Saturday, December 3, 2016

MORAVIAN-NIGHTS-DISCUSSION: ENGLISH LANGUAGE REVIEWS

MORAVIAN-NIGHTS-DISCUSSION: ENGLISH LANGUAGE REVIEWS


SCOTT ABBOTT'S REVIEW AT OPEN LETTERS

http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/a-slow-inquiring-narration/

and here my response to his review

=I=

​Let me start with minor and end with my major quibbles to my good friend Scott Abbott's piece on Peter Handke's MORAVIAN NIGHT. 

1-I did did not just translate Handke’s early plays -   the Sprechstuecke of the 60s - but two volumes: KASPAR & OTHER PLAYS + RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE & OTHER PLAYS + the 1981 WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES, 10 plays over the course of 15 years;  in addition, two volumes of poetry, INNERWORLD OF THE OUTERWORLD OF THE INNERWORLD + NONSENSE & HAPPINESS. 


2- The 8 year delay in the publication of MORAVIAN has to do, in large part, with Krishna Winston, FSG's translator of choice, being backed up with work as I might have mentioned in my 

http://handke-magazin.blogspot.com/2016/08/us-handke-publication-history.html 

which Scott has had for some time and where he might have discovered that the reasons for Handke's waning sales are at least threefold: an EIGHT YEAR and not a four year break between the extremely successful publication of LEFT HANDED WOMAN & the collection of three different books of Handke's under the title of the novel contained therein A SLOW HOMECOMING, a lapse that sapped the great interest also manifested in mass paperback sales of the early books as TWO BY HANDKE, THREE BY HANDKE. I was no longer Handke's editor at FSG [of which Handke must have had at least ten during the nearly 50 years of his publication history with the firm] - but, working as an editor in New York, stayed well informed & advised against that delay.     

=II=

And now to serious disagreement on a few points of Scott’s reading of MORAWIAN NIGHT, a book we like equally well, it has become my second most favorite Handke:

“Peter Handke’s The Moravian Night is a novel about storytelling,” Scott writes & mistakes, speciously, effort - a craftsman’s lifelong consideration - for the result  which in the instance produced some of the finest realistic , graphically, painterly  and playfully inventive work that Handke has done. If Handke, a considerable essayist  - note  his THREE ESSAYS - had wanted to write on “story telling” he would have done so in that form and not at epic 150,000 word length and forced Scott’s tiresome iteration of Handke’s thoughtfulness on the matter each time that Handke is thoughtful prior to the demonstration of the result of thoughtfulness, which after all is what manifests itself to readers and provides their experience of the text.

Handke is a slight of hand artist - an artificer par excellence in Joyce’s sense - who can make a text read as though you are experiencing a film, he does here briefly once at the opening of a long marvelous wandering section along the Danube flood plains. 

“Perception,” of  which Scott makes serious fuss, is influenced - also deceived - by any number of matters, including the unconscious, as we have know with some finality; particularly in an instance of a writer like Handke who is hyper-super sensitive to the inside and the outside of the inside - to put it this way and not address the matter in a psycho-neuro-physicist fashion. Just one example: The section set in Corduba/ Krk, which Scott cites, strikes me, the reader as though narrated against a backdrop of a dramatic El Greco painting - Glackens also comes to mind -  corposcular crepuscular - that is the created suggested mood, and appropriate to the grim subject at hand that Handke’s painterly craft achieves. Handke does not “modulate” experience verbally, that would be naturalism, he creates experiences, he is an inventor so as to communicate, to dominate, to play, to make aware & has developed the means to do so. If the book is ABOUT narration it is so only as yet one other virtuoso performance of all or many of the ways that Handke can do so.

MORAVIAN NIGHT is not any kind of ordinary novel or saga but a collage whose slithers are stitched via a narrator who reports an ex-author’s experiences - the slithers if they fit anywhere overall do so in what I call Handke's grand display of his Yoknapawtaka self, in analogy to Faulkner's county where all of that great writer’s books are set. Perhaps Scott can show how these and the other slivers are to be read a part of a novel or saga or whatever you want to call MORAWIAN NIGHT, which is so different from Handke's other books, where Scott's imprecation would make sense. My experience of these great books is of their being unitary experiences that alter my state of mind, kinethetially, analogous to what some of his plays do in inducing catharses, I feel healthy as a consequence, healthier. Here in MORAWIAN NIGHT, I have this sensation only on a few occasions where there is a continuous narrative, the Galicia tunnel section, the wandering around the Danube flood plain - I certainly do not have this sense  during the narrative stitching of these episodes to the evening on board the ship. I maintain that MORAWIAN NIGHT is a collage, a portmanteau for all kinds of things that Handke had not accommodated anywhere else, and for subjects he chose not address in one of what I call his Assayings, those probing essays. If the subject interests your readers they may want to join me and Scott in our ongoing discussion of any number of aspects of this book at:

http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/2016/08/main-moravian-night-discussion-page.html

Sincerely Michael Roloff

http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name

http://handke-magazin.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-hub-navel-to-todos-handke.html/ 

http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html/


A couple of responses to Michael’s comments:
I wrote at length about the novel as an exploration of storytelling, making the case for that with lots of examples. You ignore the argument and the examples and avoid the question by calling my reading mistaken and specious.
Then you ask me to show how the sections I have so carefully cited and shown to be the formal backbone of the novel “are to be read a part of a novel or saga.” That is exactly what I have done with the essay.
The problem may lie in your very limited sense for what a novel can be (“unitary experiences that alter my state of mind, kinesthetically, analogous to what some of his plays do in inducing catharsis”). Perhaps this is a novel of a different sort. 
Finally, you write that you very much like the translation. I have shown multiple examples of problems with the translation, only one of which could be construed as “quibbling.” I could show you many more — the book is full of problems. Perhaps you could offer some examples of how the translation serves the original well.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review: A Slow, Inquiring Narration

This morning Open Letters Monthly published my REVIEW of The Moravian Night. It is one of the most difficult reviews I have ever written, difficult in part because I wanted to get at the important ideas and forms of what I think is a brilliant novel, in part because the translation blocks access to those ideas. See what you think.

