’t say I noticed anything along that line prior to this moment. But it is how concretely with timing and the like that Handke  using the physicality of language ke goes about  showing us and making us participate in her changes of mind and location is what  strikes and amuses me
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feb 21 2018


 Appr. midway now I p 280 - must admit I have gotten hooked on Alexia, this very odd critter devised by Peter Handke, and have done so because of the detailed fashion of her adventures. When she finally manages to get out of the mourning house and ventures into a tiny woods the way she goes about clambering about  in it I am reminded that Handke is a fan of the adventure stories of Karl May from whom you can learn not only about geography but how to scout – and how Handke equips her with his own amplified hearing: she hears a huge animal  crashing through the underbrush – it turns out to be a small rooster – what she seems unaware of is the degree to which this kind of amplified hearing can deceive her!
Then on her circular way out of the nouvelle city she gets caught in the spirals of the new housing developments which strike me to be of the same kind as we find in the U.S.  spirals leading off spirals and ending in cul de sacs with a turn-about  and hedges – I am reminded of Southern California developments – and in despair of the inescapability  of being unable to penetrate these hedges suffers an attack of  catatonia,  powerfully described.  Each of these paragraph-like sections ctd. to be linguistically fascinating and an adventure in itself. 
The only time I become quizzical is when Handke asserts that she is a creature of her time and generation and  the like and at those moments his language starts to suffer in turning platitudinous, e.g.
page  274  the section that starts:  “Nur fand sie damals in die Gesellschaft.... Weltuntergang.“ And the like sound like my bete noir David Brooks the New York Times columnist.  = Someone like Alexia does not think in those terms!


http://artscritic.blogspot.com/2018/01/roloffs-obstdiebin-fruit-thief.html


















Saturday, January 20, 2018

OPEN LETTER TO SUHRKRAMPF VERLAG CTD

OPEN LETTER - IN PROCESS - TO SUHRKRAMPF VERLAG 


HEISSGELIEBTE Suhrkrampfler,

Ich muss mich ja ganz extra dafuer bedanken dass trotz mehrfachen e-mail wuenschen dass es ihnen scheinbar nicht gelunhen ist mir, der doch auch ein suhrkrampf konto hat, eine Kopie der OBSTBIEBIN zu verkaufen oder auf eins der mehreren e-mails zu beantworten, jemand der
 mindestens 11 suhrkrampf autoren uebsertzt hat
 3 hesse romane
13 handke stuecke & einen roman
1 winkler werk & eine kurzgeschichte
1 adorno essay band
1 habermas essay buendel
2 enzenberger essay baende und verschiedene andere essays
1 nelly sachs gedichtband
1 band kroetz stucke
2 Erich Wolfgang Skwara Romane uebersetzt fuer Ariadne Press
1 Robert Schindler Roman, fuer Aridane
Verschiedenes von Esther Dischereit

und mindestens insgesamt zweimal wennn nicht dreimal so viel suhrkamp buecher hier verlegt und / oder an den mann gebracht hat

sowie mit grossem persoenlichen financiellen verlust den verlag zu der unseld gauner und ritzerfeld misere zeit in der u.s.a. vertreten hat.

warum ein solches benehmen?, ich
tipp darauf dass es am werten fellinger liegt weil ich doch dem geliebten handke auf einiege seiner jugendliche schliche gekommen bin und seine weiber nicht nur bei peymann zur geflohen sind.







Dear Herr Landgrebe, et al:

Re: Michael Brodsky

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Brodsky

& his novel DETOUR (UMWEG):

MANUSKRIPTE:
https://tinyurl.com/y8luo42m

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detour_(Brodsky_novel)

& the novella TATBESTAND https://tinyurl.com/y94rnltu
translated by Juerg Lederarsch


