Peter Handke is an acclaimed and prolific author of novels, plays, essays, and poems. A cultural icon of postwar Germany and Austria, he garnered an early reputation as a provocateur with works like Offending the Audience (1966) and Self-Accusation (1966). Handke was internationally acclaimed as a gifted prose stylist, with ruminative, extended sentences that had what John Updike called a “knifelike clarity of evocation.” Later in his career, Handke became embroiled in controversy as he became an outspoken supporter of Serbia during the Yugoslav wars, downplayed the fact that Serbian paramilitaries committed genocide during the conflict, and spoke at the funeral of Slobodan Milošević, the former president of Serbia who had been on trial for war crimes. Handke voiced his support for Serbia as the last bastion of an idealized Yugoslavia in A Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia (1997), a polemical travelogue in which Handke denounced the “evil facts” of Western news media during the Yugoslav wars and presented blinkered and quixotic views of Serbian life. His scant references to high-profile atrocities—particularly the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995—provoked a vehement outcry that continues to this day. He became an outcast in European intellectual circles, depicting bucolic scenes in a country isolated by sanctions.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Herewith, a FINAL REPORT
for and from
Four months subsequent to official publication, on December 6, 2016, 6 month after review copies went out for MORAVIAN NIGHTS during which while
has accumulated appr. 20 k “hits” - a penny a hit would be pittance recompense for the time spent on the project, yet I have the immense pleasures of a month’s indulgent involvement in the riches of this text! But one interlocutor, fellow Handke translator, Scott Abbott to share & get into a few scraps with. The # 20 k for a six month period compares with about half a million for the entire complex of Handke sites that is now about a decade old
and grew out of the handke.scriptmania complex and its dozen subsites:
Now the report on MORAVIAN NIGHT’S fate among U>S> reviewers which confirms that the catastrophic reception persists:
Since review copies went out there have of course been the usual kind-hearted, innocuous pre-reviews @ Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly and the like which repeat the publisher’s jackett copy siren calls, and I have duly posted these as well. For overall comparison, the MORAVIAN NIGHT site contains a collection of German, French, Italian & Spanish reviews.
Udderwise, there have been but two drivelings from two of the remaining major teats, two ideological human rights hyenas screams, two dumb vacas, who are evidently unable to, or averse digest Handke’s rich offerering - a difficult job, for sure - and evade into moral positioning and refuse to represent or give as much as a hint of the multifarious matters that sleight of hand artist Handke performs in Moravian Night,
I have little to add to my decimation of Kirschensaft, it is actually an event that the NYRB published Scott Abbott’s letter to the editor:
NYRB/ KIRSCH REPLY TO SCOTT ABBOTT'S TAKE-DOWN OF IDEOLOGICAL HACK KARSCH http://moravian-nights-discussion.blogspot.com/p/nyrb-reply-to-scott-abbotts-take-down.html
and upon Bob Silvers passing I posted a note on our relationship which came a cropper due to his I think then criminal mis-treatment of Handke’s texts and plays:
And so once again we do not have a fruitful discussion, except between Scott Abbott and myself, where matters got quite heated a they tend to even among those who have drawn on these riches and are favorably disposed! My falling out with Hagiographer Lothar Struck upon MORVIAN’S publication in Krautland 10 years ago has still not been resolved!
Having sought for some years to lay the basis for a more complex reception, I am chagrined that The New Yorker merely ran a notice and that my eforts failed to induce James Wood, David Bromwich, Michael Dirda and the few others whom I regard as worthy of the task to take the considerable trouble that it takes to do justice to MORAVIAN NIGHT by situating it within Handke’s overall oeuvre & life.
Alas, the kultchur, an old whore... I read Mauberly in my senior college year:
and he was right back then, 60 years ago. To do justice to MORAVIAN NIGHT entails more than just putting on your thunking cup, but acquaintance with a fair amount of Handke’s other work, and lots of that - the diary volumes - have gone missing, as have the significant books on Yugoslavia in this country, MORAVIAN has more dimensions than the Balkans, or does it?
U.S. theater, after an initial reception, has refused to mature with Handke. It had not been an object of life to get at the roots of squareness and provinciality in Los Estados Unidos Norte, but then I found it in Seattle, which, in other respects, compares favorably.
T’would have been nice if other voices had weighed in, perhaps some will yet. Missing in particular - as usual I feel like saying - is input response from the Germ departements, about 100 of which I alerted to the imminence of the publication of this major book in translation. More than ever before I feel that you could take these colonial outposts and transplant them on Mars for the difference their absence would make in university and national life - the library ctd. to buy the Handke titles, no one has been reading them for decades. Here a link to what is taught here, at the U.Dub. the University of Washington, of sports fame and infamy, of a first rate Medical School, the there Germ department supposedly a stellar colonial outposts in the USA:
Grumpily yrs, Mauberly II