Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Translation of Thomas Bernhard's Correspondence with His Publisher, Siegfried Unseld. Part VIII: 1970.

Letter No. 103


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
January 13, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


A few days ago I sent you the new schedules of Insel and Suhrkamp for the first half of the forthcoming year as well as a new prospectus for Bibliothek Suhrkamp.  Verstörung is listed among the older titles, and if you take a look at the competitions section, you will see that your book is once again obliquely alluded to.  So we are making music.


I am sending you the copies of my letters to Mr. Lietzau and his reply.  We are trying to get into a position to have Hollmann produce the play in Munich.  But that will be decided in the next few days.


Yours
with sincere regards
Siegfried Unseld


Enclosures1   


[Enclosure 1: Letter from Unseld to Hans Lietzau]


Mr. Hans Lietzau, General Administrator
Deutsches Schauspielhaus
29-41 Kirchenallee
2 Hamburg 1


Frankfurt am Main
January 7, 1970


Dear Mr. Lietzau,


I thank you for your letter of December 23.  As the firm was closed through January 5, I was unable to reply to you until today.


Here we have discussed the siting of the premiere date of Thomas Bernhard’s A Party for Boris as a matter of genuinely extreme importance.  There have been conversations with Messrs. Everding and Hollmann.  I must report to you that we have been getting a rather different idea of the potential schedule from these gentlemen.  But basically everything is as it ever was: Suhrkamp Publications would once again like definitively to allow the Deutsches Schauspielhaus to premiere the play.  You write of the end of June as the latest date-range.  We wish to impart the utmost precision to this affair: the premiere date must be no later than June 30 1970; we must be free to negotiate performance dates of July 1, 1970 and later with other venues; we are trying through a modification of the season schedule to get a July performance in Munich, but at the moment this is still doubtful.


I would like to ask you, my dear, esteemed Mr. Lietzau, to direct your undivided attention and the undivided might of your theater’s resources to this premiere.  I must beg leave to point out to you that in light of the prospective performance at your theater we have already forgone one other possible performance, in Basel under the direction of Hollmann.  It is highly important to us for this play by a major author to be staged in the best possible form.  Accordingly, I would sincerely like to ask you to devote every possible resource to the play.


Yours
with friendly regards
[Siegfried Unseld]


[Enclosure 2: Letter from Unseld to Hans Lietzau]


Mr. Hans Lietzau, General Administrator
Deutsches Schauspielhaus
29-41 Kirchenallee
2 Hamburg 1


Frankfurt am Main
January 13, 1970


Dear Mr. Lietzau,


I thank you for your letter of January 10.  I join you in hoping that you will be able to stage an adequate performance of such an important play.


I shall be happy to get in touch with you during my next visit to Hamburg.


Yours
with friendly regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]


  1. On the carbon copy under this notation there is a remark in the handwriting of a third party: “Letters Lietzau 12.23.69 & 1.10.70 / Letters Unseld 1.7 & 1.31.70.”  This correspondence between the general administrator of the theater in Hamburg and Unseld centered on the topic of the date of the premiere of A Party for Boris.  In March of 1969 (see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 65) a contract with the Deutsches Schauspielhaus was finalized, but the premiere date remained undetermined.  In early December 1969 it began to look as though the premiere was not going to be able to take place before the summer season of 1970.  Consequently, the firm entered into negotiations with Hans Hollmann and the Münchner Kammerspiel regarding a possible premiere in May of 1970.  On December 14, 1969, Bernhard himself wrote to Ursula Bothe: “Mid-June is the worst possible date-range for the premiere of Boris; on the other hand, I can’t initiate anything whatsoever from here and so I must let everything come and go as you see fit to make it do so from Frankfurt. […] From both my own point of view and that of my play, Hamburg and Munich alike are unimaginably alluring.”  On December 18, 1969, Unseld met in Hamburg with the Schauspielhaus’s chief dramaturge, Enrst Wendt.  “Lietzau was not in Hamburg [...]  Wendt wriggled like an actual eel on behalf of the theater; it was, he said, their only premiere, they really needed it; he implied that Peymann would never stage the play if he couldn’t get the premiere, which I very much doubted.  I explained the Bavarian option to him--explained that there was nothing he could legally do to stand in the way of a deal with Munich.  But he neither assured me that the premiere would happen in any case nor said that that it would not take place in any other case.”  Thereupon, on December 23, 1969, Hans Lietzau wrote to Unseld in an attempt to persuade him to accept a premiere at the end of June 1970.        


Letter No. 104


Ohlsdorf
1.25.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


At the end of February, if all goes according to plan, as I think it will, I shall be sending off the novel.  Perhaps I’ll even come to Frankfurt for a couple of days and bring it with me.


But the present period of work has also not been without its hassles, and yesterday I received from the district court in Wels the enclosed document (I am also enclosing the envelope on account of the interesting occupational title on it), which I would like you to peruse.   The publicly filed suit for defamation of character has probably been occasioned by a passage in my note in the August ’69 issue of Theaterheute (I would like you to get hold of a copy of this issue),  which reads as follows, “...the then-preeminent Austrian cultural and political weekly Die Furche, which admittedly nowadays functions as nothing but a public digest of perverse Catholic-Nazistic vacuity…”  I haven’t got a copy of the magazine, but I know by heart the sentence that the suit undoubtedly pertains to.  I would like you to mull over this whole defamation of character business, even though I am of the opinion that no newspaper in the world is capable of lodging a suit against so-called defamation of character, because no newspaper whatsoever in the world has a character to defame.  But so what, anybody can sue anybody for anything and any reason he likes.  It’s all fine by me, and if I’m brought to court, at least everybody will once again get a piece of my mind.  But I shall be in a tight spot if--you will see what I mean once you’ve read through the Theaterheute note--this turns into some provincial comedy, and I appear in court completely alone (as I did 15 or 20 years ago), and perhaps I won’t even show up but simply write up something and have it read out there; I don’t yet know what I’ll do, but the upshot is that if I don’t have a good, progressive lawyer I shall be in a tight spot.1  And so I’m asking you if for this business you can recommend and ultimately place at my disposal a lawyer of this kind who is an absolute master of the subject.  In Vienna.


The transcription of the novel, The Lime Works, is progressing smoothly, even if this specific act of transcription feels to me like the most trying ordeal a human being can undergo.2


Please don’t leave me in the lurch in this business with the courts; tell me what I should do (or shouldn’t do); right now I need my head for other things.  You know what those things are.


I thank you for the items you sent me, and I am sincerely


Yours,
Thomas Bernhard


P.S.  Would it be possible for you to send the originals of these court papers back to me after you have them copied?


P.P.S.  Dimwittedness must always, in every case, be understood as the opposite of sharp-wittedness, and as nothing else.


  1. On p. 144 of the annual special issue of the journal Theater heute for 1969, Bernhard wrote under a header reading  “In Austria Nothing Has Changed”: “Twenty years ago, when I was a mere eighteen years old, a lawsuit was filed against me in the Salzburg District Court because in my august capacity as theater critic for the then-preeminent Austrian cultural and political weekly ‘Die Furche,’ which admittedly nowadays functions as nothing but a public digest of perverse Catholic-Nazistic vacuity, I described my impressions of the Salzburg [State] theater.  [...] I was fined four thousand schillings by an Austrian judge [...] twenty years ago.  Back then, and for me in particular, four thousand schillings was an enormous sum of money. [...] twenty years later, I have to say that Austrian theater has not changed the slightest bit; indeed, I have to say that today everything is actually much more dilettantish and depressing than back then.  But as I have no wish to be again sentenced to pay a large fine (or serve a prison term), because it is silly to shove money down the throat of the useless State or to sit in prison, I shall not delineate my impressions of our theater.”
The article referred to in this passage appeared in 1955 in the weekly newspaper Die Furche under the headline “Salzburg Is Waiting for a Play.”  In the article, Bernhard wrote: “We keep waiting and waiting for the Salzburg State Theater finally to put on a play that can be argued about in culturally significant terms. [...] But how, one pointedly asks oneself, can a city like Salzburg, which every summer is transformed into a European music and theater center of the first rank, stand to own a state-sponsored playhouse that for the remaining ten months of the year sinks to the abysmal level of a music hall for hayseeds? [...] It is as if from the highest to the lowest levels there were an absence of every form of ‘consciousness,’ to say absolutely nothing of enthusiasm.”  On January 12, 1956 the general manager of the Salzburg State Theater, Peter Stanchina, who had not been mentioned by name in the article, filed a “private lawsuit for offences against the contents of the press” in the Vienna District Criminal Court.  In an initial ruling Bernhard, who did not attend the hearing, was declared not guilty of defamation of character.  After Stanchina objected, Thomas Bernhard was sentenced on July 8, 1957 to pay a fine of 300 schillings.  On July 8, 1959, Stanchina withdrew his suit.


