In Repetition, Handke allows the peculiar light which illuminates the space under a leafy canopy or a tent canvas to glisten between words, placed here with astounding caution and precision; in doing so, he succeeds in making the text into a sort of refuge amid the arid lands which, even in the culture industry, grow larger day by day.WG Sebald's remarkable essay Across the Border, on Peter Handke's 1986 novel Die Wiederholung, translated by Ralph Manheim in 1989 as Repetition, has been made available in English by Cannon Magazine. You can download it as a PDF. Even better news is that The Last Books press is reissuing the translation later this year alongside Scott Abbott's translation of Handke's book-length poem To Duration, published in the same year.
This is especially gratifying for me as Handke was one of the first writers to reveal the potential for writing beyond the shameful lowlands of contemporary English literature, and Repetition one of the most rapturous reading experiences of my life. A quarter of a century or a day later, I tried to write about this in an essay.