Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Still Storm: Introductory Thoughts on the Basis of Michael's Introduction

THERE ARE ALSO THE FOLLOWING LINKED SITES TO THIS DISCUSSION:

http://handke-drama.blogspot.com/2011/08/directors-view-of-forever-storm.html

THE MAIN DISCUSSION SITE

http://handke--revista-of-reviews.blogspot.com/2011/08/immer-noch-sturm-still-storm-stormy.html

http://handke-drama.blogspot.com/2011/08/background-material-for-still-storm.html



https://rumeurdespace.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/souvenirs-de-jeunesse-de-peter-handke/
======================================================


"The first casualty of war is language," Peter once said.

If I were to state the theme of this new play, I would add that the first casualty of war, as also the first casualty of peace, is language.

Michael has laid out the plot in an admirably straightforward way. The plot / Handlung / what happens is exactly as he writes, from act 1 through act 5 (they read like chapters rather than acts in the book of the play).

My response is to point to another structure or set of structures at the heart (or spleen) of the play.

Language is the topic that dominates the play. From the first musings of the character named "ich" (and the quotation marks point out that even he is a creation of language) to the last line of the play, language is the question:

"Eine Heide, eine Steppe, eine Heidesteppe, oder wo." / A heath, a steppe, a heathensteppe, or where. (. . . a heathsteppe . . . A moor, a steppe, a moorsteppe. . .)

The first sentence, then, is a question without a question mark. It includes a probing neologism. In short, it draws attention to itself as language.




The final scene of the play has the Slovene speaking characters separated and then pushed to the back of the stage by other figures. They remain "erkenntlich höchstens an den Handzeichen, mit denen wir einander noch zuwinken" / recognizable only by the handgestures with which we still signal to one another.


The main character, on this line of thinking, is the Slovene language spoken by a Slovene minority in southern Austria.

It could be any language spoken by any minority (Athabaskan, for instance, in Alaska, as the penultimate scene of the play points out).

But it is Austria, a Carinthian village, and so the language is Slovene.

The enemy in this play about Austro-Slovene partisans is the dominant German-speaking culture that oppresses the Slovene language. What will be won, ostensibly, when the war is over, is the right to speak Slovene.

It's a battle, of course, that was fought before the Germans ever came to town; and it's a battle that must be fought after they are sent packing.

Thus the title: Still Storm / Immer noch Sturm. It's a Shakespearean stage direction (Still Storm) that in the German, especially with the middle "noch" not capitalized, reads as "always . . . storm."

The first casualty of war, as of peace, is language.

Much more to come. I'll end this first post with a section of a book by my friend Alex Caldiero. The book is called "Sonosuono" and is a meditation on the Sicilian language and culture that gave birth to Alex and nurtured him until he was reborn, for better and worse, at the age of 9 in his new land of Brooklyn:


SONOSOPHY
My contribution to the conference is a sonosophy performance, followed by a Q & A session. My friend and colleague, M, introduces me.
The performance is in four languages: Sicilian, Italian, American English, and a fourth language (if you can call it a language) that weaves in and out and between the other three. This fourth language has no formal name, and is variously designated depending on the time and locality. In the Medieval period, throughout Europe and the Middle East it was called “the language of the birds.” I call it Sonosophy.
Whenever this language of the birds is practiced, it adapts and interplays with the culture and language of the nation wherein it is practiced. For instance, it can interact with the national tongue, or with the language of painting, dance, or even science, or any combination of these. In this way sonosophy surges forth as a guiding impulse springing from the depths in which sound and meaning are indistinguishable. In Hindu linguistics, it is designated by the Sanskrit term, sphota: the ground sound. From the sphota sprouts the perennial wisdom of manifesting sound mind: sonosophy.
It’s the most natural thing that for this conference I should speak in the language of the birds. The center piece of my sonosophical performance is a language act:
I begin by taking items out of a green pouch and putting each one into my mouth…I hardly get to say a few words (“it is always…sad…), the accumulation of objects obstructs and renders the rest of what I say unintelligible. One after another, I carefully place the objects in my mouth: a pen, a feather, an eraser, a wrist watch, a twig, a piece of cloth, folded paper, a stone. I can hardly breathe, all the while continuing to utter words that are but noises and sounds as I nearly gag putting in the last of the objects. All these objects protrude from my mouth. Then, one by one, just as they were put in they are taken out.  Gradually my words become recognizable, until, with the last of the objects removed, I clearly utter:
“It is
always
 sad
when
the last
living speaker
of a language
dies.”



…and after a short pause, I add:
“In memory of Chief Thunder Cloud, last living speaker of the Ottawa language who die in xxxxxx”
This piece on the last living speaker of the Ottawa language hits home with the situation and fate of the Sicilian language.
I proceed with the rest of the sonosophy performance and end with a poem in the Sicilian language, in Sicilian:







‘A LINGUA SICILIANA

Nun parrati
U sicilianu.
Parrati l’inglisi
u cinisi, o puru
l’italianu,
ma nun parrati
u sicilianu.

Nun è mancu
lingua
u sicilianu,
parrata di bricanti.
Scurdativilli
li palori,
scurdativilli.

I signuri
ca sunnu educati
nun la pàrranu;
I parrini
quannu fannu pridicati
nun la pàrranu;
I scritturi e sculari
nun s’azzardanu a parrari
sti palori
ca stèsiru vulgari.

Nun parrati
u sicilianu.
U silenziu
macari avi ‘a vuci:
vuci di terra muta
comu quannu
nun è siminata.

Ma quannu
muta staçiuni
sta terra spicca
cu çiuri e virdura;
E tannu dda vuci
arripigghia
l’antica parrata.

