The Birdcage Archives

Saturday 23 January 2010

Thomas Bernhard

Hello Gentle Reader

i once again apologize for writing this on Saturday, my Internet was not working on Thursday (the usual blogging day) and Friday i forgot. i am really forgetful i suppose you could say.

The other day i came across a author/play write, by the name of Thomas Bernhard. An interesting character is all i can say really, i have been unable to read his work, yet, but i plan on reading some of his novels for sure. It sounds like that Mr. Bernhard was quite a controversial figure in his time. Of course its hard to really say, if Thomas Bernhard actually cared if he was a controversial figure or not. That of course is what makes Thomas Bernhard such a fascinating author, is that he did not give a damn about what people thought of his work, or the criticism, of his work, or what critics say. I think Bernhard just simply believed that if people are to stupid to accept his work, as it is, and just leave it alone, then they are to stupid to do anything.

In some ways i think Thomas Bernhard, did not care if his work was gaining praise or being criticized. in many ways he wrote simply because he enjoyed it, and if people did not like it, i don't think he bothered with them.

What made Thomas Bernhard such a fascinating person, and his works, the way they were, is most likely because he spoke with a frank form of a speaking, not sugar coating anything, and just allowing his work to flow from his pen, not wasting his time, with paragraphs, and such. in many ways perhaps Thomas Bernhard was a Austrian Samuel Beckett. interesting enough as i search and look at the criticism and praise of his works, some journalist/critic of a magazine/news paper/news source, had said the following:

“Here is a novelist with uncommon talents of a sort possessed by Kafka, Musil, and Beckett.” —Saturday Review

(you can find the above quote here: )

Even if they Saturday Review had criticized Bernhard's work, as "vulgar," or "depressing," i am sure he would have shrugged it off, and called the person a fool or a "incompetent," neanderthal. What makes the fact that Bernhard was apathetic towards his reviews, and critic's is, that i don't think he cared for a lot of praise either, as far as anyone knows (other then Bernhard himself) he just wrote, because he enjoyed it, and did not care about anyone else thought of his work.

That apathetic attitude is probably why Bernhard has made comments like:

"a brutal and stupid nation … a mindless, cultureless sewer which spreads its penetrating stench all over Europe."

The nation he talks about in the above line is Austria is home, and native land. that of course caused a huge issue in Austria, but what can expected that Austria was more or less angry by his opinion of his country. whether or not he cared what the general public thought only he would know.

Though Thomas Bernhard, wrote works, of pain, suffering, suicide, isolation, death et cetera, he always stated in interviews that he loved life. Which (in my opinion) is quite true, because i think Thomas Bernhard, understood that life amounted to death, and would always end with death, whenever it happened. So by understanding that simple idea, i think Thomas Bernhard, was able to live a life comfortably, and peacefully, by accepting his own mortality rather then hiding or running from it, or heaven forbid people to do it, challenge there own mortality.

Thomas Bernhard, was a writer, that challenged society, challenged the world, challenged war, challenged life, and challenged human existence and life itself. In all it could be said that Thomas Bernhard never truly cared, whether he lived or died, or existed or just slept in a eternal peace (or suffering). In many cases one could say that Bernhard, just wished to enlighten people on their own ignorance and selfish desires. Though he went around doing in a less then pleasurable way of of talking and rather simply, demanding people their open their eyes on their own, rather then he being forced to do it for them. In may ways, though he spoke of the opposite of what his message may have been; Thomas Bernhard, spoke of life and enjoying it before death happens, before suicide, or before depression. Thomas Bernhard could been as the accuser, or the objector of everything people try to tell themselves, all the lies they feed themselves, everything.