  1. On the fair copy of the manuscript of the novel, Bernhard typed the phrase “defamation of character,” along with compounds derived from it, nine times; at the beginning of the novel (p. 8 in Volume 3 of Bernhard’s Works) it is mentioned that Konrad has fifteen convictions, “mostly for so-called defamation of character and for so-called minor and grievous bodily harm.” [cf. the corresponding passage in the authorized translation by Sophie Wilkins: “mostly for libel and aggravated assault”]  The polemical analysis of the concept of defamation of character culminates on pp. 105-106 ( “a world, he said, in which one can be dragged into court for so-called defamation of character and which maintains it has character and in which it is maintained that there is character in it, when there is quite obviously no longer any such thing as character; better yet, he said, there has never even been anything remotely like character; he said that it was not only a horrible, horrifying, [world] but rather also a ludicrous one […]”), as well as on p. 108.


  1. On the “court papers” is recorded a January 22, 1970 decision of the district court in Wels, Upper Austria, which reads as follows:
“In the matter of the criminal suit for defamation of the character of the press lodged against Thomas Bernhard, journalist and theater critic of Ohlsdorf 4694, by the private plaintiffs 1) The Herold Printing and Publishing Firm, Ltd., 2) The Herold Company, and 3) Dr. Willy Lorenz, editor in chief, all of 8 Stroszigasse Vienna 8 1081, and collectively represented by Dr. Max Vladimir Allmayer-Beck and Dr. Max Josef Allmayer-Beck, attorneys-at-law at 2 Parkring, Vienna 1, the Wels District Court has arrived at the following


Decision:


In accordance with § 52 Par. 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1960, the suit has been assigned to the Vienna District Criminal Court,


The private complaint was lodged at the Wels District Court on account of that court’s proximity to the defendant’s place of residence.  In accordance with § 51 Par. 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1960 the private plaintiffs have requested the assignment of the case to the Vienna District Criminal Court.   


In the light of the foreign situation of the place of publication and printing, the scene of the crime shall be defined as the place where the printed text has been disseminated.  There is no available evidence that suggests that the text has been disseminated within the judicial district of Wels.  From certain information in the periodical publication it may be inferred that provision has been made for the publication’s dissemination in Vienna.  To this inference no reasonable objections can be made, especially in the light of the special nature of the periodical publication.  Moreover, there exists a consultable precedent for the settlement of a private lawsuit of this kind in Vienna.  Consequently, Vienna may by all means be regarded as the scene of the crime.


Therefore at the request of the private plaintiffs and in accordance with
§ 52 Par. 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1960, the lawsuit was ceded to the Vienna District Criminal Court.”
The envelope referred to by Bernhard has not survived.  [Perhaps the “interesting occupational title” on it was the one of “journalist and theater critic” assigned to Bernhard in the decision. (DR)]


Letter No. 105


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
January 27, 1970


Dear Thomas Bernhard,


Thank you very much for your letter of January 25.  Today I have dispatched three letters asking the addressees to name me the best lawyer in Vienna.  Please be patient.  I shall be writing to you shortly.  I am sending the court papers back to you as requested.


Three of the authors for the special jubilee July schedule won’t be finished with their manuscripts in time!   I have therefore had to drop the idea of a third July schedule. That means that The Lime Works will now be delivered not in July but at at the end of August.  I hope this won’t dishearten you.  You can of course still count on our exerting a hundred percent of our effort for you.


Whenever and wherever I can, I plug A Party for Boris.  Of course new possibilities for it are constantly opening up. |:  Hamburg definitely in June|


So much for today in the way of an interim report.


Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld


Enclosure


[Enclosure; letter from Unseld to Ferdinand Sieger]


Dr. Ferdinand Sieger1
4 Urbansstraße
7 Stuttgart 0


Frankfurt am Main
January 27, 1970


Dear Mr. Sieger,


I am enclosing a letter from Thomas Bernhard.  He is involved in a criminal lawsuit.  In the August issue of Theater heute he has written the following: “...the then-preeminent Austrian cultural and political weekly Die Furche, which admittedly nowadays functions as nothing but a public digest of perverse Catholic-Nazistic vacuity…”  The periodical is now suing him in Vienna.  He needs a lawyer there.  Would you happen to know of any in Vienna, and what is your assessment of the situation?


Yours
with sincere regards
[Siegfried Unseld]


  1. In their index of persons, the editors give Sieger’s dates as 1912 to 1996 and describe him as a “Stuttgart attorney, a specialist in questions of copyright” (DR).  




Letter No. 106


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
February 3, 1970


In my search for a possible lawyer for you I have gotten a few interesting leads.  First of all a letter from my own lawyer, of which I enclose a copy.  Hilde Spiel told me about Dr. Peter Stern, 2-6 Elisabethstraße, Vienna 1.  Dr. Stern is a fairly young and very agile lawyer who has often represented Alexander Lernet-Holenia in similar cases.  Should we ask him?


I am, to be sure, of the opinion that we should initially still try to get some kind of out-of-court settlement.


That is all for today.


Yours
with warm regards
Siegfried Unseld


Enclosure1


  1. On January 29, 1970, Ferdinand Sieger wrote to Unseld:  “Apropos of your query of January 27, 1970: 1. As the lawyers in Vienna who are best acquainted with the business of publishing and journalism I can recommend our correspondence colleagues Dr. Fritz Psenicka, Dr. Walter Ender, and Dr. Konrad Landau, 8 Rosenbursenstrasse, Vienna 1.  2. The assertion that Die Furche functions  nowadays as nothing but ‘a public digest of perverse Catholic-Nazistic vacuity’ strikes as me as hardly actionable under German law.  Moreover this is an instance of a non-adjudicable value judgment, whereas the signal feature of criminally prosecutable statements is that they contain allegations about matters of fact.  Accordingly it should all come down to the fact that the assertion about ‘perverse Catholic-Nazistic vacuity’ is not taking aim at a specific historical moment and a particular historical event, but rather constitutes a witticism, a synoptic catchphrase for the intersection of certain mentalities.  For expedition’s sake I am enclosing a copy to be forwarded to Thomas Bernhard.”  The enclosed copy echoes Point No. 2 of Sieger’s letter.


Letter No. 107


Ohlsdorf
2.13.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


The hearing of the case against me will be on March 11 at half-past nine in the morning at the district court at 6-12 Hernalser Gürtel in the eighth district of Vienna, and I am asking you to select my lawyer, enter into an agreement with him, and have him furnished with all the relevant materials pertaining to me.  Probably Dr. Stern is the best choice.


As I am now in the midst of the delicate task of transcription, a process that must be attended to with the minimum possible degree of distraction, the assistance of the firm is of crucial importance to me, because basically I cannot do anything from here; the whole thing is not even worth talking about, but therefore all the more vexing.  Please activate the firm’s apparatus, that colossal, miraculous machine, on my behalf.


Naturally an out-of-court settlement would be the most agreeable outcome.  But how to get one?  I am literally incapable of intervening.


Not to mention that there is no longer all that much time left before the hearing.


I sincerely thank you for everything


Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard


 Letter No. 108


[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February 19, 1970


Dear Thomas Bernhard,


Please immediately send the documents for the court case, which you still have, to


Dr. Peter Stern
2-6 Elisabethstr.
Vienna I.


I shall be meeting with Dr. Stern on Monday or Tuesday of the coming week in Vienna.  I would still like to try to have the affair settled out of court somehow.  And settled with suitable brevity.1


Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld


  1. During his trip to Vienna Unseld met with Bernhard on February 24.  The Travel Journal for Vienna, February 23-25, 1970 reports:


“The meeting was difficult because the lawyer, whom five people had recommended to me for Bernhard, committed a written solecism, and so Bernhard did not wish to hire him.  We then chatted with three other people about the Furche affair and finally commissioned Dr. Schwager to represent Bernhard’s interests.


I offered to work towards a mediated solution with Mr. Lorenz, the editor of Die Furche; the offer was rejected.
The Furche people quite obviously wish to have Bernhard convicted.


Then Bernhard expressed great scepticism about our public relations office, whose total staff, he said, comprised two pensioners.  He said that they had sent him a mimeographed letter and consigned him some reviews, and that these had consisted of one long review and a few magazine-cover mentions; whereas the most important of the long reviews had been left out.


Then he said he didn’t want The Lime Works to appear in the second half of ’70.  On this point I most vehemently disagreed with him and managed to get close enough to making him change his mind that I am now going to write him a letter in which I outline all the arguments once again.  He will hand in the MS for Lime Works at the end of March; by 4.15 at the latest.  In this event the BS volume Midland would be postponed to January 1971.
Telephone conversation with the Burgtheater, General Administrator Hoffmann.  The Burg unfortunately cannot admit A Party for Boris into its repertoire.  A studio theater is unavailable.  We are giving up on this plan.  We must inform Mrs. Van Witt, who was not in Vienna.


Letter No. 109


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
February 26, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


Nobody thought to telephone Ms. Botond either yesterday or today.  By now she will have already left the country.1


I wrote to the lawyer and sent him the books.  A copy of my letter is enclosed.  I hope the whole affair will be settled in a manner that does not put any lasting strain on you.


Of course I think it is a good thing for us see each other from time to time; in any case, I always look forward to seeing you, and I believe we are even showing each other that we are capable of talking over our disagreements like grown men.


I have once again put your thoughts forward for discussion here in the house.  We are all of the opinion that you have no reason to fear being criticized for being “overproductive.”


The novellas Ungenach and Watten appeared in 1968 and 1969; your most recent novel, Verstörung, in 1967.  So no reasonable person will cast aspersions on you if a new novel appears in 1970.  There is no second-guessing the irrational and the insane, but one shouldn’t take one’s cues from them, and one most certainly shouldn’t be afraid of them.


