Tuesday, August 30, 2016



DECEMBER 6, 1942









LOCATIONS  IN MORAVIAN 1-The ex-author, his Erinyes, and his companion. 







http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/p/4-sense-of-place-as-to-sense-of-place.html 5] FATHERS AND ETERNAL SONS http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/p/

5-fathers-and-eternal-sons-eternal-son.html 6 AUTO BIOGRAPHY AUTISM FICTION] http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/p/6-auto-biography-autism-fiction.html 



 8] 9] 10] 11] 12]    =======================================  
1] Is MORAVIAN NIGHT a novel? a saga? a collage?


The novel, as many of Handke's works, is given a generic designation by the author. In this case it is Erzählung. That means story, narration, telling. Story doesn't fit the novel-sized scope of this work. The other two choices don't feel right either. Do you, Michael, have a better word?  The problem grows for me as the protagonist (if that word even fits the character in this meandering novel) is repeatedly called the Storyteller.  This may well be the best solution. I can't think of one with fewer problems. But I don't much like it.   

Michael: As to the designation: epic might have done? A peregrination? Its opening with mention of Samarkand - original title - and Numancia  moves the book into the realm of a thousand one nights story telling, into the fabulous into a saga?? - and as a matter there amoments the telling becomes quite crazy! -  which we don't assosicate with such extraordinarily precision and verbal sleight of hand magic as we then encounter it in certain sections. It has a tad of the feel, of THE REPETION to it, but of course from a much later and more mature way of reviewing.  

Scott: I like epic, and peregrination would be a wonderful subtitle. But maybe the stories you describe make story and storyteller the best choice.  I'm reading the translation now. Reading it so slowly that it feels like I may never get through it. The problem is that every time I find an obscure or awkward phrase or sentence I go back to the German for confirmation. Here's the kind of thing that drives me crazy, from the earlier translation by Krishna Winston of No Man's Bay, on my mind as I write my essay "Afternoon on the Sava" for Zarko's edition of Schreibheft:  His mind slipped to the afternoon at Peter’s house in Chaville. Had it been ten years? Fifteen? Peter had sautéed mushrooms and served them with dark bread and Portuguese white wine. He had showed him the first pages of the American translation of Mein Jahr in der Niemandsbucht and asked for his evaluation. He read a few pages and pointed out an early sentence that ended with “. . . an der Stelle des zwischendurch mich weiterwürgenden ‘Ende’ das Ding Verwandlung.” The translation read “. . . the ‘end’ that still gagged me now and then was more and more firmly replaced by this metamorphosis thing.” With the throwaway silliness of “this metamorphosis thing,” he said, “Das Ding Verwandlung” has lost its philosophical tension. And the carefully wrought, eleven-word original phrase has been bloated to nineteen flaccid words. Your sentences have been flattened, the nuance is gone.  

MICHAEL REPLIES: that comment about the translation belongs on the page reserved for it on the translation+plus blog, i agree that something very serious is lost with the way she handles the "Ding Verwandlung"  its slighly dismissive yet respectful dread, and the humor of its return not ony from Kafka but from his earlier work, MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING, NONSENSE & HAPPINESS Perhaps Wilkins did not know Handke's early work at that point? Manheim died and she finished the last of the THREE ASSAYINGs as I call them & then did NOMAN'S BAY. Perhaps I need to take a harder look than I have so far.  As far as i am concerned Handke started to introduce a mythopeic epic note as of LEFT-HANDED WOMAN - just take look at the way Paris is described from that perspoective in the Clamart highlands. I too an always a little amazed when he calls things like ABSENCE "Ezaehlung' - - but on second and third thought I think he has not choice but to contort himelf, let the readers define the experience for thmesemlves if they have the need to categorize.  Question here is what games is our  man playing with our heads?   My old friend, the invaluable McGonigal, of the ABC of REading blog, posted the following comment on the comment page, but it ought to also appear here, and lead to further comments: "I am glad you guys are doing this blog on the Handke book.... for me the opening seems so off-putting a keeping out of the reader--- the elaborate scene setting with the all the commands for how to be... It is possible that I am shaped by the last books I have been reading: Thomas Bernhard's THE LOSER in particular... I wold even offer the words "cute" maybe even "precious"...but as both of you have the German.....is it possible something can be read very differently in German and that something just does not exist in English or American? "  I Michael Roloff happen to disagree with Tom. I am drawn in , i like the game the author is playing, and its elaborateness. Handke can be cute, and I imagine there are moments here, though none comes to mind a this moment. Can Handke be precious, say the way Updike is precious? Perhaps in reaching for the ineffable at moments. I find most of MORAWIAN NIGHT very down to earth - say the bus trip to the gravesite in what is obviously the Kosovo. The Krk/ Cordula section. Then there are these fabulous matters such as the NOISE SYMPOSIUM (CH 3) which itself is set in the very concrete Spanish steppe near Numancia. There are moments when matters seem to go wild and crazy durin the telling on board the MORAVIAN NIGHT and the boat floats further down along the shore. Handke keeps you on your/ us the audotors on out tippy-toes. i happen to love the weaving, its unpredictability.    

