Sunday, August 19, 2018


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Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach: Das stehende Jetzt. Die Notizbücher von Peter Handke. Gespräch mit dem Autor und Essays von Ulrich von Bülow.
Deutsche Schillergesellschaft, Marbach am Neckar 2018.
150 Seiten, 18,00 EUR.
ISBN-13: 9783944469393


Two or three near simultaneous thoughts came to mind when I saw the announcement for

cousin von Buelow’s amazingly valuable and insightful take on the Notizbuecher,

Zum Material: 

Notizbücher von Peter HandkeMein Zuhause sind die Farben

Zwischen Schrift und Bewusstsein: Ein prächtiges Marbacher Magazin erkundet die Welt von Peter Handkes Notizbüchern 

Eine Sammlung unwillkürlicher Selbstgespräche.„Empfänglich sein ist alles“ und andere Weisheiten. Notizbuch vom Ende Juli 2010.

 that every-moment-of-the-day-and-night dimension of my man: first, didn’t I or my optometrist or my organ grower at the University of Washington have a fresh set of eyes to consign to someone who made the huge effort to decipher the volumes upon volume Handke scribbles hidden often behind a host of Handke drawings

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Eine Sammlung unwillkürlicher Selbstgespräche.„Empfänglich sein ist alles“ und andere Weisheiten. Notizbuch
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 and [2] that by selling these masses of notebooks
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to scholarly institutions my sly dog assured himself of continued if not eternal interest if of no one else at least of Germanisten   as long as the discipline exist; and [3] that such a mass of material demanded and the assured a two volume biography one hopes by a brilliant hand of such a calibrated Self that has displayed itself - joyously   towards the end - of each and every aspects, even of its night thoughts; the consignee for the underwear, I hear, is the Verbrecher Verlag, for a substantial sum! Handke wasn’t kidding when he confessed to Mueller that he had become a capitalist – a most generous one it must be said at once.

The first and only time I saw Handke –  [as his first American translator and editor I met him I would say a couple of dozen times during a 15 year period briefly or for extended stretches of mostly exceedingly memorable, first in Spring 1966 at Princeton, the last time in Fall`1980 in Salzburg] - make a note in one of these Notizbuecher was in 1076, at the Rockaways, at Rijs Park.-  Handke had wanted to go to the Atlantic ocean or maybe I wanted to show him where I had lived for three years  undistracted and in clean air until I had to move back into the big bright and dark city on the founding of Urizen Books. We had quite a bit of past by then, [a] the after-Princeton party at Pannah Grady’s Dakota; [b] our meeting in Berlin in 1969 to discuss my Kaspar translation; [3] the famous Handke, Library Schwartz, Kolleritsch 1971 visit to the USA  and New York as an Austrian cultural package, the official premiere of some Handke plays in New York City; a visit to Elaine’s; a reception at my apartment; the threesome’s return from the 21 cities in 28 days marathon,  Library exhausted, Kolleritch with a tachi cardia, my man fresh as a daisy marches off to Rizzoli’s to see what has appeared in the mags and papers during his absence from these media; annual visits of mine to the Rue Montomorncy and then to Meudon. Kaspar and Other Plays had been published in 1970, Goalie and Shor Letter were out, as was my translation of Innerworld, the New Yorker had run all for Lefthanded Woman; Kaspar had premiered at B.A.M.; Ride Across Lake Constance at the Vivian Beaumopnt at Lincoln Center  – Handke, it would appear, at the time, was on his way to becoming an established author in the United States. And I will detail my experience of each of these encounters in the course of this commentary so as to create the context for whatever notes Handke may have made – I myself unfortunately lack the time if not the eyesight to peruse the material on-line. I realize that Handke began the use of Notizbuecher as more or less exclusive crutches for his work only around 1070, however he seems to have been making avid notes already during his time in Berlin. A future lover and ex-lover of his, a true equal whom I could not join in the early 80s for needing to lean up the Big Mess that Urizen Books had become on the Via West Broadway, and who then could not wait, mentioned that Handke would resort to a notebook at the most unlikely moments, and though married demanded exclusive dibs of someone who confessed in the most touching manner that at that time had been geil.
We had just published in late 1975 as one of Urizen’s first books my translation of Handke’s three long, stormy Nonsense & Happiness poems and I had taken along, in the cubby hole back seat of my MGB, which I was about to sell, the fellow who did the cover photo. Marvin Kesselman,

I chose the WTC as cover subject in deference to Handke’s cited dislike of La Defense & if Urizen had stayed put and not gone under by 9/11 the disintegrating WTC would sure have tumbled down on us at 66 West Broadway - Building 7 was adjacent.