I hope i did do Thomas Bernhard some justice with this blog/essay.

here are some Quotes by Bernhard:

"Everyone, he went on, speaks a language he does not understand, but which now and then is understood by others. That is enough to permit one to exist and at least to be misunderstood." — Thomas Bernhard (Gargoyles: A Novel)

"Art altogether is nothing but a survival skill, we should never lose sight of this fact, it is, time and again, just an attempt -- an attempt that seems touching even to our intellect -- to cope with this world and its revolting aspects, which, as we know, is invariably possible only by resorting to lies and falsehoods, to hyprocrisy and self-deception, Reger said. These pictures are full of lies and falsehoods and full of hypocrisy and self-deception, there is nothing else in them if we disregard their often inspired artistry. All these pictures, moreover, are an expression of man's absolute helplessness in coping with himself and with what surrounds him all his life. That is what all these pictures express, this helplessness which, on the one hand, embarasses the intellect and, on the other hand, bewilders the same intellect and moves it to tears, Reger said." — Thomas Bernhard (Old Masters: A Comedy)

"Lawyers make nothing but confusion...A lawyer is an instrument of the devil. In general, he's a fiendish idiot, banking on the stupidity of people much more stupid than himself, and by God he's always right." — Thomas Bernhard

( all quotes were found here: )

take care Gentle Reader

i hope that some of you find Thomas Bernhard interesting and may read some of his works someday. I personally plan on reading "The Limeworks," first.

Thank-you for taking the time out of your day to read my Blog Gentle Reader it means a lot.


Friday 15 January 2010

Mervyn Peake and His Three Novels

Hello Gentle Reader

I understand that I have missed another Blogging date and for that I apologize sincerely with all my heart. Things of late have been shaky, here, and in all just general chaos of life, and its rather hectic schedules, among other aspects. For that I apologize.

Though other then myself apologizing for my inadequacy of not posting, as I should have been I have good news. The novels "Titus Groan," "Gormenghast," "Titus Alone," all which were written by Mervyn Peake have been read, and enjoyed. The first two novels, were splendid I really enjoyed them, and found the control, that Mervyn Peake, has over, the English language to be superb, and by far, wonderful. However one can tell that at the last novel, that Parkinson's disease was beginning to take its toll, and was/is the death of Mervyn Peake. I feel bad, for it, I enjoyed the world, very much, but I also felt very bad: because reading the work, I found myself, seeing Mervyn Peake at the best time (in my opinion) and then I watched him slowly degrade into his death.

It’s unnerving, to say the least, to watch the talent of a great person, escape their fingers, and escape their mind.

As much as I was thoroughly entertained and even thought provoked, I found himself, sad in the end, to know that both the series end's there (incomplete) and that Mervyn Peake perished at the age of 57 by the monstrosity of Parkinson's Disease.

So now I begin to read "The Fountainhead," by Ayn Rand and after I am finished it, I will begin to "In Search of Lost Time: 'Volume 1 Swans Way, and Volume 2 Within A Budding Grove," and after that I have no more books that need to be read. However I am sure along the lines from there and until here I will find something, that I will most likely want to read.

The good news keeps coming (at least I think this is good news that is) the thought has crossed my mind, on many occasions on many accounts, and I would like to do it. Though I have not been able to do it of late, without an idea that I can properly work with I think I found one that I can work with and hopefully entertain you my gentle readers with. So the idea is hopefully to serialize a story/novel in the blog.

Once a mouth I hope to put up (parts) chapters and allow the story to progress like that as well. However of late, since things have been so hectic and so crazy it'll be hard, but I will certainly try. So I look forward to getting the first part/chapter done for next month so that can be serialized.

I will say this though, the idea of "Magical Realism," has floated around me for quite sometime, and I would like to give this a try if I may.

For those who are not familiar with Magical Realism, I’ll explain the best I can.

Magical Realism is the literary genre that is different from Fantasy in the ways that it is fantastic elements incorporated in realistic situations. For example:

"The Wizard of Oz," Dorothy is transported to the Land of Oz, which is a completely different world or universe in its own. That makes Fantasy.

Magical Realism does not move the character to a new world, but rather uses the world at hand with magical elements, that are other wise normal, in the situation. the mundane are normal or not looked at, as fantastic, they just are. so novels like

"The Wind Up Bird Chronicle,"
"Kafka On the Shore,"
"The Trial,"
"The Time Travelers Wife,"
"The Alchemist,"

are all Magical Realist, and not fantasy because they are not escapist, they allow the reader to look into themselves, and human existence. Magical Realism differs from author to author, and opinion to opinion. so I’ll do my best, and hope for the best. Here is hoping you are entertained.

Take Care
thank-you for taking the time of your day to read my blog