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Sunday, December 19, 2010

A BRIEF EXCHANGE BETWEEN JIM KRUSOE AND MYSELF ON HANDKE BOOKS AT BARNES AND NOBLE

No dear Jim, its not the culture that is to blame

[
Dear Michael, I'm sorry to hear that, but I don't think the blame is where you put it so much as a national consciousness that has sunk to youtube snippets and iphone apps. The new fiction section at our miserable college library, for example, could easily have been poured out of the community room of a trailer park. Jim

On Dec 18, 2010, at 9:37 PM, MICHAEL ROLOFF wrote:

My visit to the huge BARNES AND NOBLE at University Village
here in Seattle
  yielded not a single Handke title, neither novel, play or poem
among its thousands upon thousands of titles,
not even the two paperbacks that are obtainable from NYRB Books
nor KASPAR from FSG, which has no other paperbacks in print. And
a merry x-mas to that mediocre firm FSG that over a course of time
ruined what I helped establish, roger straus, michael dicapua,
that mediocrity steve wasserman, jonathan gallasi. et al.
]

The Handke reception initially was first rate. For KASPAR & OTHER PLAYS + for GOALIE.
I put RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE into an anthology of German plays I did for Peter Mayer at Avon.
Persuaded Peter to do TWO BY HANDKE, followed by THREE BY HANDKE. These were then
also done by Collier Books. Even the diary volume WEIGHT OF THE WORLD was
a success - but leave it to FSG not to follow up with HISTORY OF THE PENCIL
as every other foreign house in the major languages has done.
SORROW BEYOND DREAMS was not just a huge hit, but also it's play adaptation
at the Phoenix in NY
I put out two volumes of Handke's poems, at Continuum and at Urizen Books.
Everything was going honkey dorey until FSG took off nearly a decade after LEFT HANDED
was even published in its entirety in the New Yorker. The title novel of A SLOW HOMECOMING
and its theme of withdrawal [as though Handke has ever been close to anyone but himself and his mother!]
and in its now lens wide open but concrete mytho-poeicism, written just two years  later
was not published until 1986 with ST. VICTOIRE and A CHILD'S STORY.
In 83 FSG, Michael DeCapua, that "forever asslicking stilleto man", by the luck of the licking
is editor in chief at FSG, the very many who tried to kill the Handke project there initially,m\
turns down my best translation, of WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES,which Handke thinks is better than an translation he could have ever imagined,
and forgets, lovely lunatic that he can be too, that it could not have been done without him
Subsequently they turn down all his other great plays. Also thank that mediocrity Steve
Wasserman for that when he was in charge of Noonday Books and Hill and Wang divisions
which do FSG's paperbacks and plays.
. The New Yorker comes through once more with a huge section of THE REPETITION. in the
late 80s. Nothing since, have no idea whether that mediocre firm even submits
the translations of the great NOMANS'S BAY and GREDOS to them.
Handke has had about ten different editors at FSG, no wonder there used to be
that revolving while Straus was alive and DiCapua was around.
I myself only got it on with one editor there, Henry Robbins who was Barthelme
and Tom Wolfe's editor, but left within a year of my three year stint there,
and died of a heart attack young at Simon and Schuster, the kind of firm
to give anyone halfway tender hearted...
Since then FSG relies on Krishna Winston to advise them what Handke to do...
Krishna came in late with the last of the three essays and wrote
me that she likes to have some time off from translating, and
seemed to think that Handke's KALI was like other things he has done.
Obviously bereft. No guarantee that because you are a first rate
translator you have an understanding of what you translated or
of such a huge body of non-repetitive but developing body of work.
Don't think they are doing Handke's reportage THE CUCKOOS OF VELICA HOCA
The McGonigle just called me attention, on face book, to a bugger
who wrote something about Camp Bondsteel for Virginia Quarterly,
He may have been born bugger, but he's just another pretty good
regular journalist. Those folks can't even imagine how far behind
the eight ball they are when it comes to a great novelist taking
on a small section of the world.
So FSG may not have anyone with German in house. When I was there
in the late 60s they had no one with a foreign language, although
I expect that the august Robert Giroux must have had Latin.
Galassi evidently knows wop to be able to translate Montale.
It was much CHEAPER to get a good foreign author for FSG early
on! Straus relied on folks like me  to do his finding.

So it is is not just the superficial deeply disneyfied pop
culture that is to blame - and I myself feel that our slither
has actually grown and that these means of communication
have helped alleviate....

However, my close focus on everything Handke for 25 years now
has paid off in all kinds of horrendous realizations,
about the state of reviewing, its all at the handke-watch blog,
 and we continue to
live in a forever dark age, into which we dip each night
but occasionally wake with gold in our beaks and beakers


I won't go into the disaster that is the American theater
and its directors. I got the most intimate acquaintance
of the mentall lazy cowardly folk like zaslove, beattie, misha
berson, richard white, etc.

 here, where a lot of early Handke
plays were done by M. Burke Walker's THE EMPTY SPACE. Burke
a first rate director,no longer has a theater... alas..,
and is barely surviving... like some other folks we know.


Elia just wrote that you have some cats and dogs washing
the dirt off your cars! Good for you. Quinolt on the
Olympic Peninsula had 12 inches in 24 hours last week!
sing sorrow
xx michael r.



 

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MICHAEL ROLOFF http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html