    Judging how the sun was setting - in my recollection - as we arrived - to the left of Staten Island, that is in the South West as compared to summerly North-West above Manhattan, it was either Fall or maybe winter, and it seemed to be that moment at which the sun disappears entirely, in the Atlantic, that elicited a reaching for the notebook, a brief notation, the notebook tucked away; which sunset in my case had me waiting for that famous green flash
that is supposed to accompany that moment; and the thought – a WW II war baby’s! – that that red hot half orb I saw sinking reminded me how I had imagined the Graf Spee had sunk in the River Plate, cornered by the Brits
a fantasy of mine it turns out, the captain had scuttled a damaged ship, my fantasy at that moment resorted to other memories of WW II or even WW I sea battles which I had followed avidly – thus, with such a distinct recollection of that moment it always interested me, but I never asked, what had occurred to Handke.

   The one time I see myself appear in one of the Notebook’s derivative sources is in one of my favorite Handke titles, his Geschichte des Bleistift’s, where he notes someone who is as playful as he is serious, and that was me when I had taken Handke [with the invariable Brodsky so as not to be alone with someone who now spooked me] to my pub, Barnabus Rex, Barneys in neighborhood parlance, and had played pool and danced in that difficult dance space and noted how awkwardly Brodksy and Handke danced. To quote from my Walkabout

“Talk about a red light in a window. No, Barnabus Rex was not a trucker’s whore house; it was a pub, a shoe-box sized pub, 15 by 25 feet, say 400 square feet max was all there was to it including the bar itself on the Western side and the cubicle; a juke box to the left as you entered from the vestibule, Mustang Sally, Z.Z. Tops’ Tush and the decrescendo of Fame are three songs on that box that come immediately to mind after all these years, What’s Love got to do with it, secondary notion; and of course HEART ACHE, there will be a heart-ache tonite – as indeed there often was. Handke, who does not mention this box in his Assaying of the Jukebox, though he might  may recall others, but then he perhaps never visited Barnabus again, in History of the Pencil he notes that he found me to be as playful as serious there, and I had not anticipated it would be so difficult to find others who were like that and that Handke the one time we played cards [see
proved to be insufficiently playful and dreadful loser as he admit in a variety of texts;  or that there would be so many intentional obstaclers, Spielverderber; he was so pleased to be there I recall, the head barkeep, Ace, Andreas Nova, ex-drama student of director of Handke plays Carl Weber, I won’t ever I think forget his sunshine of a smile breaking out on his face at being introduced to the author of texts I had no idea he knew. Handke
 shuffled his feet a little to the music as though to dance [although that might also have been Michael Brodsky] something he says he only did once to jukebox music, with an Indian girl in a bar in Anchorage. It would be twenty years before I found out that jukeboxes were an obsession of his, an obsession so as to dream himself free; though I was of course aware that he had dedicated Public Insult to John Lennon, among others, and that he seemed fond of Dylan’s music, and that by not naming him had somehow managed to capture a quality of Dylan’s and of himself as no one else had, at least to my knowledge, in the San Francisco section of A Slow Homecoming. You could dance all around the mid-sized pool table at Barneys, and if you were a regular you knew how to do so without ever jostling a pool stick that was poised to shoot, but you rocked, chiefly, pretty much on one tight spot, dancing in a small space was the name of this ballet, right next to the jukebox, as much inside the music box as you could. Come out of the cold into such a mass of compacted human warmth and the memory sticks in the cold of your New York existence. Evidently, as I would find out, I was not the only one! Within several years, by 1979 at the latest, Barnabus Rex had been “discovered,” by folks all the way from hated Jersey and Long Island, pioneers too, adventurers of sorts, looking for what was not to be found in their regions, but who quickly displaced the “natives,” themselves so recently native, within a few years, especially so of course on weekends by arriving early, by 8 o’clock, whereas the locals, artists of one kind or the other – very rarely one of its former long-distance truckers would dare to mingle with the new crowd  most of whom, certainly, did not go out before ten, most of them later, and found the place jammed with unfamiliar faces. [So, don’t advertise, keep your mouth shut unless you want to be discovered; once discovered you will be devoured.”
        That evening was memorable not only for Handke but, for me, for the recently divorced bullying Laurie Spiegel appearing, seeing me happily with friends and promptly fainting – at least she had not thrown a 2 by 4 as she would if she saw me pass by in adjacent Duane Park near our once together loft; fainted, friend anarchist film maker Australian sheep farmer extraordinaire carriying her home the way Max Sidow is it? Does as that cross of a woman in an early Ingmar Bergman film to some cannoneers at a sea shore; and for Handke, entirely out of the blue, offering me 10 K dollars if I needed it for Urizen Books – I had just committed myself to introduce 50 k into the firm to the two partners, but only had 20, which would have been at least twice that but for the vile Roger Straus fleeting me of three quarters of my royalty participation in the books I had publishers there, a matter I was not even aware of until years later, and three friends, each out of the blue, offering or handing me 10 k -  I had said nothing of my need to either of the three – that dates this event to 1076  or 1077as, Urizen had put all of its 250 K investment on its first list and had nearly gone bankrupt but for one title, Sex Differences, being sold to six different book clubs. Looking back, I ought to have pointed out to the silent partner, Oberon N.V. that if he wanted us to locate our offices on Central Park South next to his penthouse, and have an illustrious board of advisers – the latter was our possible value to Oberon - that Atheneum was founded, a decade prior, with a capital of 4 million and was struggling too, of course on an entirely different. Yet I was keeping Handke at arm’s length, in Paris he had availed himself of my woman, and not just any of the many passions but of the “great fondness” – very different kind of attachment but of greater potential not to burn or sputter, especially for writer editor types who love their work as much as their “significant others” - but what spooked me was that when I arranged for a meeting between the woman who was now yet another ex but ctd close friend and confidant and the invariable Algonquin resident when in New York he had not even recognized someone to whom he had confessed so much – that is far spookier, too, than cuckolding someone who you then continue to regard as a friend, and who continues to be a friend of your work. Thus Michael Brodksy,.whose work I would not have published if Handke had not sent him to me, served as the invariable shield.

