Monday, March 26, 2007


PART A OF AN OPEN LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF "THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR" RE M. MCDONALD'S PIECE Editor Wilson,Here comes a detailed letter about Michael McDonald's atrocity "THE APOLOGIST The Celebrated Austrian writer Peter Handke appeared at the funeral of Serbian Dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Should we forgive him" [pages 59-69 of the print edition Spring 07 issue of the American Scholar. ]. It is but the latest, albeit crudest and most ignorant and distorted, baffled as much as baffling self-righteous libel to appear in the United States on the same subject; and if it had not appeared in the medium that bears the title scholar and is sponsored by the crossword puzzle champs I can't imagine anyone paying it the least heed. McDonald's piece is but the latest installment of the forever same caricature of Handke's political position on Yugoslavia which is then employed to cudgel the work of an author that one misreads just as badly. It's the old two sucker punches in a row. As an editor you failed to exercise due diligence, or were/are a partner in crime. Since McDonald appears unable to read, I am not surprised at his misuse of language. And whoever carved his piece from whatever cutlet he presented to you, produced a most disjointed text.I have little confidence that you will publish the devastation that I will visit on Counsel McDonald's - a lack of confidence due to the failures of editors of The New Republic, the New York Review of Books or The New York Times to respond to my, Handke's first translator into American [see my bio at ] and other's letters objecting to gross and ignorant misreadings of Peter Handke's fallible work and political positions and person - thus I post this missile on-line at:http://www.artscritic.blogspot.comThere you can also find posted, six months ago, a detailed take on Peter Handke's association with the late Slobodan Milosevic, plus all pertinent links. A good source for pertinent information on the unfolding of the controversy has been online, in English, for more than half a year, good time for McDonald not to need to distort the most elementary matters, if that had not been his intent from the git-go: myself, cleaning up after the stupidities perpetrated by the corrupt U.S. literary culture, feel like one of those old women that Hans Magnus Enzensberger keeps seeing knocking the mortar off the bricks from the buildings destroyed after men have gone to war. Many of those in Belgrade, Iraq and Afghanistan, and metaphorically in desperately provincial Seattle.PART ONE- POLITICSMcDonald opens and closes his mugging with tendentious and not pertinent quotes, to lend some kind of pretend weighty frame to his drivel, so let me, too start off with a few quotes, from Handke, and others, which are to the point.Handke: " "What I did not say" in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "I have never denied or played down, not to speak of sanctioned, any of the massacres in Yugoslavia from 1991 – 1995." ... "When it comes to the wars in Yugoslavia, let us forget all comparisons and parallels. Let's stick with the facts of a civil war that a disingenuous or at least unknowing Europe instigated or at least co-produced, and which are terrible on all sides. (...) It is a fact that between 1992 and 1995, in the Yugoslavian Republic, and in Bosnia in particular, prison camps existed where people were starved, tortured and murdered. But let us refrain from mechanically linking these camps with the Bosnian Serbs. There were also Croatian and Muslim camps, and the crimes committed there will be punished in the tribunal in Den Haag."Botho Strauß [first rate playwright, and someone who might be described as a "stylist" - as which McDonald describes both Grass and Handke, which neither are - writes in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "What remains today of Bertolt Brecht, a poet who valued the revolution over human life and whose only opposition to the bloody Stalin was a spot of dialectics? What remains is someone who changed the theatre more lastingly than any other European author... What remains, at the end of the day, of the alleged bard of the Greater Serbian Empire, Peter Handke? Not just the most gifted poetic craftsman of his day, but an episteme-creator (to use Foucault's term) as only the most outstanding minds can be, a milestone of seeing, feeling and understanding in German literature. Those who fail to see guilt and error as the stigmata (or even as stimulants in some cases) of great minds, shouldn't busy themselves with true poets and thinkers."Frank Schirrmacher, editor in chief of the Frankfurter Allgemeine, the paper that gave Handke the hardest time for his position on Yugoslavia, on the fiasco of the Heine Prize:"Honouring someone, regardless of how controversial he may be, and then openly declaring him unworthy of that honour, without anything else having happened, is the ultimate form of social backslide. It turns the literary critic into the henchman of the politician. With the politicians' interference, the critic's objections to Handke now sound like a denunciation to the police."Martin Mosebach writes in Die Zeit on the Peter Handke affair: "Too bad the American