AND HERE MY REPONSE TO SCOTT'S REVIEW

=I=

​Let me start with minor and end with my major quibbles to my good friend Scott Abbott's piece on Peter Handke's MORAVIAN NIGHT. 

1-I did did not just translate Handke’s early plays -   the Sprechstuecke of the 60s - but two volumes: KASPAR & OTHER PLAYS + RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE & OTHER PLAYS + the 1981 WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES, 10 plays over the course of 15 years;  in addition, two volumes of poetry, INNERWORLD OF THE OUTERWORLD OF THE INNERWORLD + NONSENSE & HAPPINESS. 


2- The 8 year delay in the publication of MORAVIAN has to do, in large part, with Krishna Winston, FSG's translator of choice, being backed up with work as I might have mentioned in my 

http://handke-magazin.blogspot.com/2016/08/us-handke-publication-history.html 

which Scott has had for some time and where he might have discovered that the reasons for Handke's waning sales are at least threefold: an EIGHT YEAR and not a four year break between the extremely successful publication of LEFT HANDED WOMAN & the collection of three different books of Handke's under the title of the novel contained therein A SLOW HOMECOMING, a lapse that sapped the great interest also manifested in mass paperback sales of the early books as TWO BY HANDKE, THREE BY HANDKE. I was no longer Handke's editor at FSG [of which Handke must have had at least ten during the nearly 50 years of his publication history with the firm] - but, working as an editor in New York, stayed well informed & advised against that delay.     





which Scott has had for some time and where he might have discovered that the reasons for Handke's waning sales are at least threefold: an EIHGT YEAR and not a four year break between the extremely successful publication of LEFT HANDED WOMAN & the collection of three different books of Handke's under the title of the novel contained therein A SLOW HOMECOMING, a lapse that sapped the great interest also manifested in mass paperback sales of the early books as TWO BY HANDKE, THREE BY HANDKE. I was no longer Handke's editor at FSG [of which Handke must have had at least ten during the nearly 50 years of his publication history with the firm] - but, working as an editor in New York, stayed well informed & advised against that delay.     

II


However, there are not only the enumerated grave mistakes that Handke's publisher made but    




where you have one single solitary review by a true peer in all these years and can find but a single reprintable review among the whelm of shlock from the New York Times Book Review. - And faithless directors and producers in the matter of the later plays. 


If you want an example of what this country does when someone of a truly higher order appears - artistically that is as well as autistically are the two orders I claim = Handke became exemplary in one manner he certainly did not want to be. And then there is a fickle public made even fickler by the aforegoing.


3-I happen to like Krishna Winston’s translations a great deal




no matter that I, too. find the occasional significant error - very occasional - that if Ms. Winston had sound editors at FSG would have been corrected. When the going gets tough Krishna needs to consult! Scott is entirely unfair. I, too, find one or two sentences to quibble with, as I do in Sott’ work, as I do in my own when I look at older stuff. Quibbling provincial professors of Germanics among the marmots in Utah tend to be particularly myopic. Thus the quality of the translations would seem to be the very least of matters militating against the reception of the work of the mature Handke.     


=II=

And now to serious disagreement on a few points of Scott’s reading of MORAWIAN NIGHT, a book we like equally well, it has become my second most favorite Handke:

“Peter Handke’s The Moravian Night is a novel about storytelling,” Scott writes & mistakes, speciously, effort - a craftsman’s lifelong consideration - for the result  which in the instance produced some of the finest realistic , graphically, painterly  and playfully inventive work that Handke has done. If Handke, a considerable essayist  - note  his THREE ESSAYS - had wanted to write on “story telling” he would have done so in that form and not at epic 150,000 word length and forced Scott’s tiresome iteration of Handke’s thoughtfulness on the matter each time that Handke is thoughtful prior to the demonstration of the result of thoughtfulness, which after all is what manifests itself to readers and provides their experience of the text.

Handke is a slight of hand artist - an artificer par excellence in Joyce’s sense - who can make a text read as though you are experiencing a film, he does here briefly once at the opening of a long marvelous wandering section along the Danube flood plains. 

“Perception,” of  which Scott makes serious fuss, is influenced - also deceived - by any number of matters, including the unconscious, as we have know with some finality; particularly in an instance of a writer like Handke who is hyper-super sensitive to the inside and the outside of the inside - to put it this way and not address the matter in a psycho-neuro-physicist fashion. Just one example: The section set in Corduba/ Krk, which Scott cites, strikes me, the reader as though narrated against a backdrop of a dramatic El Greco painting - Glackens also comes to mind -  corposcular crepuscular - that is the created suggested mood, and appropriate to the grim subject at hand that Handke’s painterly craft achieves. Handke does not “modulate” experience verbally, that would be naturalism, he creates experiences, he is an inventor so as to communicate, to dominate, to play, to make aware & has developed the means to do so. If the book is ABOUT narration it is so only as yet one other virtuoso performance of all or many of the ways that Handke can do so.

