important essay by seebald on THE REPETITION
With sagging knees, dangling arms, and gout-gnarled fingers, which at that moment impersonated furious clenched fists, the frail, aging man, much smaller than I, stood by the wayside Cross and shouted at me: ‘All right, go to the dogs like your brother, like our whole family! None of us has ever amounted to anything, and you won’t either. You won’t even get to be a good gambler like me.’ Yet, just then, he had embraced me for the first time in my life…
This analysis of the art of memory in Peter Handke’s Die Wiederholung argues that his notion of memory is rooted in Kierkegaard’s (future-oriented) concept of repetition rather than the Greek (past-oriented) concept of recollection. Drawing on Stanley Cavell’s reading of Thoreau, this chapter explores the environmental ramifications of such a dramaturgy of memory. It investigates the anthropological dialectics of primary and secondary nature, the relation between spatial mapping and language development, and the paradox of gaining identity through accepting otherness. Close readings of narrative strategies offer new insights into the ways in which Handke combines his language philosophy with an ethics of space, movement,
Peter Handkes episches Werk, bei dem die Musen nicht am Anfang, sondern am Ende angerufen werden, ist Erzählung und gleichzeitig Erforschung der Erzählung, deren Entstehung und Bedeutung. Auf der Suche nach seinem verschollenen Bruder wird Filip Kobal deutlich, daß er
experienceableness. As we found out this year from Handke's VERSUCH UEBER DEN
STILLEN ORT (A Plumbing of a Restroom as this celebration of an Abort might be called) Handke only got as far as Jesenice and then slept curled up around the toilet bowl of the railway station's restroom. However, his horticultural uncle's book and the uncles' war time letters were family heirlooms and the uncle who had studied horticulture in Llubliana was indeed a deeply sought model - also for the avunculate position intro-psychically of Handke's angry being. Thus, THE REPETITION is truly a work of deeply imagined seeking during which Handke taught himself Slovenian and wrote his own Slovenian-German dictionary. Above and beyond those matters, THE REPETITION, as Handke has acknowledged is the rewriting of A SORROW BEYOND DREAMS. That is, it is an imaginary revision as well as repeating and a retrieval - the German WIEDERHOLUNG has a double meaning. As such, the book installs the fatherless disoriented Handke's grandfather Sivec instead of the two father figures of SORROW, the gruesome stepfather Bruno Handke, and the actual father, a Herr Schoenherr, about whose trip with his son in SORROW Handke, for reasons of his homophobia, then lied so dreadfully, as we find out in Malte Herwig's Handke biography. Thus the quote at the beginning labora verimus applies with great depths in this instance.
For me, reading it in the late 80s in the St. Monica Mts. coincided with finally living in natural time, which meant exposure to the "surf pounding slowly and very loudly" on the south-facing Ma-Li-Bu [that is its meaning in Chumash] beaches, surf generated by storm way down in the South Pacific thousands of miles away and the waves crashing i don't know every 20 seconds or so. Thus I too became a KING OF SLOWNESS as Handke had around that time, and wrote about Handke and "being" in sentences that it took about 20 seconds to read. Unfortunately, I at least no longer have that piece. The long piece I wrote about HIMMEL UEBER BERLIN for Jim Krusoe at the St. Monica Review retains some of those long periods, but I allowed Jim to tamp them down - made no difference, readers objected violently, and Jim and agreed that he could have spared himself the effort. Gus Blaisdell was going to publish the piece as a chapbook with his LIVING BATCH bookstore press, but then didnt or didn't get around to it, and after he died prematurely of a heart attack his daughter Nicole did not find the manuscript among his papers. NYR, Bob Silvers really liked it too, but then did not do it either. THE REPETITION, the first chapter of A SLOW HOME COMING and the last 150 pages of SIERRA DEL GREDOS, the ascent and descent of the mountains, are among my great pure reading experiences. NO-MAN'S-BAY as a whole, too, I suppose.