at the end are further more recet instances of neglect!
THE NY TIMES & PETER HANDKE:
THE NY TIMES & PETER HANDKE:
A FIFTY YEAR HORROR STORY -
Dear Mr Sulzberger, dear Mr. Baquet, dear Ms. Mattoon (Editor of the Arts Section of the New York Times), the Public Editor:
I herewith demonstrate to you & your colleagues & the world at large, the truly abysmal Peter Handke reception in your pages since the name Peter Handke first appeared in your pages appr. 50 years ago.
There is the singular instance of adequate reception of his work in the theater, by the late
There is a single truly adequate - reprintable - review of a single title, plus a few near adequacies,
and the most horrendous treatment of his most serious later work & neglect of significant events such as Handke's receipt of the
Not a single review by a peer,
as a matter of fact there has only been a single peer review of his work in the U.S. in these fifty years,
it is William Gass's review of
MY YEAR IN THE NO-MAN'S BAY
Steve Wasserman commissioned it for the L.A. Times Book Review:
See link at discussion of
SHAME, ESPECIALLY ON THE BOOK REVIEW!
Handke's name might be expected to appear first at the Gruppe 47 Princeton Meeting in Spring 1966
the - I guess - “Bolean” search term Handke first brings up no end of “handkerchief buyers” !!!!
who visit the great city and are memorialized in the business pages.
Then there appears a
disgraced member of the East German Socialist Unity Government,
who might be related to Peter Handke's MONSTROUS stepfather Bruno – the name “handke” has little to do with “HAND” but is the mash-up of a Polish last name...
we are in the region about which
Guenter Grass observed that
if you are Polish it's good to have a German name, and a Polish last name
if you are German...
or... a mashup!
Ah, but here it is: first mention of Peter Handke in the NY Times
Friend Josef Bauke of the Columbia German Department
Then a slew of mere mentions
and to my own surprise I come upon myself who failed to remember that I plugged Handke's second novel when I wrote up the Frankfurt Bookfair
father of luc
who will direct many fine Handke performances
AND THEN THE FIRST REVIEW
-it is a first rate one - of the first performance of Handke plays in English
Unfortunately it is mostly BUT NOT ENTIRELY downhill from thereon. DREADFUL THE PAST DECADE it got a lot worse under Ms. Mattoon's editorship.
Gussow has read the plays,
has a fine take on them, is right about the utterly untalented director Schulz's direction....
Then a few notices about the upcoming performance of
Ride Across Lake Constance
and Clive Barnes goes missing with his review
And the Barnes miss is a major lacuna. Here's a man who's been watching Boulevard Theater all his life and doesn't realize he's just watched the ultimate inversion persiflage of
Blvd theater, better than anything Noel Coward did along that line, doesn't see the affinity to Ionesco, knows nothing about the then contemporary
by the syntactical legerdemain and thus misses out on the catharsis that the play produces, as good as that of a good hour with the best analyst. A true release!
A MAJOR LOSS TO THE THEATER AND TO THE CULTURE! BARNES AS DEAD AS THE CULTURE AS MOST THEATER GOERS.
At least he wasn't bored or get on a high horse like the audience that was bereft without it's strap the story to hang their minds on.
Next real review to appear
-aside roundups that mention Handke -
is my once oldest friend frank conroy's review of my translation of
GOALIE'S ANXIETY AT THE PENALTY KICK
Conroy, then, in 1972 was my oldest friend, I'd known him since fall 1954 & I shared my translation of GOALIE with him a few years prior. Meanwhile my friend couldn't handle the success of STOPTIME, his first published book, and is holed up in Nantucket and has sudden need to do a bit of hustling, this review being one example.
If still in NY I'd have informed the lazy bones that Goalie was Handke's third novel, that Handke was chiefly a prose writer, but a poet as well, and Conroy if he'd gone to grad-school – we are 14 years out of college! - would have known that authors can be many sided, especially continental ones, and he would not have had to bullshit his way through the long opening of the piece, nice bullshitting as bullshitting goes, at least he picked up on Handke's theatricality, if not his hysterical side, but he misses what the opening sentences do to the mind that reads them,
inducing a state of paranoid schizophrenia
(Handke nominated a study of linguistic usage by paranoid schizophrenics as book of the year),
and makes the text out to be pure narrative phenomenology. Later in life Conroy will boast that upon entering Haverford he'd already read everything. I gave him to his hearts delight the collected Wallace Steven poems for a wedding present, and Conroy took to the one great critic who is on the side of artists, Walter Benjamin, udderwise conroy remains an innocent to that field. And still became a wonderful writer.
