Peter Handke: 79th Birthday Today

Peter Handke and his work have influenced and inspired me for more than 30 years. Proof lies in a set of publications on his work, translations of his work, and narratives of traveling with him. Today I’m deeply grateful for those literary and personal interactions (the latter facilitated by Zarko Radakovic). Note the title of this blog, an echo of the title of an early Handke novel: The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick.


We: A Friendship. A third book with Žarko Radaković. Forthcoming Spring 2022, with Laguna Press in Belgrade and submitted to publishers in the US.

Vampires & A Reasonable Dictionary. Co-author Žarko Radaković. Brooklyn: Punctum Books, 2014. Originally published in Serbo-Croatian as Vampiri + Razumni recnik. Belgrade: Stubovi kulture, 2008. 

Repetitions. Co-author Žarko Radaković. Brooklyn: Punctum Books, 2013. Originally published in Serbo-Croatian as Ponavljanja. Belgrade: Vreme-knjige, 1994. 

The website for our Yugoslavia books:


Peter Handke, excerpt from The Moravian Night. In Dislocation and Reconciliation in Kosovo: Essays on Goran Radovanović’s Film Enclave. Belgrade, 2016 (10-13). (Enclave was Serbia’s submission for the 2016 Foreign-Language Oscar, 2016.)

Peter Handke, excerpt from To Duration. In Open Letters Monthly, 1 May 2016.

Peter Handke: Bin im WaldKann sein, daß ich mich verspäte. A Documentary Film by Corinna Belz. Berlin: Zero One Films, 2016. (My translation is the basis for the subtitles.)

Peter Handke, To Duration. Amsterdam: Last Books, 2015. (Named “Best Book of the Year” by novelist and critic Gabriel Josipovici in the London Times Literary Supplement, November 26, 2015.) 

Žarko Radaković’s “The Landscapes Through Which We Traveled. For Peter Handke on His 70th Birthday.” Open Letters Monthly, 6 December 2012. 

Peter Handke, Voyage by Dugout or The Play of the Film of the WarPAJ Publications. Boston: MIT Press, May 2012 (61-99). 

Five stories from Peter Handke’s Once Again for ThucydidesConjunctions (Web site of the literary journal). Fall 1998. 

Peter Handke, A Journey to the Rivers or Justice for Serbia. New York: Viking, December 1996. 


“A Slow, Inquiring Narration: Peter Handke’s The Moravian Night.” Open Letters Monthly, December 2016.

“Storm Still. Klartext and Poesie in Peter Handke’s “Immer noch Sturm.” Originalbeitrag Handke Online. Austrian National Library. 2 September 2015.

“Forms of Identity: Stations of the Cross in Peter Handke’s Die linkshändige Frau.” Originalbeitrag Handke Online. Austrian National Library. 26 June 2013.

“An Essay on Peter Handke’s ‘Play of the Film of the War.’” PAJ Publications. Boston: MIT Press, May 2012 (56-60). 

“Peter Handke’s Die moravische Nacht: Erzählung.” Work entry in the Literary Encyclopedia. 2008.

“‘That sweet And so on’: Peter Handke’s Yugoslavia Work.” In the Companion to the Works of Peter Handke. Camden House, 2005 (359-386).

“The Rhetoric of War and Peace: Peter Handke’s Unter Tränen fragend.” In World Literature Today, Winter 2001 (78-81). 

“Peter Handke.” Author entry in the Encyclopedia of German Literature. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000 (403-406). 

Wunschloses Unglück.” Work entry for the Encyclopedia of German Literature. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000 (407-408). 

“Modeling a Dialectic: Peter Handke’s A Journey to the Rivers or Justice for Serbia.” In Willy Riemer, ed., After Postmodernism: Austrian Literature and Film in Transition. Riverside, CA: Ariadne, 2000 (340-352). 

“The Reader Takes a Hike.” In Noch einmal für Jugoslawien: Peter Handke. Ed. by Thomas Deichmann. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1999 (259-261). 

“Postmetaphysical Metaphysics? Peter Handke’s Repetition.” In Themes and Structures. Ed. Alexander Stephan. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1997 (222-233). 

“Izmebu Dva Jezika: Žarko Radaković i Peter Handke (Between Two Languages: Žarko Radaković and Peter Handke).” LETOPIS: MATITSE SRPSKE (CHRONICLE: SERBIAN ANNALS, Novi Sad) July-August, 1995 (164-170). 

“‘The Material Idea of a Volk’: Peter Handke’s Dialectical Search for a National Identity.” Amsterdam: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik, 1995 (479-494). 

“Peter Handke.” Dictionary of Literary Biography, Twentieth-Century German Dramatists, 1919-1992, v.124. Ed. by Wolfgang D. Elfe and James Hardin. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992 (176-187). 

Wunschloses Unglück in an American Context.” Knjizevna kritika (Literary Criticism, Belgrade), 18, January-February 1986 (86-91). Tr. by M. Radaković. 


“The Afternoon on the Sava.” RIC / red in corner. April 2018.

“A Time Capsule: Peter Handke’s 1989 Yugoslavia.” Literary Traveler, April 2009. 

“Dictionary of Accepted Ideas: Michael McDonald’s Butchery of Peter Handke.” The American Scholar, Summer 2007. 

“A Reasonable Dictionary” (travel narrative). Salt Flats Annual, (Fall 2005), 98-149. 

“Poets, Paranoids, