What is your KVPY interview story

The historicity of the other story

To Peter Handke's place and time tables

From Christian Luckscheiter

Discussed books / references

Handke readers don't necessarily know any more, but they've had a lot to do lately, especially if they don't just want to read, see and hear Handke. In 2003, at the end of his speech on the award of an honorary doctorate by the University of Salzburg, Peter Handke said and wrote that he had shown his 'idiotism' there in public for the last time and that he could be brought to court if he should appear publicly again in his life ("Some remarks on being there and there"), so this year alone he could be seen chatting with Volker Panzer as a guest of the ZDF night studio or as an interviewee in the magazine "Cicero".

Together with the books of the last few months by Handke and around him - over 500 pages of "Moravian Night", the correspondence with Alfred Kolleritsch, Hans Höller's Rowohlt monograph, "desireless misfortune" in large print, prolegomena to the Peter Handke dictionary, the Collection of poems "Life without poetry" edited by Ulla Berkéwicz, conversations with Michael Kerbler, again "Once again for Thucydides" as a volume in 1421 in the Suhrkamp library and over 600 pages of place and time tables (and not to forget the enormous media response) - this results in a set of characters in which you can easily lose yourself and the overview.

Then it also happens that Hubert Spiegel, for example, writes in the "FAZ" that Handke will in future be about "bringing to a close" his literary life's work. That is astonishing in view of the (not only) current media presence, but above all it is not precise enough. In an interview with "Cicero", Handke only says that "sometimes the thought" occurs to him to bring his life's work to a close.

This correction may seem a bit pea-counting, but it should once again point out the problem of how generally imprecise columnists usually have to read and how they always produce new columns (and public opinion) as a result. It becomes more problematic when someone like Hubert Spiegel apparently has the (opinion) monopoly on Handke meetings for the 'Workdays' edition of the "FAZ" and therefore - in view of his prejudice probably taken over from Marcel Reich-Ranicki - usually before It is clear in the first sentence of the review that there is only one more review to be read here, which can be traced back to (maliciously?) inaccurate and arrogant reading.

It is therefore particularly unfortunate that the anthology "Meine Ortstafeln. Meine Zeittafeln. 1967-2007", which is very inviting to leaf through and read into, does not contain all of the essays published by Handke so far. Some were left out, such as the small text "Marcel Reich-Ranicki and the naturalness" from "I am a inhabitant of the ivory tower", written in 1968. Here Handke shows very early on the limited concept and understanding of literature Reich-Ranicki works: "He [Reich-Ranicki] does not allow formalistic methods of writing to apply. He does not regard them as problems of literature, but rather as private difficulties of the writer, with which 'the reader' does not want to be bothered. Making recognizable Reich-Ranicki belittles literature by using the popular word 'tinkering' for it; 'laboratory art' is also a common machine word; arguments that counter him that tinkering is just a search for methods that are not yet accessible, that is, methods that have become natural is to get hold of the reality of the particular writer, he meets with the simple reference to certain authors who write like them the Schna has grown badly: these authors, he says, punish the pseudo-avant-garde, the gravedigger of literature, with their well-grown beaks. He does not want to notice that the realistic method is not nature, but a made model, that at the beginning of its use it looked artificial and tinkered and only appears natural through use and familiarization. "

It is also incomprehensible in terms of editorial philosophy why this criticism, which is still valid today and which Hubert Spiegel would like to read, was not printed - because Reich-Ranicki is not one of his place-name signs for Handke? If you are already publishing a complete edition, why not collect all the essays published so far, especially since some of the texts have already been reprinted here for the fourth time? So if it was apparently not a matter of bringing out a complete essay edition as part of a complete work idea in which the texts appear because they should be collected, but because they are still considered worth reading, then one would have with some of the texts Especially with the political ones from the time around 1970, you can also think again whether it is really worth republishing them over and above a historical interest.

In addition, the cited criticism could be turned back to Handke himself: "Peter Handke and the naturalness". Because, for example, the 'mere' walking in the landscape, so loved by Handke, is ultimately extremely complex and in comparison to mountain biking - as brutal as it may seem - is not nature, but historically determined and was just as unthinkable as centuries ago it is gradually being forgotten again, he overlooks.

Why is Handke so far removed from the insight into the constructional character of all literature towards the assertion of the naturalness of what he "sees"? However, as the interviews show, attempts to think about these allegations with him in open conversation were and are usually blocked by him. It seems that he does not want to see his own 'thought templates'. He once hoped (and still hopes) from literature that it would shatter all seemingly definitive world views. It is not only the essays that show that he himself has not been able to avoid such a strong view of the world (who, however, would ever be completely?). On the one hand, this is what makes his essays on literature so worth reading, because the literature discussed can perhaps only appear with a relatively safe standard of judgment in such a way that one is very tempted to go to the library immediately and read these books . Because for Handke it seems to be clear what, for example, one can do with language and what not, that for example explanatory words - "because", "although" etc. - are rejected, so again only a certain picture of the world from him on the other hand, reading some of his essays becomes a pain. Due to the lack of reflection on one's own assumptions or the interruption of reflection, many statements often become annoyingly apodictic, which corresponds little to Handke's literary work.

The apodictic can certainly also be traced back to the "attempt at exorcism of one story by another", as a text in "Once again for Thucydides" says - to the attempt (and the program) of Handke, one in the realm of literature To tell a peaceful story, far from apocalyptic horror, far from wars, but also far from the constraints with which (collective) history and language use obscure the freedom of a free conception of being and one's own view of things. For such an attempt it seems essential to assume the knowledge or the premonition of what is appropriate for man and nature and the earth and what is not.

This attempt fails. This can be seen from the extent to which history, especially the Second World War and the Shoah, has shaped the entire work of Handke as a background to this day. Time and again, even the most peaceful picture of history threatens to be broken, and it is not uncommon for it to break. But instead of conjuring up one story, in the end it is said that this one was even strengthened through the contrast with the narration of another story, the one that Handke drafts.

To what extent the children of Izieu, as Handke writes, scream "all the more" because half a century later he describes the place where they were transported to the Birkenau extermination camp as a peaceful place where the summer Sunday wind blows and a small blue butterfly grows in it Semicircle turns is a question that, depending on the answer, turns Handke into a scandalous or an important writer.

The little epic poems in "Once again for Thucydides" are special in their grace and attention to detail in German-language literature over the last few decades. Regardless of how one reads Handke, there is little to be doubted about the historicity, the historical conditionedness (of thought) of every other story.