Tuesday, November 8, 2016


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 @ 



"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

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 @

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.

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 prevaricator, 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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