THE SICILIAN LANGUAGE

Don’t speak
Sicilian.
Speak English,
Chinese, or else
Italian,
but don’t speak
Sicilian.

It’s not even
a language
Sicilian,
the speech of gangsters.
Forget
the words,
forget them.

Educated
gentlemen
don’t speak it;
Priests
in their pulpits
don’t speak it;
Writers and scholars
don’t dare to speak
these words
that remained vulgar.   

Don’t speak
Sicilian.
Silence
also has a voice,
voice of a mute land
as when
nothing is planted.

But when
the season changes
this land leaps forth
with flowers and greenery;
And then that voice
will take up again
the ancient speech.

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

Souvenirs de jeunesse de Peter Handke

PHOTO_ToujoursLaTempete_©MichelCorbou_11_header-995x150En allant voir « Toujours la tempête », pièce de Peter Handke, mise en scène par Alain Françon, qui passait à la MC2 de Grenoble (après avoir été représentée à l’Odéon et dans diverses villes de France), je me doutais bien que je n’allais pas être déçu. C’était renouer avec ce grand et beau spectacle vu à Avignon il y a deux ans : « Par les villages », mis en scène par Stanislas Nordey, et donc revivre ces moments de joie où des textes d’une grande force nous font frémir, nous font littéralement sortir de nous-mêmes, surtout lorsqu’ils sont dits par de grands comédiens (à l’époque il s’agissait d’Emmanuelle Béart, de Jeanne Balibar, de Stanislas Nordey lui-même, ainsi que d’Annie Mercier). « Toujours la tempête » est bien sur le même registre, avec, cette fois, les « grands » que sontDominique Reymond, Laurent Stocker (de la Comédie Française), Dominique ValadiéWladimir Yordanoff, Gilles Privat.  Mention spéciale pour les deux premiers cités, Laurent Stocker parce qu’il incarne un « moi » omniprésent tout au long de la représentation, Dominique Reymond parce qu’elle campe une mère incroyablement présente (même quand elle n’est pas là !), parlant et se mouvant sur scène avec une grâce magnifique. Mais Dominique Valadié est aussi parfaite en sœur (de la mère) rebelle, Yordanoff comme patriarche qui entend faire régner l’ordre à la maison et Privat comme oncle borgne qui, après son enrôlement dans les partisans et ses déceptions d’après guerre, essaie de tirer la morale de cette histoire. Car cette pièce raconte ni plus ni moins que l’enfance de l’auteur (ou du moins de quelqu’un de très proche de l’auteur), né en Carinthie en 1942 (ça, on l’a toujours su) au sein de la minorité slovène. S’il est né en 42, en pleine guerre, c’est parce que sa mère, raconte-t-il (ou bien la mère du personnage qui lui est infiniment proche) avait succombé à un bel officier allemand et que cet amour devait culminer dans la nuit fatale où le petit Peter fut engendré (« à la fin du printemps. Entre la floraison du lilas et celle du sureau. Entre minuit et quatre heures du matin« ), nuit inoubliable pour cette femme qui disparaît de la pièce dans la seconde moitié (hélas pour nous), afin de partir à la recherche de l’amant allemand dans les ruines du Reich vaincu. Le petit Peter, quand il naît, c’est peu dire qu’il est mal accueilli par la famille : on voit l’oncle (incarné par Gilles Privat) secouer rudement le landau en ne mâchant pas ses mots à propos de ce petit bâtard, qui, pourtant, si l’on en croit « moi », présent sur scène comme témoin de l’histoire, ne lui en voudra jamais… Cette pièce est un chant d’amour vibrant adressé à toute une famille, ceux qui ont survécu à la guerre et ceux qui sont morts (deux oncles, une tante). L’idée géniale d’avoir tenu à faire incarner le narrateur (« moi ») par un comédien sur scène fait de cette histoire mieux qu’un récit historique, c’est la reconstitution, non linéaire, d’une mémoire d’où sort chaque personnage.
PHO9d07a716-c32b-11e4-8498-6182530f8a16-805x453Mais cette pièce raconte aussi la résistance de cette population slovène contre les nazis, seule résistance organisée conduite de l’intérieur du Reich allemand (puisque l’Autriche, comme on sait, avait été annexée…). C’est là où la mise en scène est très belle, tout en restant discrète et légère : il suffit d’un sol irrégulier censé représenter une terre aride, l’évocation de quelques arbres, l’entrée et la sortie sur le plateau de deux membres de la famille (la tante et l’oncle) en habit de treillis pour mettre en place une atmosphère de maquis et d’ombre. La tante (Dominique Valadié) qui, au début, est Ursula, toujours triste et grincheuse, devient Snezena, « la neigeuse » en slovène, combattante qui perdra la vie, prononçant les plus belles paroles de la pièce. Quant à l’oncle Valentin, qui joue les gandins, parle anglais et part au front avec belle ardeur, il n’en reviendra pas, comme n’en reviendra pas non plus le plus jeune, Benjamin, enrôlé par l’armée allemande alors qu’il ne pouvait appuyer sur la gâchette de son doigt paralysé.
toujours_la_tempete_corbou-1_0C’est à Gregor (l’oncle) que Handke laisse le récit de la fin de cette histoire : les résistants slovènes ont gagné puisque le Reich s’est effondré, mais qu’ont-ils gagné au juste ? Dix jours de fête pour célébrer la fin du conflit et la liberté retrouvée, puis de nouveau l’adversité : les résistants ne furent pas en odeur de sainteté… le qualificatif de « bandit » que l’occupant leur accolait fit honteusement retour, à l’occupant allemand devait succéder l’occupant anglais et la langue slovène ne fut pas davantage reconnue que par le passé. L’amertume politique de Handke – son démon ? – refait surface dans un long plaidoyer pour son pays. Vieille histoire dont il ne s’est visiblement pas remis. L’ermite de Clamart n’en aura donc jamais fini de ressasser la déchéance de son peuple et de sa langue. Mais n’est-ce pas plutôt sa mère qu’il pleure ainsi ?
APA10353776 - 23112012 - SALZBURG - …STERREICH: ZU APA TEXT KI - Schriftsteller Peter Handke  im Rahmen eines Interviews  mit der Austria Presse Agentur (APA) am Donnerstag, 22. November 2012, in Salzburg.  Handke feiert am 6. Dezember seinen 70. Geburtstag. APA-FOTO: BARBARA GINDL
(cette belle photo de l’écrivain vient du site de Die Presse)
https://rumeurdespace.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/souvenirs-de-jeunesse-de-peter-handke/

