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Proxy War: Peter Handke, Serbia, and the Austrian 'Inability to Mourn'

Tuesday, 4 February 2020, 4 – 5:30pm

Proxy War: Peter Handke, Serbia, and the Austrian 'Inability to Mourn'

A talk by Dr Clemens Ruthner (TCD) as part of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies Research Seminar Series.

Has Peter Handke received the Nobel Prize for Literature justifiably? Or is he a "genocide denier", an aging author turned right-wing nationalist who has sided with Serbian ultras (or, at least, he gave a speech at ex-president Milosevic's funeral, see image)? This talk will analyze Handke's notorious Serbian 'travelogues' from the 1990s along three lines of argumentation: 1) Handke's neo-Romantic (and post-Stifterian) program of a 'Poetisierung' of the world through a new way of peripheral and paraphernalic seeing (and writing) does not work in a gory civil war like in Bosnia. 2) His particular aesthetic seems to be rather based on questionable masculinity concepts and uncritical stereotyping. 3) Handke's travelogues wage a symbolic proxy war of sorts which actually seems to be a transference neurosis of the good old Austrian Nazi trauma. In his dream work, 'bad guys' become the 'good guys' -- or is this too far fetched? Some answers coming up.

Dr Clemens Ruthner is an Assistant Professor in German and European Studies at TCD and currently (again) Director of Research in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies. His latest monograph from 2018 is entitled Habsburg's 'Dark Continent', providing 'Postcolonial' readings of 19th c. Austrian literature. He is currently working on an edited volume containing all major contributions to the Handke debate in late 2019.

This talk will take place at the Trinity Long Room Hub on 4th February 2020, at 4pm.

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Centre
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Event Type: Arts and Culture, Lectures and Seminars, Public
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Undergrad, Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free
Contact Name: Dr Clemens Ruthner

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