6]“The predominant atmosphere in both books, however, is one of detachment; in Repetition, the descriptions of the Slovenian countryside are almost…” I must have read at least a 1000 psycho-analytic case histories; very coolly written: I supply the tears where I know oceans of them were shed on the couch. J.S. needs to re-examine his use of detached, take a look at how Joyce describes his procedure in Portrait of the Artist. It appears that J.S. wants to contrast Handke’s way of writing his novels with his engagement for the Serbians – well, even the three Yugoslav travel books, the parts that are strictly phenomenological are just as “detached” .
7] “His work may be set almost anywhere in Europe and America, but there is remarkably little of the world in that work; the landscapes and cityscapes are undifferentiated, reduced, often, to abstract visual sensations “
Handke is a phenomenologist, he is noted for how rooted, site specific his work is! Whole books and essays have been written on the subject, look at the work of Mireille.Tabah [a] ulb.ac.be. GOALIE is obviously set first in the Viennese Prater Section, SHORT LETTER ever so obviously all over the USA, LEFT-HANDED WOMAN begins with a very beautiful description of the undulating Paris as it look from Clamart/Meudon, where Handke was living at the time and also filmed the book; ACROSS in Salzburg, the chief reason for writing that book was to memorialize its surround, I could go on and on. J.S. must be one of the biggest morons ever to set words on paper! Or whatever, the only reason I am doing this is because this shit appeared in the vaunted NYRB.
8]“Handke's prose doesn't translate well into English, but in German it has remarkable power, a sort of full-throated subtlety — he would seem to combine the directness of a writer like Hemingway with the astringency and ease of Don DeLillo, though he has his own, invariably alienating purpose….”…Handke’s work does what he, who has translated from five languages, does: it takes the translator by the elbows; he has taken me, Krishna Winston, Scott Abbott, and Ralph Mannheim by their best elbows, he thought my translation of his WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES was better than any translation he could have imagined. Well, t’wouldn’t have been feasible without an original text, which daft as my man can be he clear forgot for a while in his enthusiasm he himself had written! This is yet another of J.S.’s bald ignorant assertions, since he is so ill-versed, so utterly ignorant that then is all he can do. Amazing that you, Bob Silvers and your editors who must have at least glanced at the Handke books that you gave out for review would let this merde pass and go into print.
Here some samples and a link to the site that addresses Handke as a translator:
You have a sample of Scott Abbott’s in his translations of JUSTICE FOR SERBIA and VOYAGE BY DUGOUT coming, and of Krishna Winston’s work on DEL GREDOS above, who succeeded Ralph Manheim midway of his work on the so highly and specifically localized – Lineares, Soria, Paris - THREE ESSAYS [Farrar, Straus, 1993], and boy did Handke get lucky with Krishna! Mannheim did fine work except, I found, especially with the beginning of A SLOW HOME COMING [which American edition of this 1979 title novel also contains the 1979 walking journal book, THE LESSON OF ST. VICTOIRE and the 1980 memoir A CHILD’S STORY, just re-issued by NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS BOOKS] he failed to find the adequate rhythms. Here two samples of my work. The early plays were pretty straightforward, except that they needed to be tested by actors mouths, as they then were, however the KASPAR was only for the UK Methuen edition thereof. Handke got lucky there with me, not only that I knew my Shakespeare courtesy of my lunatic of an OSS stepfather but also courtesy of my knockabout with the tongue of the street, which is where the re-emigrated Ralph Mannheim is sorely lacking in all his work. With DYING OUT matters began to be more challenging, by the time I got to WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES we were in the realm of great and powerful poetry. However, he also got quite unlucky with Gitta Honegger’s translations of HOUR and the ART OF ASKING where the National’s London Production commissioned a new translation of what is one of the great unspoken text in the German language [it’s syntax takes you by the scruff of yours and doesn’t let go until the end, I only know of one other text like that Heiner Mueller’s HAMLET MACHINE] of stage translations. And ART OF ASKING, prior to its English language premiere needs at least a thorough revision, but “Ekel” Peter has only himself to blame, he hates it when he gets caught with his hands in the cookie jar, and becomes as humorless as death, the confessed liar does!
From the three long progressively more fugueing poems in Nonsense and Happiness, Urizen Books, 1976, at the end of which my man had a panic attack and ended up in a hospital with a tachycardia:
“This fall time passed nearly without me
and my life stood as still as then
when I had felt so low
I wanted to learn to type
and waited evenings in the windowless ante-room
for the course to begin
The neon-tubes roared
and at the end of the hour
the plastic covers were pulled back over the type-writers.