20 comments:

  1. Language is very much a victim still in Carinthia. as you
    can tell from this link to a discussion whether
    streetsigns and the like ought to be posted in Austrian
    and Slovenian [Windisch] in the area:
    http://derstandard.at/1313024405165/Kommentar-von-Alexandra-Foederl-Schmid-Angekommen-im-eigenen-Land#forumstart
    Just look at the comments on this piece.
    If you take a look for Ulrichsbergemeinschaft
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulrichsberggemeinschaft

    http://www.u-berg.at/texte/uberggemeinschaft.htm

    and here they are in full regalia:
    http://tinyurl.com/3gc4y3m

    and at that point you become glad of the belated infusion of "political
    correctness" from Vienna to Klagenfurtz! And it is now 65 since the
    end of WW II. Thus it really is a shame that, of coure, Peter's
    work has no relationship to the Klagenfurt Theater, even with
    Fabjan Haffner and the Uni and the Musil Institute. The bovines
    are sullen, just as they are here. It's a world wide phenomenon,
    and there I Peter and his painfully prepared Slovenian dictionary
    for THE REPETITION, and his translations from Slovenian,
    which itself, best as I can tell, is quite a linguistic agglomeration.
    Incidentally, Athabascan is a cultural designation for all the
    tribes in the Alaskan/Yukon/ Northwest tribes. I worked
    up there, with some Indians along the Yukon, Galena, Koyukuk
    area, they were great in the field, not so when drunk in their
    home villages. An interesting language I came to know during
    my years in Baja California sur was Spanglish! So much for now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. DIE ZEIT came out with its review of IMMER NOCH STURM and I left the following comment

    http://www.zeit.de/2011/34/Salzburg-Festspiele-Handke?commentstart=1#cid-1525989

    Thomas Assheuer's Reduzieng des Stuecks als zwei aufeinanderliegenden, Moos ueber stahlharten anti-Westen Geruesst Ideologie, verankert in einer Sprachideologie, reduziert dieses oft von Shakespeareartiger Sprachgewalt strotzende verspielte, und liebende Stueck in etwas mir unerkenntliches. Etwas totlangweilieges, das ich nicht wiedererkenne, das mir nicht das geringste als Assheuers Reduzierung vermittelt.

    Aber Assheuers Konzetration auf SPRACHE: "Für die West-Moderne steht »Amerika«, wahlweise auch »England«. Handke verachtet die Länder nicht deshalb, weil dort die Reichen den Armen den Krieg erklärt haben; er verachtet den angelsächsischen Geist, der alles kalkuliert und alles berechnet, er hasst den Terror der Abstraktion, der die schönen alten Namen durch sinnlose Zahlen ersetzt – und dabei pausenlos das Wort »Menschheit« brüllt. Der Westen, so lautet die Anklage, zerstört die Sprache, und er tut es immer noch, nicht nur bei den Jauntaler »Apfelmenschen«. »Jenseits der Sprache bricht Gewalt aus«, dieser Satz fällt bei Gotscheff gleich zweimal. Ohne Sprache verliert die Welt ihren Sinn, und dann herrscht Krieg, und schon der Zweite Weltkrieg war eine Schlacht, die die nichtswürdige Moderne mit sich selbst führte...." will allow me and Scott and I hope some others to focus on this aspect which also has a separate entry on this blog: http://handke-drama.blogspot.com/2011/08/still-storm-introductory-thoughts-on.html

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  3. More about language, the Slovenian language, the German language, and the language of the play.
    If the play is about a pure and good Slovenian language as opposed to the evil German/Austrian language, then it’s a piece of crap.
    If it is about a minority Slovene population that fights bravely in the Resistance while German-speaking Austrians are Nazis, then it’s a piece of crap.
    If it’s about small-town farmers who say the words “chicken” and “goats’ milk” and “Lederhosen” and thus are authentic human beings, then it’s a piece of crap.
    If it’s about a group of people on the periphery of German-speaking society and thus in a position to raise some questions that wouldn’t otherwise be raised, then it might be interesting.
    Let’s take this statement from the play as a beginning point: »Jenseits der Sprache bricht Gewalt aus« (beyond language, violence breaks out).
    Beyond what language? Beyond what kind of language?
    The context (Act 5 of the play, pp. 134-140) begins with “ich” reading and making notes in books he has taken out of a duffelbag. His uncle Gregor appears without his wartime uniform, although he still has a little gun and acts a bit aggressively. He is disgusted that “ich” can’t understand Slovenian. He begins a long monologue about the 8th of May 1945, “the happiest day of my entire life” (and for everyone else who fought with the Partisans against the Nazis. He praises Carinthia and its paths and light and secents. It is beautiful. Beautiful? Beautiful in a strange way. “But on the day in question I saw the beautiful here, crystal clear.”
    Note the “crystal clear” / kristalklar. I’ll come back to it when I think about Klartext / text in clear or not in code.
    Gregor goes on to praise the fact that the names of houses are not in code any more but have their simple original names. Everything has its beautiful name, its “infinitely beautiful name.” Everything is simply itself: Und die Heuharfen hier werden nichts als Heuharfen sein / And the hayharps here will be nothing but hayharps.
    Gregor celebrates the fact that the Austrian Slovenes have themselves become a power: “Our language, our power. Beyond language, violence breaks out”
    ………… to be continued in the next comment

    ReplyDelete
  4. So what does it mean to say that violence breaks out beyond language? We see a hint of it right here when Gregor begins to move from hayharps to power. And we saw it earlier at the beginning of Act 4, a scene Michael has identified as stilted.