Michael, I'm about halfway through a reading of the translation. It is slow going as Handke thinks about perception and about narration more than he develops a character or a plot. What plot there is has to do with the travel from the Morava River near Porodin to the island where the former author wrote his first book to Spain where he attends the conference on noise and walks with the local poet and so on. The former author is the character, with others cited only to shed light on him. 
Given the sketch plot, the single character, and the slow descriptions of painstakingly slow perception, this book will not be a bestseller. In fact, this book will attract only the most serious of readers.
Who else writes this way?
Knausgaard? No. As slow as his writing is, it is much closer to the conventional novel than are Handke's works. Handke's fellow Austrian Stifter? No. While Witiko may be the huge, ponderous novel absolutely noone has read (with a couple of exceptions, including yours truly), it has both conventional characters and plot.
It's possible that slowness as a description of Handke's writing is misleading. But he uses the word himself. For instance, in the book A Journey to the Rivers, the American translation (my translation) begins with a note to readers of the translation that includes this description:

Let me comment to the above, It is wonderfully slow and rewardong reading, sentence by sentence for me, and I happen to love the dialectic - on going throughout - of who the former , now dilapidate author is now and used to be, the twin focus, also used for self-criticiisn at times.  i happen to love - more now than the firrst time around - the way the narration dips back and forth, what i call weaving stitching - also the great realism, say of the bus rise, when Handke calls himself "a realist" he is in the great realist tradtion, he mixes it up with fabulous playful stuff, and perhhaps the whole is what's called a portmanteau (sp?) ?? I myself happen to love to get to know more and more about our so well endowed cxhibitionist who allows the imagination to flourish.

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. Dear reader: that, and that alone, I offer here for your perusal.
Peter Handke, April 1996

Any thoughts about the slow nature of the novel?

I mention above that i love the slowness, but i dont feel it as "slow" as much as each sentence asked to be read, sees to be formulated grammatically, i.e. is not crazy joyce doing finagainfunagain, where i cut me baby rhododendrons, and as compared to most of the stuff i read, handke's sensentences do not strike me as baroque ofr their own sake - as Winkler, say of his Buttercups, can become, or that other Austrian who died a few years back who always nauseated me as of the gitgo,  Handke tries to communicate in as straigth forward a fashion as he can within the  above cited constraints of his which maybe we ought to examine one by one. Plain old Handke who then does some crazy stuff and take you by the braids of the grammar in your  brain/!  Take another look at the confession in WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES of what kind of artitist he is, not very different from Joyce in PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST, 'cunning"!! conscience of the race!

I like what you say about the straightforward nature of the sentences. They are sometimes complicated, but complicated in the way thinking is complicated, naturally complicated rather than ostentatiously baroque. I would add that the writing is lean, every word balanced precisely. Unfortunately, the translation is often flabby, unbalanced. Take, for instance, the original sentence "Dazu paßte, daß er in eine mir vertraute Spielhalle verschwand." 10 words. 10 words that become 18 in the translation: "What seemed to confirm this supposition was that he disappeared into an arcade with which I was familiar." (p. 129) With a little attention to the spare nature of the original, a better translation might be: No surprise that he disappeared into a familiar arcade. 

Like you, I like the slowness of the narration, like it because it is precisely slow.




Are we going to discuss the novel or a documentary of the author's life?

if i tell Handke after the premier of Voyage by Dugout that he worked the incident I witnessed in Visegrad into the play masterfully he shakes his head and says "Dr. Scott." Are we going to discuss the novel or a documentary of the author's life? 

Let me answer this sentence of yours "

VOYAGE BY DUGOUT is one of my favorite Handke plays. I admire immensely how he "worked in" all kinds of personal matters, such as the "madman" now a FACEBOOK FRIEND of mine whose marriage he witnessed and whose fate gave him the notion that you could go mad, like WoZZECK, at what THE STATE will do for you when it excercises its routines, GERMANY  of all nations, condemning someone as a war criminal for NOT interfening when an apparent war crime is being committed, and Handke contrasting that kind of madness with that of the "forest madman" - what brilliance, what fucking genius in the beautifully co​nstructed and conceived piece of work.