Frank's piece, though it could do without the long intro, and is devoid of mention of the linguistic ingenuity at the heart of the novel, and other matters, is one artist recognizing another and it is unfortunate that he and Handke never met, for by the time I gave my little Handke party in Spring 1971 Frank was living in Nantucket. Two high-end autists with great artistic talent. Handke if he knows the book would love Conroy's OF TIME & TIDE.
It is also unfortunate that Frank's editor at the Book Review either did not know what's what or was too lax in cutting the bullshitting.
Then richard locke has his go at GOALIE and he's better read than Frank, but is all involved in Lit Talk.
The unfortunate Clive Barnes now redeems himself with his go at
easy work if you can get it!
Even Walter Kerr
Now ernst pawel on the handke phenomenon
comes out clearly in favor of
reviews the Yale Rep
THEY ARE DYING OUT
and is very kind but
misses its very Austrian farcicality, no Nestroy, Raimund, or Goldoni or Shakespeare for that matter.
on the Wenders/ Handke film
THE WRONG MOVE
THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
RICHARD LOCKE ON
somewhat redeems himself.
(The Chinese of Pain/ the Water Torture)
which reminds me why I can't ever abide more than a paragraph
of her cramped mind,
writes the one and only republishable book review in your pages in these fifty years.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Handke's THE ABSENCE, neither the book nor the film.
a book reading which can be experienced like as a film -
talking about legerdemain!
the compendium of three works that in American is called
A SLOW HOMCOMING
or any part thereof reviewed in the Times pages -
my guess is a review was killed? At that point it had been 7 years after THE PUBLICATION OF LEFT-HANDED WOMAN
when Handke was hot in every sense and that the miserable Roger Straus finally put out another Handke. What if he'd put out the title novel, short as it is, the New Yorker would certainly have run its phenomenal Alaska section.
Nor did the NY TIMES review my best translation
WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES
but in this instance because the chintzy publisher
does not send out review copies,
not even to Publisher's Weekly or Library Journal
Nor my translation of
INNERWORLD OF THE OUTERWORLD OF THE INNERWORLD -
There must have been a poet about who could have had a lot of fun with that;
then friend Fred Seidel was
much intrigued when I showed the work to him!
Donald Barthelme was going to run
a large selection in a magazine
of his that never saw the
light of day.
Nor my translation of
NONSENSE & HAPPINES
or of Seagull Books recent publication
of Handke's novel/drama
or take note of Handke's drama reply to Beckett's
KRAPP'S LAST TAPE
or of PAJ JOURNAL'S
publication of the great
VOAYAGE BY DUGOUT
WINGS OF DESIRE
I disagree - but chacun sa gout!
is Handke's REMEMBRANCE OF TIMES PAST
it retells from that perspective the story of a high school grad going to search out his beloved Slovenian fruit-growing uncle's origin in Ljubljana, he walks he takes the railroad, sleeps curled up around the toilet bowl in a railroad station. REPETITION is marked by a profound slow walking rhythm.
It is a cult book.
made a huge impression on me
in 1986 when I finally was close to being and could appreciate the way the book breathed, its rhythm.
by David Pryce Jones
a professional anti-communist & anti-Nazi and all around ignorant asshole who
wants the kid to inveigh against Austria's belated failure to acknowledge its enthusiastic complicity with Nazism and inveigh against Tito photos in Slovenia.
and is entirely unaware how Handke dealt with the Waldheim affair, nor of course that Handke, who writes very intimate prose, already treated, in his preferred ambiguous manner, the theme of persistent Nazism in ACROSS.
See the Guardian review instead.
How the editor of the book review allowed this piece of garbage to appear in its pages is beyond me.