    I’d like to point out that the “ich” figure who is speaking also finds this section stilted: “And once again I will have tried Klartext / text not in code / crystal clear language and once again will have entangled myself, fallen into stuttering, breaking off again and again, taking back what was said, calling into question, etcetera.”

    Even more striking is the scene near the end of Act Three in which the “ich’s” aunt Ursula stages a confirmation scene in which Gregor is inducted into the Partisans and given a new name. Her speech is what Michael rightly calls “agit-prop” / a kind of highly politicized art (think Bertolt Brecht for the master of this form): “Now you stand on the good side of history, Comrade Jonatan. We are in a war against a huge network of power and hate. History decides. History speaks the truth. History is the highest, the final, the irrevocable bar of justice. We fighters in the woods . . . it is time to choose the path of history. Let us do every possible thing to found our country anew, according to the pattern of our ancestors. . . . Eyes firmly on the horizon. . . . God has called us to. . . .”

    But let’s not make the mistake to think that whatever Klartext or agitprop we encounter in the play is Peter’s. If the language sounds wooden, it is meant to sound wooden. If the Slovene-speaking Partisans sound like they have moved beyond language to violence, we’re meant to note that they are speaking the language of conquerers.

    Not the language of the stuttering, questioning “ich.”

    And, as I suggested earlier, even the “ich” makes his own unappealing ventures into Klartext.

    Klartext. Atitprop. Shit.

    ReplyDelete
  5. More on language:

    The first act ends as the family members leave “ich” alone. He calls after them: “So bleibt doch. Bleiben wir zusammen. Stand by me.” (Stay here. Let’s stay together. Stand by me.) The English phrase marks him as having strayed from the family, from the Slovenian language, from the rural village to the world of books and other languages. His father was a German, after all. Who, then, is he?

    His mother returns for a final speech: “Haven’t you noticed . . . that we, whether you want or not, are guiding you? That we determine or direct you, and not only, as you have sometimes thought, to your detriment. . . .”

    Who is he, this dramatic narrator? He is a person in quotation marks. He is the person who has learned to say the things he says by reading and listening to music and . . . by growing up in the Slovenian / Austrian family he has summoned onto the stage. He straddles the border like Gregor in the novel Repetition. He is a quintessential Handke figure who can tend to the authentic and real in empty abstract contexts and who can explode authenticity when it begins to stink.

    While there is a tendency in the play to speeches about the non-abstract and thus superior Slovene language, they come from characters in a given situation at a given time. A simple village boy who spoke only Slovenian and knew the tools and plants and animals around him only in the context of their use would never, could never write a play. And while he might be ich instead of “ich,” he would be a tightly limited ich in place of a broadly experienced “ich.”

    Nomen est omen.

    ReplyDelete
  6. [1] Before addressing what you say, let me hark back briefly to Assheuer's indictment of Handke's language ideology which is posted on the revista page for this play
    http://handke--revista-of-reviews.blogspot.com/2011/08/immer-noch-sturm-still-storm-stormy.html if you go back to the last really major play of Handke's, the one your translated: VOYAGE BY DUGOUT: THE PLAY ABOUT THE FILM ABOUT THE WAR: it contains that wonderful sequence, spoken by the Mountain Bikers who are in charge: "We are the language" - in the Orwellian world in which we live, Herbert Marcuse's insight into "reressive tolerance": that is, Handke can have characters saying things from which they ought to implode: it is tolerated - an airless freedom as it were. Power is quite absolute, we saw it in the instance of the intervention into the disintegration of Yugoslavia, which is a very complicated story, but in the clearest possible way in Bush's conquest of Iraq: people stopped ordering French Fries because the French opposed the war, knew the premises were a complete lie. Here the congress and the public were railroaded into supporting it. There is no difference between Hitler's attack on Poland, and Bush's on Iraq, but that the Imperial power is basically unassailable. It could not care less what you and I say unless we were people of import. The elephant for once really is utterly insensitive. That is one thing Peter is as aware of or perhaps more deeply than either of us. # 2, tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Exactly where my thoughts have been tending: the language is ours because we have the power / we have the power because we have the language.

    Your harking back to Assheuer's flat and arrogant and selective ass-essment of the play lead me back to this statement of his:

    Die heilige slowenische Sprachabstammungsgemeinschaft gegen den Sturm der gottverlassenen modernen Gesellschaft – das ist die polemische Konstruktion des Stücks / The holy Slovenian genealogical language community against the godforsaken modern society -- that is the polemical construction of the play.

    As I've pointed out, if this is the story of the play the play is a piece of Heimatscheisse.

    And if the Yugoslavia books, including the play Voyage by Dugout, are about the pure Serbs against the mountain-biking modern world, then they're reactionary and thus simplistic works as well.