ambassador who encouraged Slobodan Milosevic to wage war in Bosnia didn't come to his funeral in Belgrade. Someone like Handke who remained faithful to the dead Milosevic is much more worthy of admiration than all the Western politicians who made it possible for Milosevic to commit his crimes while he was alive."Handke in the Neue Zuricher Zeitung:"Where is there any order from Milosevic? How can you bring him together with Srebrenice? I don't know. And on top of that Milosevic was no dictator. He was an autocrat who exercised a semi-authoritarian regime. The press was free, but the television was state-controlled. I don't have any opinion about Milosevic. None. I can't find him either good or bad. I don't want to compare him with Ceausescu or Saddam Hussein, for me that's wrong. Setting Milosevic up as the major evil of the Balkan Wars is a simplification [for the entirety of this fascinating interview]Aren't the scholarly often the worst deadbeats! What a chump you are Editor Wilson to be mining the same dead vein, and with the likes of McDonald as your Kumpel! As you continue, you will see the story that you missed!I ask the several thousand recipients of this communication to comment, if they wish, at the site or reply directly to me and to join me in my call for the resignation of Editor Wilson. But if editor Wilson wishes to run this response in his pages, too, or on the American Scholar web-site, be my guest. I link to you, you link to me, and then you will be on life-support!For stretches I simply quote McDonald and comment, finding that the most efficient way to decimate his assertions. I quite realize that I am that "chien Andalusien" baying at the moon but, that way, I can at least "bark my way!" as old "Blue Eyes" used to sing. From the beginning now, point by point:1] The "we" in the rhetorical "Shall we forgive him"... ": are "we" using the royal "WE", what assumptsionary accusatoryness, what band of McCarthyite vigilantes might this "we" comprise? Is that your editoral board, the Phi Beta Clan, the heavy exercises of the right frontal lobe, or the 100 French "innelectuals" [George Herbert Walker Bush's pronunciation] that endorsed "Bozo" Bozonet's canceling of the greatest play of the past 50 years, Handke' s Faust, 1998 "The Journey into the Sonorous Land: or The Art of Asking".[Not "recent" really, as McDonald, who has no idea of the progress of the rake's work, has it: subsequent and far more recent the second in a great sequence of three amazing plays is "Hour" 1991, Handke's Yugoslavia play: "The Play about the Film about the War" [1999] that provides the full range of his takes on the subject; "Subday Blues" [2005] "Traces of the Lost" 2006/7 ] which entire series starts with Handke's richest work WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES [1992, Ariadne Press], a dramatic poem whose language reaches Shakespearean grandeur, Handke's Euripedean/ Goethen [alternating discourse] pean to the "Rolling on the River" aristocracy of the working class... Perhaps the "we" refers to the same 100 French "innelectuals" who are demanding the criminalization, in analogy of German criminalization of denial of the Shoa, of denial of the Turkish genocide on Armenians, whose 100 strong intercession in behalf of that idiot Bozonnet McDonald fails to mention but with whose dismissal at the end of this sorry affair he commiserates, whereas they might actually look to the denial of French colonial atrocities and collaborations with their occupiers, those French whores. [Handke's position vis a vis Yugoslavia and Milosevic had been well known in Yugoslavia prior to Bozonnet's dermarche].Yes that "we": You and Mr. McDonald? Mr. McDonald and all the other McDonalds? Or does Counsel McDonald comprise and presume to speak for some consensus of U.S. "innelectuals"? I can't imagine, except perhaps certain reviewers for the Weekly Standard and henchers for the New York Review. As to the rhetoricals of "forgiving", which McDonald thinketh we ought not: Who is doing the accusing? Where forgiveness exists as a possibility there must be a conviction? Or is this sorry "counsel" - for that presumption "The American Interest" - judge jury and executioner and insinuator of the deep lie all in one? Poor, ill-served "American Interest" that numbers at least one huge war criminal in its midst.For on a level of true world historical, truly unforgivable criminality shall we forgive his employer client Zsigismund Brezinksy, the initiator of the "destabilization of Afghanistan" [now a "failed state" in "tink thanks" language]. Shall I forgive the sanctimonious Jimmy Carter for signing off on Brezinki's brilliant idea, an idea with malice aforethought if ever there was one, or Reagan Casey for following up the organizing the Mujahadeem and providing these proxies with Stinger Missiles, and then betraying these legions to their own flukish [Ossama bin Fluke and his millions that could buy 1000 Toyota four wheelers at the drop of a Turban] devices? The thought is enough to give poor forever obsequious Hennery the K of Wurstburg on the Hudson a break from being lambasted haunted hunted for endorsing, enabling Pinochet. I doubt that you want me to go on as I could for pages along the same line. A country of 25 million human beings! Big time crime! Very