MORAVIAN NIGHT is not any kind of ordinary novel or saga but a collage whose slithers are stitched via a narrator who reports an ex-author’s experiences - the slithers if they fit anywhere overall do so in what I call Handke's grand display of his Yoknapawtaka self, in analogy to Faulkner's county where all of that great writer’s books are set. Perhaps Scott can show how these and the other slivers are to be read a part of a novel or saga or whatever you want to call MORAWIAN NIGHT, which is so different from Handke's other books, where Scott's imprecation would make sense. My experience of these great books is of their being unitary experiences that alter my state of mind, kinethetially, analogous to what some of his plays do in inducing catharses, I feel healthy as a consequence, healthier. Here in MORAWIAN NIGHT, I have this sensation only on a few occasions where there is a continuous narrative, the Galicia tunnel section, the wandering around the Danube flood plain - I certainly do not have this sense  during the narrative stitching of these episodes to the evening on board the ship. I maintain that MORAWIAN NIGHT is a collage, a portmanteau for all kinds of things that Handke had not accommodated anywhere else, and for subjects he chose not address in one of what I call his Assayings, those probing essays. If the subject interests your readers they may want to join me and Scott in our ongoing discussion of any number of aspects of this book at:

http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/2016/08/main-moravian-night-discussion-page.html

Sincerely Michael Roloff

http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name

http://handke-magazin.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-hub-navel-to-todos-handke.html/ 

http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html/

====================
RESPONSE TO SCOTT'S RESPONSE

http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/a-slow-inquiring-narration/#comment-2036050

"

mikerol mikerol@gmail.com

4:21 PM (32 minutes ago)


to Scott
  
MORAWIAN NIGHT just is not a novel, or of a kind that Handke has written peviously. It is a grab bag of experiences of his own kind, some of which are altered some of which are not altered. It is a collage. You don’t really give examples except to quote Handke saying he thinks about these matters, I happened to find that the result of the dwelling & the manner in whch this disparate material is sewn narrated together fascinating and impressive but not the subject. The book has a variety of subjects, one major one I think is Handke’s feeling about Yugoslavia/ the Balkans, you notice this toward the end especially after the ex-author after his roundabout ends where he started off & he is rather sad about a lot of the changes that the disintegration has brought, although he does not name these events in those words but refers to the last war.Perhaps his feelings about nationality is even a subject since he fee4ls far more positively about the younger generation than he use to. germany is given that very short negative shrift. handke is a true “central european’ a term he evidently hates and derides, in thinking in terms of nationalities, plus ca change la meme chose in that respect. perhaps paranoia when it comes to women is a subject, it certainly is a poweful theme that keep cropping up in a variety of ways. i don’t think that asking for forgivenes is as tht cornila cheuse woman suggests whose paper i uploaded.
as to the transaltion, to cite a few major mistakes in a work of 150,000 words is quibbling, and i define where i agree with you: when truly challenged Ms. Winston is not up to th the task. But overall she has given me real pleasure over the years, more so than Handke’s previous chief prose translator did. To be fair would mean to cite the overwhelming number of sucessful paragraphs.

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

A few further thoughts on our disagreement, which I think comes down to those famous words: “the” & “about”.




I might just agree with you if we substituted “a” for the “the” & “theme” for “subject.”





If you look at the book, as I suggest, as a collage - how do folks go about “reading collages”? Not like ordinary paintings, although the overall of course leaves an initial usual puzzling, as here, impression - ‘how does all this fit together’ ? and then you notice the threads, the heavy Balkan thread that starts with the location of the narrative, that takes over with the bus ride, moves on to Krk.... keeps being tied, all those disparate stories, observations, this and that, Handke knick-knacks, to the boat where this is being narrated, and ends with very heavy emphasis back in the Balkans... If you look at this picture from the writer’s view who had this wonderful conception of creating a collage and unloading a lot of stuff you can see why it got him hot...though what it amounts to in the altogether?? Perhaps if Handke had not just invented but written straight autobiography? But that would have bored him I think, even though he seems to be exquisitely aware of his life’s progress; there is the love story buried in the book, which may be Peter’s way of indicating how happy is to have regained the second run-away bride, and so he is quite willing to have her [and how many others?] call him as cold as a cadaver as a cold-blooded salamander. There is a lot of mystery in the book, especially of course regarding the situation aboard & that is just as well. Is there the “story” , the one story it appears you find, in the book? In the development and denouement of the Balkan theme perhaps, in Handke’s humorous letting go of it, his making fun of himself as having been one of the last fanatical defenders? Overall it’s a pot pouri & I wonder what if any serious critics tangle with it here will do with the beast.