    But people like Assheuer and the up-in-self-righteous-arms people who deplored the Yugoslavia works can't read. They don't have two eyes avaiable for the dialectical, self-questioning of all of Peter's (and Goethe's and Gunter Grass's and Hoelderlin's and . . . and . . . ) work but only a single ideological eye with which to see only a self-reflection which they attack as the ideologically obsessed Peter Handke.

    ReplyDelete
  8. In 1992 I published a summary essay about Peter's plays to that point. The last paragraph relates, I think, to our discussion of language in Still Storm:

    "As Handke has felt his way beyond the negative morality of his early work (and of much of postmodern thought) he has begun to reiterate words and theater forms that have been systematically stripped of meaning (as much by himself as by others): god, beauty, nature, self, Heimat, permanence, truth, love, Volk, child, light, presence, wholeness, being. By creating the contexts of questioning, absence, tiredness, repetition, goalless walking, departure, and play Handke clears enough room to allow him to speak the words that tend otherwise to totalities. Transcendence is a vain supposition of thoughtless nuns in Handke's
    cosmos; but within the European language game, a game shaped in part by the plays he writes, Handke has suggested that we can at least (and at most) ask questions about words profitably deconstructed in the last quarter century."

    I think I'd rephrase the first sentence about the negative morality of the early plays (from early to late work, there's always a dialectic going on, and Adorno's negative morality is at work still), but in general I think this paragraph describes Still Storm as well as By Way of the Villages.

    For the rest of the essay, click here:

    http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/84/

    ReplyDelete
  9. Let me start off by quoting a letter I just wrote to Fabjan Haffner, one of the premier Handke scholars on the subject of Handk/ Yugoslavia/ Neunte Land=Peace


    [a]

    Dear Fabjan,
    Scott and I are engaged in an off-shoot discussion, on language, from the general discussion of IMMER NOCH STURM, and since you know Slovenian and appear to have a Slovenian wife, it occurred to me to ask whether there was something in Kaernten/Carinthia that corresponds to what I came to know in Baja California Sur as "Spanglish", a true frontera type agglomeration, and in due course I can tell you, if your are interested, how I learned Spanglish from a wonderful old man who had a kind of coffee shop living room, Fernando, who also played guitar and knew all the dirty ditties in Spanish and English. that he had learned as a young man, from records, in Santa Rosalia, which is "just up the road" from Mulege [Big White-Mouthed River, in Cochimi, a country whose language is mestizo, too] and also from a few years in Los Estados Unidos Norte.
    Mulege did not open up until about 1970 when Mex I was opened, which runs all the way from Tijuana to
    the Cabos, about one thousand miles. Until then the only way to get there was by boat or plane or
    goat path! Nonetheless, the Mulegeianos would transport their catch, turtles, fish on that goat dirt
    path all the way North to make some money, and after St. Rosalie you need to ascend a steep switchback
    about 1500 feet.
    I can't tell to what degree Handke's playing with Slovenian and German [p.12, 14, 15, 39, 42] also includes
    words that would be familiar to the fronteristas of both kinds in that region. However, since
    it appears to Slovenian was repressed and maledeit what we have here are not equals merging, melding.
    Gracias.
    Michael Roloff


    [b] now the quotes from the play from p.12, 14, 15, 39, 42 so that we as well if any of our readers
    can see something specific:

    ReplyDelete
  10. No, FIRST COMES FABJAN HAFFNER'S REPLY TO ME:

    Dear Michael,

    as a matter of fact: my wife is Croatian (with roots in Herzegovina), but grew up (from 3 to 11 in Nordrhein-Westfalen)
    and moved to Slovenia then. But I am Slovenian myself, and there is of course some local language, referred to as Windisch
    (the old - and up to the 1830 only - German word for the Slovenian dialects spoken in Carinthia.) The Slovenian in STORM
    STILL is (besides the quotes of uncle Gregor's pomology) translated (by PH himself) from German into modern Slovenian
    without a hint of an Carinthian flavor. There is quite a lot of wordplay concerning the differences between German German
    and Austria German. So: there is a mixed language, but Handke makes no use of it, as he does not of the dialect his grandparents
    must have spoken at home. He imagines eg. in DIE WIEDERHOLUNG that their language was pure, but he called his grandpa
    ?Ote? (Aw-tay), which is clearly dialect for ?atej? (the diminutive of ?ata? [father]. His play is a work of fiction, not a reconstruction
    of biographical facts. As he wrote in ?Kaspar? (I?m quoting from memory): ?nicht wie es war, sondern wie es gewesen sein könnte?.
    All the best,
    Fabjan

    ReplyDelete
  11. [C] IT TURNS OUT TO BE since Fabjan's letter became [B]:
    QUOTES FROM STURM SO THAT PEOPLE WILL HAVE A REMINDER
    IF THEY HAVE READ THE PLAY WHAT WE ARE FOCUSSING ON: Yes, re that asshole Assheuer
    last I looked mine was the only comment to his piece of shit in DIE ZEIT.
    Perhaps Peter's work along that line redeems "Heimat Dichtung" which acquired
    such ill-repute through its mis-use by the Nazis, not that the idea of a homeland
    has not been and continues to be used for nefarious purposes of every kind,

    Here we go: [p.12] The "ich's" mother" speaking to him:
    "Und da hinten irgendwo kannst du dir unsere Saualpe oder die
    Svinjska planina vorstellen, die, obwohl sie ja nach außenhin daliegt wie
    eine Riesen-Sau, in Wirklichkeit nach dem Blei, in unserer Hochsprache svinec, heißt, dem Blei oder svinec innen im Berg, von welchem die wüsten Sommergewitter auf der Svinjska planina oder Saualpe her ---, her -- hilf mir Sohn, nein, hilf mir nicht, herrühren, herstammen, und ebenso unser Haus und Familienname, erinnere dich, erinnere dich nicht, du has seit je ein schlechtes Gedächtnis, merk es dir Sohn. Und merk dir: Sau haben, heißt bei uns hier: Glück haben, und: Auf die Saualpe gehen heißt bei uns: glückselig gehen,
    ohne Bleifuesse gehen."

