Mr. Peter Handke (b. 1942) and his mother (a Carinthian Slovene (?) whose suicide in 1971 is the subject of Handke’s A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, a reflection on her life) lived in the Soviet-occupied Pankow district of Berlin from 1944 to 1948 before resettling in Griffen, Austria.
According to some of his biographers, his stepfather Bruno’s alcoholism and the limited cultural life of the small town contributed to Handke’s ‘antipathy to habit and restrictiveness.’
In 1954, Handke was sent to the Catholic Marianum boys’ boarding school. There, he published his first writing in the school newspaper, Fackel. In 1959, he moved to Klagenfurt, where he went to high school, and in 1961, he commenced law studies at the University of Graz [which should not be held against him]. It could be noted – as I will here – that he was in his second year of University at the time of Ms Olga Tokarczuk birth, in Poland, who previously won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature.
His writings about the Yugoslav Wars and subsequent NATO bombing of Yugoslavia with criticism of the Western position and his speech at the funeral of Slobodan Milošević have caused controversy, and he has been widely described as an apologist for far-right Serbian nationalism, which is far from the position of Günter Graß (Grass), the Social Democratic writer.
One of the most original German-language writers alive, this years’s Nobel Prize Winner once called for the Nobel Prize in Literature to be abolished!
The prize brings its winner, Mr. Peter Hanke said in 2014, “a false canonization” along with “one moment of attention (and) six pages in the newspaper.” [ed. What’s a newspaper?]
It was not the first time that Mr. Handke had shown himself to be somewhat short-sighted. He has described Thomas Mann, the giant of German literature and a 1929 Nobel laureate, author of The Magic Mountain, as…
“Terrible! A horrendously bad writer with condescending, snotty-nosed prose.”