One of the two happiest moment in the unhappy and short life of Urizen Books

http://artscritic.blogspot.com/2011/04/short-unhappy-life-of-urizen-books.html

[the other being Sam Shepard winning the Pulitzer for BURIED CHILD] came when I opened the maroon leather satchel that the Peter Handke & Patricia Highsmith recommended Michael Brodsky left after we had chatted a bit and I took a look at the first page of the five within manuscripts and instantly knew that a writer on the order of Beckett had arrived at our doorstep & it was only a question of the order in which we would publish these five works. -And every time Handke appeared at my NY doorstep during those long ago NY days I'd be sure for the two friends to get together!
    The first book we published, DETOUR, then won the PEN Hemingway Prize and I sold it to Suhrkamp Verlag and Urizen managed to still get his WEDDING FEAST & OTHER NOVELLAS out (one of which was done by Partisan Review) and Michael went on to get the other works published by other small publishers, with Kevin Begos help and continued to write and to edit, now part time at the U.N., and has a truly big novel
nearly completed. Not only did Suhrkamp acquire DETOUR the Swiss author and translator Juerg Laederach who became his first European backers translated the novella TATBESTAND and Suhrkamp published it.

Recently Michael and I, who now living three thousand miles apart have managed to reconnect and discovered that Suhrkrampf never actually published Detour, there is only a German Amazon claim that UMWEG exists as published by Suhrkampf and two isbn numbers as though a simultaneous hard and soft cover edition had been announced. Neither Michael nor I ever were informed of its non-publication, but for an excerpt of the translation published in Kolleritsch’s MANUSKRIPTE; no
copies or statements for EITHER the published TATBESTAND or the unpublished UMWEG, but after numerous e-mails Suhrkamp finally had their

Webeditor” reply:


„Dear Sirs,

your inquiry below was handed on to our department. Following your questions on a German edition of „Detour“ we would like to clarifiy that there is not, and never has been, an edition of that book published by Suhrkamp. It is therefore untrue that this book is or ever has been deliverable via Amazon. Amazon does gather all available data from archives to display as much data as possible. We can only speculate that for displaying the title of the book Amazon used very old data from a time ( ca. 40 years ago) when Suhrkamp indeed initially had planned to publish this book. However, Suhrkamp never did.

With best wishes,

Suhrkamp Verlag.”


Since Suhrkamp never informed the author, nor me as his editor and publisher, albeit of the now defunct Urizen, that they did not publish, we were left under the impression that the German language right to the title still resided with Suhrkamp which in fact would have reverted to the author many years ago, question being only how pre-publication of parts of the book in MANUSKRIPTE is to be interpreted, and to be accounted. In our view the
the German copyright has been severely damaged as well as the book’s ability to earn during these many years; what is the market value of the damage that Suhrkamp have caused? Why have their been no statements, no contract for TATBESTAND? Is the translator Juer Laederach to responsible????


Michael Roloff






Thursday, January 18, 2018

THE YEAR OF THE HAPPY IDIOT SMILE a Darlings & Monsters Excerpt

A transitional into the ELLE and BREAK-UP part of DARLING & MONSTER'S Breakup under Analysis.

ALL IT TAKES IS ONE HAPPY IDIOT SMILE or: The Year of Swimming from Breast to Breast!