 However, the incidents in MORAWIAN NIGHT that are at issue here, and between us, say the CRONE attacking an ex-writer whom she recognizes as her once first boyfriend-lover is entirely an arbitrary unless it is tied to the life of Handke, who present himself as an exauthor, and by that means shows us what he is by the way he used to be, something he could not do if he simply wrote a travelogue, or took the notion on of a writer going on his last trip around Europe, a travelogue, the CRONE is yet another ERINYE in a book, in a Handke literature rife with them, starting with SHORT LETTER, where the wife haunts the "German writer".  It is a totally meaningless, ATYPICAL INCIDENT unless tied to Handke having written DIE HORNISSEN/ THE HORNETS/ HORMIIGAS in Krk/Cordula. Lots of writers visit these islands, how many leave a pregnant girlfriend behind? The sort of thing that happens during adolescent time. Maybe Handke. the exhibitionist, I suggest, is having his cake the famous twice, its me, look at me, look at me now feeling truly guilty, I accept the genuineness of his feeling so, I know the fellow well enough for that, but I also know that if he were not such an inveterate competitive exhibitionist since his days as a voyeur of the nightly relations between his stopfather Bruno & his mother, we would not have him as an author. 

"entirely arbitrary." Michael, you tend at times to absolutes. "Events in any novel are entirely arbitrary unless they are connected to the author's personal life." I'm guessing you don't really believe that. A bit of hyperbole, even though you repeat the point by claiming it is "totally meaningless . . . unless tied to Handke on Krk." Events of a novel are the events of the novel. The turn to the author's life is always a turn away from the novel, a discounting of the work of fiction in the service of biography. Some readers don't really find fiction interesting and prefer to read novels as keys to the life. Not me. I read Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice" as a brilliant exploration of a writer's movement to absolute and thus absolutely limited expression (like Goether's Werther, by the way) in the presence of cholera and a sexy Polish boy. You would read the novel, I suppose, as a revelation of Mann's homosexual inclinations and find that the novella is totally meaningless unless we bring Mann's sexual interests into the picture.

I believe it should be noted that the bus trip is to the Kosovo - though the name is not cited - and the ancient grave site there, and that it has the published counter-part in DIE KUKUCKE VON VELICA HORTA 

by the way, Goran Radovanovic's recent film "Enclave," about an Serbian enclave in Kosovo, is now accompanied by a book that includes my translation of Handke's account in this novel of this bus trip through rock-throwing villages in Kosovo. Handke was himself in a bus that became the target of thrown rocks. Interesting. But not as we discuss the novel, which is a creation out of experience but in the end a work of fiction that requires that we read it carefully as fiction.

an extra-ordinary report of an enclave in the Kosovo, the likes of which I don't see any American writer I know capable of writing. I have pointed this out a lot of magazines, to no avail, and obviously Handke is not selling well enough for FSG to go out of their way - and I think I ought to have enough standing because of the books I published as an editor to be taken seriously in my recommendations. But nada, and I feel pretty much nada about this country and cant wait to get the hell out of it, our discussion is one of my last attempts at some redemption in matters Handke.  As to his Serbian opinions, or his feeling about Milosevic, so what
​ if​
 he is wrong? Or just being uppity? I could not 
are less! But happen to agree with him - not at all where I thought my position would end up when I first became aware of all this in 1994, back "in the USSR" from my pastoral reversion to Mexico.
Let us imagine Handke deciding to desist from availing himself of his personal experiences but deciding to let  his imagination prevail, as it does quite wonderfully in instances here such as the houseboat on the Morawa which of course could be anchored at lots of rivers that flow into the Danube & into the Black Sea,  the Noise Symposium that arises out of his sensitivity’s utter frustration with the leaf blowers in Chaville, as it would here in Seattle where these beasts that coud so easily be tamed, pursue​ me into this city’s many fine parks; let us imagine Handke imagining a hybrid of Thomas Mann and Vladimir Nabokov doing a last round trip through Europe prior to shipping out to the Black Sea, he visits/ or says by bye to Suissa and Davos where N. lived and M. had certain famous experiences,  a visit to Venice is de rigeur, let your imagination roam, perhaps a trip around the Greek Isles and defence of their culture... However, Handke - aside the indicated fantasies – remains the  great realist who traipses around the littoral Danube near Vienna, who revisits the place where he wrote his first book., etc. etc.
 The apparent then sense of victory at the completion is not indicated, the book is not named and the ex-author’s feelings about might even be equivocal. Thus it is with some conviction that I feel that the ex  g.f. now vengeful crone is very much autobiographically based, as are certain other Erinye moments which I will address later.

sure, lots of the novel is autobiographically based. let's make that statement and then turn to the novel as a work of art. who cares about the sources of the novel?

