Handke, Peter

Handke, Peter pā´tər hänt´kə [key], 1942–, Austrian novelist and playwright. His controversial, avant-garde works often reflect his ironic sense of the constricting limitations of language and reason and the chaos of actual human experience. His plays include Kaspar (1968, tr. 1969), Die Unvernünftigen sterben aus (1973, tr. They Are Dying Out, 1974), and Die Stunde, da wir nichts voneinander wußten (1994 tr. The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, 1996), which contains 400 characters and no dialogue. Among his other works are the novels Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter (1970 tr. The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, 1972), Die linkshändige Frau (1976 tr. The Left-Handed Woman, 1978), In einer dunklen Nacht ging ich aus meinem stillen Haus (1997 tr. On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House, 2000), and Don Juan: erzahit von ihm selbst (2004 tr. Don Juan: His Own Version, 2007). Some of his other writings are a biographical account of his mother's illness, Wunschloses Unglück (1972 tr. A Sorrow beyond Dreams, 1975 also a theatrical monologue, 1977) the journal Das Gewicht der Welt (1977, tr. Weight of the World, 1984) the essay collection The Jukebox and Other Essays on Storytelling (tr. 1994) and the screenplays for Wim Wenders 's Wrong Move (1979) and Wings of Desire (1987). The usually apolitical Handke set off a storm of protest in Europe with his long essay Eine winterliche Reise zu den Flüssen Donau, Save, Morawa und Drina (1996, tr. A Journey to the Rivers, 1997), a pro-Serbian work about the civil war that accompanied Yugoslavia's disintegration.

See studies by J. Schlueter (1981), R. A. Firda (1993), C. Perry (2003), and D. N. Coury (2005).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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