    p.14: Valentin speaking: "Ich, der einzige Sohn der den Krieg überlebt hat, der einzige
    der ein bisschen reich und, na ja, mächtig Gewordene, verdanke das vor allem dem Umstand, dass ich mich von unserer Haus und Sippensprache, der vermaledeiten, losgesagt habe...." and then on page 15 he damns that language at length and very funnilly that his favorite sister, the "ich's" mother speaks.."Seltsam übrigens wie eine gewisse Sprache und eine gewisse Art sie zu sprechen einen auf Sprünge bringen kann."

    The theme of acculturation is actually addressed here, early on.

    p. 23: Gregor speaking [this is the scene in the photo album where Gregor holds up the book, Scott!]

    https://picasaweb.google.com/106505819654688893791/IMMERNOCHSTURMPHOTOSFOREVERSTORM

    "... eine Mitschrift von mir, Gregor Svinec oder Gregor Bleier - wie unser Name, wie du
    weisst, dann zwangseingedeutscht wurde - , ..."

    p. 33 teaches me a new word "Mahd" despite the fact that I too loved to go mowing
    at our meadows by the Schoene Beck I had never heard or read this word for it!

    p.39-40 bottom: addresses propagandistic usage, Ursula the "Düsterbraue" [!] speaking: "Und, was mich betrifft, zum letzten Mal. Dem sein slavje: Propaganda. Mit all seinem propagarieren unseres Slaventums und Auf-die-Fahne-Schreiben, unserer Haus und Hofsprache als einer Markt-, Stadt-, und nein, nicht Lande-, vielmehr Staatssprache hat der dem Haus kein Fest beschert, und schon kein frohes, sondern den Zwist...."

    p42: lots about other languages and names also on the preceding page 41: Here the "ich"
    hears a few phrases wafting to him as the "family" marches off back to the village:
    "Abendrot, Morgenkot..."

    One cannot accuse Handke of idyllicizing the village or the villagers,
    the once nausea at the mere sign for hay is not entirely disparua, can't
    say I ever had anything of the kind,

    ReplyDelete
  12. I loved the word "Mahd" as well.

    Learned last spring that our word "aftermath" comes from the word for the second cutting of hay.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have just reread all the entries on this blog entry
    and can do some serious contributing I think, after I clear
    my throat. The Sicilian Sonosopher's poem reminds me that
    it was Sicilian legions that were used to occupy what is now
    Romania. Then I wanted to add that the first sound emitted
    by a baby is "m" "mmmmm". Guess why? Because all in all languages
    the word for mother was meant to start with the letter M. Madre,
    ma mere, mutter. I have to check whether this holds true
    for non-Indo-European languages as well. Hearing is available
    to babies as of the fourth month intra-uterine, which is why
    it is preferred to expose them to Mozart or Bach or Ragas
    rather than....you name the noise...

    With that out of the way, and without getting into the prison house
    or sponge of language and the dictatorship of grammar,
    let me address your statement: "Let’s take this statement from the play as a beginning point: »Jenseits der Sprache bricht Gewalt aus« (beyond language, violence breaks out).,Beyond what language? Beyond what kind of language?"
    If war is an extension of political speech that has run aground,
    the person that slugs another, be it man woman or child confesses
    to the impotence of his linguistic ability. However, language, more importantly,
    has a containing function, which is why working on a couch with an
    analyst works who senses hears the incipient agression in his patients,
    and why WD Winnicott, one of the best of that crowd, most famous for the
    notion of the "good enough mother" and a few other formulas of that kind,
    said he would not see a patient who carried a gun. With that off my chest
    I will post and turng in and ctd tomorrow to provide further quotes
    from the play, but also to say: how delightfully Handke plays with languages
    in the two first acts.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, that's the question, beyond what kind of language.

    Beyond the kind of dialectical language Peter works so hard to employ, I think. Beyond language that is aware of itself.

    The language that Ursula employs to glorify the Slovenian partisans is beyond this kind of language -- it is supremely unaware of itself. And so it tends to violence.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Let us focus... on one matter... No, on two or three...or... let
    us continue to be all over the place....and then move on. And I realize looking over where I have gone that I am going about it in a very circumstantial fashion.

    1] Scott, your approaching Handke's use of language via Adorno's
    NEGATIVE DIALECTICS. [see below]

    2] Fabjan Haffner's comments [# 9 from the top on the INTRODUCTORY SITE]
    http://handke-drama.blogspot.com/2011/08/still-storm-introductory-thoughts-on.html
    very correctly, that STURM [too one ought to say] is a piece of fiction, and he quotes KASPAR to indicate the level on which this fiction operates: "it could be or might have been" - that all important
    level of the subjunctive - and this is especially interesting
    because Handke has himself appear at a "fictional" main narrator
    director fabulator dreamer, which, I've said this before, for once
    allows, I think, fine insight into Handke's use of personae since the days when he first started using personae , the 1974 A MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING [Gregor Keuschnig].