cute. Let counsel take care of Ziggie before he sticks it to Handke, let all American rights hyenas turn their attention to U.S. prisons, to the wages of 200 years of U.S. imperialism, inland and in Central America. Or does this all go "without saying"? Yes, poor Handke, he has a screw loose, if only he'd get of this Serbian kick he is on!On a level closer to the crimes of association and ideological artistic confusions: there is poor old wonderful Pound's overvaluation of the aesthetic; Elliot's hideous anti-semitism; the head wound Celine suffered during WW I; Hamsun an apparent Quisling though I do not know the details and allow that his ill repute in may be ill founded; no end of other politically engaged who run afoul of politics, if Handke in fact did, which is not clear to me at all no matter that he is the biggest showboat of them all [which makes him suspect in some respects]. Will not the time come if it has not come already that the words "Special Forces" and the "U.S. Marines" strike as much terror into hearts as the words "Waffen SS" still does in some?I followed the entire controversy from its inception in the early 90s to its current status,[see early long takes of mine at the site ] and also Professor Scott Abbot's rejoinder to Michael Schneider's review of "Journey to the Rivers" as "Justice for Serbia" is properly called, which the New Republic refused to run]and as someone engaged in a very long term Handke project knew of Handke's deep, very deep intra-psychic affiliation to Yugoslavia [read Hornissen, his first novel, its accessible repetition THE REPETION for comprehension of this] and his great familiarity with the Dalmatian and considerable sophistication about the in and outs of Belgrade and other politics [he is not fooled in the least by the ultra nationalists]: and what struck me most was how to the very quick its dissolution injured him, most manifest in petulant public outcries, violent verbal counter-attacks: when I see and hear something of the kind, it makes the me, the me who I am mostly now, sit back and listen and become puzzled... and not rage back.Do I forgive Susan Sontag for writing in the New York Times Magazine on the occasion of the Kosovo bombardments "and now the Serbs are the victims". Yes, I do: because it proved to me how utterly ignorant she still was, ignorant say of the half million Serb who had to flee Croatia, even after acting out some kind of human rights scenario film in Sarajevo [is she one of those "disinterested" observer of the kind that McDonald invokes into his fictitious tribunal that convicts Milosevic?]. I forgive her because of her essays, for the gutsiness of the position she took after 9/11; for her essay on U.S. Torture, for many many things, certainly not because she was a sorry novelist no matter the NYRB's attempts to prop up that part of her reputation which seemed not have convinced her insecurity in the matter; but because she really was a spectacularly good egg as only American girls can be: for that is a what struck me the first time I saw her, in Princeton at the Gruppe 47 meeting that May 1966, "why that's the kind of American girl that you want with you in an American car", and "oh my Gawd, you could really talk to that formidable head, that real intelligence, that didn't jibe with that bod!"I do not forgive the simple minded Serb and Milosovic blamers such as Roger Cohen of the NY Times, or any cowardly simpleminded vigilantes or any of those who make life easy for their heads...I can't really forgive the NYRB, which really knew better for the previous reviews they had run if not for many other reasons, for unloosing a certain Marcus on Handke [see + for a point by point emendation of the literary points in Marcus's piece] and then using the political disagreement to lay waste to Handke's work. Most amusing was Marcus gunning for pro-Serb sentiment in Handke's then latest book in English, "One Dark Night I Left My Silent House," dismissing it as "just more dream-writing" but then failing to note the dream wishfulfilment of some damaged blue and white trucks being towed westward on the Salzburg Autobahn. A dreambook all right, never before had a writer succeeded in engaging the reader in the syntax of a dream, how much closer can the transmission of one innerworld into another innerworld get, in literature? What amazing literary possibilities are opened up - never to be further used! [On the couch it can make you think that telepathy is for real!] No blood of course as McDonald seems to prefer, well there must be enough of that on the streets in D.C. and at Walter Reed, and if he wants to have it written about, I think bodice rippers might just be his style. I could go on, but I expect you notice in the matter of my forgiveness the rarity of it.Handke's exceptionalism where McDonald uses Günter Grass to attack Handke: why not let Handke bear the consequences of regret for his personal crimes and derelictions - over the years he has expressed his heartfelt regrets for any number of matters, for which the once supremely arrogant and still hot tempered and sometimes quite pathetic takes responsibility, and if he was mistaken in his evaluation of Milosevic [see anon] I expect that he will not wait as long as Günter Grass did to own up to his act of [perhaps