The year that drew a near infinity of happy idiot responses that resulted in no end of “quickies” and several  affairs, had its inception, I think, at my sober talk to the Bulgarian Writer’s Union; an address that ended with this bit of indoctrinated propaganda: “And now I’d like to meet some writers who are not in the Writers’ Union”; it was the kind of statement that elicited the instant, hilarious unisono reply: “All the writers in the Writers’ Union are those who do not want to be in the Writers’ Union,” and then we all made love – no, we all started to laugh and I about meself and I started to have fun, I, a piece of cultural USIA exchange, realized how they knew how to finesse the KGB; (they also knew how to conserve their paper allotments to get the books published that they cared most about) and I replied to my literary KGB minder bottle-neck Trayan (there’s a first name to encounter in a Slavic country) Ivanov’s threat that “maybe I would not be around next year” with the tit for tat “Well, maybe you won’t be around either!” and after a hard-working four weeks of meetings and a wondrous trip to Plovdiv and having a gypsy steal my satchel and getting a rough Bulgarian shaving kit to replace the  stolen mine, I got the  U.S. Embassy to move the Marine guard off and away from the library and the Buggers their watchdog in their sedan from stationing itself across the way, and started to feel victorious for having won a victory, small or big in retrospect, a cultural victory, I who had averted the Bulgarian Mata Haris’ overtures (one, my minder, who shared literary proclivities quickly exchanged for a sturdy philosophical faculty student] my hosts and I got along so well they asked me to stay beyond the scheduled month, but I couldn’t, I had the most delicious of young, unconsummated lovers waiting  – “intim aber keine Intimitaeten” she quoted Karl Kraus -  we had an assignation in Vienna at a Pension, and I had no way to contact her to change our date, a young lover that then got cold feet, but would not have, I suspect, if she had encountered the kind of big happy idiot smile that her groom brought back, wore upon his return from Bulgaria, to which every  pretty one - starting in Vienna - responded with the equivalent happy idiot smile, obviously we could not wait to make love, happy idiot time had tolled!
Whence that charge that the battery got in Bulgaria? Back in New York someone says “you’ve got to be taking something,” but no, I wasn’t taking anything, I was high on Bulgaria, perhaps it had been the air I inhaled in the ancient city of Plovdiv the air that alluvial Black Sea soil exhales, my swimming, a charge that made a bugger of me, the Slavic side of me was breaking out and had induced the smile to which the lovely one in Vienna - in lieu of the  broken date – responded, who thought I looked like  the Sorger in Handke’s Langsame Heimkehr / Slow Homecoming – was the first to respond, a book I had just started to read and that I responded to as to few others, it resurrected brought back, seemed to summarize an ancient experience of Alaska of mine, aI was about to visit the book’s author, yet my admiration of the book did not allayed a quarrel I had with him and so I did something I had never done  - veni vidi vici  - I  out-played him it was at Tarok a game this cardsharp had never played before and doing so for a specific reason, not out of general obnoxiousness or grandiosity, it was child’s play
http://www.kultur.at/lesen/set01/roloff01.htm
it was that easy, and elicited the response that therefore I would not get to see the wife, who seemed to have returned to the author after having run away, in other words an anything but humorous response. What did he knew who perhaps knew that this time she would run with me as she didn’t the first time when I could not run away with her? He of the deep insights and senses, when he was awake.
The next morning I took my usual swim - during those days of swimming every morning - with the Austrian National swim team in the Hotel pool, not a single lovely amongst them, how right the author had been to keep me from his wife who would have responded the way she had once before, when my smile was more discrete. Traveling on, to Lichtenstein, upon my return to Zurich – months of hard work achieved, ah I can relax – I start to smile an even brighter smile lights up across the aisle! - two idiot smiles that consume each other, a darling Swiss school girl and I, at the Grand Hotel that has a pool with ocean-going waves, whose motions enters us, as well as the 727 back to the Big Bright City swooping in and out of valleys like a jet fighter, I congratulate the pilot, he must be happy too, to fly that way, winging swimming our way back to the Big Bright and Dark Big City where I continue to smile and pull the failing firm one last time from out under but fail to take care of the money-sluicing partner – it can wait I tell myself ~ I need a vacation - and on St. Simons Island Georgia, on an early morning run, a set of big mutual idiot smiles greet each other and entwine in From Here to Eternity right there in the mild November surf, Amanda, the first of a maelstrom of happy idiot smiles on over-drive a year’s worth, a Beatrice,  Colette and her pretty panties, a Darcia and Euridice a Frannie a girlie Girlanda, Heloise turned out to be a scratcher and had to have her arms pinned. and an Irene, Judy guided her heart’s desire to her ass, and Katie liked it through her panties, Linda was no Lovelace and a Miranda and a Natale and her sister – and an Opal, who sang “a sweet so lo lick” and a Patrice liked to be kissed through her panties, too, all those pretty panties of those who still wore panties, especially Collette, and a Querulanda and a Rucile and a Sandra and a Tatjana and and and Ursula and a Yolanda, a Xantippe and a Zelda, each quickie a vignette, an alphabet soup of venues too, back- and front seat and closets of all kinds, bridge spans, either her or my bed, at once who could wait, big happy idiot smiles, museums, on the street, in bars on the subway Ms. Texas and her bling, big idiot smiles hooking up, brilliance and bimbos, from one breast to breast to the next, sometimes several a day, exchanged midstream, my adolescent photographer’s dream, on a cross Atlantic trip, that the top of each wave as it foamed as it broke was a breast seemed realized, materialized into what I called my year of living Flaubert’s dream, occasionally tarrying, posting Sephardic beauty Jody’s photos all over, Jody, the Sephardic beauty, Patrice a near miss, such a wealth of salad-leaf kisses from Patrice it was just too much, who married all the men she loved, a year of idiot smiles and a breast deluge that culminated in their summa in fateful Elle .     