Monday, November 21, 2016

ROLOFF'S COMMENT ON FATHERLESSNES & CHAPTER V

COMMENT ON CHAPTER # 5, FATHERLESSNESS

Chapter V is the shortest & also the most perfect chapter in MORAWIAN NIGHT. I commented on it already during my initial take in 2008, which I have not re-read. I don't want to prejudice myself with what I said previously. However, I still feel or even more so - after reading this marvelous fairy tale set in the Harz. Handke imaginary Harzreise, competing with Heine - that our man is the bastard of bastards. No only is he an illegitimate child he is an illigitimate child whose mother did not imbibe fairness with her milk that he imbibed to excess. The father that we find here is an empty grave, a grave where the body has been disintered, it has been robbed! Discarded. If you know even half as much as I do about the Handke-Sivec family situation you ought to be appalled by what the beloved bastard performs here with the slight of hand of the killer with the silken noose. For if you wanted to be fair, matters become complicate4: Maria Sivec, Hadke’s dancing girl mother fell for a Germa soldier, a bank employee, already married, back in 1942, spring time, Handke’s birthday is December 6, a Sagitarius, like moi meme. H was carried to term, no birth ccmplication according to the midwife. Herr Schoenemann or Schoeneherr, that pretty man, however, was married, and did not divorce his wife and abandon his other childen - if alive these other children would be Handke’s other half-sibling, never mentioned to date, the two children that Maria Sivec had with the man she married to give the bastar child a name, Brunp Handke, the monster from SORROW BEYOND DREAMS, courte her after Herr Schoeneman was done with her, and she succumbed, it was Bruno that she traveled to Berlin in 1944 to find. In our marvelous fairy tale Maria’s escape from East Germany [now/ then the DDR] occurred two yeas later, and Handk, then 4 years old has written about the frightening experience, back to home village Griffen and the Slovenian Sive clan, is conflated with meeting the father in the Harz region. In the great drama STORM STILL the family saga is more intact than it is in this chapter fairy tale in MORAAWIAN NIGHT that in a one marvelous paragraph or less is elevated into the the as if of the narrtor’s make-believe - the efficiency of Handke’s stitching here! - However Herr S. [for short from now on] was concerned about the offspring, the quickly divined Wunderkind, and stayed in touch with the mother, and as even the dreadought did, contributed to his education, that is if we can believe Malter Herwig’s researches in his Handke biography which is based on good shoeleather acquired documentation

time for me to chime in again, Michael, with a note of what is approaching disgust. When you and Malte Herwig and Löffler and others scan the literature for biographical details and excoriate the author for what he reveals about himself -- supposedly reveals about himself -- and in the process pretend you are reading the novel as a work of literature, I see only so-called readers looking into a mirror.
I'd like to see you pay close attention to the marvelously evoked scene. Heine, for instance, is cited only as the writer whose work the former author is NOT reading. But the Heine reference and the book he is reading place this station of the pilgimage, like each of the stations, in a literary context. How does one write about experience? What is the relation between perception and language? 

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


as to HARZ REISE & FAIRY TALES
1- CHAPTER V is an obvious anti-idyll, both gross and subtly rendered. it also shows how much handke still detest germany by confining it to a helmsdorf-like enclave. i know most definitely of handke's german hatred as of 1971, in no uncertain terms.,

your assertion that the chapter proves that Handke detests German stands there with no support other your assertion that you knew Handke in 1971 and the fact that the chapter takes place in a single town.
Handke's hatred of Germans early on is well known, I merely happened also personally to witness its expression & one an ind evidence of it also in, say, the portrayal of the business folk in THEY ARE DYING OUT not just in interviews. Austrians were merly obese I recall & I can't disagree with the features that upset him. Handke, in MORAWAIN NIGHT, it turns out is also quite ambivalent about the Balkans, and quite disgusted with the way of the Balkanese! If you don't notice that this enclave is a dystopia and rendered as a fairly ridiculous place, then you have not read it. There may be these theoretical musings going on at moments where Handke sows doubt into the machinery, for aesthetic reasons, but then he becomes a realist, as in the bus trip to the ancient gave site, or a Swiftian satirist as he does here. If Handke wanted to write an assaying about modes of representation he could do so, and doesnt need the huge machinery of a saga. Handke put in characters from his own novels - Keuschnig, Filip Kobal - into MORAWIAN, neither I nor Sigried Loefflern nor Malter Herwig did. Handke is a very inventive writer , the whole notion of a boat tied on a river as an ex-writer's abode, hell he could have set it anywhere, and had as an exwriters someone who bore nor resemblance to him, instead he has someone who seems to a near but not quite double and has as its showplace nothing but Peter Handke's importantat venues.

2-the narrator himself questions the reality of what the ex-author tells him [but the narrator question it only once, we are deepy, half way into the book, and dont need to be reminded every few pages of the realm int which all this exist.], 

you are missing the point of why all the attention to modes of narration, supposing that it is just a smokescreen to keep us from attributing this to Handke. How might one tell this story? That's what the novel is exploring, station by station.

as does the author fail to deny that the whole thing is just made up:which has the following consequences. 
a- the entire sequence is made non-=naturalist, an absolute sie qua non necessity for handke as of his die hornissen, and fairy tale is perhapos not as good a name for it as anti-idyll.
b- it raises the sequence into the aesthetic realm of the as if - and when the "as if" is REALIZED, rendered satisfaction sets in, as it does here, and the reader's conviction plays the game with the author, becomes in sync.