Let us recall the many major steps by which we get from DIE HORNISSEEN of 1966 
(ALL TITLES HAVE http://handke--revista-of-reviews.blogspot.com/ MATERIAL !)

via DER HAUSIERER  & A MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING via the more direct narratives of SLOW HOME COMING & ACROSS but also via the more indirect such as ABSENCE & ONE DARK NIGHT & the major narrative NO MAN’S BAY (which is inconcievable had Handke not explored assayings in the THREE ESSAYS) etc etc. 
to the narrator reporter of a roundabout MORAWIAN NIGHT of 2008. HORNETS keeps recalling an existing text to which the book that makes reference to BOMBER/ HORNETS is a mere addition; HAUSIERER’s exquisitely detailed anxiety is filtered through a distancing desciption via a meta-literariness of the black mask detective stories: literature, literariness is the backstop, and it is essential. In MORAWIAN NIGHT we have a narrator, created by Peter Handke, who reports what an author, purportedly an ex, tells an assembled audience – of which we become one – and does so in astounding intimate detail despite the great distancing that the second-handing achieves.

 That said, the above, what about that extraordinarily convincing bus trip with emigre Serbians to an ancient grave site? Peter Handke may very well have been on such a trip, or just heard of it, or made it up out the rather thick air of having spent a lot time in traveling to the Kosovo and his time on buses. I could take that section and make it a preface to THE CUCKOOS OF VELICA HORCA. It has a documentary first person quality – yet within the saga MORAWIAN NIGHT it acquires the quality of fiction; that is, of the AS IF realized! Ditto for the visit to Cordula/ Krk – no matter whatever autobiographical truth it may or may not have, within the novel it functions in relationship to what the narrator reports the lord of the ship as having experienced, a realized as if. My own personal guess about the great artificer sleight of hand artist – read his so Joycean confession of what an artist is like in

WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES - and it takes a Joycean to get a drift of it - is how sly and cunning” etc he can be – Handke, the exhibitionist that he is to a rather greater and more competitive degree than most folk – is having his cake and eating it. Fine with me. the novel as saga with windows

now you are making more sense for me. "within the novel it functions." exactly. whether drawn from his experience or imagined, we're reviewing a novel here, not a roman a clef.


Su Nov 5/2016

Scott doesn't mention the famous booklength interview that  Peter Handke held with Herbert Gamper
Aber ich lebe nur von den Zwischenräumen

where , among quite a few significant matters, Handke says that everything he writes can be autobiographically [„aufgerollt werden” = ] sourced.  In one sense a trivial statement since this can be said of everything by every author of anything, however  I don’t think Handke was making a trivial statement, not if you look at his life and his actions and the novels and plays he has written. For example, fantasies are as susceptible of analysis as dreams and I well believe that the hot and short-tempered Handke who slapped his daughter when he lost his temper while the basement was flooded and got into fights with quite a few women could not just imagine „water boiling over like ants on a hot plate” and then throttling a pickup, becoming a murderer.  I think part of what he means that his salvation was in becoming a writer was that otherwise he might have ended like Albin, the construction worker/ ex-goalie who reappears, now out of jail, humorously mucking around in WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES, or, more importantly,  express such a deep longing for peace, as is expressed, again most extraordinarily, in WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES in Nova’s dramatic poem at the end.  The question nonetheless, but more closely defined than you have it, is, becomes; WHAT DO WE MAKE OF THE AUTHOBIOGRAPHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE MORAVIAN NIGHT SAGA WHEN THEY BECOME PARTS OF A  SAGA LIKE NOVEL? Is that the right way to put the question? Is it a useful one? One obvious answer from reading the book is that these obvious autobiographial sections lend power, authenticity to the writing that the reader picks up, that is conveyed – as well as when the author, a proud and playful liar aritist, lies, lies guiltily in one major instance, and in another, the father son section, avoids delving as he might. But I will reread both those sections and see if they strike me as dubious as they did  on first reading.

dubious, Michael, only if you are looking for biographical truth. and that is simply uninteresting to me.

There may  be those who read the murder in GOALIE a la that in Camus’ THE STRANGER, one of those alleged act gratuit in which French sadists specialize. Absent a amylgalda or the ability to empathize in parallel, that is without essential human components, that becomes a killing by robot or extra terrestial, and certainly neither of philosophical or psychologial interest. In Handke’s GOALIE Bloch is filled with guilt and takes flight, like a normal person, and is in a fine state until the moment he is arrested, with the last sentence.

in a fine state? he's desperately hoping that words don't correspond to things. if they do, the police will catch him. THE MOMENT THAT THE BALL, SO UNEXPECTEDLY, HITS THE FROZEN GOALIE BACK IN GOAL IS WHEN I ALWAYS FELT A HAND TAPPED HIM ON THE SHOULDER AND HE WAS ARRESTED, WHEN HE FELT SAFE AGAIN

The Gantscher interview is important for many reasons, to me for Handke’s alluding to „autistic episodes,” and to Gantscher’s observation of Handke’s use of language as being naturalistic, by which i think he means „concretistic” , and I think that is how Handke understands him at that curious moment; and which is a mattter that, in connection with the autism, might be worth delving into at length, though here, for me, only in one instance during the wandering section in Northern Spain, and my READING EXPERIENCE of same in German.