     




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Sunday, October 15, 2017

MICHAEL BRODSKY & SUHRKRAMPF VERLAG



Dear Herr Landgrebe, et al:

Re: Michael Brodsky


& his novel DETOUR (UMWEG):

MANUSKRIPTE:


& the novella TATBESTAND https://tinyurl.com/y94rnltu
translated by Juerg Lederarsch


One of the two happiest moment in the unhappy and short life of Urizen Books

http://artscritic.blogspot.com/2011/04/short-unhappy-life-of-urizen-books.html

[the other being Sam Shepard winning the Pulitzer for BURIED CHILD] came when I opened the maroon leather satchel that the Peter Handke & Patricia Highsmith recommended Michael Brodsky left after we had chatted a bit and I took a look at the first page of the five within manuscripts and instantly knew that a writer on the order of Beckett had arrived at our doorstep & it was only a question of the order in which we would publish these five works. -And every time Handke appeared at my NY doorstep during those long ago NY days I'd be sure for the two friends to get together!
    The first book we published, DETOUR, then won the PEN Hemingway Prize and I sold it to Suhrkamp Verlag and Urizen managed to still get his WEDDING FEAST & OTHER NOVELLAS out (one of which was done by Partisan Review) and Michael went on to get the other works published by other small publishers, with Kevin Begos help and continued to write and to edit, now part time at the U.N., and has a truly big novel 
nearly completed. Not only did Suhrkamp acquire DETOUR the Swiss author and translator Juerg Laederach who became his first European backers translated the novella TATBESTAND and Suhrkamp published it.

Recently Michael and I, who now living three thousand miles apart have managed to reconnect and discovered that Suhrkrampf never actually published Detour, there is only a German Amazon claim that UMWEG exists as published by Suhrkampf and two isbn numbers as though a simultaneous hard and soft cover edition had been announced. Neither Michael nor I ever were informed of its non-publication, but for an excerpt of the translation published in Kolleritsch’s MANUSKRIPTE; no
copies or statements for EITHER the published TATBESTAND or the unpublished UMWEG, but after numerous e-mails Suhrkamp finally had their

Webeditor” reply:


„Dear Sirs,

your inquiry below was handed on to our department. Following your questions on a German edition of „Detour“ we would like to clarifiy that there is not, and never has been, an edition of that book published by Suhrkamp. It is therefore untrue that this book is or ever has been deliverable via Amazon. Amazon does gather all available data from archives to display as much data as possible. We can only speculate that for displaying the title of the book Amazon used very old data from a time ( ca. 40 years ago) when Suhrkamp indeed initially had planned to publish this book. However, Suhrkamp never did.

With best wishes,

Suhrkamp Verlag.”


Since Suhrkamp never informed the author, nor me as his editor and publisher, albeit of the now defunct Urizen, that they did not publish, we were left under the impression that the German language right to the title still resided with Suhrkamp which in fact would have reverted to the author many years ago, question being only how pre-publication of parts of the book in MANUSKRIPTE is to be interpreted, and to be accounted. In our view the
the German copyright has been severely damaged as well as the book’s ability to earn during these many years; what is the market value of the damage that Suhrkamp have caused? Why have their been no statements, no contract for TATBESTAND? Is the translator Juer Laederach to responsible????


Michael Roloff


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Thursday, September 07, 2017

NON-FICTION I EDITED OF SIGNIFICANCE TO ME

As  in the case of the novels with which I was involved, 
the involvement in several of the two dozen non-fiction titles was often more complex & deeper. 