I came and went and
would have not been able to say anything about myself.
I took myself so seriously that I noticed it,
I was not in despair merely discontent.
I had no feeling for myself and no feeling for anything else. (…)
A diary I wanted to keep
consisted of a singe sentence
“I’d like to throw myself into an umbrella”
and even that I hid in shorthand
The sun has been shining for four weeks
and I have been sitting on the terrace
and to everything that crossed my mind
and to everything I saw
I only said “yes yes” (…)
”The longer I think the more Siberian the wind that blows through my head”
I read in James Hadley Chase (…)
I had the need to love someone
but when I imagined it in detail
I became discouraged
In The Man Without Qualities I reached the sentence “Ulrich examined the man”
(“man”, too, Musil meant disparagingly)
when nausea stopped me from reading on
That perhaps was a sign that things were looking up for me
Occasionally I thought of my child
and went to him
only to show him that I was still there
Because I had such a guilty conscience
I spoke very distinctly to him (…)
At that time in summer
when the grass was still dense and long colorful toys lay strewn about in it
and someone said
“That lies there like a child’s dream”
(Before I wrote that
I had to laugh very intimately
But it fit the facts –
and without conceptual exertion)...
In this monstrously glowing autumnal world
writing too seemed nonsensical to me
Everything pressed itself so much upon me
that I lost all imagination (…)
In the papers I read that a wealthy aristocratic banker’s wife had said “The rich became even richer under this government. You won’t believe me
BUT MY HUSBAND WAS FURIOUS ABOUT THAT.”
That perked me up absurdly
Once a woman sat before me
and I thought
“I have to get very close to her
so that her beauty can unfold itself.”
but she shriveled
when I approached her (…)
flies died everywhere obtrusively
I picked them up and threw them in the wastebasked
When I turned on the faucet
I always caught the chlorine donation (…)
… and when I went to the mailbox
I was so blinded by the asphalt
I had to put my hand over my eyes
so as to be able to greet the dark figures approaching me
Finally, then, at dusk
at the gabled house diagonally opposite
the EDEKA sign glowed
and I went shopping
The shop was so bright and quiet
the manager was counting the receipts
the freezers hummed endearingly
and the fact that the chives I bought
were held together by a rubber band
practically moved me to tears (…)
Then at night
I slept with the garden shears beside me
and the child fidgeted with trembling hands
screaming in his bed
When I closed my eyes I could open them only one by one
Yes, I had once known how I ought to live
But now everything was forgotten
I would not even perceive a fart
as something physical
I’m really in a bad way’
I know one shouldn’t stop like that
but there’s no alternative”
with precisely those words
- Speedy Gonzales of concepts –
- I wanted to stop
even before I started to write
Then with the insolence
what was thought-out beforehand became even ghostlier
word by word
and really with one jolt
I again knew what I wanted
and again felt eager for the world
(As a boy when a feeling of the world overcame me
I only felt the desire tot WRITE something
now a poetic desire for the world usually
only occurs when I write something)
“I am feeling again” I thought
But I made a slip of mind
and thought “I am reeling again.”
In the last few days
nature became musical
It s beauty
and its magnificence so intimate
I sloshed with pleasure through the dead leaves
walked behind the perfumed poodle
The bushes moved
as when soldiers are on maneuvers
are camouflaged behind them
The deep brown fir trees stood animally physical
before the window
and at one place in the ominous landscape
the birch tree leaves glinted as bright
as a cry of pain
“Oh” I thought
Farther away smoke drifted past behind houses
and the TV antennas in front became monuments
With every day you saw more branches among the foliage
the few leaves of grass grown back since the last mowing
glowed so intimately
that I became afraid of the end of the world
even the façade of the houses
smiled in my human reflection
“It hurts so much!” I heard a woman say of the jet trails in the sky (…)
Deep at night
it became bright again
Crushed from the outside
I began to curdle
in full consciousness
Unfeeling my cock twitched
from breath to breath
“Don’t wake up now!” I thought
and held my breath
But it was too late
Nonsense had struck again
Never before had I felt so in the minority
Outside the window
nothing but omnipotence
At first a few bird sang
then so many
became a racket
the air an echo chamber
without pause or end
Such a down
suddenly no memory
no thought of the future.