There are several reasons why the imminent publication of this book would be a good thing for us.  My principal and undivided consideration is for your method of working.  If you leave the text sitting for too long, you will lose your interest in it.  And regardless of how the text is treated in its preparation for the press, I know that as an author Thomas Bernhard will not be well served if there is a substantial delay between the completion of the manuscript and the publication of the finished book.


We ourselves would like to regard the entire schedule for the second half of 1970 as a jubilee schedule.  And we would be especially pleased to have your novel appear in this schedule and to be able to say that Thomas Bernhard was represented in it.  It is also worth mentioning that I regard the book’s publication as an especially auspicious event from a tactical point of view, and I believe we will be able to obtain maximal and optimal results from it.


And so I would once again like to make the case for your sending in the manuscript by the end of March at the latest.  If we receive it by then we shall be able to get to work on it and prepare it for the press in an atmosphere of calm.


We shall then publish Midland in Stilfs in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp in January or March of 1971.


I would be grateful to you if you assented to this solution so that all uncertainties would vanish and we could start planning things properly.


Hegel is on his way to you.


Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld


Enclosure


[Enclosure: Letter from Unseld to Nikolaus Siebenaller]


Dr. Niklaus Siebenaller
4 Schottengasse
Vienna 1


Frankfurt am Main
February 25, 1970


Dear Dr. Siebenaller,


Thomas Bernhard has told me that you are representing him in the Die Furche suit.  I am enclosing my lawyer in Stuttgart’s opinion on this question.  Suhrkamp Publications is much obliged to you for undertaking to represent Mr. Bernhard.  In my view Thomas Bernhard is one of the true greats of contemporary literature.  We should all try to insure that this protest, which he certainly will not repeat, occasions him no harm.


In a separate post I am sending you a few books by Thomas Bernhard so that you can get a first-hand sense of the stature of this writer.  In this connection I am also directing your attention to the enclosed prospectus, in which we have instanced the voices of a few critics.


With friendly regards
your very devoted
[Dr. Siegrfried Unseld]

2
Enclosures
   


  1. Anneliese Botond lived in Latin America from 1970 to 1974.
  2. One of the enclosures is presumably identical to the enclosure in Letter No. 105.  The second enclosure, the prospectus, is probably the one mentioned in Letter No. 89.


Letter No. 110


Ohlsdorf
3.18.70


Dear Siegfried Unseld,


I shall be sending the manuscript of The Lime Works to Frankfurt in mid-April, and it will then be publishable in the fall; I think that that will be the best time to issue it.


In Vienna Die Furche withdrew their suit in the middle of the hearing, which lasted three-quarters of an hour.1.


My momentum is excellent.


In May I shall be at a reading in Hamburg; would you be interested in being in Hamburg at the same time to schmooze with the “author.”


Let us hope we have good luck at the playhouse; so far the luck has been nothing but bad, and perhaps that is lucky for us.


Midland please in January.


Hegel is standing cheek-by-jowl with Kant.2


The future belongs to no one.


Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard


P.S. Please ask the accounting department to send me my account statements for ’69; at the request of my tax accountant please put the sentient loan on a separate sheet.3


  1. The summary trial of Bernhard in the Furche case took place on March 11, 1970 and ended in a compromise agreement.
  2. Thomas Bernhard’s surviving personal library in Ohlsdorf contains the sixteen volumes of Suhrkamp’s edition of Hegel’s Works in Twenty Volumes that had appeared by 1970, as well as all of Suhrkamp’s 1968 edition of Kant’s Works in Twenty Volumes.
  3. In the margin of this paragraph a note by a third party reads “Done.  3.20.70.”


Letter No. 111


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
March 24, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


Thank you very much for your letter of March 18.  I had gone out of town for a short time.1  My accounting department told me they had sent you the account statements while I was away.  I hope you have received them by now.


Has a specific date been set for your Hamburg reading in May?  If so, please do send it to me so that I can make my travel arrangements.  I look forward to any opportunity to meet with you.


Yours
with sincere regards
Siegfried Unseld
|Midland: BS 275 January|


  1. Unseld spent March 14-22, 1970 vacationing in Switzerland and attending the Hölderlin Society’s conference in Stuttgart.


Letter No. 112


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
April 16, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard


We are getting close to the point of no return in our  preparations for the schedule for the second half of 1970.  The production department must print sample copies for the sales representatives.  We on this end are already hammering out texts and announcements.  So it would be possible for you to send us the manuscript now?  Please do so.


Today I received from Otto Müller Publications the news that that firm is planning its own edition of Volume I of the historical-critical edition of Trakl.  And so our Trakl plan floats away.1


Yours
with warm regards,


Siegfried Unseld


  1. On February 27, 1970, Bernhard called on Otto Müller Publications’ reader Richard Moissl in Salzburg and presented to him Unseld’s alternative to the original plan of issuing a selection of Trakl’s work (see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 86), namely the publication of  a Suhrkamp school edition of Volume 1 of the historical-critical edition of Trakl.  On April 13, 1970, Moissl informed Unseld of Otto Müller Publications’ decision to publish its own budget edition.


Letter No. 113


Ohlsdorf
4. 28.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


I had been fully expecting to accompany a friend on a trip to Cologne next Tuesday or Wednesday, May 5 or 6, and so to be stopping by Frankfurt with the manuscript in hand then; but it has now suddenly become uncertain whether the trip will take place, and so the plan is now as follows: either I shall be coming to Frankfurt on Tuesday or Wednesday or I shall be sending you the manuscript express on Tuesday.  In the meantime I shall be making a number of corrections that it will be better to take care of in the manuscript than in the galley proofs.  The whole thing has turned out to come to two hundred pages.


I am now writing my second full-length play and asking you what you have heard about the first one, because I have heard nothing.


What does your definitive fall publication schedule look like?


I don’t know of many young people whose style of writing is strongly reminiscent of my own; am I supposed to rejoice at this or hurl curses at the whole stinking rabble of hacks!1


Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard


  1. The letter bears a remark in pencil by Unseld: “No Frölich.”


Letter No. 114


Ohlsdorf
5.5.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


The manuscript is being sent off at the same time as these lines; perhaps you are cursing me; I can’t do this any other way.


In the first week of June1  I shall be in Hamburg; it would be good if we could have a chat then; I don’t know exactly when I have the reading in the theater.  At the moment I am writing the new play and apropos of the old one, Boris, I thank you and above all Burgel Geisler for the speedy consignment of that red band that is such a stylish fit for Boris.2


By the end of June I shall know, we shall know, whether the comedy has been ruined or brought to life.


You have twice said that I can travel to Israel; such a trip would be fine by me at any time.


Please give my warm regards to Mr. Busch, as well as to Mr. Beckermann, who has written briefly to me, but whom I have yet to meet, and also perhaps you should be giving some thought to my stopping by Frankfurt sometime and taking a look at the firm’s new building, perhaps.


Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard


  1. The words “first week of June” are underlined in red ballpoint and marked with two lines in the margin.
  2. A Party for Boris was published on May 5, 1970 as Volume 440 of edition suhrkamp.  Burgel Geisler sent Bernhard in Ohlsdorf an advance copy along with a cover letter.  “[...]a lovely red Party for Boris is sitting on the table with the first copy; I shall send it to you at the end of the week and before Mr. Unseld returns at the beginning of next week from America, to which he has been called away on business.”
  3. In April both Günther Busch and Thomas Beckermann corresponded with Bernhard about the definitive selection of contributions to be included in On Thomas Bernhard, edited by Anneliese Botond.  On April 30, 1970, Beckermann inquired after the manuscript of The Lime Works by telegram.  On April 30, 1970 Beckermann sent Bernhard the table of contents of On Thomas Bernhard.  On May 6, 1970 Beckermann received the following reply regarding the table of contents: “[...] two questions: the list of contributors for the es volume does not include the excellent essay by Hans Höller, which Ms. Botond herself once described as outstanding.  Why?  The list includes an article by Mr. Schonauer [Franz Schonauer: Thomas Bernhard, Verstörung] that was copied in the cheapest manner and for the most part verbatim from a Blöcker review and then published in the Neue Rundschau.  Why?  On May 16, 1970, Bernhard declared to Beckermann, “[...] the effect of the ‘speech’ in the presence of the minister [on the occasion of the awarding of the State Prize in 1968; see Letter No. 43] is voided by the so-called ‘Matutinal Meditations’ [first published in Wort in der Zeit, Vol. 1, 1966, pp. 11-13]; the ‘Matutinal Meditations’ therefore should be omitted; this can be done unregretfully, because stylistically speaking the piece is a complete failure.”  On May 23 May, Bernhard submitted a vita that he had compiled especially for the book (see On Thomas Bernhard, p. 142f.) and attached to it a note: “Most of the contributions are facile and moronic, but there’s nothing that can be done about that now; at the same time I cannot hold my peace.  I especially could have done without the moronic antics of Mr. Preiẞnitz.”  On July 5, having received his first copy, he stated, “Dear Mr. Beckerman, against such victim-annihilating frolics as the On book, which arrived here yesterday, one must struggle with great subtlety and in a state of extreme depression.”          