c- by questioning whether the ex-author is handke or not, our man has his cake and can eat it too; be playful and coy; playful and serious as he is here; have fun; play peekaboo with the reader; is this auto-biographical or is it  not; and thus avoid serious problems as he does here as to to what extent he peter handke really lacked a father, or maybe just had several hated ones, and what qualities of theirs are his. 
what on reflection puzzles me is why he seems to hate his actual father to the extent that he does here. handke suffered what is called  anaclytiic depression while his mother was carrying him to term - she had been abandoned by the love of her life; and Bruno who wooed her and won her was scarcely a good substitute, although he was not yet i don't think the monster he turned out to be, for she would be unlikely to have gone hunting for him in berlin, where he, a wounded ex-soldier, was working as a tram driver, or ticket collector. if handke absorbed his mother's depression, he might also her anger at his father, and not been angry at him later for abandoning both him and his mother.  these are regions peter does not want to enter. and in fact they are speculative. i will ask sigrid loeffler is maybe she wants to join our discussion and defend her position that handke here is exceptionally self-critical, certainly one aspect of the book.  


as to perception and language, our sight collector is unusually playful and manages to exploit his notebooks.

you slip inevitably into your psychologizing and repeatedly discount my reading of the novel as about modes of narration as related to perception. Let me try to say it again: over the course of the night the storyteller recounts his various experiences. As he does so he wonders how one might tell those stories -- as a film might tell them? as a Western film might tell them? as Flaubert and Faulkner told them? as a journalist or creative-writing teacher might tell them? as they might be told through the structure of Catholic mass? What he perceives is determined in part by how he perceives (Kant taught us this lesson about the structures we impose on things in order to understand them).

relation between perception and language? is that a theme here? fairy tale it is in the sense that the narrator himself calls it an invention, a make-g\believe--it's a theme here as throughout. everything he sees -- the old people with their walkers, the young people returning to school, the amazing memories of his mother's stories about her border crossing, everything, as throughout the novel, is contextualized by his questions about how this would be depicted in film, in the book he is reading that is not Heine, and so on.

You call it a marvelous fairy tale but give no reasons for that -- and there are many. Instead you turn to self-righteous psychologizing. Come on, man. Let's talk about the novel!

http://handke-discussion.blogspot.com/2010/12/full-length-review-of-herwigs-handke.html

Meister der Dämmerung: Peter Handke. Eine Biographie: Amazon.de ...

https://www.amazon.de/...Handke.../dp/342104449X
  1. As Scott notes, too, [if I noted this, I'm sorry I did. Reading for biographical titillation is not reading -That is Handke's own doing by using his own biography and manipulating it and being coy, as in introducing charracters from his own novels, Keushnig et.]no, it's your doing, Herwig's doing, the doing of anyone not reading it as a novel but as autobiographical. Herwig discovered that there never transpired the famous end of SORROW BEYOND DREAMS gradudation trip with the real father where Herr S. allegedly worried that he and his bastard child might be regarded as a gay couple.  A nasty piece of work by Handke who as you may recall ended the book with the wish to be able to lie again (making the naive believe that he hadn’t) but endangering the books veracity if that particular lie was ever unearthed. The truth of fiction is of a different kind, and seems to tell us of Handke’s own homophobic fears - perfectly valid appropriate fears if you dwell on his childhood trauma, and much in evidence during our early acquaintance. My point in short, despite my immense admiration for the cool cat writing of this chapter: perhaps he will yet write the essay that his complicated oedipal development deserves. After all, if you read THE REPETITION, the book in which Handke “gets back to all this” [as promised at the end of SORROW] he installs his grandfather Sivec as the father figure there, which it turns out not really to do the trick as hoped, yes it helps form the supe ego, but there is more to it: namely that empty grave, and I know whereof I speak. Also, I don't see any of the regret or wish for for forgiveness in this chapter that Corneli Causeau attributes to it. as a matter of fact, one could read this description of a surrogate germany helmsldorf inbetween border region as a form of disgust with germany as a whole.

  2. an addition to the father theme , biographically, is that handke initially accepted Bruno Handke as his real father, but around 10 years of age questioned how this man could possibly be, at which point his mother told him the truth. however, by that time i would say young Handke had identified with certain unpleasant of his features that would characterize his treatment of women later in life. for one would never expect someone who has written SORROW BEYOND DREAMS to become violent towards women as Handke has, to have such a brutal streak.
===================================
Let me reply to your ctd. querey" How might one tell this story? That's what the novel is exploring, station by station."

1] First of all, you never entertain any of my argument i notice, on any level, and then where is the evidence that Handke intended anything of the kind that the book exists chiefly as a way to exolore how this kind of roundabout can be told? - 

I have given you evidence of various kinds. It is the kind of evidence that requires a careful reading. Your reading the book as autobiographical keeps turning you away from my evidence. On the other hand, as I noted before, you're paying no attention to my arguments.

Handke's pride seems to be not to tell stories the way he thinks or see a lot of other folks doing it. No objections, nothiing but delight on my part on that score. what's so fucking difficulty about narrating a years travel - ah but it is if you travel to significant places of your life and if it is a kind of last roundabout, no? emotions, attachments might come into play. as they do at instances,  but I remain entirely unconvinced by what so far strikes me as sheer undocuamented assertion that this is some kind of exploration, of an epistomelogical kind, how narration can be achieved. 

I gave you four or five or six examples that included film. The narration of love, as I said, moves quickly to all the other love stories.

you mention film - hey, handke wrote ABSENCE in such a way that you can experience narrative as film; he does the same in instances in SIERRA DEL GREDOS where the woman sees herself on film. Yes, the ex-author claims that he turns/ turned  everything he expoerienced into a past event, that is into something that can then be narrated in that fashion. I recall Bloch did something along those lines already in Goalie. This is a compulsion, Handke is a compulsive writer who loves finding new ways of narrating, he does it instance, stage by stage, and he has some serious fun.