I lay stretched out long in my fear
did not dare
open my eyes
relived the winter night
when I did not turn once
from one side
to the other
gnarled by the cold then
now stretched out
illiterate from the horror outside me (…)
The unleveled rolling plazas
in the large graceful city
this repetition of the open country
with the horizons of hills
amid the houses
prolonged into the city
onto these plazas
where you were over-whelmed as nowhere else
by horizon longing…
When I climbed out of the subway
even the dog shitting on the sidewalk
struck me as magicked
I shuddered with disbelief
suddenly I was THE OBJECTIVELY LIVING THING
My cock lay strangely forgotten
between my legs
Joy rose from the deepest depths
and replaced me
“I can be happy” I thought
“Why don’t you envy me!”
For days I was beside myself
and yet as I wanted to be.
I ate little
talked just to myself –
needless so happy
unapproachable so full of curiosity
I as inspired machine
everything happened by chance:
that a bus stopped
and that I got on
that I rode the ticket’s worth
that I walked through the streets(…)
The cats sniffed around in the mausoleums
of the large cemeteries
Very small couples sat in the cafes
and ate Salade Niçoise together…
I was in my element
But in my dreams
I hadn’t yet lost all interest
Straggling slime track
of the snail person.
I was not ashamed
was only angry.
I made myself wishless
by drinking too much
The twitching eyelids became irksome
The passersby were walk-ons
who behaved like stars
“Levi-Jeans-People! I thought
-“Which says everything about you” I thought
without the earlier sympathy.
I became superficial with crossness(…)
In any case:
a DIFFERENT NONSENSE
without deathly fear
My heart throbbed for no one
and the city was foreign to me again
from all its familiar landmark
In a friend’s apartment
I sat absentmindedly
my ears buzzing
and heard my own soulless voice
Being happy all I could remember
being unhappy merely unhappiness
Indifferently I recounted
how okay everything had been with me.
Then we talked about fucking
The sexual expressions
provided us with the unabashedness
for everything else
Anyone joining us we greeted
and let loose
they lost their strangeness(…)
Everything without being horny
In the upper deck of the bus
the total strangers grinned
as they listened to us
and felt at home with us
as soon as one of us
suddenly mentioned something!
But there was always someone
who found a hint of sex
in the allegedly other…
Yet no one talked about him or herself
we only fantasized
never the embarrassment of true stories
How the surrounding flourished then
and the pleasure of the sour wine in
the heartiness of the sour wine
in the cylindrical glasses
The indescribable particular
of the grim new age
and the order of their lost connection
in the dirty stories
Hello meaning is back!(…)
Then it got serious
and the seriousness hit so quickly
that it didn’t want to be me
who was meant
Then I became curious
I would take a woman to the next best toilet
No more flirting
no more obscenities
no more double entendres
instead of “fucking” I now said:
“sleep with you”
- if I said anything at all.
I pared my fingernails
so as not to hurt you too much
In my horniness
I could suddenly call nothing
by its name
Before I had found a metaphor for sex
in the most unsuspecting things
during the experience
we experienced the sexual acts
as metaphors for something else(…)
On a cold indescribable day
when it does not want to become dark and not bright
the eyes neither want to open nor shut
and familiar sights don’t remind you
of your old familiarity with the world,
nor as new sights magick a feeling for the world
- the Two & One poetic world feeling –
when there exists no When and But,
no Earlier ad no Then,
and evening still unimaginable
and on the motionless trees only quite rarely a single twig snaps
as if it had become slightly lighter,
on an the indescribable day like that,
on the street,
between two steps,
the sense is suddenly lost:
the black man walking toward you
in his leather coat –
you want to slug his face,
and throttle the woman
reading off her list before you in the shop.
And more and more often
the thought frightens you
how you nearly did it
- a jolt was still lacking, the mysterious
with which love set in at one time
or the wild resolve to lead life your way,
the certainty of a formless kind of immortality…
(Then you read in the papers of some who succumbed to this jolt and you wonder why there are still so few.)
Wherever you look now – everything greenish-discolored at such moments
as on a too briefly discolored photo,
the objects half complete,
and no hope of completing them,
every sight a rotted fragment
without the idea of a plan,
which became lost,
still raw-girdered and already a ruin,
which you avoid,
fearing you will collapse with it(…)
excrescence of an excrescence
- if only the eyes would close,
- of you could only squint at such moments,
soothe the nausea in the eyeballs,
- and it would be just MOMENTS (after which you could sigh) –
but not this TIMELESS, EMPTIED-OUT, SPEECHLESS, FUTURE-REPRESSING, INANIMATE, SENSELESS HUMBUG
IRREMOVABLE FROM THE ZENITH, SCRATCHING YOUR
SOUL FROM YOUR BODY.
- Someone has stopped on the street
and cannot go on:
not only he has stopped,
everything else has too,
and so it seems that he walks on,
and that the rest walks on too.