convenient]cowardice.As a matter of fact, on Grass's admission that he had spent 45 days at the end of WW II as a member of a troupe so desperate for members that it created foreign divisions in its name, if Handke's most unattractive side, his righteousness did not spring forth with alacritous cries of "shame", the same Handke who a year before had, at his desk, written with fine self-deprecating irony about that streak of his. see the entire wonderful piece where Handke explains why he won't appear as a witness for the defense. My thinking on his explanation for this refusal is that it does not jibe: although Handke of course was not present at any of the occasions during which Milosevic might have ordered or failed to prevent crimes from being committed, nonetheless the appearance of someone who visits heads of the Austrian state, as a character witness... if you see what I mean. I also thought of Handke's once saying that he did not think he would hold up well under cross examination if ever accused of anything. Perhaps that was said during a time the he was more down on himself. But, conceivably, the idea of being in the limelight for perhaps some days on that kind of hot seat then thwarted his exhibitionistic impulses.Your Mr. McDonald, and yours and "The American Interest's" he is, feeds into the sheeps' wish for the simplest of the simplest being the case: that the big bad wolf from Progarevic [and that is where the funeral was permitted not in Belgrade, McDonald] in as much as the sheep are interested or go the immense labor to get some drift of what really went down: it isn't just the distortions and the propaganda, but the sheer mass of information that your scholarly mouse needs to chew through; you need, literally, to become a historian in short order in order to have some idea how something like the disintegration occurred within the span of 20 years. Who might these disinterested be in McDonald's:"Even accepting Handke’s version, his having taken respectful part in the burial services could not be interpreted as anything other than a sign of his support for Milosevic, a man most disinterested observers believe to have been responsible for a series of wars that claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people during his 13 years in power."I ask: who might any just one of these of the "most disinterested observers" be?Stephen Schwartz, the once estimable Christopher Hitchens; Neal Acherson whom I recently caught burbling that it was all Milosevic's fault; Roger Cohen; the judges of the tribunal; the millions whose solitude has been muddied by the falsifications that they have absorbed?No, there were no "disinterested" parties [if McDonald means to say "objective" or whatever disinterested might mean coming from him] only interested parties; Handke's was for peace and as McDonald seems to have realized the continued existence of the federation; my guess is also because as of the mid-80s Handke adopted grandfather Sivec's identity who had voted for the federation as a contiuance in some form of Austro-Hungarian federation in 1921, not that this wish of Handke's for a dream federation did and does not contradict his once feeling that there ought to be tough borders between small countries each with its own treasured language, among no end of contradiction in the "Swiss Cheese" that Handke has become. Once the federation devolved into ethnic and religious strife, as compared to conflict within the several states, it became M.s's task to defend, first of all, the Serbian minority in Croatia that was given 2nd class status; something that led to Vukovar; which led to Galbraith calling for us.arming.... Each stage brought, brings, a whole new set of equations into play. Yes, and each of these then small nation states is permitted its nationalism, has it endorsed by the West, but Serbian nationalism is found heinous, why might that be the case?But I don't think that this way of proceeding will get anyone anywhere. And no: it does not appear that it was McDonald "overflow crowd of some 20,000 radical Serb nationalists" at the funeral; I trust Handke's differentiated report that yes there were some, but that the mood chiefly was one of somber mourning. McDonald is intent it appears to turn the Serbians into Nazi type fascist: it is he who is the fascist in being a fitting writer for a new "Der Stuermer."McDonald also uses "disinterested" in claiming [how would he know?] that M. preferred Handke as a "disinterested" observer than a witness in his defense. No, Handke felt M. was innocent, that the case had not been proven ; and, to my considerable amazement, Handke bases his conclusion [but perhaps he was joking, you can't quite tell, always, when he is pulling some idiot reporter's stupid leg] on the smile he saw cross M.'s face when the court prosecution threw everything including the kitchen sink at him in its list of crimes: on the principle, I suppose, well all we need is one count, and we'll find one among those thousands. Handke felt that this tribunal was not appropriate, that the cards were stacked, with which I tend to agree in as much I was able to follow the trial at this remove [and I did not just rely on the hopeless Marlise Simon and the somewhat better Nicholas Wood of the N.Y. Times] and Handke felt that though