Peter Handke’s “Landing Approaches”

Sometime last year, in May, if I remember correctly, I took the following notes toward a post, which I never got to finalize. I’ll post them today — Handke’s writing & thinking about writing somehow keeps coming to my mind:

This saturday morning’s newspaper reading led me, via the ever so useful GermanPerlentaucher cultural news gatherer, to Die Welt,  a paper I normally don’t read. Today in its cultural pages the paper reproduced extracts of a new book by Austrian writer Peter Handke. It is a sort of compemdium of aphoristic diary notes, called in German Vor der Baumschattenwand nachts — Zeichen und Anflüge von der Peripherie 2007-2015 (Jung u. Jung, forthcoming 3/6/16[ actually published then, cf. here]).

And so the first pleasure/labor of the day was an attempt to translate the title: Before the Treeshadowwall at Night — Signs and Notes from the Periphery 2007-2015. Ah, but that lovely “Anflüge” — yes, a note, notes, but only because it has that double entendre as both a musical sound & notation, & a scribbled something. And yet — the word is so much richer that a translation would want to enlist all the English equivalents, staring with the one that does justice to the word “flug/flight” embedded in it: approach; landing approach; & then all the variations on “note:” shade, touch, hint, tinge, whiff, etc. But let me offer three or four of the notes, here, as quick morning pleasure (even if you will get them only nachts/at night, given that it is already late afternoon here in Boise (mountain time) and thus much later in the eastward direction I seem to be looking/listening in.

Schönes Haus!? Ja, aber es fehlt das in ihm geschriebene Buch.

Beautiful house!? Yes, But what’s missing is a book written in it.


Alles ist doch gesagt? Nichts ist gesagt. Nichts ist zu sagen. Und wenn auch alles gesagt wäre – umso besser: Sag’s auf deine Weise. Deine Weise – so du eine hast – wird gebraucht

Everything has been said? Nothing has been said. There’s nothing to be said. And even if everything had been said — all the better: Say it your way. Your way — if you have one — is needed


Es gibt auch episch fruchtbare Vorurteile? Ja, wenn sie sich auflösen

There also exist epically fruitful prejudices? Yes, when they dissolve


Es gibt die Unschuld. Sie wird die Welt retten. Träume mich, Epos! Heute muß ich weit gehen: Fühle ich mich nicht im Aufbruch, im Aufbruchstraum von einer möglichen Menschheit, so hat das poetische, das entwerfende Schreiben keinen Sinn

Innocence exists. It will save the world. Dream me, Epos! Today I have to go far: If I do not feel myself to be at the start, at the dreamstart of a possible humanity, then the poetic, the projective writing makes no sense


Schreiben heißt auch: den Traum, den Großen, zügeln

To write also means: to rein in the dream, the big one


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