Handke's supposed autism, as you diagnose it, is of as little interest to me as his supposed autobiography as shown in the novel.

Handke's autism is his own diagnosis, no doubt physician or psychiatrist derived. and when I came on it something clicked about both Handke's then extrarordinary gaucheries as well as his hypersensitiviiies that one can, say, det4ect in the phenomenology of DER HAUSIERER. And it helped explain once particular early inciedent where Handke had withdrawn into the closest equivalent to a jukebox in my apartment; tje hypersensitivies, one of his kind of high end autism's aspects, is useful to keep in mind when we read the NOISE SUMPOSIUM section, Chapter 3

 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?

I have been re-reading the two parts near the middle of the novel that describe encounters with women. 
The first is the violent scene in which he kicks the woman and then finds himself unable to keep telling the story: "He stopped the story there, having no memory of what had happened next. But even from the earlier part nothing had stayed with him about the violence but the violence itself, no night wind, no light, no star, no tree rustling, as if that were a law governing violence."Violence means the end of perception and thus the end of telling about perception.

Here my firstt comment is that if all that occurs to someone after he has been violent is that now he has lost the ability to perceive that that is an odd way to describe denial. It is an attack on linking, Bion would say. I don’t doubt the truth of the report for a second, it is a form of schizophrenia, characteristic of Handke as far as I am concerned.

How do you jump to "all that occurs to someone" from the fact that one thing that happens is that he loses his ability to perceive the world around him? This is a devastating indictment of violence. And then you jump again to the author when we are discussing the novel. Let's talk about the novel!

The second is in the tunnel after the loving encounter with the woman who then joins him much later on the boat. It is almost completely dark and he has only the sound of his own steps, which he begins to count. "And abruptly he began, no, entered into telling what he was experiencing in the silence, right then in the present, in the past tense."
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?
I have my own very special experience with the tunnel shortly after, and will come to it in due course. What occurs to me about our ex-author recounting turning the present into the past is not in regard to perceptions or perceiving but about a certain kind of compulsion which as a matter of fact can or may  be related to Bloch’s compulsion in GOALIE to turn everything into words and then finding disagreements, a paranoid-schizophrenic you will recall, a subject Handke studied intensely for the sake of writing the book and how it relates to the handling of language. Here we have the compulsion to turn the present into an instant past, which  does what? It makes it narratable as not being oppressively present, it makes it more manageable; like certain other comulsions of the author’s such as walking  backwards, which is often referred to as his no longer doing it instead of walking foreward.  Perception is not what comes to my mind here, but the need to alter what is perceived,  we  can only speculate why, perhaps if you put being in the tunnel into the past you will no longer be afraid???                     

The text links this need to narrate the present in the past tense to the experiences with the woman he has just separated from. He is telling her the story. I wonder also about the counting Don Juan does in Handke's earlier novel.

7 Nov 2016 noon pacific coast time
Before replying to the above let me note and add how well integrated the autobiographical elements are into the narration of the evenings going on. The reasons that I and perhaps Scott too can pick these aspects out is due to our familiarity with Handke's life and other work. 

German critics made a lot out of the interconnections between Handke's life and the character in the novel. You earlier quoted Löffler in that regard. But that's not how or why I read novels. A roman a clef is uninteresting to me. If I were to read Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice" as a work in which he discloses his homoerotic leanings I would miss the attempt by Aschenbach to achieve absolute perfection in his writing (like Werther, by the way) and the idea that that leads to his death while contemplating a beautiful Polish boy.
I know it's not completely either/or, but I'm pushing back at what I see as your tendency to reduce things to your diagnosis of the author's psychological makeup.
Let me reply to this part prior to commenting on the your NEW THOUGHTS