2] The initial intention that I can see is to have fun & play with the idea of telling the roundabout of a year of his travels - after all, he had already published GESTERN UNTERWEGS, a condensation from notebooks he kept during three years of travels around the world



3] If Handke wanted to illustrate ways of rendering experience, or of fantasized kind, such as the boat tied up by the Morawa, guests arriving, the sort of thing he knows about from becoming the occasional host, he could have, ought to have written a theme and variation - certainly something that this master of formal inventiveness could have brought off. That would have been a valuable lesson taught. Or maybe an old fashioned "diffent points of view" - where I think our man would have real difficulty achieving.

It's amazing how critics can always say how a book should have been written.


To a certain extent something along that line of variation is achieved since each stage of the roundabout is narrated via the narrator - who reports the ex-authors narration - in a different fashion, but that certainly is not one of the book's main intentions, but an incidental one, if only to keep himself, as a writer, amused - you, Scott, approach this book as though it were some kind of deadly dissertation. it is nothing of the kind. it has its grim confessional moments but it manifest chiefly Handke's love of  being a writer who will die with pen in hand, and if he has his druthers, like his grandfather with the other under the skirt of the kitchen maid.

I guess it's fair enough to call me a dissertationist after I called you a psychologizing (non)reader. 

But I love the subtle work Handke does, I find it beautiful, thrilling even. A matter of taste, perhaps, or testimony to the different lenses through which we read.

But let me ask you this: when you call Handke a bastard of bastards for writing the way he did about his father are you reading for intention as you claim here (but that certainly is not one of the book's main intentions, but an incidental one, if only to keep himself, as a writer, amused - )or are you reading through your own experience with the man? In other words, you can't attack my reading by saying I'm not getting at what the book intended while attacking the author for what he has done.
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The ex-author friend of Keuschnig & Filip Kobal is the same surrogate for Handke as the protagonists of THE REPETITION & NO-MANSBAY. Handke the author of all three books forces autobiographical readings of marvelous literary work, turn himself into a museum worthy literature, to be admired. MORAWING rather more extensively than other major works is not just a PORTMANEAU as I have called it, but a COLLAGE of the kind that Handke advised he wouled write a far back as THE LESSON OF ST. VICTOIRE. There is wonderful stitching, which I think is waht interests Scott, sometimes there are actual transitions from one venue to the other as in the instance of leaving the Harz & traveling to Vienna (Ch. # 5 to # 6) with fascinating stuff abpout time and the like stuffed. As a whole it is devoid to necessitas, a major clasical quality; it is quite arbitrary. .  I wonder what readers who are entirely unfamiliar with Handke will make of the ex-writer's tale as told by the reporter narrator?
I could also call Handke the writer "a bitch": for the way he deal with the father theme here, i am writing street lingo and accentuation, obviously to be able to do so one had to be famiiliar with stuff he says about fatherlessness and the actual state of affairs. I love the book overall, I am just not going to be yet another hagiographer.

I love the book but refuse to be an anti-hagio biographer
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To get back to your interest in perceptions & Handke’s interest in films in prose, let me focus on pages 176-177 where our ex-author is reporting in the most amazing detail on his experience walking out of the Vienna airport on the side of the shoulder.

1] There is that obsession with how drivers hold their hands on the wheel, which amazingly fails to be aware that many drivers, those with gear shifts on the right side and midway the two front seats, use their left hand to steer. The ex-author here claims, in one sentence, claims to have driven a car. Handke himself never had a driver’s licens for reasons of his color blindnesss - well not exactly blindness but unreliability shifting between being unable to distinguish green from red and being able to, which is why folks always need to drive him  as I did several times arond 1976 n my MGB (vide St. Victoire for this where he wonders whether other family members have the same affliction which I once spent a week reading up on at the great UCLA medical library without being able to come to a conclusion what the cause for this might be in Handke’s case, possibly his underlying hysteria, perhaps something to do with his autistic episodes, a combination of the two, his seguing states one of which is described here as the ex-author report turning his unpleasant experience of walking along the shoulder road, with cars on all sides, into a film experience that soothes, cushions - Bloch anyone?? - which for this reader has the effect of kinethetically augmenting my experience of the reported all around experience  - it is a dissociation - and which eventually led me to the conclusion that Handke’s work - intentionally too perhaps - needs to be described in experiential rather than the usual literary terms; you in this instance I imagine will focus on perception and that is fine with me. I will put 176-177 up as a JPEG image in due course.


Also, preceding pages are astonishingly mature and reconciliating toward Austria - on the part of an Author who deserves postage stamp commemoration, is a national treasure, has addressed parliamment, audiences ith the heads of state and in those regards has nothing to complain of - which seems to have changed for the better in the then 20 years - no such comments about Krautland that he has just left!