The non-fiction titles I translated or edited affected me at least as profoundly if not more than the novelists with whose work I became intimately acquainted – Musil, Hesse, Peter Weiss, Uwe Johnson, Christa Wolf, Hans Erich Nossack, Alexander Kluge, George Bataille, Michael Brodksy, Franz Innerhofer, Bob Kalich, Marvin Cohen,  Erich Wolfgang Skwara & Josef Winkler:  





1] DID YOU EVER SEE HITLER by Walter Kempowski



DID YOU EVER SEE HITLER is the only book that you need to read to understand why Hitler had followers, why he held such a  sway. I translated the book for Peter Mayer at Avon Books around 1968 and Helen Wolf did the introduction.
I myself never saw or even heard Hitler during my German childhood although via grandfather Werner von


Alvensleben
I lived within one degree of separation of a man whose actions had extraordinary direct and indirect influence on the lives of my family and therefore on me as I describe in SCREEN MEMORIES the memoir of my German-American childhood and youth

and who became an object of fascination: I would have loved to have published Fritz Redlich & Ted Dorpat’s first rate psychoanalytic studies of this monstrous, wounded, vengeful war-trigger fascist.
   At Farrar, Straus I only did novels, the Adorno Reader on which I had spent a year reading & selecting and for which Susan Sontag was going to write the introduction was shot down by twerp Michael DeCapua after I left & I did not get a chance to either translate or publish non-fiction until my years as editor at Continuum Books 1971-74, and I don’t recall placing important non-fiction when representing Suhrkamp Verlag via the Lantz-Donadio Agency  1969-1971. For my publishing history see: http://www.roloff.mysite.com

Seabury Pres, with its imprints Crossroads and Continuum refused to publish novels, I think George Lawler, also influential on the ecumenical Crossroads, was to blame in concert with Werner Linz publisher of both Seabury Press imprints, Werner Linz, a true shit it turned out to be who had sold U.S. Herder & Herder to McGraw-Hill from under his superior Frank Schworer who went on to found Campus Verlag in Germany. Linz was not one to stand up for his authors… the machinations in which you then get caught up in unless you do due diligence in a world that was anything or only rarely gentlemanly if it had ever really been.  
I became editor at Herder McGraw-Hiil upon leaving the futile and financially so deleterious Suhrkamp representation and did so intending to develop the equivalent of an edition Suhrkamp… that kind of paperback line that comprised current affairs topics  & historical analytic mixed in with more permanent titles,  had been in my blood since my early 60s years in  New York when some people at Collier-McMillan – Villacanja is one name that I recall - were envisioning bringing the most demanding books into American drugstores!!! Which Collier-McMillan eventually did, e.g. most of Freud was done in the most reasonable paperback editions. It was the wave in publishing that created Doubleday Anchor, Vintage, Evergreen, Noonday and quite a few other quality paper lines, a veritable explosion of knowledge furthered by the quest for knowledge that the post WW II G.I. Bill had created. Publishing for me was always intended as an enlightening educational effort, not that a few more year in graduate school, especially a Grand Tour, would not have better equipped me.
The McGraw-Hill effort came to naught because Harold McGraw and his subsidiary rights person Beverly Loo allowed their greed to be fooled by a fake biography of Howard Hughes and instead of committing hari-kari, as any self-respecting Japanese would, they took the million dollar loss they incurred out on their trade division, including my American edition suhrkamp dream which then, in minimalist fashion, had a vestigial start at Continuum Books with Larry Birns The End of Chilean Democracy, Stanley Aronowitz’s Food, Shelter & the American Dream; Sam Hall Kaplan’s The Dream Deferred;  DelaCasa’s The Devastation of the Indies; Christian Enzensberger’s Smut (an investigation of dirt); the two collections of Hans Magnus Enzensberger essays The Consciousness Industry & Politics and Crime; Paul Sylbert’s Final Cut; RITUAL, PLAY AND PERFORMANCE by Richard Schechner;; INTRODUCTION TO THE SOCIOLOGY OF MUSIC by T.W. Adorno; THE INNERWORLD OF THE OUTERWORLD OF THE INNERWORLD by P. Handke;
TRUTH AND METHOD by H.G. Gadamer; THE BRECHT CHRONICLE by Klaus Volker; DARK SOLILOQUY) SELECTED POEMS by Gertrud Kolmar; THE DEADLY SIMPLE MECHANICS OF SOCIETY by John Helmer (1973) EDUCATION FOR CRITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS by Paolo Freire; DRUGS AND MINORITY OPPRESSION by John Helmer; and
 NEUROSIS AND CIVILIZATION by Michael Schneider which I not only published but translated to familiarize myself intimately with this the German New Left’s egalitarian program.
Not the worst start for a kind of combination of Edition & Bibliothek Suhrkamp! Regarded from that perspective, some titles were very much of the moment such as End of Chilean Democracy and Food Shelter & the American Dream, Drugs & Minority Oppression; others - Dark Soliloquy, Final Cut, the Dream Deferred, and Handke’s Innerworldwere perceived to have a greater duration.
What was fortunate about Continuum Books was that it had a Frankfurt School base with the Adorno/Horkheimer titles & a handful of Ernst Bloch volumes. Moreover, the Catholic left I believe had a home at Crossroad at that time.  All very Episcopalian & euconomical at that time. 
                                                                       
