His desire to suppress the Nobel, his taste for mushrooms … Nine things to know about Peter Handke, the Nobel Prize for Literature 2019


Nobel Prize for Literature 2019, Peter Handke is a prolific author, who has jostled literary conventions.

The Austrian writer Peter Handke, crowned Thursday Nobel Prize for Literature, is a tireless researcher of language. Writer, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, translator, constantly struggling against the conventions, Peter Handke has also been at the center of violent controversy, particularly because of his pro-Serb positions. Return on the career and the singular life of this protean and sometimes disturbing author.

What Peter Handke thought of the Nobel Prize before having it

"It should finally be suppressed, it is a false canonization" who "brings nothing to the reader".

What Peter Handke said when he heard the news of his Nobel

The Austrian writer said Thursday "surprised" by this reward. "After all the quarrels (…), I was surprised, this kind of decision is very brave on the part of the Swedish Academy", he reacted to the press in front of his home in Chaville (Hauts-de-Seine).

With regard to his criticism of the Nobel, Mr. Handke said he had "spoken as a reader and not as an author". "Today, I do not think like that", he added, assuring that he would surrender "of course" at the award ceremony in Stockholm.

Peter Handke is Austrian, of German and Slovenian origin, of unknown father

The writer was born December 6, 1942 in Carinthia (southern Austria) of a cook mother of Slovenian origin and a German soldier, unknown. He will be raised by his mother and his father-in-law, Bruno Handke, an inveterate alcoholic, whom he hates. He first grew up in East Berlin before the family returned to live in the small town of Greffen, Austria.

Peter Handke entered the world of letters by scandal

The Nobel Prize 2019 began writing very early. His first novel, Hornets is published in 1965. He then decides to stop his law studies to devote himself to writing. In 1966, at a meeting in Princeton, the author of 24 years attacks the aesthetic principles of Group 47which dominates the German letters since the end of the war. He created controversy by presenting Outrage to the public, a piece that breaks with all the codes of the theater of the time. This theme of language will remain at the center of his work. The scandal immediately brings him fame.

The writer does not stop on the path of protest. In 1967, while receiving the award Gerhart Hauptmann, he deplores the acquittal of a police officer responsible for the death of a student. Peter Handke also accompanied the events of May 1968.

Peter Handke was very impressed by the New Roman

Deeply marked at 15 by reading Under the sun of Satan Georges Bernanos, the former law student is influenced by the French Claude Simon and Alain Robbe-Grillet. "I was always in danger of falling into self-analysis The New Roman helped me to exteriorize, to look at"he explains.

Peter Handke writes all forms of literature

Peter Handke is one of the most read and played German language authors in the world. Novelist, playwright, essayist, screenwriter and even translator, Peter Handke has signed more than eighty works: about forty novels, some of which have become cults, like Goalkeeper's Anguish at the time of the penalty (1970) essays, about fifteen plays, and he obtained almost all the great Austrian and German literary prizes. The Nobel Prize has also written for the cinema, scenarios such as that of Wings of desire, by Wim Wenders, who has also adapted several of his novels to film.

He is also the translator in German language of Emmanuel Bove, René Char, Patrick Modiano or Francis Ponge. "I am a thinker of the snapshot: I am just that: Narrer does not interest me, my intrigues are hidden, buried, I prefer to realize, in the sense that Cézanne understood it", entrusts this protean and unclassifiable author. In 2013, Stanislas Nordey staged By the villages in the Cour d'honneur at the Festival d'Avignon, four hours of poetic and social text, with Emmanuel Béart and Jeanne Balibar. In his last piece, The innocents, me and the unknown at the edge of the departmental, premiered in February 2016 at the Burgtheater in Vienna, provokes a hint of self-criticism.

Peter Handke supported the Serbs during the war in Yugoslavia

In 1996, in A winter trip to the DanubePeter Handke presents the Serbs as victims in the conflict in Yugoslavia, deploring the fact that the Serbian people are unilaterally designated as the culprit and executioner in the Balkan war. This position has earned him fierce controversy that ignited when he decided in 2006 to attend the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, accused of crimes against humanity and genocide.

An act that earned him to be shunned by some theaters. One of his plays is even deprogrammed by the Comédie-Française in 2007. The novelist and playwright nevertheless receives the support of a part of the cultural world, in the form of a petition, signed in particular by Elfriede Jelinek, winner of the prize Nobel of literature in 2004, or Patrick Modiano, another Nobel of literature (2014), or Emir Kusturica, Paul Nizon, Bulle Ogier or Luc Bondy. This position has nevertheless left traces until today. A position he has never denied before.

Peter Handke lives in France and likes to pick mushrooms

Peter Handke lives in France in a pavilion in the Haut-de-Seine. He walks a lot and likes to pick mushrooms. He made mushrooms the subject (among others) of his Essay on the crazy mushroom, a story in itself (2012)

Peter Handke had a swimming pool built in Kosovo with the Ibsen Prize

In 2014, Peter Handke receives the prestigious award Theater Ibsen and decides to dedicate part of the prize money to the construction of a public swimming pool in a Kosovo Serb enclave.

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