Monday, May 29, 2006

Handke triumphs

So Peter Handke has received the Heine-Preis despite the distortions of the herd. Gilles d'Aymery provides an excellent report of the farce. He also translates the words of the great author himself in a conveniently delayed correction to the factual errors spread by the French press:
I have not laid a red rose on the hearse of Slobodan Milosevic. I did not touch the hearse. I did not wave the Serbian flag. And I have never approved "the Srebrenica massacre and other crimes done in the name of ethnic cleansing." I've never considered the Serbs as "the real victims of the war."
We even get a glimpse of what that infamous speech at the funeral consisted.
The world, the so-called world, knows everything on Yugoslavia, Serbia. The world, the so-called world, knows everything on Slobodan Milosevic. The so-called world knows the truth. For that, the so-called world today is absent, and not only today, and not only here. I know that I do not know. I do not know the truth. But I look. I feel. I remember. For that, I am present today, close to Yugoslavia, close to Serbia, close to Slobodan Milosevic.
The speech might be present in full and in German on Michael Roloff's unique Handke site but I can't find it.

I hope this tiresome controversy at least has the virtue of prompting more English-speaking interest in Handke's work, particularly those transcendent novels of not knowing, of looking, of feeling and of remembering Across (which I actually saw in a bookshop recently!!), Repetition and The Afternoon of a Writer. Maybe someone might even translate and publish Der Bildverlust and Don Juan. In the meantime we can make do with other necessary volumes such as Jade's My Autobiography (as if she could write anybody else's).


  1. I wonder, Steve M, whether you got that Gilles d'Aymery link from my "herd" site, Theatre Notes, where it is posted with some links to discussion of Handke's statements by other intellectual bovines, such as JH Prynne? And indeed with a quote from Michael Roloff's defence of Handke?

    Misrepresentation, indeed.

  2. I got those links from Michael Roloff's site. I realise that you're relatively open-minded and I regret my tendency towards impatience.

    What troubles me above all is that Handke has been reported as saying things he's never said. He's even stated the opposite and yet still it's claimed that he "argued that the Srebrenica massacres never happened" in his book. If that isn't misrepresentation I don't know what is. Everything apart from that is beside the point.

    As for JH Prynne, I can't find a way through his ugly, heartless prose or see anything resembling a significant engagement with Handke's writings, or the question of the misrepresentations of them, to make any comment. And his anachronistic use of 'shews' instead of 'shows' rather confirms my impression that his poetry is lifeless.

  3. Anonymous9:42 pm

    It looks as if he won't get the prize after all... The herd of the politically correct has won: see

  4. Anonymous9:44 pm

    Sorry, link in previous post is probably not working: have a look at for news about Handke

  5. Yes, thanks. I was just writing a short blog about it. It's rather funny really. Handke will outlast it all. It would be so good to read more translations of his comments (as in the link I'll include).



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