NY TIMES & PETER HANDKE:
FIFTY YEAR HORROR STORY -
Mr Sulzberger, dear Mr. Baquet, dear Ms. Mattoon (Editor of the Arts
Section of the New York Times), the Public Editor:
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
is the singular instance of adequate reception of his work in the
theater, by the late
is a single truly adequate - reprintable - review of a single title,
plus a few near adequacies,
the most horrendous treatment of his most serious later work &
neglect of significant events such as Handke's receipt of the
a single review by a peer,
a matter of fact there has only been a single peer review of his work
in the U.S. in these fifty years,
is William Gass's review of
YEAR IN THE NO-MAN'S BAY
Wasserman commissioned it for the L.A. Times Book Review:
link at discussion of
ESPECIALLY ON THE BOOK REVIEW!
name might be expected to appear first at the Gruppe 47
Princeton Meeting in Spring 1966
- I guess - “Bolean” search term Handke first brings up no end of
“handkerchief buyers” !!!!
visit the great city and are memorialized in the business pages.
there appears a
member of the East German Socialist Unity Government,
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...
are in the region about which
you are Polish it's good to have a German name, and a Polish last
you are German...
but here it is: first mention of Peter Handke in the NY Times
Josef Bauke of the Columbia German Department
a slew of mere mentions
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
will direct many fine Handke performances
THEN THE FIRST REVIEW
-it is a first
rate one - of the first performance of Handke plays in English
it is mostly BUT NOT ENTIRELY downhill from thereon. DREADFUL THE
PAST DECADE it got a lot worse under Ms. Mattoon's editorship.
has read the plays,
a fine take on them, is right about the utterly untalented director
a few notices about the upcoming performance of
Across Lake Constance
Clive Barnes goes missing with his review
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
theater, better than anything Noel Coward did along that line,
doesn't see the affinity to Ionesco, knows nothing about the then
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!
MAJOR LOSS TO THE THEATER AND TO THE CULTURE! BARNES AS DEAD AS THE
CULTURE AS MOST THEATER GOERS.
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.
real review to appear
roundups that mention Handke -
my once oldest friend frank conroy's review of my translation of
ANXIETY AT THE PENALTY KICK
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.
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,
a state of paranoid schizophrenia
nominated a study of linguistic usage by paranoid schizophrenics as
book of the year),
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
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.
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.
richard locke has his go at GOALIE and he's better read than Frank,
but is all involved in Lit Talk.
it's an interesting piece.
unfortunate Clive Barnes now redeems himself with his go at
work if you can get it!
all the work I'd done on the translation and working with herbert
berghof and e.g. marshal & doing re-writes for Peter Brook I was
in the Far East for the Premiere & didn't see the Kerr review
until now. I'm impressed by the kicks Kerr gets out of the play.
review is JOHN ROCKWELL'S of
LETTER LONG FAREWELL
is the kind of critic who needs (needed) to take a puppy to bed and
not a book, he will really stick his foot into it the only other time
he has a go at a Handke work.
is MICHAEL WOOD
Clive Barnes has a go at the dramatized version of
work, socially redeeming stuff,
all the right heart strings.
SORROW as much as Barnes
we find out that Ms. Sivec/ Handke
herself at the prospect of the return of her monstrous husband from a
Sivec/ Handke clan seem never to have heard of separation or divorce!
darkest rural Austria!
hard-working - since early childhood - genius son turns out to be -
although autistically hypersensitive & seeing wave lengths we can
only dream of -
social oaf as a young man, not all that surprising,
MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING
too well read for his own good and thus fails to respond to the
suicide-inducing text, also misses the ACTUAL moment of true feeling.
is all that counts.
a big back story to this book, but you cannot judge a book by its
can be said to be in part responsible for all the lit crit talk about
his work with all the allusions he makes, but when he is wounded
literature is his safety net!