I’m leaving out the two-year representation of the Suhrkamp Verlag via Lantz-Donadio Agency where I don’t recall placing anything significant that involved the heart and mind as did e.g., finding a home for the Peter Weiss prose in 1965 where my efforts really were those of an agent more than editor or translator. Financially deleterious as those two agenting years proved to be, it was a great reading period that also allowed analysis of how Suhrkamp Verlag’s various editions developed. Thus the McGraw event is a kind of tragedy, and it is not all that surprising that the firm eventually got rid of its trade division altogether. All that under-developed talent at their various specialty magazines that I was planning to tap and that was most eager to be tapped; the only truly well-paid years I ever had yet not one book got published! Lots of NY editors had spent a well-paid year at McGraw! The absurdity of American corporate life, just as we had once feared it at Oakwood and Haverford when we discussed what aspect of the world outside our protective zoos we might want to enter and what to avoid.

THE DEVASTATION OF THE INDIES by Bartholomew de las Casas with one of those marvelous H.M. Enzensberger essays as an introduction.

 The Devastation of the Indies is an eyewitness account of the first modern genocide, a story of greed, hypocrisy, and cruelties so grotesque as to rival the worst of our own century. Las Casas writes of men, women, and children burned alive "thirteen at a time in memory of Our Redeemer and his twelve apostles." " He describes butcher shops that sold human flesh for dog food ("Give me a quarter of that rascal there, " one customer says, "until I can kill some more of my own"). Slave ship captains navigate "without need of compass or charts, " following instead the trail of floating corpses tossed overboard by the ship before them. Native kings are promised peace, then slaughtered. Whole families hang themselves in despair. Once-fertile islands are turned to desert, the wealth of nations plundered, millions killed outright, whole peoples annihilated. In an introduction, historian Bill M. Donovan provides a brief biography of Las Casas and reviews the controversy his work produced among Europeans, whose indignation--and denials--lasted centuries. But the book itself is short. "Were I t describe all this, " writes Las Casas of the four decades of suffering he witnessed, "no amount of time and paper could encompass this task."






THE CONSCIOUSNESS INDUSTRY by H.M. Enzensberger


POLITICS AND CRIME by H.M. Enzensberger

I continue to be amazed that Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s so intelligent essay work has never found the proper response in the U.S. It’s too intelligent I suspect. Susan Sontag much cared for it, but I don’t recall any one else right now. I translated the bulk of the pieces in these two volumes during my half-year trip halfway around the world and back prior to starting my new job as editor at Continuum. Enzensberger was intelligent company and highly educational.

SMUT (An Essay on Filth) by Christian Enzensberger
is one of the half dozen book I am most pleased to have helped whelp in this country. A fabulous bibliography which I a great reader of bibliographies of work that I like consumed in it entirety. I was in a University of Munich seminar on modernism with Christian I then recalled when we met in New York, but we had not talked then in fall 1956.


