Peter Handke’s Nobel Prize Speech

The Nobel Prize organization has posted a film that shows Handke delivering the speech yesterday (wearing a shirt he has added embroidery to). Below the film are links to translations of the speech into English and Swedish. See the film here:



Photo by ANDjELKO-VASIL with Handke in another embroidered shirt]

Handke ended the lecture that quoted extensively from his lyric play “Walk about the Villages” with a bit of a surprise. He drew a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and read, in faltering Swedish (for which he apologized), Tomas Tranströmer’s generous poem


“Romanesque Arches”


Tourists have crowded into the half-dark of the enormous Romanesque church.

Vault opening behind vault and no perspective.

A few candle flames flickered.

An angel whose face I couldn’t see embraced me

and his whisper went all through my body:

“Don’t be ashamed to be a human being, be proud!

Inside you one vault after another opens endlessly.

You’ll never be complete, and that’s as it should be.”

Tears blinded me

as we were herded out into the fiercely sunlit piazza,

together with Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Herr Tanaka and Signora Sabatini;

within each of them vault after vault opened endlessly.


Translated by Robert Bly


About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
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1 Response to Peter Handke’s Nobel Prize Speech

  1. Thomas McGonigle says:

    THANKS VERY MUCH…. I just put a good piece on the useless war against Serbia…on Facebook..


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