early work made me recommend him to Suhrkamp
not that much better on
OF TRUE FEELINGS
formidable ANATOLE BROYARD,
WHAT THE CYSTOSCOPE SAID
as blank as Barnes,
to describe the book,
like it to be a different book, and must have been a fan of
TIMES MODERN LOVE section
everything between the turtle doves ends up making psychological
major point here is that the
is beyond psychology
no doubt some shrink could have been found to convict her of being a
again there is a big back story to the novella, which again is of
ernst pawel on the handke phenomenon
out clearly in favor of
was published in its entirety by The New Yorker
the Yale Rep
ARE DYING OUT
is very kind but
its very Austrian farcicality, no Nestroy, Raimund, or Goldoni or
Shakespeare for that matter.
the Wenders/ Handke film
WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
Chinese of Pain/ the Water Torture)
reminds me why I can't ever abide more than a paragraph
her cramped mind,
the one and only republishable book review in your pages in these
NEW YORK TIMES
THE ABSENCE, neither the book nor the film.
book reading which can be experienced like as a film -
compendium of three works that in American is called
any part thereof reviewed in the Times pages -
guess is a review was killed? At that point it had been 7 years after
THE PUBLICATION OF LEFT-HANDED WOMAN
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.
did the NY TIMES review my best translation
ABOUT THE VILLAGES
in this instance because the chintzy publisher
not send out review copies,
even to Publisher's Weekly or Library Journal
my translation of
OF THE OUTERWORLD OF THE INNERWORLD -
must have been a poet about who could have had a lot of fun with
friend Fred Seidel was
intrigued when I showed the work to him!
Barthelme was going to run
large selection in a magazine
his that never saw the
my translation of
of Seagull Books recent publication
take note of Handke's drama reply to Beckett's
of PAJ JOURNAL'S
of the great
disagree - but chacun sa gout!
Handke's REMEMBRANCE OF TIMES PAST
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.
is a cult book.
a huge impression on me
1986 when I finally was close to being and could appreciate the way
the book breathed, its rhythm.
David Pryce Jones
professional anti-communist & anti-Nazi and all around ignorant
the kid to inveigh against Austria's belated failure to acknowledge
its enthusiastic complicity with Nazism and inveigh against Tito
photos in Slovenia.
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
the Guardian review instead.
the editor of the book review allowed this piece of garbage to appear
in its pages is beyond me.
AFTERNOON OF A WRITER
reviewed by herbert mitgang who, I gather, was regarded as a jerk by
his fellows at the NY Times
LINDA SIMON too
a go at
neither of these reviews
how to DESCRIBE what they allegedly read nor summarize the happening
but infer that the writer must be a reprehensible person.
does this “projection screen”
can be said to be nothing but an unfolding of one's projections)
a book actually
a reviewer to say?
reviewer might notice that
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.
in line hereabouts is a piece on why the city named after Chief
Sealth is so entirely unconducive to creativity.)
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?
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
devil in Ms. Jones”
mention about the ex former friend –
if I were to open up, would devastate that devil, but it has no
bearing on the nature or quality of the text.
summa of all of Handke's early theater work -
that Rockwell would know. produces a catharsis just
LAKE CONSTANCE does.
is one of the great modern texts, others being Heiner Mueller's
QUARTET & HAMLET MACHINE.
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
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.
here is Alan Riding's reportage
goes off base on the THREE ESSAYS
not by much
fails to realize that Handke is as interested in the PLACES where he
sets his work as in the ostensible themes.
misses that JUKE BOXES were an
from family during
Handke will write the essay
THE SHIT HOUSE
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.
far worse than Birkets
a pretty good version of what's called
“objective account” of
inception of a decade(s) long
and properly takes no sides.
we come to a true horror:
several hundred years of great European aestheticians writing
marvelously in the major European languages there comes
sorry excuse for a critic,
sort of see him deriving from Perth Amboy)
great text & the reader
Siegel may snark to his heart's delight, however the editor of
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
a responsibility to its readers and to the book under review that
anything of the kind
in this instance where
with very considerable European track record of a serious reception.
With NO-MAN'S BAY
if not already with
enters the ranks of major European writers, Gottfried Keller,
Eichendorf, Stifter Goethe, Flaubert.
YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
parochial as to ignore the context, Lee Siegel's editor so lazy as to
fail to double check his review?
shame a great shame was here committed
Siegel is as lucky as David Price Jones & a few others that we
didn't meet in the Chihuahua desert in the late 80s when I carried
side arms and slew his likes to feed the vultures looking for traces
of Ambrose Bierce!
here is my take on the book
come reports of the Comedie Francaise
the ART OF ASKING because of Handke's appearance at the Milosevic
a fine account of this.
Heinrich Heine prize controversy is along the same line.
nice intervew with Deborah Solomon in the Magazine
come to Neil Gordon's idiotic non-response to
THE SIERRA DEL GREDOS
I mentioned previously about bullshitter Lee Siegel applies doubly to
appears old friend Conroy, teaching writing at Iowa, told the
idiot to head to the East Coast!
people feel that the last 100 page of SIERRA DEL GREDOES
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.
of the Austrian State buying a part of the Handke archive,
not of the German archive, buying the other half.
confesses to Mueller that
become a capitalist... and a generous angel to writers and an enclave
in the Kosovo he is.
is called “a revival” of
actually, had never been done
in New York, but by me with my little troupe & at the HB Studio.
London performance of HOUR.
misses a few beats along the way.
Glass Opera based
OF THE LOST
MENTION OF THE MUEHLHEIM PRIZE
biggest prize in German theater
mention of the Ibsen Prize in 2014
Nobel prize for theatrical
not under your
is aclutter with no end of junk.
that the NY Times
exclusively responsible for the by and large catastrophic Handke
reception in the United States
is the ganging up on Handke for his different take on the
disintegration of the 2nd Yugoslave Federation
one wants him to say the same thing they are saying!
those who are interested here is a link to no end of material on the
spent at least one year during the past 20 researching every aspect
of that matter.
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
YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
Silver en espcial
have know better
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.
years after the inception of the Handke/ Serbia controversy
are ignorant assholes like Leland Delaruntaye
have nothing better to do than call Handke an asshole
the London Review of Books
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.
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
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!
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?
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
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 -
thus, bring Handke to the wrong publisher (with Susan Sontag's
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.
it is, that is
“the maggot in the meat.”
least I ought to have been enthusiastic about the money that such a
book would generate.
situation is the following:
year is 1966, I am now married and it is calming, but I don't just
want to just translate and scout -
the link to who I am at that point in my literary life:
there are some
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 &
Hilsenrath's NIGHT, a Musil novella,
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.
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.
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
the war criminal - neither
charisma nor fascist refrain “do for your country...” did much
any of the Kennedies - especially Bobby of the House Unamerican
the War Criminal President
the Bay of Pigs
was, as far as I was concerned,
walking dead man: CIA, the Mob, Castro... and it turns out to have
been just a lone wolf.
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.
relationship with Farrar, Straus & their eventual disastrous
mispublishing of Handke:
Straus' interruption of the publication of Handke work for seven
years in the 80s
Their turning down what Handke judged at the time to be the best
translation he ever saw, mine of
ABOUT THE VILLAGES
all further plays despite KASPAR AND OTHER PLAYS
being in its tenth printing
the second volume
ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE & OTHER PLAYS
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,
some responsibility for that huge misjudgment.
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
novel KALI (The Saltworks)
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)
the novel/play STORM STILL
making the major mistake of allowing the wonderful but entirely
Winston as their advisor in the matter,
has been unable to complete
its publication seven years ago in Germany -
be perused in the requisite dirty ratstail manner in greater detail
via this link.
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
HANDKE AUF DIE SCHLICHE
itself needs revising, also in light of
Herwig's in some respects devastating revelations in his
below you will find the link to material related to the first English
language premiere of a Peter Handke play
20 + years -
BEAUTTIFUL DAYS IN ARANJUEZ
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
of the Zejlko Dukic
BEAUTTIFUL DAYS IN ARANJUEZ as translated
it has so often disastrously over the past fifty years.
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.
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.
the NEW YORK TIMES needs
least one full-time European cultural reporter & at least one for
the rest of the world, it will be worth it for the INTERNATIONAL