Letter No. 115


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
May 8, 1970


I thank you for your two letters from April 28 and May 5.  I am especially grateful to you for your manuscript of The Lime Works, which has just arrived.  I am very eagerly looking forward to reading it this weekend.


From June 1 through 5 we will be having closed meetings with the sales representatives of both Insel and Suhrkamp Publications.  I shall be engaged throughout all five of those days, and so unfortunately I shall be unable to come to Hamburg then.  In the second week of June, in other words, from June 7 onwards, such a trip would be no problem, but would it not make more sense for you to come to Frankfurt that week?  I would be glad to have you here; you could stay with us and also take a leisurely tour of the firm’s building and chat with the readers you haven’t met yet.  Please do write to me letting me know what you think of this.  I would be highly delighted if you could come.1
Enclosed is an overview of the schedule for the second half of 1970.  As you can see, it contains nothing by Fröhlich!


  1. From June 5 to June 7, hence for three days, Bernhard stayed in Hamburg in order to attend rehearsals of A Party for Boris.  This stay yielded the television interview Three Days.  “In the summer of 1970, after a search that lasted literally days and eventually degenerated into a personally embarrassing farce, a search for a suitable setting for such an undertaking, I unquestioningly sat down on a white park bench in suburban Hamburg in order, as previously stipulated, to utter in the presence of the director Ferry Radax a series of sentences regarding myself [...].  But the fact that a film has been made, a film in which for fifty-five continuous minutes my person is seated on a white park bench in suburban Hamburg for no other purpose than to say (or not to say) the first thing that occurs to it, [...] and the fact that the resulting film was ultimately acceptable, immediately led to the idea of writing a longer film, meaning one lasting at least an hour and a half (Thomas Bernhard, Works, Vol. 11, p. 259; first published in The Italian, 1971).  Three Days was broadcast on West German Television on October 17, 1970, the date of the awarding of the Büchner Prize to Bernhard.  West German Television’s cultural and literary publications division prefaced their transcript of Bernhard’s utterances (Thomas Bernhard.  Three Days.  A Portrait by Ferry Radax, place and date of publication unknown) with some remarks about the film: “From the outset the director regarded conveying the sole predetermined situation (Thomas Bernhard sitting on a bench and talking) as his most important task.  Each passage from each monologue has been shot in a single unedited take.  Initially each cut marks only a transition to a new unit of thought; later in the course of film a second aim becomes evident: the attempt to so to speak disassemble the predetermined situation into its individual aspects through an unorthodox and sometimes even extreme cutting technique, and thereby to distance the viewer anew with each cut.  A second structuring medium is the gradual revelation of what the author sees opposite him--the technical apparatus (spotlight, tape recorder, video recorder, the production crew).  In this manner the process of producing a film is to be rendered transparent; at the same time, the viewer is to be made conscious that the reproduction of seemingly “natural” situations and processes that technology makes possible is in reality a procedure of the utmost artificiality, an artificiality also signalized by the stereotypical narrative demeanor of Thomas Bernhard’s prose works” (p. 111f.).  The director recalled: “I was naturally frustrated, because how can you make a film out of a man sitting motionlessly on a bench in front of four running cameras for an hour? [...] the camera on Day 1, morning, from 150 to 50 meters’ distance  On Day 2, midday, from 50 to 20 meters [...] Day 3: start late afternoon, distance 10 meters, after nightfall distance 2 meters to 50 centimeters.  I wanted the passage of day into night to be recorded for the sake of adding the unity of time to the unity of place and character (Radax, Thomas Bernhard and Film, p. 210).  Bernhard wrote a film scenario based on his novella-fragment The Italian (the fragment and the scenario appear in Vol. 11, pp. 183-248 of Bernhard’s Works).  Radax in collaboration with his cameraman, Gerhard Vandenberg, developed the scenario into a script that West German Television commissioned to be made into a film.  The film was shot in the winter of 1971 at Castle Wolfsegg near Ohlsdorf with a cast that included Rosemarie Fendel, Kurt Jaggberg, and Fabrizio Jovine.  (Date of first broadcast: October 18, 1971).  In 1972 the film received three Adolf Grimme Prizes, one of which went to Bernhard for the scenario. (On the origins of the fragment and the film, see Vol. 11, pp. 356-365 of Bernhard’s Works).  For Bernhard’s reaction see Letter No. 151.  On June 9, 1970, on his way back to Ohlsdorf from Hamburg, Thomas Bernhard stopped off at Frankfurt Station.  In a June 11 letter to Hedwig Stavianicek he reported, “As I was riding through the little town of Butzbach on the train the day before yesterday, I thought to myself, so that’s where Büchner was imprisoned [...]  And when I got to Unseld’s house for lunch [...] he kept asking me in a roundabout way whether I had heard anything from the academy yet, but I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about [...]  suddenly he simply said point-blank, ‘Two days ago the German Academy awarded Thomas Bernhard the Büchner Prize [...]’” (Bernhard, Works, Vol. 3, p. 243).
  2. In 1971 Hans J. Fröhlich’s novel Engels Kopf [Angel’s Head] was published by Suhrkamp Publications.  Bernhard and Fröhlich had known each other since 1967, as is apparent from an August 7, 1967 letter from Fröhlich to Bernhard: “I sincerely thank you for having spoken of me in such friendly terms to Ms. Botond.  Without your assistance my book [the novel Tandelkeller] would perhaps no longer be appearing this fall.
Letter No. 116


Frankfurt am Main
May 11, 1970


[Telegram]


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


“lime works” is magnificent.  i am enthusiastic.  congratulations to us both.  stop.  the text seems press-ready to me.  i want to give it to production dept immediately.  one request: that the underlines should not be set in italics.  that would be too much.  would it be all right with you if we typeset everything normally?  once again my congratulations and my admiration.
yours siegfried unseld


Letter No. 117


[Telegram]


Ohlsdorf
5.12.70


typset everything normally = bernhard1


  1. Bernhard subsequently decided that certain passages should be italicized after all, and so on June 16, 1970, Thomas Beckermann sent him the first part of the rough collated copy of The Lime Works and returned his manuscript to him.
On June 19, 1970, Unseld visited Bernhard in Ohlsdorf and described their meeting in his Travel Journal for Austria and Switzerland, June 14-21, 1970: “I discussed the contract for The Lime Works with him.  Differences of opinion were resolved, and a few amendments were introduced as well.  But Bernhard still could not make up his mind to sign the contract.  But he wishes to make up for this.  He doesn’t want to sign any of the earlier contracts.  He believes they should be incorporated into our new agreement, and I agree with him.


What he desires most is the publication of The Lime Works in a run of 10,000 copies.  I told him I would have to discuss it at the firm.  The awarding of the Büchner Prize will take place on October 17 in Darmstadt.  Bernhard wants to give a short speech.  I think we should exploit the Büchner Prize situation as a promotional opportunity.  Certainly by all means in Darmstadt.  Perhaps we could persuade the book dealers’ association in Darmstadt to undertake a bulk mail campaign or something similar.  A question for Miss Weimar: what is the situation of translations of Thomas Bernhard’s works?  Perhaps in view of the Büchner Prize and of the new Büchner Prize-mentioning prospectus we are preparing, we should promote the translations again.  Thomas Bernhard is prepared to come to the Frankfurt Book Fair and to participate in the panel sessions.  He is, however, against paired readings in the first week of September.  If we plan to present Augustin [Ernst Augustin’s novel Mamma, like the Lime Works, was delivered to bookstores on September 1, 1970] alongside Bernhard, we will have to do so over the course of two separate evenings, i.e., a Thomas Bernhard evening and a separate Ernst Augustin evening.  Regarding [Ödön von] Horváth, Bernhard suggests that I should write to Mr. Heer proposing to him a matinee performance at the Academy Theater in commemoration of the new edition.  I shall be quite happy to do this.  Bernhard has two recommendations for the Bibliothek Suhrkamp: Canetti, a selection from Crowds and Power; eventually consider the entire book.  Ask Miss Geisler to order a copy.  Moreover, Bernhard will be happy to compile a selection of Trakl for the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.


In August we shall receive the last two novellas for the BS volume Midland in Stilfs.  We will then still be able to choose between bringing the book’s date of publication forward and publishing the book as March 1971 as originally planned.  Aside from this, Bernhard is working on two things.  The first is a new play, a “comedy of the idiots,” the second, a new novel, which is set in a paper factory.  On the whole it was a very successful encounter.  My connection with Bernhard has been further solidified and deepened.  The next day he accompanied me on my trip to see Günter Eich.  Postscript on Thomas Bernhard: in the June issue of the journal Literatur und Kritik, “Der Berg” [“The Mountain”], a pantomime by Thomas Bernhard, has been published.  We could acquire it for the theatrical publications division.  An Austrian theater is going to host the premiere.  Yet another play by Thomas Bernhard already exists as a preliminary draft.  Naturally he wants it to be published in edition suhrkamp.”


Der Berg.  Ein Spiel für Marionetten als Menschen oder Menschen als Marionetten [The Mountain.  A Play for Marionettes as People or People as Marionettes ] originated in 1957.  It was first published in Literatur und Kritik, Vol. 46, 1970, pp. 330-352.  On April 7, 1970, Austrian television broadcast a performance of the play.  For the text of the play and information on its genesis, see Vol. 15, pp. 89-136 and 446ff. of Bernhard’s Works.


