Name Thomas Bernhard
|Literary movement Postmodern|
|Born 9 February 1931
Heerlen, Netherlands (1931-02-09) |
Occupation Novelist and playwright
Notable works Correction Extinction The Loser Woodcutters
Died February 12, 1989, Gmunden, Austria
Parents Alois Zuckerstatter, Herta Fabjan
Influenced by Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Ludwig Wittgenstein
Plays Am Ziel, Ritter, Dene, Voss, Histrionics, Der Weltverbesserer, The President and Eve of Retirement
Books The Loser, Woodcutters, Extinction, Old Masters, Frost
Similar People Elfriede Jelinek, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Christine Lavant
When the triangle rises krystian lupa stages heroes square by thomas bernhard
Thomas Bernhard ( [ˈtoːmas ˈbɛʁnhaʁt]; born Nicolaas Thomas Bernhard; 9 February 1931 – 12 February 1989) was an Austrian novelist, playwright and poet. Bernhard, whose body of work has been called "the most significant literary achievement since World War II," is widely considered to be one of the most important German-speaking authors of the postwar era.
- When the triangle rises krystian lupa stages heroes square by thomas bernhard
- Thomas bernhard frost book review
Thomas bernhard frost book review
Thomas Bernhard was born in 1931 in Heerlen in the Netherlands, where his mother Herta Bernhard worked as a maid. From the autumn of 1931 he lived with his grandparents in Vienna until 1937 when his mother, who had married in the meantime, moved him to Traunstein, Bavaria. Bernhard's natural father Alois Zuckerstätter died in Berlin from gas poisoning in an assumed suicide; Bernhard never met him.
Bernhard's grandfather, the author Johannes Freumbichler, pushed for an artistic education for the boy, including musical instruction. Bernhard went to elementary school in Seekirchen and later attended various schools in Salzburg including the Johanneum which he left in 1947 to start an apprenticeship with a grocer.
Bernhard's Lebensmensch (a predominantly Austrian term, which was coined by Bernhard himself and which refers to the most important person in one's life) was Hedwig Stavianicek (1894–1984), a woman more than thirty-seven years his senior, whom he cared for alone in her dying days. He had met Stavianicek in 1950, the year of his mother's death and one year after the death of his beloved grandfather. Stavianicek was the major support in Bernhard's life and greatly furthered his literary career. The extent or nature of his relationships with women is obscure. Thomas Bernhard's public persona was asexual.
Suffering throughout his youth from tuberculosis, Bernhard spent the years 1949 to 1951 at the Grafenhof sanatorium in Sankt Veit im Pongau. He trained as an actor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg (1955–1957) and was always profoundly interested in music. His lung condition, however, made a career as a singer impossible. After that he worked briefly as a journalist, mainly as a crime reporter, and then became a full-time writer.
Bernhard died in 1989 in Gmunden, Upper Austria. His attractive house in Ohlsdorf-Obernathal 2 where he had moved in 1965 is now a museum and centre for the study and performance of Bernhard's work. In his will, which aroused great controversy on publication, Bernhard prohibited any new stagings of his plays and publication of his unpublished work in Austria; however, this was annulled by his heir in 1999. His death was announced only after his funeral.
Often criticized in Austria as a Nestbeschmutzer (one who dirties his own nest) for his critical views, Bernhard was highly acclaimed abroad. Nevertheless, while criticised for political reasons by some, he was, during his lifetime, also highly acclaimed in Austria, winning a number of major awards, and was seen by many as the pre-eminent writer of the time.
His work is most influenced by the feeling of being abandoned (in his childhood and youth) and by his incurable illness, which caused him to see death as the ultimate essence of existence. His work typically features loners' monologues explaining, to a rather silent listener, his views on the state of the world, often with reference to a concrete situation. This is true for his plays as well as for his prose, where the monologues are then reported second hand by the listener.
His main protagonists, often scholars or, as he calls them, Geistesmenschen (intellectuals), denounce everything that matters to the Austrian in contumacy-filled tirades against a "stupid populace". He also attacks the state (often called "Catholic-National-Socialist"), generally respected institutions such as Vienna's Burgtheater, and much-loved artists. His work also continually deals with the isolation and self-destruction of people striving for an unreachable perfection, since this same perfection would mean stagnancy and therefore death. Anti-Catholic rhetoric is not uncommon.
"Es ist alles lächerlich, wenn man an den Tod denkt" (Everything is ridiculous, when one thinks of Death) was his comment when he received a minor Austrian national award in 1968, which resulted in one of the many public scandals he caused over the years and which became part of his fame. His novel Holzfällen (1984), for instance, could not be published for years due to a defamation claim by a former friend. Many of his plays—above all Heldenplatz (1988)—were met with criticism from many Austrians, who claimed they sullied Austria's reputation. One of the more controversial lines called Austria "a brutal and stupid nation ... a mindless, cultureless sewer which spreads its penetrating stench all over Europe." Heldenplatz, as well as the other plays Bernhard wrote in these years, were staged at Vienna's famous Burgtheater by the controversial director Claus Peymann.
Even in death Bernhard caused disturbance by his, as he supposedly called it, posthumous literary emigration, by disallowing all publication and stagings of his work within Austria's borders. The International Thomas Bernhard Foundation, established by his executor and half-brother Dr. Peter Fabjan, has subsequently made exceptions, although the German firm of Suhrkamp remains his principal publisher.
The correspondence between Bernhard and his publisher Siegfried Unseld from 1961 to 1989 – about 500 letters – was published in December 2009 at Suhrkamp Verlag, Germany.