Drugs & Minority Oppression by John Helmer


I am drawing a complete blank how I came upon the Helmer? Who suggested this so important book? Was there an agent? But I published two of his titles.

THE DREAM DEFERRED by Sam Hall Kaplan was a pleasure to edit in New York with NY Times, later L.A. Times writer Sam Kaplan who now resides in Malibu where I then spent six productive years in them thar hills among some very crazy folk?! Sam felt abandoned since publication of his Dream coincided with my leaving Continuum to start Urizen Books, and I could not take him with me.


Paul Sylbert FINAL CUT
Having seen both friend Paul’s cut and then the studios FINAL CUT was a slam dunk for me. Great project to edit and have Paul design it too. Publisher Linz was not supportive against the pushback from the Hollywood types.

Great book about how a Hollywood film can be made, and then undone by studio interference. Fascinating to read now, 40 years after it was written, because even though Sylbert's point is that commercialism trumps art, the book shows that a lot more art got through back then than would today. Today, Sylbert's film wouldn't even get made.”
   


TRUTH & METHOD by Georg Gadamer
I only edited the translation, but what learning experience on the history of interpretation it is to read this great book paying an editor’s close attention.


INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY OF MUSIC by Theodor Adorno is one of those I am closest to and proudest to help transition into the U.S.




END OF CHILEAN DEMOCRACY by Larry Birns

is one of those books I picked up entirely by the chance that Continuum’ Lexington Avenue address was near the U>N> and that Larry, a U.N. officer for Chile, I think bumped into each other on the street, I think he had the papers that comprised the book with him! And it was just what I was looking for! Larry who has been running COHA for many years  http://www.coha.org/ COUNCIL OF HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS are still in touch



Food Shelter and the American Dream by Stanley Aronowitz also was what I was looking for at that time of economic and oil crises! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Aronowitz
I became acquainted with Stanley via Joyce Johnson who was the editor of his McGraw-Hill title False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness and Food, Shelter was a natural for the time of the mid-70s   I learned a lot from Stanley and his work. I forget why at Urizen I did not do a book of his, perhaps he was committed elsewhere. But we stayed in touch, and the introduction to Fred Jameson proved fruitful.





PSYCHOANALYSIS OF MONEY Bornemann

The title speaks for itself, it is a collection of essays and played into my interest in psychoanalysis and eventually I entered this amazing procedure and if I had done so earlier I would have saved the world!

Tilman Moser’s

Years of Apprenticeship on the Couch

also features in the precedings for an analysis of my own. Lots of resistance at the time – mid 70s - among American analysts. I myself now more than ten years ago wrote up my analysis as A Patient’s Experience of his Analysis.

At Urizen I was also keen on doing a Self-Psychology Reader – a hot subject a that time - but Robert Sussman-Stewart , this was his  original idea - had proved unreliable & I had my hands full and could not pursue this interesting  project on my own.

FRANKFURT SCHOOL READER by Arato/ Gebhardt




The idea for this reader originated during my Continuum days & took a while to get out since Gebhardt had a hard time then writing the headnotes to the pieces that he selected. A big success as an introduction. Volume II, to cover the Frankfurt School’s second generation never materialized for lack of editorial resolve.