From a note to Unseld’s Chronicle headed Example of a Day’s Travel.  Friday, June 19, it is evident that Unseld, in the company of Jürgen Becker and his wife Rango Bohne, went to Ohlsdorf by car from Poschiavo, Switzerland (where the Hildesheimers lived) via Kirchichl, near Kufstein (where the Augustins were staying).  In this note, Unseld reports, “This lime works is based on an actual one in Traunsee.  Bernhard pointed it out to me later on.”           


Letter No. 118


[Telegram]
Hamburg
June 29 [1970]


play overwhelming success as was performance.  my sincerest congratulations.  siegfried unseld


   
Letter No. 119


[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]


Frankfurt am Main
July 1, 1970


Dear Thomas Bernhard,


It was exactly as described in my telegram.  At the very beginning of the opening scene there was some booing, but it was immediately drowned out by repeated bursts of applause in the same scene.  At the end, this escalated, such that one may unaffectedly speak of a hurricane of applause, which is really quite uncustomary in Hamburg.


I believe that your play was given a complete expression of its essence.  Granted, perhaps here and there I would have had the actor redo his line.  But this reservation is irrelevant.  The reverberatively huge response was sufficiently persuasive.


Peymann achieved outstanding results.  Boris was perfect; regarding Judith Holzmeister in the role of the Good Woman it is possible to be of two minds.  She has a manner of speaking that is hardly to my liking.  On the other hand there is something inherently over-the-top about the role itself.  The set designs struck me as first-rate.  As far as they go this is truly a model production.  You know that the rehearsals and the date of the performance kept getting further and further postponed.  In the end the theater covered itself by heading fate off at the pass, i.e., by scheduling the performance for the last day of the season.  Immediately afterwards, the theater closed up and went on summer vacation.  For the Schauspielhaus the success of Boris marks the high point of the season, and Lietzau has assured me that the play is going to play an eminent role in their next season.  We are now going to try very hard to hold him to his promise.1


I am sending you the reviews that we have received today.  Further reviews will be on their way to you in the next couple of days.


I congratulate you, dear Mr. Bernhard.  I congratulate us both, and I am delighted to be writing this on the date of the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of Suhrkamp Publications.


Yours sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld


Enclosures2       


  1. A Party for Boris premiered at the Deutsche Schauspielhaus, Hamburg, on June 29, 1970, in a production by Claus Peymann.  The cast included Judith Holzmeister as the Good Woman, Angela Schmid as Johanna, Wolf R. Redl as Boris, and Heinz Schubert as the Oldest Cripple.  Sets were by Karl Ernst Herrmann, costumes by Moidele Bickel.  Bernhard was not present at the performance.  Only July 5 he wrote to Ursula Bothe at the Suhrkamp dramatic publications division, “[...] For me, who spent the entire evening of the 29th pacing up and down in a state of nervous tension until I finally quite miraculously withdrew from this unbearable state by taking a ton of sleeping powder, our success in Hamburg was completely unforeseeable, completely unexpected.  Of Peymann I can say that I knew from our very first encounter that he was the right man for Boris.  There wasn’t much need for quibbling.  But at the high point of my curiosity I told myself it was better to leave the theater alone.  In the fall I shall go to see one of the earliest performances.”  After the premiere, its only performance during the 1969-1970 season, the play was re-accepted into the Schauspielhaus’s repertoire on September 30, 1970 and received eleven performances at the theater through the following December.


  1. In the bottom margin of the carbon copy of the letter are the following typewritten notations:


Hamburger Abendblatt 6.30
Welt 7.1
FAZ 7.1.
SZ 1.7


In the Hamburger Abendblatt Paul Theodor Hoffmann wrote under the headline “The Dead Love before the Eyes of the Living,” “The Deutsche Schauspielhaus has attained the high point of its season in that season’s finale.  After Hans Lietzaus’s masterly production of The Cherry Orchard [...] Claus Peymann helped the Austrian lyric poet and prose author Thomas Bernhard achieve a stunning theatrical debut. [...] The eponymous party for Boris (his birthday party) is an endgame. [...] In the endgame, Peymann, Peter Handke’s whiz kid of a collaborator (on Attacking the Audience), provocatively flaunts his directing style: a chorus, a canon, and scraps of dialogue; a virtuosic, pantomimic mode of expression; reality in the midst of the absurd.”  In Die Welt Manfred Leier (“Symposium in the House of Ill Repute”): “A drama of disgust, basically.  A play about debasement of the most profound kind, hence debasement that certainly does not become more bearable, such that the debased characters scarcely comport themselves like human beings at all.  A drama of disgust that nevertheless recalls the work of Beckett.  A whiff of the archaic wafts through the play.  The entire gathering of invalids turns into a monolithic apotheosis of infirmity.  A musty stench ascends from the bodies.  They are buried alive.”  Rolf Michaelis (“Elegy for Fifteen Wheelchairs”) in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung concluded: “Here stands a man with not merely one foot in the grave.  All this writer’s texts are memoirs from beyond the grave. [...] Bernhard rescues his work from the listlessness and idealessness of monotonous threnodies played on the anti-intellectual misanthrope’s hurdy-gurdy via grotesque humor. [...] Great existential misery, to be sure, but amid much ‘horrible laughter.’  Tears, but tears shed by a clown.”  Hellmuth Karasek opined in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (“Boots for Legless People”): “In the prodigious abominations of the last scene [...] Peymann and Bernhard confront our beautiful, wholesome world with the grotesque mug of everything that we have pushed into the asylum and that Bernhard wants to release from the asylum in the form of Ensoresque visions.  Naturally this sort of thing has a certain perversely culinary appeal for the spectator.”           
    


Letter No. 120
[Address: (Ohlsdorf); handwritten]


Frankfurt am Main
July 3 [1970]


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


Enclosed are further reviews and also a copy of the “Theater Special Circular” with which we are trying to secure additional performances.1


Yours sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld


  1. The enclosures have not survived.  In the July 3, 1970 issue of Die Zeit appeared a critique by Henning Rischbieter with the headline “Applause for Bernhard’s Boris”: “The few boos from the back of the house were drowned out by the sustained applause: applause for Judith Holzmeister, Burgtheater actress, lady, serpent of the salon, and heroine [...]; applause for Angela Schmid [...]; applause for Wolf R. Redl who as Boris [...] was capable of making a timid, tired motion of his head into a grand human gesture [...].  Applause finally for the director Claus Peymann. [...]  Applause for the author too?  This year’s Büchner Prize winner did not appear onstage.  Does this mean he finds premieres unbearable?  This one was no mockery of his art [...].”  On July 2, 1970 Botho Strauß wrote in the Frankfurter Rundschau, “In his first play A Party for Boris its double character, its disjunction between artificially arranged, gestural diction and its seemingly realistic elaboration of a sequestered, pathologically abnormal milieu in which all human and social relationships are marked by disassociation, is emphatic almost to the point of univocality [...]  By these means, Bernhard is attempting both to fulfill and destructively to transgress one of the theater’s fundamental commandments: in contrast to his prose works, this play allows for concrete human connections among its grotesquely stunted characters.”             


Letter No. 121


Ohlsdorf
7.5.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


The telegram, letter, and reviews have put me into a very good mood over the past few days, a mood that I have, however, cut short by resuming my work at a timely moment.  That Peymann was an exceptionally good man for my play was clear to me from the beginning and consequently he and I have not needed to exchange many words, but at the same time it was completely unclear to me how the chilly Nordic audience would react to Boris; my scepticism has proved to have been ill-founded--and naturally I am very happy about this.


In the fall I shall have a look at one of the first, not the first, performances, then I shall travel northwards for a bit.  After watching a few short scene-excerpts on television, with an enormous burst of laughter from [Judith] Holzmeister at the end, I felt as though the whole thing ought to be performed by a group of first-rate English actors, by an English theater troupe.


For Ms. Holzmeister the performance was really quite an enormous achievement, when I consider what an awful rut this woman was stuck in two decades ago.


I am glad that everything has gone off so smoothly,
Yours sincerely Thomas Bernhard


May I please ask you for a present: everything by Ernst Bloch!,
There is of course no need for you to blab about this to my “colleagues”!


P.P.S. Come back again soon!!1


  1. See Note No. 1 to Letter No. 117.


Letter No. 122
[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
July 13, 1970


Dear Thomas Bernhard,


Thank you very much for your letter of July 5.  You can be sure your joy is exactly the same as mine.  Of course the theatrical publications division of Suhrkamp deserves some small share of the credit for this success, because were the ones who drew the play to Claus Peymann’s attention and committed it unreservedly to his care and also came up with the idea of trying to have the play produced and performed in Hamburg.  I am very glad that everything worked out so well.  Naturally we will keep trying to drum up additional performances.  I have already informed our sales representative in London that the play is genuinely worthy of being performed by good actors.