THE AFTERNOON OF A WRITER
is reviewed by herbert mitgang who, I gather, was regarded as a jerk by his fellows at the NY Times
and LINDA SIMON too
has a go at
and neither of these reviews
knows how to DESCRIBE what they allegedly read nor summarize the happening but infer that the writer must be a reprehensible person.
What does this “projection screen”
(psychoanalysis can be said to be nothing but an unfolding of one's projections)
of a book actually
allow a reviewer to say?
A reviewer might notice that
a section of it is written in dream images – where the writer is hurt by the gossip in Salzburg's fat alleys and it thrown like a woman hit and run victim to the side of the road. Writers can become notorious, simply because the bored middle class snoops have nothing better to do than gossip.
(Next in line hereabouts is a piece on why the city named after Chief Sealth is so entirely unconducive to creativity.)
What writer has not a “former ex-friend?” - the where and whyfores of that are not detailed here. What writer doesn't have a friend whom he meets at a pub? What writer doesn't feel both low and then address the world from on high as he goes to sleep? But how many of them can condense the matter into such a beautiful projection screen?
As to what kind of person he great writer is when he doesn't have his safety pencil in hand: To put it in a nutshell: in some ways the most marvelous person I have ever encountered, but there's
“the devil in Ms. Jones”
and AFTERNOON contains
- that mention about the ex former friend –
- that, if I were to open up, would devastate that devil, but it has no bearing on the nature or quality of the text.
-the summa of all of Handke's early theater work -
not that Rockwell would know. produces a catharsis just
as LAKE CONSTANCE does.
It is one of the great modern texts, others being Heiner Mueller's QUARTET & HAMLET MACHINE.
“Mr. Handke's text can be read as a series of highly literary stage directions. A town square is the main "character," through which promenade 31 human actors playing some 200 roles, as well as a village band. Despite earnest symbolic intentions, the whole thing seemed more amusing and stilted than profound. It was adeptly realized, however, and was greeted rapturously by a full house of Peymann supporters. “
And here is Alan Riding's reportage
Birkets goes off base on the THREE ESSAYS
but not by much
and fails to realize that Handke is as interested in the PLACES where he sets his work as in the ostensible themes.
He misses that JUKE BOXES were an
escape from family during
later Handke will write the essay
ON THE SHIT HOUSE
whence he escaped his fellow students at the Tanzenberg religious boarding school, because they nauseated him: Handke has a nausea problem because he has too many nerves! EXCESS is the source of nausea. As a kid the juke box provided an escape from the family.
is far worse than Birkets
Now come reports of the Comedie Francaise
dropping the ART OF ASKING because of Handke's appearance at the Milosevic funeral...See
for a fine account of this.
The Heinrich Heine prize controversy is along the same line.
A nice intervew with Deborah Solomon in the Magazine
We come to Neil Gordon's idiotic non-response to
CROSSING THE SIERRA DEL GREDOS
What I mentioned previously about bullshitter Lee Siegel applies doubly to Gordon.
It appears old friend Conroy, teaching writing at Iowa, told the idiot to head to the East Coast!
Many people feel that the last 100 page of SIERRA DEL GREDOES
is the greatest ending ever written, this still fan of the Molly Bloom section of Ulysses would have to agree that it's at least a tie between Handke & Joyce.
News of the Austrian State buying a part of the Handke archive,
but not of the German archive, buying the other half.
Handke confesses to Mueller that
he's become a capitalist... and a generous angel to writers and an enclave in the Kosovo he is.
What is called “a revival” of
OFFENDING THE AUDIENCE
which, actually, had never been done
officially in New York, but by me with my little troupe & at the HB Studio.
A London performance of HOUR.
and misses a few beats along the way.
James Ostreicher reviews
Philip Glass Opera based
TRACES OF THE LOST
NO MENTION OF THE MUEHLHEIM PRIZE
the biggest prize in German theater
No mention of the Ibsen Prize in 2014
the Nobel prize for theatrical
achievement, not under your
Not that the NY Times
is exclusively responsible for the by and large catastrophic Handke reception in the United States
There is the ganging up on Handke for his different take on the disintegration of the 2nd Yugoslave Federation
every one wants him to say the same thing they are saying!