MOSQUITOES AND ELEPHANTS Wilfred Burchett

came to us via our Trotskyite British distributors Pluto Press who would not do it, Burchett – from their p.o.v. - being a Stalinist, not that they woouldn’t distribute it then. Burchett was first-of-all a journalist whose political affiliation had allowed him unique access to the way the Vietcong fought.
There are a few stories associated with Wilfred’s visit to New York. As I as usual went to my corner all-purpose newsstand around 4 p.m. one of those days to get my sugar fix in the form of a Mars bar I saw Wilfred’s pudgy face on the cover of the New York Post with the headline “Torturer of US POW’s in the US.” I called the White House information office and was assured that nothing of the kind was true, Wilfred has also covered the Korean War, as what war had he not covered! The headline was the making of Rupert Murdoch’s Australian machinations against their  fellow  Aussie communist journalist Burchett.
I took Wilfred to Elaine’s to meet with American journalists who had been in Vietnam – now five years in the past – and all was well until an infamous Post Reporter showed up with his photographer. Elaine suggested leaving through the adjacent kitchen, a room parallel to the restaurant and I made the mistake of doing so with Wilfred and his darling Bulgarian wife, whereupon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Dunleavy shoved me so that his photographer could get a shot of “Burchett leaving” or perhaps it read “escaping through the kitchen” and I called the police and eventually took Donleavy to court. At that point I had the record of his violent behavior from his days in the Far East and I read it into the court record. The judge said he’d give me a conviction of Donleavy on the order of having left his garbage can uncovered but I would have to bring all the witnesses from Elaine’s to court three times or I could leave it at having Donleavy’s record in the court record. As we left together - I had presented myself per se - Donleavy was accompanied by a NY Post lawyer - Steve asked whether I didn’t regard myself as fortunate that he had not gouged out my eyes, as he supposedly had in the Far East. I must say I appreciated his sense of humor. We had been the first case called that morning of hundreds at the Leonard Street court. Another Aussie who now works the Far East for the New York Times then wrote all this up for the Soho Weekly news. Indeed, Donleavy, a Kiwi rugby star, could have destroyed this Bantam weight in short order.

PIONEERING IN THE URBAN WILDERNESS bv Jim Stratton

was a title of the kind of which I did too few, that is, a book related to my immediate neighborhood and the way I was living. Jim, an ex UPI journalist, did the electricity for my first loft, which is how the idea for the book originated, and we sent him all over the country to get a feel for urban pioneering, that kind of conversion as it was occurring in the mid-70s everywhere. The printing in the book when we finally got it out     was seriously over-inked, but I decided to accept the job anyway, there was something appropriate about smudginess to the subject.

END PRODUCT by Sabath & Hall
was a lot of fun to do, Howard Linzer, who was in charge of sales, took the lead here.

Rudolf Augstein JESUS SON OF MAN
was a lot of fun for the animosity it generated among the fundamentalists. The book has hundreds of typos courtesy of its editor Hassan’s boyfriend to whom he farmed out the proofs. And I failed to double check before it went to the printer!

Quarks : The Stuff of Matter: Harald Fritzsch

Provides an account for the general reader of what physicists have learned about the atomic nucleus, protons, neutrinos, and quarks - the basic constituents of all matter.


Was an editing translating job for my friend Martin Kessler at Basic Books. With all the background reading I needed to do it got me back to snuff on sub-atomic physics and the non-sensicals – e.g. charms + anti-charms! – that then entered my dream life since I did this work while in analysis. Mesons. Bosons. Leptons as leopards!

TELL 38 ROLF HOCHHUT
Consists of the trial transcripts of  Maurice Bavaud a would be Hitler assassin & translating the book while in analysis proved torturous not only for its parricidal theme but also because that period in analysis coincided with the reliving of my torturous childhood with my governess, as well as my guilt for not having “taken care of” the partner in Urizen who had proved evil, that is not in time; ambivalences, punishment, fears of being beheaded like poor Bavaud.



Wolfgang Roth MEMOIR
Es haengt alles von der Beleuchtung ab/ It all depends on the lighting



while in analysis on my walk back three times a week I would stop by “Rothy’s” apartment and we would go over a section of his memoir that appears not to have been published. Rothy – because he was so tiny - was a stutterer, he had started to stutter when a dog had seized a hotdog he had in his mouth as a kid in Berlin’s Tiergarten section. I think I earned back a third of the cost of an analytic hour in delightful company with tea & cookies! We met when he did the set for Carl Weber’s production of Handke’s KASPAR which I had translated.

During my Urizen days I also edited a memoir by Margaret Cooke, 100 hours for 10 k which went into the firm.

 Interesting work with a woman who from early on in life had been the prisoner and stunted into fragility by great wealth and a forbidding father. Editing the Kalich novelfor 40 k  meant that outside editing introduced a total of 50 K into the firm, I also subscribed to half the debt to our printer, the darling George E. Banta Co, 80 k, but failed to abort partner Schulz from sluicing his alleged investments through, etc etc.




LOVE LETTER TO JEAN GENET WINKLER I cover already at the end of:








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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

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