    Handke makes that painfully clear in the levels of reality he addresses in his first novel DIE HORNISSEN. That piece of semi-fiction created an extraordinary degree of uncertainty in this reader, the experience of uncertainty fear and terror [these are the days of Handke's saying "I am the new Kafka"] is formalized more perspicuously in the
    second novel, DER HAUSIERER where a "pure" consciousness registers,
    phenomenologically [what I, analytically trained, would suggest is at heart a violent primal scene, a gruesomeness to which Handke was
    exposed from age 2 until 12, at any event we are not all born to such terrors and they do not derive just from a few bomber/ HORNISSEN overhead], and these progressive sequences of terrifying signals are framed within a sequential very objective account of the progress and denouement of a black mask type detective novel, of which the HAUSIERER contains ample quotes, unfortunately taken from German translations, otherwise this would have been Handke's first novel to have been translated into English. [I of course might have asked, too, if he could tell me exactly where they were in his German editions]. This is Handke's Robbe-Grillet novel par excellence who provided him with a grid, a holding pattern. Also think of the Dutch painters around the time that Mondrian began to contain, hold ... Loes comes to mind, if I scratch my head long enough the others will appear.

    In his fictions Handke has never diverged from that kind of fictionality - it might have been it might be like that - but that, as the novels become progressively more autobiographical at times his kind of autobiography as fiction really demands definition, imagining oneself as someone one might have been, say a LEFT HANDED WOMAN, what other wishfulfilments are acted out there? MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING memorializes someone he once was or in the writing was becoming a past, Benjamin's notion of the work being the death mask of the experience suffices for me. And I know exactly what Handke was going through at that time - NONSENSE AND HAPPINESS, WEIGHT OF THE WORLD, MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING, with LEFT-HANDED WOMAN he was through the crisis, in as much as he ever is - and MOMENT induces a kind of near suicidal state in me.... until...

    ReplyDelete
  16. 3] STURM as a bifurcated work, on the one hand the perfectly every-human conversation with the "imagoes", our ancestors as they live within us; yanked together here with a drama about resistance fighters, of a dream of freedom briefly realized, quickly shattered. As we know, Handke's family had nothing whatsoever to do with the Slovenian resistance, or the German resistance fighters that I just found out existed among the mountain folk in Slovenia itself. Rather, Handke's family might have even welcomed the ANSCHLUSS of which the play/ novel makes no mention, with some of the the same but also different hopes than the great majority of Austrians in 1938. Grandfather Sivec with his love of the K.U.K. may have seen a revival under a different emperor; HOCH DEUTSCH was admired, his daughter hung out with German soldiers, who I suspect had none of the prejudices against Slovenians that the local non-Slovenians did. The subject of acculturation is touched on but that is all.

    The bifurcation runs through the play in Handke's creating a fictional "I" who is on the most intimate terms with some of the imagoes, you can feel it in the language, in its intimacy to the mother, and grandparents and "Gregor" prior to his joining the Partisanen, is more intimate, but not to the other characters VALENTIN, URSULA who remain flat, as GREGOR turns flat as a Partisan but to revive into full-blown rhapsody, briefly after the war. I suppose there is some truth to Ursula and Gregor being flat as PARTISANEN, that kind of complete dedication is flattening. However, Lothar Struck welcoming a lack of pathos here - well, if Handke had written that act three as well as Brecht did his DIE MASSNAHME/ THE MEASURE TAKEN [it was my first translation, as an honor thesis senior year in college] pathos at suddenly turning killer would have made Gregor's transformation far less flat. Struck also appears to forget how pathos drenched Handke's work from LANGSAME HEIMKEHR through VILLAGE. Strucks congratulations! Sometimes critics can be more welcome than
    such fandom!

    The Sivecs did not have a second daughter, an Ursula, although the one surviving son, Jure, turned Right Wing Austrian, that is away from Slovenian nationalism. That is, you might say, the usual family muddle, and Handke does not write STRUDELHOFSTIEGE. Just as little as he writes Singspiel as he told the author of a song he quotes the one time he met him through me, STAND BY ME, Jerry Leiber who expired last nite, and who also could write better lines than live them.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Let me briefly dissertate on the "As if", which needs
    or simply IS realized as something more real than the
    immediate LEBENSWELT in which the reader/ experiencer
    of a text finds himself, if the book, the verbal work
    of literary art is to succeed before I get to Scott and Negative
    Dialectics.

    In 1956 at Haverford College our wonderful philosophy instructor
    the emigre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Foss father of the two artists
    Lukas and Olivier, was absolutely astounded when near the
    entire class went ape-shit over Vaihinger's "Philosophy of the
    As If". That irreal relationship to the idyllic on the surface
    untroubling circumstances in which we were sleepwalking on our appointed rounds into the heavens of Eisenhower 50s then
    - there we had found someone who in philosophical terms
    had a description for our general state of mind. That kind of
    "as if" state is a DEFENSE, evidently it can also be a shared fairly unconscious one, which however by the end of that year would turn aggressive in the notable instance where the inhabitants of a dorm that was designated for rehabilitation decided to let out the pent up furies at the UNREAL and make the premature destruction of LOWER MARION very real. That is called "acting out." The term "state of mind" comes into play. The state of "as if" as a defense, its elimination through a destructive act was a harbinger of the 60s. There are artistic equivalents to this, also in Europe.

    However, the artistic "as if" that Fabjan mentions would seem to have little to do with Vaihinger's. That kind of state occurs when a writer is seized by an idea for a book, entertains in Longfelllow's proposition, a play, or poem, he can taste it, he envisions it, makes notes, starts to cook, he needs to get the baby out of his system, whatever. Although he only produces a proposition, an alternative existence, and in the world of words, it then has its own relationship to the Lebenswelt. And the artist wants to be admired for the creation of an alternative, perhaps that is all he wants, perhaps he just wants to show off,
    perhaps that is one of his major drives: "Look, no hands, Mom!" Certainly one major feature of Handke's absolute mastery and virtuosity in all his early plays up to but not including the imperfect but interesting 1973 THEY ARE DYING OUT.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Handke initially produced what I would call very objective plays, as HAUSIERER is a very objective piece of work that demonstrates the ultimate overcoming of fear, you cannot reference back to its producer's personal life [except I think I can! but it doesn't help the evaluation of it as a literary text], as you can in so much of the later work only to his imagination, the efficiency of his mind, its powers of penetration.

