Notebook 2021 | Peter Handke | Granta

Notebook 2021

Peter Handke

Translated by Peter Kuras

‘Author’ as a myth of days gone by? – No, actually not.

‘Sit!’ he said to the troubling interior part of himself – and so he sat there, the dog, he sat and sat.

What’s your favourite thing to do? – Keep a lookout. – But you mostly look at the floor?! – So?

Looking over one’s shoulder: inexhaustible. – So long as it doesn’t turn into a method? – And if it does: a good method, for once.

The untranslatable German language, time and again: ‘to have the after seeing’ [das Nachsehen haben] ‘to have the before love’ [vorlieb nehmen]; every language nearly untranslatable? – So translate! (Saludos a Miguel de Cervantes)

This too is company: ‘in the company’ of a fingered glove spread on the backrest of a stone bench at the edge of a village green. Is it really necessary to speak in such detail of a ‘fingered glove’? Yes, it is necessary, and to add that the woollen fingers, frosted white, glitter in the sun of the new year. (Picardie)

Ambition, yes, but at the same time: descend from the one you look up to.

Ideal: cheerful negligence.

Peter Handke

Peter Handke was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2019. His books include The Left-Handed Woman and A Sorrow Beyond Dreams. His two novellas, The Second Sword and My Day in the Other Land, will appear in English translation in a single volume next year.

Photograph © Danilo de Marco

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Translated by Peter Kuras

Peter Kuras is a writer and translator living in Berlin. He has written about politics and culture for the Economist, the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian and Der Freitag.

More about the translator →