I always wondered whether Handke memorialized Pannah Grady, Jakov Lind and my party for the Gruppe 47 in 1966, he had gotten the wrong impression there that Alan Ginsberg wanted to fuck me and was not enlightened that he had been the object of desire.  See my account of a visit to the Moenchsberg in 1980
the last time we saw each other, I moved West in 1985, but there was yet one further major Handkerelated event in my life, the translation of his Ueber die Doerfer/ Walk About the Villages which led to the most interesting part of our correspondence; fiercest of fighting of mine for the work led to the end of a friendship that the translation, for my part, had revived into utter forget and the forgivefulness of the then 15 year old cuckoldry for which the woman might certainly be as responsible, and suffered the consequences. What magic resides in that play - thoughts on which Bleistift notes in such detail. And discovery during that break-up how ultra Handke’s self-image was.
   The notebooks make me wonder about Handke’s notation if any of our walk to Brodsky’s across a snowy Brooklyn Bridge upon his return from Alaska in 1978. In his correspondence with Kolleritch Handkle notes how pleasantly boring he finds me during my visits to Rue Montmorency, whereas I found the then still socially discombobulated Kaspar boring in needing to get back to work and not even offering a glass of water to someone who was perhaps more of a city walker than Handke could imagine. Dommage that the chessboard was not out, the Spassky-Fischer matches coincided with the last flourishing of my chess talents.
   Once, there was a visiting Austrian Backfisch visiting; calling after that brief visit, Handke mentioned that he he had exposed himself to her and that she had blushed, and I knew I had an exhibitionist for a genius author!
   There was a long memorable drive to the suburbs in the 70s when Handke thought of living in a NY suburb and sending Amina to a French lycée in Manhattan, but these event will be detailed in the PDF.


Eine Sammlung unwillkürlicher Selbstgespräche.„Empfänglich sein ist alles“ und andere Weisheiten. Notizbuch vom Ende Juli 2010.Foto: Chris Korner/DLA Marbacg