    That began to change with THEY ARE DYING OUT where references to day to day politics of the late 60/early 70s were introduced as farce and some of Handke's marital difficulties were referenced, and Quitt would seem to be modeled on Siegfried Unseld, anyway, a business mogul just like him who wants to squash all competition. Still, the personal is not needed to understand and understanding the personal is irrelevant to an understanding of that play,* DYING also contains a wonderful discussion about of "down and out" lower depth type plays, my hunch is that Handke was thinking of Kroetz, but he might have been thinking of a any number of plays that live off the audience's pity for victims, for the downtrodden, no matter how well done; and DYING foreshadows the return to Stifter [Handke was at once homesick as a seminary student in Tanzenberg]. The relationship between Mogul Quitt and his factotum Hans resembles that between Mr. Puntilla and his servant Matti, but also Handke's own MY FOOT MY TUTOR, a very pure demonstration - if you look at the text, the way the play is scored, you see at once the degree to which Handke is also a composer - of the master servant relationship, between sadism and masochism, with lots of possibly sinister sounds. RADIO PLAY I, too, plays with anxieties and fears. * [Marital discord, feeling pursued by a longing woman is the spine of SHORT LETTER LONG FAREWELL, especially so if you saw Handke and Libgart together at that time, it recurs in the 2007 MORAVIAN NIGHT]

    I think I demonstrated on hand of Handke's poem SINGULAR AND PLURAL [from INNERWORLD] how Handke converts anxiety into calm, a species of hysterical conversion in reverse, that actually ought to give people pause. That I would suggest is one of the major reasons he is so consistently productive. WEIGHT OF THE WORLD has the entry: "A. mentions that I am writing again!"

    ReplyDelete
  19. With WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES in 1981 I could see what Handke had meant when he wrote me around the time of A MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING 1974/5 that
    he now could do anything - which I understood to mean that he was in full command of the repertoire. The figures in WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES, starting with the prodigal home coming poet GREGOR, his younger half-sister and half-brother [who do not appear at all in FOREVER STURM!] and both the Old Woman and the scarcely different CONSTRUCTION SITE MOTHER might share qualities with the grandmother in STURM. The ever so marvelous three clown construction workers are allegedly based on the like from Griffen, Albin is also the goalkeeper Bloch, now out of jail but still a sadist with the jokes he plays. VILLAGES is a proposition, as are some of the other subsequent major plays, THE HOUR WE KNEW NOTHING OF EACH OTHER is extraordinarily actvist in what it does to the audience with its sequence of images. In that I find that it is as successful as my own favorite play of the early Handke, THE RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE which induces pure stasis, at least in me. I wouldn't encounter such a state of mind in myself until I decided to work in an analytic situation.

    I will return to the theme of "as if" and dwell on whether that defensive state as I/we experienced it in 1956 bears any affinity to the way it
    is employed creatively and healthily by an artist like Handke.

    ReplyDelete
  20. But right now I want to address Handke and Negative Dialectics, Handke and Adorno. If there is a German novelist who bears a direct relatioship it would be Uwe Johnson's SPECULATION ABOUT JAKOB and THE THIRD BOOK ABOUT ACHIM. Johnson was even gravely disappointed when Adorno it appears did not congratulate him for what was meant also as a gift to work that Johnson then admired over any other. I met with Adorno in 1969, I think it was May and I was on my way to Berlin to discuss my translation of KASPAR with Handke. Adorno admired Handke's then work immensely, and if he had lived would certainly have written an essay for his NOTEN ZUR LITERATUR. Another shame for his far too early death. Adorno also told me the name of the prince whose apartment Handke was renting then in the Uhland Strasse, a neighborhood I knew quite well from my junior year abroad. I know of a single instatance in Handke's diaries where the name of Adorno comes up: it is in disagreement with Adorno's statement that poetry had become impossible or whatever after Auschwitz. Handke, and I don't think he was just in a contrarian mood, said: "no: more poetry more..." Which shows his utter misunderstanding of what Adorno had said and lack of relationship to the Shoah and the Holocaust, he already belonged to a younger generation. When I mentioned the name Adorno that May in Berlin, Handke said: "Ach der arme Adorno." I see no reference ever to a book that was a kind of bible of mine for many years, MINIMA MORALIA. That does not exclude the possibility that an approach to Handke's use of language via the Negative Dialectic might not be a productive way to proceed. However, I think you would be far better and more richly of in thinking of Handke as someone who was possessed of "negative capability", he keeps matters ambiguous, that is how you create projection screens for your audience, or capture "the conscience of the king" QUODLIBET. By 1980 Handke had foresworn KASPAR, not that "everything" was suddenly beautiful, as that ass Assheurer suggests in DIE ZEIT, WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES is scarcely lacking in grim news of all kinds. Ditto for STURM. However, I suggest, that cartoon version of the resistance in the woods that Handke then comes up with after a fine initial introduction to the theme in Part III derives from the fact that his family was not involved. I must stop now and post this on both sites, and continue tomorrow. In NO-MAN'S-BAY Handke mentions how the reading of Roman legal texts, the distinction made in kinds of punishments being meted out for different offenses introduced clarity into his head. There is much about lack of clarity in the ESSAY ABOUT TIRED, mention of which. Adieu to bed with me.

    ReplyDelete

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