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Chaptr VI [167-196] is really two entirely different chapters whose last third connects with wandering first part via an invented inn that the wandering ex-author [who describes his perambulations about the Danube east of Vienna in the manner of a eudora welty or virginia woolfe] happens upon where a world festival featuring Handke te wanderer‘s favorite instrument, the jews harp is in progress; and thus let me focus firsy on Chapter VI-A and remind us all that the writer peter handke has been a virtuoso of his craft as far back as the 1964 story BEGRUESSUNG DES AUFSICHTSRATES/ WELCOMING THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, a kind of Franz Liszt of the writing trade. Nonetheless I was a bit taken aback when Handke wrote me at about the time that he had completed the anything but virtuostic-seeming A MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING/ STUNDE DER WAHREN [1975] EMPFINDUNG that he was now capable of doing anything he wanted in writing. Although I might have thought of that early story as swans trumpet call of matters to come, it was not until I translated Handke’s WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES/ UEBER DIE DOERFER that the veracity of his claim began to dawn on me, a W.A.T.V that consists of meshing monologues that each can also stand on their own, with the consoling thought that wasn’t it nice that Handke wasn't about to be a Goebbels or Goebbel’s chief writer but able to restrain himself and create focussed literary events that had unusual effects on his reading as well as play audience. Here, part I of Ch. VI scarcely bothers to connect back to the boat and the author telling a story that a narrator conveys to us, it entirley abandons that pretense but for “the dog of Porodin” [who appears in each chapter one way of the other] here appearing the size of a raven twice the usual size and blowing through the grass while the ex-author moseys around the flood plain of the Danube, the reaches downstream from Vienna and the Vienne outskirts. From the moment that the ex-author departs the airp[ort until this wonderfully written wanderer’s account of the outskirts of town [the sort of thing Handke already did in ONE DARK NIGHT I LEFT MY SILENT HOUSE, moseying around a city in northern Spain] hits upon the invented inn with the jew’s harp festival the entire section can stand on its own as a “wandering arond the flood plains east of Vienna” and I suspect would come as a huge surprise to 90 % of that city’s inhabitants that anthing of the kind described here was in their vicinity; and reminds me - say when we hit the passage where Hande describes the death of bumble bees - [p. 182-3, see the jpeg that I will put up @: http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/2016/09/xemplary-morawian-text-excerpts.html during late winter early spring - that there are prior sequences of the world’s most exquisite writing where Handke reminds me of one of my favorite Americans, Eudora Welty. The best passage of sheer minutae delicacy, however, is to be found in CROSSING THE SIERRA DEL GREDOS where Handke describes the delicate root work of the uprooted big tree that has been felled by the hurricane that swept Northern France in the late 1990s. Since I was aware that Handke’s foret de Chaville would be severly affected by that storm I awaited the notice he would take of its after-effect and indeed the waiting was not in vain; notice of it was accomodated in CROSSING THE SIERRA DEL GREDOS in the form of a magnificent long passage that made the heart of the bioligist in me leap with joy; and so i had a friend send him a shoebox filled with the great variety of our North West .U.S.A cones [making sure of the inclusion of Red Cedars whose bark can also make clothing], to reforest the foret de Chaville with trees that sink their roots deep and don’t fall when a Northwester hits, but which shoebox I suspect never made it past the French customs and bio police. In a certain the certain writing sense Handke always also writes about writing & each of these differrent parts of this extensive collage that is MORAWIAN NIGHT is exemplary of a different way of narrating. Part II, the jew’s harp festival, is an instanc of Handke in a rainbow colation mood, as he can also be in at moments in his plays, but also features what I at that point find rather tiresome when the narrator takes us back to the boat and the ex-author is made to do some theatrics.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

ON NARRATION & THE NARRATOR IN MORAWIAN NIGHT

SCOTT ABBOTT  & i on the main disucssion post
disagree in our discussion on a main feature of MORAWIAN , here first of all are three quores from Scott on the matter  & you can also find some side issues discussed in detail @ 

http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/2016/11/roloffs-comment-on-fatherlessnes.html


http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/2016/08/main-moravian-night-discussion-page.html

"The novel has a web of narrators. There's the narrator who describes following the ex-author in Spain and whose account the author is anxious to hear and there is the version of things the woman on the houseboat tells. I see the novel as being primarily ABOUT narration.

"Isn't this a book about the narration of perception? And isn't the former author, as he narrates his story (with the help of all the additional narrators) once again a narrator of perception?

" What is the character of the storyteller? Why is the story told through so many different narrators? What stories are being told? How do content and form (the remarkably taut sentences that call themselves into question) interact?

and i will reply to this later to this on election day michael roloff


First of all let me repeat that if Handke had wanted to write about an invented protagonist, insted of himself, there was nothing to stop his imagination.  Using no end of features of matters hat he knows about himself, also as an author, is of course eaesier, including characters from some of his other novels. One could maintain that he is being coy, and it would not be the first time;  Handke has a feminine and exhibitionistic side. On the other hand, future readers and a lot of current and especially foreign readers, who dont know him or his oeuvrem, will not have this twin experience of relating what they read here to what they know or fantasize about the writer Peter Handke no matter whether they have read biographical accounts of his life or secondary works about his literature. However, since the writer Peter Handke wrote and published MORAWIAN during a time that he was a well known and biographically heavily discussed author (Malte Herwig, moi meme, etc. ) and his relationship to ex-gf  Marie Colbin was still, say, controversial    discussion of the biographical aspect becames inevitable, and how truthfulness or not he happened to be; and certain avoidances, become fair game. Of course no one can force you, Scott, to be interested in this aspect of the book, but that does not mean that it disappears or doesn’t interest me who after all once wrote a book called DEM HANDKE AUF DIE SCHLICHE, and here we have a book where he seems to be doing something along the same lines, and with some fine sense of humor on occasion, at others quite self-critically, although an analytical perspective prefers self-understanding as being more likely to lead to a change from the criticized unwanted qualities, „mama’s child”, „cold as a salamander,” „overly impatient” being three qualities that the ex-author criticizes in himself. All three, especially the two first, leading to the problematic relationship for a writer with signficicant love objects! Certainly one of the major themes!