Im Halbrund aufgestellt, aneinandergelehnt und übereinandergestapelt, wie das Deutsche Literaturarchiv Marbach die 221 Notizbücher im vergangenen Oktober präsentierte, handelt es sich um ein Ehrfurcht gebietendes Textgebirge. Seine 33 000 Seiten, die Peter Handke von 1975 bis 2015 an insgesamt 14 600 Tagen anfertigte, ragen auch vor treuen Lesern als weitgehend unerschlossenes Massiv auf. Die Journale, die ihren Weg sorgsam ausgewählt aus der Kladde ins Buch fanden, „Das Gewicht der Welt“ oder zuletzt „An der Baumschattenwand nachts“, geben zwar einen Eindruck von Ton und Gehalt dieser Aufzeichnungen. Doch ihren besonderen Charakter gewinnen sie daraus, dass sie in ihrer Unkonzentriertheit eben nicht das Werk wollen, sondern das ewige Wuchern und die ewige Vorläufigkeit.
Ihr Ideal ist die permanente Weltmitschrift aus den Augenwinkeln heraus, leicht errungen und gedanklich noch nicht ausgehärtet. Gerade in dieser nach einer unmöglichen Totalität strebenden Summe verlieren die Notizbücher ihren Schrecken. Man könnte auch sagen: Sie mussten in dieser Vollständigkeit geschrieben werden – sie müssen nur nicht in dieser Vollständigkeit gelesen werden. Mit ihren das Ungestalte in eine unreine Form rettenden Wahrnehmungsexerzitien machen sie sich selbst überflüssig.
Die schönste Abkürzung durch ihre vielstimmigen Unendlichkeiten bietet jetzt ein von Ulrich von Bülow herausgegebenes Marbacher Magazin. Mit Faksimiles reich illustriert, macht es ein Projekt so sinnlich wie intellektuell begreiflich, das den Schriftbesessenen und Zeichner in seinen wichtigsten Facetten zeigt: den Naturbeobachter, der das Nebensächliche zu den Hauptsachen erklärt. Den im Halbdämmer Traumspuren festhaltenden Diaristen. Und den zwischen dem Streuobst seines Bewusstseins gezielt Lesefrüchte auflesenden Protokollanten

Natürlich sind die Notizbücher auch das Labor der Romane, aber eher im Sinne einer Einübung in ein Erzählklima als in einer Skizze des noch Auszuführenden. Ulrich von Bülows einführender Essay in Handkes Selbstkultivierungstechniken ist in seiner Kürze und Dichte ein Glanzstück des Bandes. Erhellend auch die Abschrift eines öffentlichen Gesprächs, das Handke und von Bülow zur Erwerbung der Notizbücher am 18. Oktober 2017 in Marbach führten. Der Autor gibt darin selten aufgeräumt Auskunft über seine Entwicklung.
Unter anderem klärt er die Bedeutung des Kürzels „U. S.“, das für „unwillkürliches Selbstgespräch“ steht. „Ich denke manchmal irgendetwas, und das ist in dem Moment derartig blöd, manchmal wie von Karl Valentin“, erklärt Handke. „Zum Beispiel: ,Ich wundere mich über gar nichts mehr.‘ Und dann sage ich mir: ,Dann lass dich doch gleich begraben.‘ Das ist überhaupt kein Gedanke, das ist ein unwillkürliches Selbstgespräch.“
In weiteren Essays widmet sich Ulrich von Bülow Handkes „Heidegger-Lektüren“ und den „Spinoza-Lektüren“. Vor allem der letztgenannte Aufsatz leistet Pionierarbeit. Er weist nach, wie Spinozas „Ethik“, ein umfassender, vom Ontologischen bis zum Erkenntnistheoretischen reichender philosophischer Entwurf, der Gott und Natur in eins setzt, Handkes 1979 mit „Langsame Heimkehr“ einsetzende Tetralogie zu prägen begann. Auch „Das stehende Jetzt“, der Titel des Marbacher Bandes, geht auf jene Zeit zurück. In seiner lateinischen Variante „Nunc stans“, die das Zusammenfallen von Moment und Ewigkeit meint, erprobte er den von ihm eigenwillig interpretierten Begriff in seinen Notizbüchern, ehe er 1980 in die ersten Sätze der „Lehre der Sainte-Victoire“ Eingang fand. „Einmal bin ich in den Farben zu Hause gewesen“, heißt es da. „Naturwelt und Menschenwerk, eins durch das andere, bereiteten mir einen Beseligungsmoment, den ich aus den Halbschlafbildern kenne, und der Nunc stans genannt worden ist.“
Das Nunc stans ist bis heute das beste Mittel, den Grundwiderspruch von Handkes Projekt, vielleicht sogar aller Kunst, aufzulösen: nämlich ein Sehen, das sich erst im Schreiben verwirklicht – und dadurch der Welt bereits als etwas Anderes, für immer Fixiertes gegenübertritt. So, wie die angehaltene Zeit in den Strom der Dinge zurückfließt, um von Neuem angehalten zu werden, geschieht es auch mit dem objektivierten Satz und dem lebendigen Bewusstsein.
Das stehende Jetzt. Die Notizbücher von Peter Handke. Gespräch mit dem Autor und Essays von Ulrich von Bülow. 152 S., 18 €. Bestellung:

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