Your request for “everything by Ernst Bloch” puts me into a bit of a quandary.  You know that Bloch’s work was published in a complete edition.  But there are several volumes of which we only have a few copies left in stock, and we must keep a close hold on these.  We can arrange to send you the majority of the books free of charge, and to charge you the authors’ price (35% discount) for the few that are in short supply.1


I was delighted by your invitation to come to see you again.  I am mulling over the theme of the meeting and when it will possible for me to make the trip.  How is the work on Midland in Stilfs coming along and what do you plan to work on afterwards?  The comedy or the novel about the paper factory?2


Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld    


  1. Bernhard obtained the sixteen-volume edition of Bloch for 50% of the retail price.


  1. At the bottom margin of the letter Bernhard wrote a Gmunden telephone number as well as the calling codes for Germany and Frankfurt.
  


Letter No. 123


[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]


Frankfurt am Main
July 21, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


In the latest issue of Cologne’s Rheinischer Merkur I read a very fine account of A Party for Boris penned by Heinz Beckmann.  I am sending you a copy of this page.  You can see from this that discussion of the play is continuing.


I hope this gives you a fresh impetus.


Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld


Enclosure1


  1. The enclosure has not survived.  It was presumably a copy of Heinz Beckmann’s article entitled “An Unbearable Examination,” which appeared in the July 10, 1970 issue of the Rheinischer Merkur.


Letter No. 124


[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]


Frankfurt am Main
July 24, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


Could you set aside September 2 for a reading in Hamburg?  You have of course written that you intended to travel northwards anyway.  So I hope this can be fitted into your plans.  This is going to be a Suhrkamp function at which you and Ernst Augustin will both be reading.


Please confirm your participation in the event for me.  We must drum up some business.
Yours
with sincere regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]    


Letter No. 125


Ohlsdorf
7.28.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


I do indeed plan to go to Hamburg in the second half of September, but not in the first, and so as far as I am concerned I certainly will not be in Hamburg on the 2nd.  But if you attach some especial importance to my being in Hamburg to give a reading on 9.2., your wish is my command.


On the other hand I must point out that I declined the theater’s invitation to give a reading at Lietzaus’s house before the premiere of Boris; but perhaps now that the premiere is past it wouldn’t be an entirely bad thing for me to give a reading at the theater.  In September, after the warm-ups for the next run of performances of the play.


Please think it over and come up with the most sensible possible course of action; if that turns out to involve a reading at the theater, please get in touch with the dramaturg, Mr. Wendt.  I would quite like to know what has become of your plans for a little film castle in Frankfurt.  (Date!)


My play will be finished soon, but I have told everybody who has asked me about it that I don’t know when it will be finished.


I shall be bringing the text of Midland with me to Germany.


Obviously, I hope you and I will get to see each other in Darmstadt.


I shall be traveling either in the company of my aunt or on my own.


At first I thought it would be a good idea not to give a speech, but now I see that that would be foolish and cowardly.  And so I will speak to the Academy after all.  Every simple course of action is in the long run an appalling one.


In closing, I must ask you to grant me two thousand marks of emergency credit; something appalling (nothing devastating, but for all that unavoidable) has happened here, and I have signed a bill of exchange that I would like to redeem as close to immediately as possible.  If you can assist me, please send the money by wire.1


Sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard


  1. In the margin of this paragraph is a handwritten remark by Burgel Geisler: “sent by wire on 7.31.”


Letter No. 126


Frankfurt am Main
July 31, 1970


Dear Thomas Bernhard,


Thank you most heartily for your letter of July 28.


I have been pondering the pros and cons of the Hamburg function.  I agree with you that it is probably better for you to give a separate reading on your own and in the context of the Schauspielhaus.  I have therefore canceled the Suhrkamp function.


We are trying to make the little film castle in Wilhelmsbad a reality.  So far it looks as though it would be possible on 9.25.  But the whole thing has a certain tentative feel to it, given that nobody knows what films we plan to show.1   


I am very eagerly awaiting the text of Midland, and I am naturally very curious about the new play.


Obviously I shall be coming to Darmstadt.  I think it only fitting for you to give a short speech.


You will have received the DM 2,000 by now.  Especially among friends it is important to be punctilious in money matters.  We have an agreement and we have mutually agreed to adhere to it.  I would therefore propose our regarding these unstipulated DM 2,000 as a loan.   


Otherwise things are going well here.  Now that we have spoken by telephone The Lime Works will go to press.2


Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld  


P.S.  We just received an inquiry from a bookseller in Wiesbaden whether you would perhaps be willing to give a reading during the fair or when you are in Darmstadt in October.  Please write to me about this.


  1. During Unseld’s visit at Bernhard’s house in Ohlsdorf in the company of Rango Bohne and Jürgen Becker on June 19, 1970 (see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 117), there were discussions of a function during the Frankfurt book fair, as Unseld notes in his Travel Journal for Austria and Switzerland, June 14-21, 1970: “An evening in Wilhelmsbad, in the the theater recently built there by Hessian Radio.  It has about 120 seats.  So it would be an evening for booksellers, an ongoing reception with drinks and snacking opportunities; each guest would have the choice of lingering and drinking or going into the theater, in which the following program of events would be running.  Jürgen Becker reads from ‘Environs,’ a film, duration 10 minutes.  Next Ernst Augustin would read live, so to speak; then the film ‘Vitus Bering’; then the film ‘Thomas Bernhard’ [Konrad Bayer’s novel The Head of Vitus Bering was published in 1970 as Volume 258 of the Bibliothek Suhrkamp; in the same year Ferry Radax shot a 25-minute film of the same name.  For an explanation of ‘Three Days,’ see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 115], then Uwe Johnson could also read this time.”  The plan was never realized.  


  1. Presumably on the same day or slightly earlier Unseld and Bernhard spoke to each other by telephone in order to clarify the questions about the paginated rough copy of The Lime Works that Thomas Beckermann had posed to Bernhard in a July 22 1970 letter; on the carbon copy of the letter there are some notes in Unseld’s handwriting.    


Letter No. 127


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
September 3, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard,

I am holding the first copy of your book The Lime Works in my hands; I am quite sure it is your best book, and if we are ever going bring about your breakthrough to a wider circle of readers with a single book, then it is now and with this one.  In any case we have already embarked on an intensive, concentrated campaign; the Büchner Prize will contribute its fair share to this.


The retail price is DM 18; your honorarium for the 1st 10,000 is 10%, hence 1.80 per copy; our system of amortization is of course quite familiar to you.


Now I can only hope that you are satisfied with the outside appearance of the book.  How many complimentary copies do you want sent to Ohlsdorf?


And what are your travel dates?  Are you coming to the book fair?  If you are--as of course you had more or less agreed to do--it would be nice if you could arrange to be here on Saturday, September 26 no matter what.  At 6:00 p.m. there will be a gathering of a small group of booksellers at my house in Klettenbergstraße; it would be nice if you could read a brief passage to this group.  But you need not come to Frankfurt expressly on account of this gathering--not unless you find it tempting, and in that case you will of course be sincerely welcome.  Please write to me soon; I am very curious and anxious to learn what you think of the book.


Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld


Enclosure: Lime Works


  1. Bernhard did not participate in the booksellers’ evening during the book fair (September 24-29).  In his place Max Frisch read from his Diaries 1966-1971, which was published in 1972.
    


Letter No. 128


Ohlsdorf
9.7.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


I am extremely pleased with the neatly printed and inventively swathed book and it is clear that I wish it the greatest possible success; in this we are of one mind.


I probably will be traveling to Hamburg, but only after going to Darmstadt, so everything can be done in one trip.1


The fact that I now have several weeks left for my play, my comedy, cheers me no end.


The heavenly and infernal spheres alike are circling auspiciously.


Yours very, very sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard


P.S. In the fall of ’71 (September) a volume entitled Atzbach (subtitled Prescriptions) might be appearing in the “es.”  Will you please note that down?!


  1. A week after the awarding of the Büchner Prize, at 11:00 p.m. on October 24, 1970, at the Deutsche Schauspielhaus, after a performance of A Party for Boris, Bernhard read for 45 minutes from The Lime Works as part of the Extra 6 series.  In an article headlined “Extra 6 for St. Bernhard,” the October 26, 1970, Hamburger Morgenpost reported, “Although the Austrian is no elocutionist (‘...the German public is so serious that one cannot get away with reading anything serious to it’), he is thrilling listen to.  The narrative soundlessness of his prose idiom--evident here in his seemingly artless use of the subjunctive of reported speech--has an ominous and morbid effect on the listener.”    


Letter No. 129


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
September 11, 1970


Dear Thomas Bernhard,


I take pleasure in your extreme pleasure.  Hence I thank you heartily for your letter of September 7.


I am glad to learn that you will now not be going to Hamburg until after the award ceremony at Darmstadt.  I have noted that we will be traveling together to Frankfurt after the conclusion of your Darmstadt schedule (the last event will be a lunch on Sunday the 18th); you can then stay overnight with us if that is agreeable to you.


And please don’t forget that you are planning to bring Midland in Stilfs with you.


I am very happy about your further news; first of all, that you can now work productively on your play, on the comedy, and that the heavenly and infernal spheres alike are circling auspiciously for you and that in September of 1971 we shall be able to publish an e.s. volume with the uncommonly apt Bernhardian title of Atzbach.  We shall make that a fixed event in the schedule.


I have just been notified that the second print run of Watten has been issued (10-14 thsnd.).  I shall have a copy sent to you.