For those who are interested here is a link to no end of material on the matter:
I spent at least one year during the past 20 researching every aspect of that matter.
There's Mr. Wilson's
berating Handke for being influenced by Robbe-Grillet during his early phase and the writer isn't even aware of the one title – DER HAUSIERER- where Handke can be said to have found aspects useful of the Nouveau Roman – more interesting might have been to demonstrate – if that can be done – how Handke has absorbed influences – starting with the modernist inventions of the Wiener Gruppe to the Surrealists and made them his own, fused them into his activist classical style
There's Robert Silver's
NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
Bob Silver en espcial
might have know better
since he initially published some valuable takes by Michael Wood & Frank Kermode on the early Handke which ought to have alerted him that J.L. Marcus was … what? All wet when he pretended to be able to evaluate the work? No end of harm came from this review to which Silvers refused to run a reply.
20 years after the inception of the Handke/ Serbia controversy
there are ignorant assholes like Leland Delaruntaye
who have nothing better to do than call Handke an asshole
in the London Review of Books
As I mentioned previously, country bupmkin literary genius Handke in his early days came across, socially, as an arrogant jerk. He's also a self-admitted schizophrenic, a “mama's boy” and as “cold as a salamander” when he works & you make the mistake of moving in with him – yes, in some matters he definitely splits. However, not when it comes to his home turf, Yugoslavia.
What in God's name overcame such a majority of U.S. innelectuals to make life easy for their conscience in the 90s and, like Roger Cohen
make Serbia & Milosevics exclusively responsible not only for such a complex event as the disintegration of the 2nd Federation but Serbia for the crimes committed by each and every nationalistic tribe & some independent operators? How about also blaming those who wage economic warfare!
Is it just that U.S. imperialism and the desire to interfere in every part of the world
- what other country interferes everywhere & like the NY Times editorial pages, has advice to spare for governments everywhere?
is endemic not just to the obvious imperialists but now infests the so-called thinkers – pret a porter innelectuals who of course don't think at all but gang up like McCarthyites & witch hunters: instead of say, repairing the damage the United States has done indigenously and abroad? Oh God forbid that a great Balkan Expert like Salman Rushdie would do anything of the kind, or his ilk. I happen to continue to love Susan Sontag too much for some of her essay work not to be able to forgive her. Not the rest of these humanity hyenas – oh how the milk of human kindness has soured in the past 75 years since it became propagandistically instrumentalized.
But if you want to go back to the very start of Handke publication in this country, it is I who bear responsibility for allowing myself to be cherry picked by a big crook like Roger Straus – who would have known that he was skating on the edge of bankruptcy all those years but for Boris Kachka's F.S.G. study HOTHOUSE -
and, thus, bring Handke to the wrong publisher (with Susan Sontag's assistance),
and I would not have if I had been enthused when Aaron Asher, then the editor in chief at Viking, showed me a set of galleys of the attack on the Warren Report when I had asked Viking for a job.
There it is, that is
“the maggot in the meat.”
“the maggot in the meat.”
At least I ought to have been enthusiastic about the money that such a book would generate.
The situation is the following:
The year is 1966, I am now married and it is calming, but I don't just want to just translate and scout -
here the link to who I am at that point in my literary life:
and there are some
German authors I very much want to see published: Nelly Sachs, Hans Erich Nossack, Christa Wolf. I've already placed several – Peter Weiss & Peter Bichsel with Seymour Lawrence at Atlantic Monthly Press for whom I scouted a year in Germany. I am the Suhrkamp scout in the USA. Meanwhile I've translated three Hesse novels &
Edgar Hilsenrath's NIGHT, a Musil novella,
Edgar Hilsenrath's NIGHT, a Musil novella,
I have a contract with Viking for the biography of a conspirator against Hitler – the perfect subject for the child of 20th of July survivors & a grandfather who might have poisoned Hitler over lunch instead of making fun of him & surviving four different concentration camps. I have a darling editor in Alan Williams. I befriend Aaron as editor for friend Conroy's STOP TIME.
