Peter Handke and no EndMilestones of a Rapprochement
164 pages, 12 x 20
ISBN: 978-3-8353-3156-3 (2017)
Discussions, essays and lectures from 50 years, written by Peter Hamm, who started out as one of Handke’s harshest critics and became a close friend later in life.
It is by no means common for a critic to follow the work of an author over a period of almost 50 years. But a story that begins with polemics, moves on to a slow rapprochement in discussions that gradually become deeper and deeper, and finally results in a life-long friendship, is almost certainly unique. The young lyricist and critic Peter Hamm first wrote about Peter Handke, who had just turned 26 at the time, in the midst of the heated political climate of 1968. In an article in Die Zeit, he dismissed Handke’s essay against the language of the SDS, Totgeborene Sätze [Stillborn Phrases] as »embarrassing« and »disturbing«. Four years later, he acknowledged that the author of Der kurze Brief zum langen Abschied [Short Letter, Long Farewell] is at least: »now capable of saying ›I‹«. But there is still a long way to go until understanding turns to approval, until Peter Hamm holds his enthusiastic laudatory speech to Peter Handke when he receives the Schiller Prize, or until the next century, when he expresses his appreciation of Mein Jahr in der Niemandsbucht [My Year in the No-Man’s-Bay] and Der Bildverlust [The Loss of Image] in wide-ranging essays.
With his precise knowledge of the works, Peter Hamm reveals hidden references and motifs in Handke’s work as no other could, inviting the reader to participate in his process of discovery.
Peter Hamm, born in Munich in 1937, lyricist, essayist, critic, publisher, documentary filmmaker (documentaries include works on Robert Walser, Fernando Pessoa, Ingeborg Bachmann, Hanns Eisler, Alfred Brendel, Peter Handke)