Yours
with sincere regards and wishes,
Siegfried Unseld      


Letter No. 130


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
September 23, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


A certain Dr. Walter Brandau has written to me from Vienna.  He would like to make a film of Boris’s Symposium (as he calls it).  The man is as yet unknown and has so far only made a name for himself in commercials.  But he is fascinated by the play and would like to have a go at adapting it.


What do you think of it in principle?  Perhaps you can think the idea over, and we can talk about the logistics when you are are here.
Yours
with warm regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]


Re book fair
I have just awarded the Swedish translation rights for The Lime Works (Norstedts Förlag).


Letter No. 131


Frankfurt am Main
October 20, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


I found it very pleasant that we got to spend somewhat more time together than usual, and we should repeat such meetings from time to time.


The effect of the Büchner Prize has been very nice both before and since the ceremony.  Your book sales have picked up.  We shall shortly be printing a second run of The Lime Works.1  


Now let me remind you once again about Midland.  I would be very happy if I received the text soon.


Enclosed you will find the contracts that were signed in Frankfurt as well as the statement of royalties.


Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld


  1. The presentation of the Georg Büchner Prize of the Academy for Language and Literature to Bernhard took place in Darmstadt on October 17, 1970.  The award certificate bears this text: “In a seemingly equanimous prose idiom, he has searched out the relentless process of the destruction of individual life, and through his novels and novellas he has pointed up the this process’s affiliation with the latent pathologies of our age.”  In his laudation (printed in the 1970 Yearbook of the Academy) Günter Blöcker declared, “[...] If I had to say in a single brief sentence in what way Thomas Bernhard is [...] important, nay, indispensable, to us, that sentence would have to be, ‘He shakes us up in the midst of our false security.’”  Bernhard’s acceptance speech begins as follows: “Honored guests, that of which we speak is unexplored; we do not live, but rather conjecture and exist as hypocrites, castoffs in the dire, ultimately lethal misunderstanding of nature, a misunderstanding in which, thanks to science, we are now irrecoverably lost [...].”  (Bernhard Meine Preise, p. 123; for his impressions of the award ceremony see pp. 109-114 of the same volume.)


In his October 21, 1970 note, “Conversation with Thomas Bernhard on the Occasion of His Visit to Frankfurt on the Occasion of His Acceptance of the Büchner Prize,” Unseld remarks, “In connection with his acceptance of the Büchner Prize, Thomas Bernhard visited Darmstadt and Frankfurt in the company of his aunt, Hedwig Stavianicek.  The lady’s 74th birthday was on October 18, and at the lunch held by the city for the recipient of the Büchner prize she was presented with a bouquet of roses.
Regarding his own plans, Bernhard expressed himself thus: Midland in Stilfs—novellas—are finished; he will send them to us at the end of December.
After that he will be working exclusively on his new play, a comedy whose title he said he had not yet settled on; he intends to send it to us in the winter.
Subsequently he will be working on a book scheduled for publication in the e.s., Atzbach.  Prescriptions.  Atzbach is the name Bernhard has concocted for an insane asylum in which the people are fed according to prescription.
After finishing this text, Bernhard will write his next novel, which he would like to have completed by April of 1971; this is the novel set in an Austrian paper factory.”
 


Letter No. 132


[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]


Frankfurt am Main
October 26, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


Knopf has just published the English translation of Verstörung under the title of Gargoyles.  This has turned out to be a very nice-looking book.  We will be sending you your six complimentary copies.  We hope that we will soon be able to finalize the agreement for The Lime Works as well.


Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld


Letter No. 133


Ohlsdorf
10.27.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


My extensive perusal of the contract for The Lime Works that I signed in Frankfurt impels me to withdraw my signature from that contract with immediate effect.  There are clauses in this contract that I cannot accept under any circumstances and I request that you not regard my signature of the contract as binding and send the signed contract for The Lime Works to me at Ohlsdorf.  The same goes for the Watten contract.


All told, my trip through Germany may be regarded as a depressing inventory of all the states of affairs with which I was confronted between Passau and Lübeck.  The nonsensicality and nonsensicality-abetted stupidity that was never before so investable with governmental pomp as it is today, is of appalling dimensions in Germany.  The surface is one of enervating vulgarity, beneath which a gargantuan corporeal and spiritual catastrophe seems to be heralded.  The minds of all are full of treachery, and in everything on which these minds dare to stake their existence this treachery is unsurpassable.


The revolutionaries qua intellectuals or intellectuals qua revolutionaries (it’s all enough to make you puke!) gorge themselves in the Chinese and Yugoslavian and Italian restaurants.  The whole thing is revolting, because it is in Germany.


Yours with very sincere regards,
Thomas B.


Please have all enquiries as to whether I could give a reading somewhere, anywhere, answered with the reply that I loathe readings and no longer give them.


|P. S.| Into the Limeworks contract, as well as into all the other contracts, all of them so far, there must be inserted a passage stating that their legal force will end with immediate effect should the firm cease to be overseen by you or should it pass into other hands.  The complete contracts are to be thus amended; perhaps this can be done through the post; if not I must ask you to get together with me in the mountains at some point, whenever it is convenient for you.


Letter No. 134


Frankfurt am Main
November 3, 1970


Dear Mr. Bernhard,


I acknowledge receipt of your letter of October 27.  What experiences must you have had during this trip through Germany!  Did you really find Hamburg so disappointing?  I didn’t get the impression that the events in Darmstadt or Frankfurt could cause you to have such experiences.1


Now to the question about the contracts: I would be very happy to speak with you about it sometime soon, but at the moment this is simply impossible.  I am certain, my dear Mr. Bernhard, that in the course of a relaxed conversation I could convince you of the justness of the various points of the contract, but for now what should really matter is that we already have this contract, whose terms we shall jointly enforce in a sensible manner.  What is more, the books Watten and The Lime Works have of course already been published; they are making their way in the world of the reading public quite independently of what we have included in the contract.  So you must have faith.  We are making the best we can of this.


When we meet next time and when we draw up another contract together we can certainly talk about a clause that attaches the contracts to me personally.


When may I expect to receive the manuscript of Midland?  Little by little time is getting short.


As I have already written to you, the demand for The Lime Works is strong and sustained.  We are printing a second run.  I hope this pleases you.


Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld


  1. The awarding of the Büchner Prize to Bernhard was met with some criticism--for example, in the pages of Die Zeit.  Two articles on a single page (p. 23 of the October 23, 1970 number) very swiftly reacted to the presentation of the prize: In “Remarks on Integrity” Rudolf Walter Leonhardt (a.k.a. “leo”) wrote, “Certainly Thomas Bernhard has a right to his opinion.  However crazily twisted may seem his views--views that for all their dubiousness, and despite everything, evince an appreciation of words as a medium of communication, of information, of human potential--Thomas Bernhard himself is beyond reproach.  But what can possibly incite the abused abusers solemnly to intone in the name of the German language and its literature, ‘Praised (and prized) be Thomas Bernhard!’”   David E. Zimmer entitled his polemic against the author and the Academy “How Despair is Rendered Implausible by Applause”: “The awarding of a prize to Thomas Bernhard brings together two fully incommensurable systems.  To celebrate Thomas Bernhard is tantamount to pouring scorn on him or demonstrating that one has not understood him.  It is tantamount to saying that he cannot have been very serious.  And in playing along with the game Thomas Bernhard is effectively saying, ‘I have not been very serious.’  In his works Thomas Bernhard says nothing but that we are all wretched, mentally incompetent, crazy, over and over again; and he said nothing but this in his Darmstadt acceptance speech--this may very well be an all-too-valid insight, but it is hardly one worth applauding or feting.  And when it receives applause and acquiesces in that applause, it annuls itself and consequently has not deserved any applause.”              


Letter No. 135


Ohlsdorf
11.4.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


You still have not replied to my letter from last week; the nature of the problem is quite clear to me; probably I have put your nose out of joint; a remarkable depression of a thoroughly political nature has taken possession of me since my return to Ohlsdorf, although it started setting in as early as Hamburg; I have found it impossible to keep completely mum about the entire thing, and so you have received some unpleasant reading-matter from Austria.  Of our meeting I have nothing but fond memories and today I would especially like to thank your wife for her many kindnesses to me and to my aunt; it really amounted more to a birthday trip for an old lady than to the journey of an intransigent author through a Germany rife with misunderstandings.


My mind is clear, my thoughts are managing to engage with the cogwheels of their environment, my work is progressing; moreover--and this is something that makes absolutely no sense, because by simplifying things it makes them more and more complicated--it is affording this man of well-nigh forty years of age the pleasure of his life, as he has yet another go at it; it is the pleasure of the brain of art enjoying itself.


As for our contracts, a single slash-mark through all the documents is absolutely necessary; the thing won’t work if there are even two different strokes; I quite rightly regard all spontaneity in this matter as somewhat fishy.


I am making some corrections to Midland--just a few, but they are needful to the whole business; we do after all want to put out a book that is, to our eyes, immaculate.


You will have the whole thing in your hands at the end of November.


In the next few days I shall be sending a synopsis of Atzbach to Günther Busch.1


The lights will go on at the paper factory; it is going to be a humorous book, no less difficult.


Without a doubt one’s rage and brutality towards everything can veer from any point of the compass to any other from one hour to the next.