I myself have started to scratch away at a book, SCREEN MEMORIES, whose last draft I am only completing now, and Aaron finds the material fascinating – but I am glad I waited it out for the needed psychoanalysis. And I think Viking might be the right place for someone who wants a niche for books translated from the German, for me, personally, it is a way of not losing the better part my origins.
Already in 1960 in Alaska I could read in the New York Times of troops training in Guatemala for what would become known as the “Bay of Pigs.”
After the war criminal - neither
whose charisma nor fascist refrain “do for your country...” did much for me,
nor any of the Kennedies - especially Bobby of the House Unamerican Committee: yes,
after the War Criminal President
bungles the Bay of Pigs
he was, as far as I was concerned,
a walking dead man: CIA, the Mob, Castro... and it turns out to have been just a lone wolf.
I was on a balcony at Frank Conroy's at the upper West Side when the news of the infamy reached me, I was at Frank's place in Brooklyn Heights, with Wilfred Sheed, when news of the assassination reached us. I was shocked, but not all that surprised, and so an attack on the Warren report was not going to get my juices flowing. But my lack of interest certainly manifested a lack of the requisite commercial instinct – which I possessed in other instances. I was sure, I told Roger Straus, when we signed the ten book Hesse contract that he would make millions. I was developing a keen sense that that luxury known as trade publishing was founded on money.
My relationship with Farrar, Straus & their eventual disastrous mispublishing of Handke:
1: Straus' interruption of the publication of Handke work for seven years in the 80s
2: Their turning down what Handke judged at the time to be the best translation he ever saw, mine of
WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES
and all further plays despite KASPAR AND OTHER PLAYS
then being in its tenth printing
& the second volume
RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE & OTHER PLAYS
doing very well,
Steve Wasserman, I gathered from an e-mail exchange of a few years past, who was running the F.S.G. subsidiary Hill & Wang where the plays had been shoved,
bears some responsibility for that huge misjudgment.
3: The current, now conglomerate - Holzbrink - owned F.S.G., current failure to publish a single Handke title the past five years, turning down great work like
the novel KALI (The Saltworks)
THE CUCKOOS OF VELICA HOCA (I don't know of a single writer in English who can do an intimate reportage of a place of that kind)
of the novel/play STORM STILL
FSG making the major mistake of allowing the wonderful but entirely overtaxed translator
Krishna Winston as their advisor in the matter,
who has been unable to complete
since its publication seven years ago in Germany -
can be perused in the requisite dirty ratstail manner in greater detail via this link.
It is not that long ago that Handke couldn't buy but a rare halfway intelligent review in Krautland. Currently, a kind of diametrical opposite holds true: his work is besieged by uncritical acclaim by the likes of idiots like Siegrid Loeffler or Lothar Struck (who also blogs under the name Gregor Keuschnig, thus assuming the name of a Handke surrogate in several Handke novels) & who might know better since at he was my German editor for
DEM HANDKE AUF DIE SCHLICHE
which itself needs revising, also in light of
Malte Herwig's in some respects devastating revelations in his
Immediately below you will find the link to material related to the first English language premiere of a Peter Handke play
in 20 + years -
THE BEAUTTIFUL DAYS IN ARANJUEZ
in the hope that the NY TIMES and its reviewers might not miss the opportunity and get the reception all wrong – I gladly send Scott Abbott's & my text
production of the Zejlko Dukic
THE BEAUTTIFUL DAYS IN ARANJUEZ as translated
by Michael Roloff
with Scott Abbot.
as it has so often disastrously over the past fifty years.
I am pessimistic that you have anyone on staff who can do justice to ARANJUEZ & most of the other later Handke plays. Mr. Brantly, that fan of Wendy Wasserstein, would certainly not seem not to be.
I have two suggestions for improvement: a kind of ombuds-person who double-checks the kind of reviews that I found so objectionable, the Price-Jones, the Siegel, the Neil Gordon, the Barnes - that is, of books by major publishers that arrive at the review with a pedigree.
And: the NEW YORK TIMES needs
at least one full-time European cultural reporter & at least one for the rest of the world, it will be worth it for the INTERNATIONAL EDITION,
Very truly yours,