But he is only pretending to walk; and the way he regards the horizon at the end of the street is also feigned;
and the French fries which he smells somewhere while he pretends
- it might be altogether somewhere else –
he only notices
as a last kindness toward himself;
actually he does not smell anything any more,
and the French fries are homeless remnants
from that already unimaginable time
when every object still hugged its meaning:
recollection of a picture in a church where the Just stand beneath the Blessed Virgin’s coat.
Yes, everything has turned into abrasive outer world in this state
and in the open-skull an unappetizing something, once called brain
puffs itself up in the draft.
Instead of consciousness
skin sensations and allergy:’
an incalculable time of rashes,
of goose bumps,
An unpleasant itch
when the lips accidentally touched each other
- you have become ticklish to yourself. (…)
The sky above the crane could be a picture,
which rekindles the necessary patience,
but the well-worn sky heals nothing either,
nor the word that soothes so often,
which you say to yourself:
the clouds grow repulsively
lie in unholy havoc,
and the earth too, leveled to the horizon.
Everything mixed up.
And everything expressionless.
AND EVERYTHING COMPLETELY EXPRESSIONLESS. (…)
and feel in the wrong toward others
and regard your states just one of those states:
as if you behaved “like a schoolboy
not to be taken seriously.
So you don’t take yourself seriously in company
but the nonsense is too real,
and therefore unbearable.(…)
but even the prettiest sight now diminishes life.
A bombing attack of nonsense on the world:
right behind the house wall the earth breaks off
into whirlpools of
(some call it ocean trench, others space, others hell)
and on the last atoll a children’s carousel turns
tinkling, god forlorn.
Stop! Gaze at this picture:
Did not the lids lower over the eyes at this sight?
- It is no picture: and if so, it went under from your impatience
with the last bit of earth.
The gloom where the earth was
distinguishes itself from the gloom
of the indefinable all around
only by its fresher black,
and now even the whirlpools are streaming in…(…)
in the shattering environment,
which had been on the verge of soothing itself,
your dyed in the wool HUMBUG breaks forth aain,
world-wide and skin-tight…(…)
or another time
a typewriter shop,
you stare down at the machine
with paper to try it out,
among the people in the shop,
“O desespoir! O villessee! O rage!...”
- Your eyes grow wide,
whatever you look at
after such long nonsense, suddenly there was so much of the world’s abundance. (…)
a feeling also returns
to your own ugly, deaf face,
and the indescribable day
and when you look at the woman again
you notice she isn’t smiling at all,
but only has an expression:
even the expression on her face
seemed like a smile to you.(…)
gradually you begin to picture these different women
even as something mythical
-old hiccup of poets drunk on being –:
when a woman with water in her leg climbs in,
more awkwardly than the others,
and kindly destroys the facile PICTURE…
And what do you bring home in the evening?-
Such sights for example,
the sight collector answers proudly.
And how do you order them?-
Because the fear of the nonsense is over
they no longer need an order.
And your own impression? –
Because the nonsense is over the sight has simultaneously become the impression.
And the actual words?-
When I see something, I only say: O God!
or simply call out: The evening sky!
or whimper softly..
And yet –
Beware of the musicality of the world!
Beware of the happy ending!
For even when the indescribable day came
you had been warned of previous indescribable days,
as in a fairy tale,
before you walked through the forest,
of the good fairy
or of the talking animal,
- and must,
as in the fairy tale,
have forgotten the warning after all.
instead of the all too anecdotal happiness,
you cling to the moment
when the nonsense let up and the new familiarity was felt as pain.
The dreams are in the offing.
They are there:
A large red cherry falls slowly past you down the elevator shaft.(…)
the time when you can dream
is a sensible time.
Already you nod to yourself in the street and shake your head; munch like a child an apple before falling asleep;
walk straight through puddles
and again say “merry go round”
instead of “carousel”…
On a cold bright morning
still imbued by a long
where you were
what you can be
-the dream itself was the fulfillment –
and at the sight of the wide sky
behind the edge of the city
you look forward to growing old for the first time,
and in front of the child
who looks at you
after he has knocked over the glass,
if the child wouldn’t have to look at you like that any more –
that might be the real way.
NOW A SERIES OF QUOTES FROM WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES 
"At dusk it is quiet and empty there, the mounds are enshrouded , the glaciers have melted just now, it is ten thousand years before out time, and it is our time...."
"The last dramas are those of places..."
"Land, lower your flag and coat of arms. Valleys all, strike your hymns, forget your names. Ways here, shelter yourself in namelessness... Construction site, here, you too, as in the old saying, animate yourself in nameless simplicity."