The fact that the critics are suffering from degenerative dementia is no reason to slacken one’s pace in a given direction, whatever that direction may be.


The English, American Verstörung is a splendid book and imparts good cheer.


How many Limeworkses have you sold so far?


Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard


  1. On November 14, 1970 Thomas Bernhard sent Thomas Beckermann his preliminary synopsis of Atzbach.  Prescriptions: “Little by little and through his tempo of life and death the handyman and habitual criminal Schmöll, having been recently assigned to the Atzbach workhouse, more intensively proves to himself, with the help of every incident and with the greatest precision, that basically the world, and always in every case the immediate environment of the individual, consists not merely of natural and conceptual matter, but rather--for every thinking person, and consequently for every person who dares to think--of nothing but prescriptions, of an embarrassing and upsetting infinity of human and therefore inhuman and inhumane prescriptions.  For Schmöll the world is a world of prescriptions and human beings are beings of prescription, everything in it and everything in them is a prescription.  Schmöll says nothing (because he has given up the habit of speaking), but he thinks: everything is a prescription and therefore thinks: everything is unbearable.”  In the accompanying letter Bernhard wrote, “[...] hopefully this short note is enough for you.  I am just finding it impossible to say anything further.  What doesn’t come through in it is the fact that in virtue of its sheer unbearability Atzbach is funny.”


Letter No. 136


[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]


Frankfurt am Main
November 6, 1970


Dear Thomas Bernhard,


I thank you very warmly for your letter of November 4; I am glad that you followed up your earlier letter with this one.  I am confident that we basically already understand each other; we shall calmly talk over these things at the earliest opportunity.


I can easily understand why you were irritated.  At the moment our political landscape is anything but inviting, or even hopeful.  One often gets the impression that some catastrophe is in the subterranean making.  Well, we shall see.  The only thing thing we can do is is carry out our own task as well as possible.


This is why I am so pleased that you are writing with such productive  intensity.  We must have a chat about the “man of well-nigh forty years of age’s pleasure of his life” sometime.  Where will you be on 2.9.1971, by the way?


So I am expecting Midland at the end of this month.


I give you my sincere regards.
Yours,
Siegfried Unseld


P.S. I have already written to you that the first run of The Lime Works (there were 3,000 copies) is sold out; a second run will be delivered on December 13.


Letter No. 137


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
November 10, 1970


Dear Thomas Bernhard,


Over the weekend I was in Stockholm in order to hold talks with Peter Weiss and a few friends.  I also spoke with Bengt Holmqvist, who is probably Sweden’s most influential literary critic.  He spoke to me of his fascination after reading The Lime Works: “In my view Thomas Bernhard is the only German-language writer with a secure entitlement to a Nobel Prize.”  Bengt Holmqvist has also recommended the book to the Swedish publishing firm of Norstedt, which has since accepted it.  Probably Mrs. Holmqvist will translate the book.1   


After I got back I spoke with Dr. Karl Korn from the FAZ; quite spontaneously he told me that in recent years he had not read any novel that had fascinated him as much as The Lime Works.  He said he was so enthusiastic about this book that he had almost thought about reprinting it in the newspaper, but then his colleagues had blown the whistle on him.


I am forwarding to you the comments of these hardly insignificant voices.  From here at the firm we are doing everything we can to give your book a wide dissemination.


Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld


  1. Unseld was in Stockholm from November 7 to 9 and met with Peter Weiss and his wife, Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss, the literary critic of Dagens Nyheter, the co-administrator of the rights to the works of Nelly Sachs, Bengt Holmqvist, and his wife Margaretha, as well as Olof Lagercrantz.  Margaretha Holmqvist’s Swedish translation of The Lime Works, Kalkbruket, was published by Norstedt in 1972.   


Letter No. 138


Frankfurt am Main
November 11, 1970


Dear Thomas Bernhard,


Just a postscript.  Enclosed is suhrkamp information No. 2.  Please take a look at the inside pages.  You are literally the outcry of the inside |(i.e.,  of my admiration!)|   


Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld  


Enclosure1


  1. In 1970, the biannual suhrkamp information replaced the superannuated and much-criticized yearly Jahresschau Dichten und Trachten (first issue: 1953) as the firm’s regular advertising publication.  On pp. 16-18 of the second issue of suhrkamp information for 1970 appear a production photograph from the Hamburg premiere of A Party for Boris, the text of Bernhard’s acceptance speech for the Georg Büchner Prize, and a list of Bernhard’s books in the Suhrkamp and Insel catalogues.  


Letter No. 139


Ohlsdorf
11.30.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


The sequence of the prose pieces is the same as in the envelope:


“Midland in Stilfs”
“The Weatherproof Cape”
“On the Ortler.”


I am picturing an easy-to-read printed page, which means the largest possible typeface.


When will it be possible for you to meet with me?
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard


Letter No. 140


[Address: Ohlsdorf]


Frankfurt am Main
December 8, 1970


I was out of town for a few days and therefore could not acknowledge the arrival of your November 30 letter and of the eagerly awaited manuscript before today.  It will be the next thing I read.  I am very much looking forward to it.


But I am writing to you so promptly now because you asked me to give you a date for a meeting.  These days my schedule is very tight.  But I can give you a possible date that might be agreeable to you as well.  Could we meet on Sunday December, 13, in Munich?  As far as travel distance goes that would of course be halfway between the two of us.  But do tell me if it is even possible.  If it is, I would propose our meeting at 4:00 p.m. at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof.  I would be delighted to see you.  Please do send me a telegram or call me.1


Yours
with sincere regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]         


  1. Unseld was in Munich on December 13-14, 1970 for talks with independent publishers and to visit Wolfgang Koeppen, who was once again holding out the prospect of completing a novel.


Letter No. 141


Ohlsdorf
12.15.70


Dear Dr. Unseld,


Owing to the death of my uncle during the past week, I have been unable to come to Munich; my plan to give you a ring fell through.1


But surely you will soon be taking another trip to my neck of the woods, and we could meet then.


How soon do you think I shall be able to receive the galley proofs of Midland?


I am working well and everything is on an excellent footing.


Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard


P.S. In the Frankfurter Zeitung I read an article by you about Barnes, the American woman, an article that is as excellent as Djuna Barnes herself is great; hopefully you find this praise to your liking, as it doesn’t come easily to me.  (It will be a long time before you get any more of it!!!)2  


  1. The younger brother of Thomas Bernhard’s mother, Rudolf Freumbichler, born in 1910, died on December 8, 1970.  His funeral took place in Salzburg on December 15.


  1. In his article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of December 7, 1970, “A Testimonial as an Annuity” Unseld reacted to Rolf Hochhuth’s November 25, 1970 FAZ article “The Written-off Writers,” in which Hochmuth argued in favor of the thesis that “old writers” were being oppressed by publishers, and began by describing a visit to Djuna Barnes: “A few weeks ago I encountered Djuna Barnes in New York; of her abode she warned me in advance, “I live here like a rat in a hell.’  On the door of Number 5 Patchim Place there is no nameplate and no doorbell.  Djuna Barnes lives on the second floor, which she leaves only once a week to buy her sole dietary staple: ice cream (otherwise she drinks tea) or to visit the hospital, as she is ineluctably plagued by leukemia, arthritis, asthma.  The single-room dwelling consists almost exclusively of books, a desk overstuffed with papers, a bed; a minuscule closet, a kitchenette in which there is not room enough to swing a cat.  The windows cannot be shut completely; the house seems not to have been called on by a maintenance worker in decades; nothing is ever repaired.  The landlord cannot evict her as long as she continues living and paying the 49 dollars in rent, a decidedly modest sum for an ‘apartment’ in New York, but 49 dollars are 49 dollars, and Djuna Barnes, America’s greatest living female writer, does not earn those 49 dollars.”


Letter No. 142


Frankfurt am Main
December 21, 1970


Dear Thomas Bernhard,


Sincere thanks for your letter of December 15.  Naturally your praise of my note on Djuna Barnes mellifluously flowed down my throat like the finest late-vintage wine!  I am especially sensitive in this ear, and so you have sent me the finest imaginable end-of the-year present.  Thank you very much.


You will receive the galley proofs of Midland at the beginning of February at the latest.  I am glad that you are working well and that everything is going so excellently.


I shall probably be in Munich from January 19 through January 26.  I would like to arrange either for us to see each other in Munich or for me to come to Salzburg then.  Would any day during that stretch of time be agreeable to you?


I wish you bearable holidays, a good end to the year, and, for 1971, the most important thing there is: productivity.


Yours very sincerely,
Unseld

P.S. Whenever you are in Vienna please give my wife’s and my very sincere regards to Mrs. Stavianicek.




END OF PART VIII



Translation unauthorized but Copyright ©2014 by Douglas Robertson


Source: Thomas Bernhard.  Siegfried Unseld.  Der Briefwechsel, Herausgegeben von Raimund Fellinger, Martin Huber und Julia Ketterer.  [Thomas Bernhard.  Siegfried Unseld.  The Correspondence, edited by ….] (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2011), pp. 154-208. 

Apart from interpolations postfixed by the translator's initials (DR), the notes are in substance entirely the work of the editors, but the translator has not scrupled to bring them into line with what he believes to be mainstream editorial practice in the Anglosphere, most signally by moving all instances of the historical present into the simple past.