Peter Handke

Peter Handke

Fabjan Hafner

Slovenia – the country, its people, its language and everything connected to it – permeates Peter Handke's entire oeuvre. From his 1966 debut Hornissen to the present day, the subject is ever-present in his work, at once the overriding and underlying leitmotif. The Slovenian theme runs through Handke's writing, shaping it just as the subterranean rivers, invisible to the naked eye, sculpt the startling rock formations of Slovenia's karsts. Fabjan Hafner, who shares with Handke his Carinthian-Slovene roots as well as his profession as a translator, guides the reader through the myriad texts and time-periods of his oeuvre. He provides us with something akin to a master key to Handke's work, demonstrating how the Slovenian theme forms a central tenet around which all his work revolves, establishing connections on many levels: family bonds and individuals are reflected in a variety of different guises; geographical references abound, which may not necessarily correspond to precise locations in Slovenia or Southern Carinthia, but rather form an intrinsic part of the mythical, microcosmic landscape which constitutes Handke's poetic world. Finally, the Slovenian language provides the writer with an uncorrupted sanctuary to which he can withdraw.

"Slovenia – the central theme in Peter Handke's life and works." (Fabjan Hafner)

Peter Handke

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