"We are the figures walking in the distance through the fields, the silhouettes in the cross country bus which drives through the snow plain. Our shadow faces fill the first to last subway are and only in the curves do our eyes briefly lose touch..."
"I saw this spot as the colors and forms which had been cleansed of everything secretive, everything parochial, everything atmospheric, everything typical, everything manic...."
"A few centuries ago it was the practice in this valley to make so-called leaf-masks. Between woodcut leaves a a mouth opened and out looked human eyes. Once I saw us - not just us three - thus together in the foliage, I walked late in fall through a large park that was covered with fallen leaves, the afterglow of the sunset sky on them, the leaves moved lightly between the blades and sometimes one of them also leaped up or flipped over, and while I moved slowly through the leaves all our faces and all our stores rose form the foliage: it was one face and one story, and this one face and the one story that I know now, should be the goal of the work, not only of my work but of all our work. The movement of these fallen leaves in the grass was the gentlest that man has ever seen! But now it is as though only a few single leaves chased after me in the dark crackling and rusting like dogs or pursuers."
"Wretched is everything, from here to the horizon, and here is the pain, forever. I will turn to me dead. Haven't they been the green field on my breast time and again? It is them I address in the dark, and they appear, in the eye of the cat, in the branch brushing the window in the night-wind, even in the humming of the ice box. The skeletons lie there stretched on in the earth and can be approached. I will squat down with them, and that will do me good. No, they don't want anything from me and are not angry. I think myself free of everything - and they are there, not as the dead but as my saints and helpmates. I show my profile to the false abundance of the here and now and they form the interface profile in empty space. I let them be around me and my evil blood flows differently. My dead are not ghosts of the night - they are part of the brightest daylight, and I touch them not when I sleep but when I rest...
From the end of W.A.T.V.
HANS: [softly to his three colleagues]: Say: "Sorrow"
THE THREE: "Sorrow."
HANS: "Who helps?"
HANS: Look away from me.
ANTON: The river has dried up.
IGNATIUS: The milk stand torn down.
ALBIN: The village tavern without wine.
HANS: It is becoming hard to walk on the earth.
ANTON: The sun is made of ice.
IGNATIUS: It refuses to shine.
ALBIN: I see behind the evil moon an even more evil one rise.
HANS: Gaze, stars, finally down on different earthlings.
ANTON: The man at the well is a good-for-nothing.
IGNATIUS: The barefoot lady no longer lifts the hem of her skirt in the grass.
ALBIN: The boy with the red vest spits on us.
HANS: The girl at the well is no longer an image of life. Sing the song of woe. Scream in rhythm. Rise against so-called creation and, with all your might in the wrong key sing our song of woe and revenge. [They wail off key with all their might.]
ANTON: Sunken the shores of love.
IGNATIUS: I lie twitching on no beach.
ALBIN: My brain twists and turns in the broken-in-two nutshell, no man with the password helps me to get out, no one will sit down sweetly beside me, my despairing glance meets no pair of eyes, my lips twitch in bewilderment, and I pant for no heaven in the last waves before the nought-nought-nought.
HANS: [turning to the Old Woman]: "There is no consolation."
THE OLD WOMAN: "There is no consolation."
HANS: There is neither knowledge nor certainty, there is nothing whole, and what I think I think alone, and what occurs to me alone is not the truth but an opinion, and there is no such rule as universal reason, and collective human destiny walks about more than ever as a ghost.
THE OLD WOMAN: The vinegar sponge doesn't even have vinegar an more.
HANS: The man with the redeeming glance is rattling full of millstones.
HANS: Church spires jut like spears in enemy country.
THE OLD WOMAN: The side-wound has a stench, and the ruby-red gleaming stars are the killer bear's.
So much for the “grey” poet Peter Handke, who re-invented alternating discourse [in lieu of hideous naturalistic dialogue] we will now all take up a collection to pay to give eyes to the sightless J.S.
directness of a writer like Hemingway with the astringency and ease of Don DeLillo,
As for the idiotic helplessness of describing a writer in terms of other writers - the other recourse aside impressionistic loads of adjectives that folks of the ilk of J.S. have - comparisons of this kind are only useful and justified in the case of, say, Hemingway copy cats. Handke uses the standard classical style in an extremely economical manner initially, eventually reacquiring the whole range, and because he has that genius access to syntax and the dream-film screen on which within which he writes he is a virtuoso. Dangerously virtuoso like even. As of about the mid-70s.
full-throated subtlety…??? What might that be, warbles like a Robin??
continued on iii