M's underlings were fit subjects for the court, including the two chief Srbska Bosnian Serb accused, Mladic and K. that M. ought to have been tried in Belgrade by his own people. McDonald with his "most disinterested observers"thus sets up something that does not exist, another fictitious consensus following on the heels of his fictitious "we" of parties that have concluded, and in a "disinterested" state of mind that M. was guilty of Srebrenice... Some counsel! I can see him disbarred, getting thrown out of court in short order! Based on what I managed to get of the De Haag trial, I could not convict beyond a reasonable doubt. If Mr. McDonald's has some specifics: please share them with us! Hey, he might even convince Mr. Handke that he had it wrong.Most disinterested observers agree that squirrels like to consume nuts. An observer has been there, he or she has seen, it makes no difference whether they are interested or disinterested. If McD. had read Handke's Sommerlicher Nachtrag [A Summer Sequel], the second of his travelogues he might have noticed that surrogate Serb that Handke has exclaiming at the sight of Srebrenice "I don't ever want to have been a Serb" [or words to that effect] which made me, initially write: "who the hell asked Peter Handke who just gone through the hard earned task of becoming a Slovenian to turn into a Serb." Well, if you repeat a lie often enough, like Ronald Reagan, enough people will believe you and and you will win the election.What troubles me most in the whole affair is that Handke hasn't said a peep about M.s' posthumous Belgrade conviction for murder of his predecessor. I can see no real interest in Handke's being served in stubbornly insisting on M.s innocence, on his being [merely !] a tragic figure [definition]. Obviously,it brings the Bozonnets the Mcdonalds out of the wood works. Since I used to be acquainted with Mr. Handke and translated most of his plays I myself have good reason to give some real cred to his opinion, his instant x-ray vision of ugly people, not only physically ugly but "dark" people; that he might be right about M. If I had the confidence that I have now with respect to his judgment in that respect my life, my "career" in publishing might have been very different. Handke nearly throws up at ugliness. M. was a nice block head of a Serbian, but it is not merely a matter of looks, though I think Handke has as much of a blind spot when it comes to feminine beauty as I do, he with all his actresses, who he imagines to be as light as when they dance across the stage; I myself was brought up so protected as to have been the most gullible of critters, meanwhile one of the nastiest much bitten Kettenhunde!Unless, Handke just has a stick up his ass! Which he can too. Handke calls them as he sees them, also in his books, quite unsparingly. Also, the powerful. Including his own now deceased publisher, Siegfried Unseld. No matter that he is an upstart if ever there was one.Anyone who reads Handke's autobiography of everything that is in him - WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES - will also make acquaintance with Handke's self-acknowledged "dark" side. Nor does Handke "gloss" anything over. My findings find that the hyper-sensitive autistic Handke since the inception of his exposure to violent primal scenes at age 2 [the born to terror] has only represented the horrors glancingly, and refuses to do so in the usual cliches. It is all there in the travelogues, just off stage or underground in the plays, in an observation, to his friend Thomas Deichmann, the editor of Novo, who has featured Handke on three covers, Handke mused that maybe he ought not have written these travellogues so metaphorically and theatrically. Yes, for sure: who understands anything but a sledge hammer? Certainly not Michael McDonald.That is not what the bloody minded McDonalds of this world want: they want real t.v. blood and they demand it all the time. And instead of taking care of the wages of imperialism in the United States or in Central America they turn into human rights hyaenas in every other part of the world.As to Handke's appearance in P. [not Belgrade as McD. has it] I bet and won: put a camera an interviewer within Handke's sight... He is what he accuses others of being in that respect, a space displacer... He has to hog the limelight! He is a media darling. On receiving his honorary doctorate at age 60 he promised to remove his "idiocy" as he called it, from the public sphere for the rest of his life. That rest lasted about two years, and he crept back in with an interview on publication of his "Del Gredos" novel in France, a big interview with Greiner of Die Zeit, and his refusal to ever accept any further prizes when it looked as though he would not win it for his weakest play ["Subday Blues"], and a fine piece in Literaturen on why he would not appear as a witness in Milosevic's behalf, and with a new play and new book coming out in 2007, the Milosovic funeral made for the kind of media orgy that allowed my man to "Play the game. Stay in the picture" as he calls it! As a youngster he dreamed of appearing on the cover of Der Spiegel, and I know what the pathos of his deprivations and the many reasons that made him so. But doesn't he ever have something to display aside his Carinthian "Schwanz" when the groupies used to show up in Paris! More importantly, without that overpowering drive to display himself we would not have the great works. But the closest and oldest friends are instantly taken mushrooming in the Chaville primeval forest, whereas if an interviewer or a T.V. crew show up: the great chef Handke [he ought to link up with the Handkes in Ohio who have a famous restaurant!] holds forth: perhaps the access to the mirror makes him overcome his nausea of other bodies a place of his own.The U.N. court recently absolved the Serbians of genocide in Bosnia but found it responsible for failing to prevent Srebrenice. The chief culprits for this well planned massacre are Karadic + Mladic, by all accounts. If Milosevic knew that this massacre was being planned, did he wink for it to proceed? Could he have prevented it if he knew it was being planned. I lack the information. So does McDonald. Handke, the last I heard, evidently feels that M. could not have prevented it. If the opposite proves the case I expect we wil hear from Peter Handke. He knew the family, visited with M. jail, was invited to be a witness for the defense, to the funeral?Who is more responsible for the mutual crimes in Kosovo? M. had to secure a minority ethnic; some of the Kosovo Albanian leaders, Madelaine Albright's pals, are now on trial in de Haag. Perhaps Handke misjudged, was deluded, his judgment impaired by sentiment. But that M. ought to be known as "the butcher of the balkans" is the conclusions of simple and ugly minds."Did Handke believe that, because of his prestige, people would shrug off his act of solidarity with the “Butcher of the Balkans”? McDonald asks.One] among many reasons Handke gave for attending to funeral was precisely to make a demonstrative gesture [as I knew this great exhibitionist would when given the right opportunity, oh how well my Vegas bet in that respect turned out!] to disavow the moniker "dictator" that is invariably affixed [in the so monotonous US of A.] to the name Milosevic. Milosevic was elected three times and lost his last election, and then, albeit rather reluctantly, gave up his position. [see Handke's words at the beginning of this section]. Eventually M. was delivered over to the Court in Scheveningen as so many monsters have not been. An autocrat for sure, as Handke, who has occasional autocratic flourishes of his own, acknowledges numerous times in the several important statements and the host of interviews he gave subsequent to his notorious attendance, and a great majority of which have been online collected athttp://www.signandsound.comfor nearly a year; or more recently, amplified by me with a long thoughtful finding athttp://www.artscritic.comBut which, though the McDonald cites Handke's words in P., and have been online, fails to provide.Additionally, in various numerous interviews in his now again media orgy, Handke provided a few further reasons for going. To absorb the athmosphere for a book about a tragic character, although his most recent, the 2007 Kali is not it.What gives me pause is M's posthumous conviction in Belgrade, where Handke felt was the fit place for a trial... I have sought to find out... perhaps H. would say, to be condemned posthumously without having had the opportunity to defend himself...I suspect that P.H. is giving Milo a bit of a break, that M. is part of the dream that refuses to disappear entirely, that M. has a bit of grandfather transference going on; but that is just a guess of mine based on what I know about how Handke finally wrested a father figure out of the grandfather. Perhaps my guess makes too much sense I tell myself. It's the best that I, who loves answers, can come up with. Handke's little book Rund um das Grosse Tribunal, strikes me like the Handke cat sneaking around the hot sauce but refusing to put as much as a paw into it. Handke is a trained lawyer, who did not take his final exam because he felt he could make it as an independent writer. If not he might have become what he envisioned as a career that could be combined with writing: an Austrian cultural attache - and with his touces of Tourettism might have been the exception to the rule of an excellent crew; and as which cultural attache personae he appears in several books.Handke also defended M. against the accusation of being an "autist", pointing out that this painful condition ought not to be used as a pejorative. Handke, the savant, knows whereof he speaks. He has the nose of your best hunting dog, the eyes of a cat, the ears of a bat! The skin sensitivity of a Virginia Woolf.What is that paragraph about the history of Austrian enthusiastic welcoming for Hitler about? Why is it in this piece? I myself would connect Maria Sivec enthusiasm for German soldiers... to that enthusiasm. Otherwise it would seem to be another instance of dreadful editing on your, Mr. Wilson's part.Although Handke writes like an angel he is nothing of the sort. My chief objecting to him is that meanwhile writes so well, that I can abide little else that I set my eyes on. He is both the most loving man I know, and a man who can be as "humorless as death.""bad when i am bad, very good when i am good." True enough. Now on to Michael McDonald, literary critic!

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