I am not sure whom you have in mind by “different story tellers”. We have one narrator who weaves in and out from reporting what is going shipboard and letting the ex-writer talk himself, such as the bus trip to the ancient grave site.  Occasionally he, it is a man, reports one of the other participant guests saying something, rarely.  I failed to mention above how extremely well integrated the various location based stories are into the telling that evening.  However, we find out next to nothing about this neutral reporter,  and  there is no need, he has no special relationship to the author that in any way colors his reporting, he is a friend.  The saga that the ex-author himself tells has none of the necessitas, say of a ULYSSES, that is based on a day in the life of Steven Deadulus and Leopold Bloom being analogous to an Odyssey, to put the matter in extremis.  I could maintain with considerable success that the variety of incidents locations of the ex-writer’s peregrination is entirely arbitrary, that it happens to be Peter Handke’s then year’s or so portmanteau + a brilliant notion how not to write another GESTERN UNTEWEGS, his marvelous diary account of being on a world wide road for three years. Here it seems to be one year, starting off in winter, not tourist time in Cordula/Krk as it is again in Summer now that neo-liberalism has done its work in making the Dalmatian coast tourist friendly again.  Nor is MORAWIAN any kind of Parcival like search as is THE REPETITION for an uncle who studied horticulture in Llublianka, not that I have detected to far. Of course the ex-author is fascinating the more so since his authorship and how he started and wanted to write is thematized and how he tells and especially the astounding minor details and digressions and qualifications of each and every element. Minutae, and I will comment on this on a NNEW PAGE called HORIZONS. Handke once mentioned that what showed him how to write was John Ford’s horizons in his film – ie. Wide open, non-constrictive to his easily constrictable heart. Here, there is a passage where the ex-writer comments that now matter have become the diametric opposite, the nearest most close horizons appear to yield more, and this indeed seems to be the case if you pay attention to the way the minutae is qualified, noodled over. I failed to post the JPEG quotes I promised, in art because I don’t have your wishes on that score, and once these are posted I/ we can refer to particular characteristic passages. 

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.

I have quoted this several times but for some reason you ignore it, Michael.

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.”

Each setting -- the bus ride, the noise conference, the island where the ex-author wrote his first book, the father's home town, the jews harp gathering, the Raimund birthplace...they are all connected to Handke's life, yes, I know that. He is drawing on his own experience, as he has always done. Why does he use that experience? Not to examine himself. Not to ask forgiveness as several critics have asserted. But to have something to narrate. The scene you have commented on before, the one where the ex-author beats up his lover, is told to think about narration. Read it again and see that it culminates in a loss of narrative ability.

14 November
I'm just about done with my rereading and am more convinced with each page that the novel is about varieties of narration: film, painting, politics, fairy tales, music, poetry. What makes narration possible? What inhibits it? What are the possibilities of narration?

21 November
The scene on the train with the schoolgirl who is reading is as moving as anything I have ever read. The former writer (who by telling his stories over the course of the night is becoming a writer again -- and he is even called the writer at the end) is seeing a human connection (between writer and reader) he had feared was 
being lost.

You keep asserting that the book is ABOUT these matters & to convince me and our readers need to prove your assertion. We are operating, I believe, under the aegis of the better argument winning the turkey and a lot of interesting sauce being spilled along the way. All I can concede to you is that in this big collage - “stuffed turkey” its opponents might call it - Handke employs a variety of ways of narrating; uses some of the same film tricks that he has in other books, and is painterly as he has been since he re-introduced that element into his prose around 1984 with ACROSS, where the Reichs-Kanickel as I call the now deceased beast, to Handke's immense annoyance, to put it mildly, accused him of writing in an entirely malerische manier. I repeat myself in putting it to you, to provide proof and sound argument & citation. If Handke wanted to write ABOUT these matters and not just USE his instrumentarium he could do so, he has written wonderful essays of all kinds.

Entirely agree with you on the girl reading section. Big post of mine coming up regarding Chapter VI.

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."
The novel makes this point itself when the narrator calls the former writer "the writer" at the novel's end. His storytelling is the work of a writer. ===============

On Perception

Handke simply IS preternatully autistically perceptive, Since people generally do not know that autistically perceptive means hyperpereptive of a particular kind I often write "finicky as a cat when it comes to meals, the eyes of an eagle, the hearing of a bat, the nose of the best honddog" - I noiced that Handke noticed things I did not notice - say, that the moon was one milimeter less - beforre I knew of his autism, and of course noticed his sensitivity to words and their uses. The problem with autistic hypersensitiv appears to be that both quanti and qualitiatively it excerts an excess of information that needs to be processed, leading to the kind of nauseaus that Handke complains of during moments of stress, or used to. "Nausea of the eyeballs." The nausea of bodies that made him seek refuge in the shithouse at Tanzenberg. It appears that valium helped aleviate the panic states when he was hospitalized in the early 70s and he may take other medication, since the the condition seems to have been alevait4ed, as well as the early gaucheries: Handke may have noticed all kinds of physical matters, but was entirely obtuse when it came to noticing social matter, again typical of autism, This too, it appears, to have been alleviated. However, neither in ow tiwth MORAVIAN NIGHT does Handke dwell on these matters. At some point he made derisive comments about "Psychophysiker:" which gave me an idea for the e-mail address psychophysdiker that is associated with my  
and best to my knowledge Handke has not pursued an investigation of these matters of perception. Early on he appears to have had interest in matters shizophrenic/ paranoid; he did a stint of analytic therapy, vide WEIGHT OF THE WORLD. 
His writing gives evidence of extreme perceptivenes both for the inside and the outside, and the language that describes them, matters that I have called particular attention to here, the way bumble bees die, the description the finest elements of the rootwork of an overturned tree

  I continue to be amazed at all these people who chiefly like his work for the way in which he makes them notice matters that they themselves failed to.
I'd rather focus on the parts of the novel that exhibit this kind of heightened perception. The bumble bees are a good example. There are many more. What is the context of those descriptions? What role do the play in the novel?


