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However, unlike my previous choices all novels , this latest selection examines another side of his writing. Cleverly, and nastily, the writer chooses to focus the action of his work not on one hundred glorious years of Austrian theatre but on a rather less impressive milestone.

Happy anniversary, everyone! As the housekeeper, Frau Zittel, prattles on, with the occasional interjection from Herta the maid, the reader or spectator wonders what is going on. However, an unforeseen event has necessitated a change of plans, namely his decision to plunge headlong over the balcony of his Viennese apartment.

Over the course of the play, we learn why the good professor felt compelled to end his life so violently. The cries she hears are not those of the present but of the past, ghostly memories of the atrocities of Like Like. Like Liked by 1 person. My Austrian friends but we all went to the international school together, so they are not typically Austrian are NOT impressed. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.

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Heldenplatz was commissioned by Claus Peymann, director of the Viennese Burgtheater , to be performed for the hundredth anniversary of the theater's opening. The year also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Anschluss when Nazi Germany annexed Austria. Heldenplatz is the square where Adolf Hitler was greeted on March 15, and he addressed thousands of jubilant Austrians. Bernhard wrote his play as a tragic reflection on the obsessive politics of nationalism , the denial of the past and the continued anti-Semitism within modern Austria.


‘Heldenplatz’ by Thomas Bernhard (Review)

The action revolves around the suicide of an Austrian Jew who, returning to Vienna after having fled during the Second World War, is dismayed to discover anti-Semitism still simmering in the country. The hostility of the response surprised even the pugnacious Bernhard. Some of his friends said that the episode hastened his death, which occurred, by assisted suicide, three months later, when he was fifty-eight. He had suffered from lung ailments since his teens, and spent the last decade of his life under constant medical supervision. But he managed to have the last word. But one can also see it as the consummate prank of a satirist who, in the words of W. Philosophically, there is no difference between the writing that Bernhard did in his twenties and his extraordinary late novels.

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