 In instances such as Handkes A SLOW HOMECOMING (the novel) or ACROSS I don’t particularly think about Handke but am under the suasian of his pereceptions as they are verbalized, and these have a particularly powerful and enligthening effect on me.

I would not say that MORAWIAN’s subject is narration but, astonishingly, it is a magnificent demonstration of all kinds of narrations, mostly via the verbalizations of a narrator who reports what an ex-author is experiencing on a house boat or during a year’s European roundabout. As far as I am concerned it is one narrator since  though there may be some differentiation among them {will have to double check this) these possible differentions make not one hoot of a difference as to what or how they are narrating, the chief narrator knows the ex-author since his village days and and will report of his return visit during that year, which acquaintanceship might allow for differering perspectives on mutual experience, the narrator does not disagree with what the author says, he is a pure medium;
 this is not the Alexandria Quartett or anything along those lines. In the instance of that seemingly endless tour de force NOISE SYMPOSIUM the medium does not make independent reporting appearance at all. He seems to just do his job, it might as well be the ex-author himself who narrates here.
Indeed, who would have, could have anticipated that the phenomonological impressionist writer Pter Handke of DIE HORNISSEN  HAUSIERER AND GOALIE who also has some serious syntactical tricks - ONE DARK NIGHT, ABSENCE -up his sleeve would become a master narrator as he has in MORAWIAN, the weaving is not that new, though subtler and more integrative than in NO-MAN-BAY & SIERRA DEL GREDOS  but also more closely focuses (see the HORIZONS page, to come), so though I would  not  agree that narration or perception are the subject of the book, narration and linguistic fecundity are its process. Some sentenes are taut, some are v long lassoes!        .  


In his preface for the American edition of A Journey to the Rivers, Handke explained his approach to writing: “I wrote about my journey through the country of Serbia exactly as I have always written my books, my literature: a slow, inquiring narration; every paragraph dealing with and narrating a problem, of representation, of form, of grammar – of aesthetic veracity; that has always been the case in what I have written, from the beginning to the final period.”


Scott initially here mentions the "web of narrators" and the first
time the web goes into action in the form of someone who claims to
have witnessed the protagonist in a whole variety of actions (or his
double!) is someone who is called "the Galician" and who bore witness
while our protagonist was doing all kinds of odd things in Galicia
around Compostola, and who, in the evening of narration, picks up the
thread of the usual narrator, from page 122 to 128. However, I could
well dispense with this section altogether & can't figure out (perhaps
Scott can or has) its purpose n the novel over all, aside perhaps
indicating that our protagonist, once alone out in the road can engage
in all kinds of impersonations and silly stuff? I recall Handke once
saying, apropos his wanderings around Scotland, that folks kept
mistaking him for someone else. I don't think the mature Handke looks
like anyone else, the Beatle Haircut Handke of his early 20s was
acting out some kind of general also sartorial op positional impulses,
narcissism, but that is not what the Galician describes. Perahps Handke is throwing sand in the eyes of his identity trackers
Handke is tjhrowing sand iin the readers' eyes, keeping them off track
in the game of identity that is being played surreptitiously?

This section ends with the standard narrator taking over and our
protagonist launching into a fine section on his difficulties as a
writer and being unfaithful to his calling by dallying with the
opposite sex.  I entirely sympathize & understand. The only solution
is to have as a partner a fellow devotee to their art, and even
then..
.

The last third of Chapter IV -pages 140- 155 in the translation - about double of that in the original  - constitutes the highpoint of Handke's narrative art & it ties the traveling and the present of the boatbound narrative into two simultaneous presences at a particular point. Moreover, it ties the relationship between the mysterious woman onboard to a meeting in Galicia, a wonderful few pages on being in love. - I don't quite read this autobiographically as I do some other parts of the book - for whatever such reading is worth but from the view of a potential biographer - but analogous to the coming together, fracture, and renewed junction of that twosome. I am too spellbound by admiration for these couple of dozen pages - i will put a few of them @
http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/2016/09/xemplary-morawian-text-excerpts.html/


to articulate my amazement in the requisit detail, pay attention also to the amazing tracking through the near blind tunnel.

Yes, Michael, you're approaching what I have been trying to articulate when I say the book is about narration. That double presence -- the telling of the story on the boat and the action of the story itself -- interwoven as they are, highlights the telling, the narration, and the modes of narration. That happens in another way as well when the former writer moves through whatever scene he is in and thinks about how to turn his experience into a story. For example, when you read the marvelous account of love you mention here, the shared time sense moves to other ways of thinking about love and then ends with an accumulation of narratives of love, including Madame Bovary and all the others. Experience is always mediated by language and sometimes language is mediated by experience. That's the primary theme of this remarkable novel.
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Handke does not make much of the intejections during the night's telling of the ex-author's visits to half a dozen significant places. One question that this guest if invited would have asked at a certain point is: “You know my friend, I know you claim to have stoopped writing, but you talk even more beautifully than any of your books when you were a writer, and I think you also are a more accomplished prevaridator, but one thing that occurs to me as I listen to you is that even though you no longer write and even keep a note-book the mental activity that y you report and the other detail strike me as though you are as obsessed a writer as ever."

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