 "Scott asks me to respond to the Kosovoa bus trip, which he himself acknowledges to be purely autobiographical [no, i never claimed this was PURELY autobiographical], and, say, to the Corduba/ Krk section where the ex-author encounters a girlfriend from his youth as a vengeful crone, and I have tried to oblige, oh i have tried, but i just can't, it does not work, these sections are not organic to the whole but are slithers from the collage, and if they fit in anywhere it is in what I call Handke's grand display of his Yoknapawtaka self, in analogy to Faulkner's county where all of that great writers books are set. Perhaps Scott can show how these and the other sliver are to be read a part of a novel or saga or whatever you want to call MORAWIN 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 alters my state of mind, kinethetially, analogous to what some of his plays do in inducing catharsis in an unusual manner, i feel healthy as a consequence, healthier. Here. in MORAWIAN NIGHT, I have this sensation only on a few occasions where there is a contiuous narrative, the Galicia tunnel section, the wandering around the Danube flood plain; i certainly do not have it during the narrative stitching of these episodes to the evening onboard 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 Assaying, those probing essays. 
The collage's slithers have a unity of their own that exerts itself on the reader, and but for the JEWS HARP FESTIVAL which is aparallel or, but also seemingly repetitious of the NOISE SYMPOSIUM each sliver is of a very different kind, and is narrated differently, but the same narraotor of the ex-author's tale. Their only unity is that we have to believe the ex-author that he visited these places in sequentia, continuity of time but variety of place does not make for unity but perhaps in the narrator's noggin. here the link to further elaration of the them collage/portmanteau




Thomas McGonigle said...

I am glad you guys are doing this blog on the Handke book.... for me the opening seems so off-putting a keeping out of the reader--- the elaborate scene setting with the all the commands for how to be...
It is possible that I am shaped by the last books I have been reading: Thomas Bernhard's THE LOSER in particular... I wold even offer the words "cute" maybe even "precious"...but as both of you have the German.....is it possible something can be read very differently in German and that something just does not exist in English or American?

franzangst said...

You & Abbott seem to be at loggerheads here, especially when it comes to the matter of congruency where he treats the book as though it has it, but in some special, yet undefined way, and you treat it as a collage & arbitrary collection of matters that Handke had not delivered himself of. Can you elaborate? yrs. franz


By congruent in this instance I mean, say, the manner in which Handke handles what goes on on board the MORAVIAN NIGHT - that is established so wonderfully in the first 30 pages, and ctd. whenever the narrator takes us back to the whatever goings on there - be it the relationship with the nameless woman he met in Galicia, his anxieties about the Erinye hiding in the rushes, even the eventual admission - ah yes it's all been a fantasy, but fantasies by their very nature are congruen, homogeneous.
The problem, first of all, resides in the conception of a year long trip to a variety of places of sharply varying significance to the ex-writer - now if he had, say, gone just to the ant-Arctic as an explorer but kept moving around, but with one chief, an a few subsidiary points of scientific interest, even the reports would have had a certain homogoeneity. Still, even with the variety of places that are visited here it might have been feasible of Handke had made them imaginary like the boat and the party, byt he does not, he takes recourse to autobiography and he has anything but uniform responses to each locale; not only that, he condenses his resonses poetically, metaphorically in the instances of Cordula/ Krk & the German border town that reminds me of Helmstedt of the East/ West conflict and division, and he is not truthful but alters or does not address what really transpired there, creates a slightly different image of himself, and then he stuffs in things like these imaginary symposia & all the stuff he wants to get off his chest along the “Old Road" in Chapter Eight, and that when we have achieved what I call a “stuffed Goose" - and I know you like your Chrismas Goose as much as your carp! Abbott is not interested in autobiographical Handke matter so he writes yet wants to treat the book as a congruent novel of some kind but can't really prove that it is; and it isn't, in that respect, like any of Handke's other books, not that quite a few of them, perhaps all, have not had “clef" moments, say that the publisher who visits the LEFT HANDED WOMAN is modeled on Siegfried Unseld, so that those who knew Siegfried Unseld can identify the publisher by his accurately described behavior. In the “Old Road" section in Chptr. VIII we have a whole parade of the likes and Handke gets his jollies off, to hell with congruity, who cares, he's proved in prior epics that he can handle works of major length, but now he needs a vehicle to transport halfway important other matters into the open.

franzangst said...

