Monday, January 21, 2019

As one of the few American witnesses of Handke’s famous May 1966 Gruppe 47 Prineceton critique this future Handke translator and specialist wishes to comment at some length.

As one of the few American witnesses of Handke’s famous May 1966 Gruppe 47 Prineceton critique this future Handke translator and specialist wishes to comment at some length.
First of all who was I to be invited to Princeton and what was I doing and what did I know. As a reader of contemporary German literature for various American publishers I had started to make up a lack of acquaintance with the culture of my childhood with which I sought to re-establish and maintain contact. In 1966 I was the U.S. scout for Suhrkamp Verlag, but never heard of Handke until Princeton. I had been the German literature scout for Seymour Lawrence at Atlantic Monthly Press& Alfred Knopf in 1964–5[also famously in East Berlin] and knew HM Enzensberer as of 1961 and had interviewed Uwe Johnson, Peter Weiss & Guenter Grass, and had read quite a few of the younger writers’s works in galleys at their German publishers, and spent much time at aunt Ursula von Krosigk’s bookshop on the Kudamm in Berlin making rather disorganized acquaintance with the wealth of material on offer, but if you had asked me to provide a general opinion of post WW II German literature I would have only been able to offer opinion of individual writers and not really used the WW II caesura as as reference point. Via acquaintance with Fritz Raddatz and my favorite German publisher Ledig Rowohlt I had made acquiescent with the Austrian avant garde that Rowohlt published. I even once signed a contract for Ossie Wiener’s famous VERBESSERUNG on a napkin at Harry’s Bar in Frankfurt, the kind of contract that if you changed your mind you would dip the napkin in a whisky soda for it to dissolve, as we then did a year later. And it was next to Hamburg acquaintance Erich Kuby that I happened to be sitting when Handke let loose his tirade and Kuby told me the name of the fellow in the beatles’s hair cut a few rows over
Handke’s generalized attack did not strike someone who had participated in American creative writing classes, at Bryn Mawr/Haverford and Stanford University as all that momentous, I had heard for more aggressive and vicious & anticipated someone to ask the fellow to be more specific, which Handke might have of course have been when Richter [to whom Johnson had introduced me for us to remain mutually unimpressed in Berlin] cited the rules that generalized attacks were out of order, whereupon Handke, robotically, launched into a repeat of his initial charge. – It would never occurred to me at that moment that something on the order of a world historical event had transpired, or that the major critics had become a problem,
which shows to what extent I was entirely ignorant of the Gruppe’s group dynamic or its history, but that it was founded in 1947 at the inception of the Cold War to assure against the repeat of Nazi like censure ship, and under the aegis of the experience that German U.S. prisoners of war had made with the day to day workings of American democracy something that persists on that level no matter that nationally the U.S. is a n imperialist duopoly ruling under the dictatorship of Kapital. However, I knew the work of quite a few younger writers who indeed, including Piwit, and Handke’s own HAUSIERER text, were anything but potent descriptively. As a matter of fact, this great admirer of DER HAUSIERER finds that it was a huge mistake to read out from a phenomenological demanding text of that kind, an imaginative deconstructive way to play with anxiety and dread while demonstrating what it consists of in literature – the sort of thing you couldn’t possibly write, seek disabuse yourself of in typical defensive obsessive literary fashion if you had not had a terror-filled childhood. Enzensberger’s verdict „oede” [desolate] exactly in one word describes the over-all texts read, and none of the famous great one’s read as I recall; not the sort of thing you want to show the first time you show abroad – at Princeton due to powerful Professoor Lange’s invitation. A day or so afterwards at a party that Pannah Grady, Jakov Lind [SOUL OF WOOD] and I gave for the Gruppe at Pannah’s splendid Dakota apartment, [the same complex where John Lennon would be gunned down in 1980], I sought to inquire whom Handke, who had described himself to friend Ted Ziolkovwky at Princeton, as „the new Kafka,” had had in mind, -however we were famously interrupted by Alan Ginsberg trying to get me to translate for Handke that Alan wanted to fuck him; and though I met Handke quite a few times subsequently i never thought of asking him again and continue to be amazed that his 1966 statement is more long-lived than as many of his works ought to be.



About Me

My photo
seattle, Washington, United States
MICHAEL ROLOFF exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website