So who do you think the persons are in real life that Handke cites in that "Old /road " sction? Especiallly Melchior?"


i have no idea who these people might be, and only one guess: the person who is characterized as “tops in school” (or is it as “best in class”?) & busking at the Acropolis might be a compadre of Handke’s at Tanzenberg, his priest seminary that he so assiduously avoids mentioning in MORAVIAN - because he already knows that he will write the assaying on the SHITHOUSE & does not want his thunder stolen ahead of time/ or waste it; not that he goes into detail about his schooling in Klagenfurtz or Graz, but he mentions them as locations. That fellow might be the same Austrian who held an important position, was it with the U.N. in the administration in postwar Kosovo, and expressed opinions with which Handke disagreed, I will check my notes and the Handkeyugo.blog what his name is. The MELCHIOR section is so long-winded and overwound that it gave me the idea that it is designed to implode of itself, it may derive from an abandoned play - or something of that kind - for all I know, I don’t think it refers to a single person, but a compound. It is uniquely long-winded for Handke, that section - imagine this section in THEY ARE DYING OUT! How much more wittily, with what greater sophisication matters would have been expressed there.

franzangst said...

i notice that the conversation argumentation between Abbot & you has ceased? What happened?


If you read this page in its entirely and go to http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/2016/12/review-slow-inquiring-narration.html

you will see what happened.

I posted a response saying that MORAVIA can be regarded as a collage. Abbot calls me a MELCHIOR & when I object he e-mails me to “fuck off" - have not heard from him since either on the blog or directly. Typical of Handke hagiographers, eight years ago I got into a dispute with this Lothar Struck who posts using the Handkean name Gregor Keuschnig (from MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING & NO-MAN'S BAY, and briefly he appears on the “Old Road" in MORAVIAN) with his claim that the book was Nobel Prize worthy, that is, faultless. Handke certainly deserves the prize for all he has contributed to the “logos", but MORAVIAN by itself does not, it has faults, perhaps these faults are inevitable with its conception, but it also has the faults of self-indulgence and a few others, of lying, that a master such as Handke could have spared himself, if Narcissus did not get into the way. Look @ how Abbot titles his piece: “A slow and careful inquiry" - bullshit, Abbot found it taxing to regard the whole as a book, and is projecting his puzzlement, slow, onto the book. Perhaps I am projecting my way of seeing it as a stuffed goose collage is a projection too! Handke writes projections after all, and often projects, we are in a pre-Freudien Schopenhauer world there! Handke's own comment about the book is quite accurate: "There are some beautiful things there." He did not say that the whole waas beautiful. So it is a wonderful book for discussions about aspects of Handke's work, but you must know the work. But there might not be another English language review aside that piece of shit by that asshole Joshua Cohen, auntie has his like in reserve when they want to punish Handke for asking for justice for Serbia and Milosevic, not the same thing but he did feel that the way he was being tried was not fair and then he died, unconvicted except by the NY Times. What a mediocre paper in so many ways.


look at that , they "THE NY TIMES "actually published this critique of mine in their pages!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: NYTimes.com
Date: Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 9:27 AM
Subject: Your Comment on The Future of the Times: A View From the Top
To: mikerol@gmail.com

The New York Times


Thank you for participating on NYTimes.com.
Your published submission can be found at this link:


​michael roloff Seattle 18 minutes ago

I am just reading that the NY Times is planning to reach a wider international audience but I tell you that won't work out unless you change your cultural coverage which was far better in the days of the International Trib. My single-minded focus on the work of Peter Handke sujffices to tell me how miserable te NY Times effort in that respect are. You can't even report his winning of the Ibsen Przize, nor of premieres of his work in the English language in the USA, you just published an entirely inept review - of his MORAVIAN NIGHT - that only proves that the NY Times once dreadful reporting and unfair coverage of Serbia and Milosevisc ctd to influence your work on a major figure such as Handke for his taking an unpopular position, so that it never comes to a discussion of his work http://handke-magazin.blogspot.com/2015/04/peter-handke-ny-times-50-year...


I am noting that after alerting appr. 100 Germ Departments of the appearance of a major translation of a major title by one of the few major writers in German not a one has commented at the http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/2016/08/main-moravian-night-discussion-page.htmldiscussion site or made the slightest comment that the Google spider might have detected on line since publication on December 6. Once again I congratulate myself for not pursuing a career in a Department of German. http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/2016/08/main-moravian-night-discussion-page.html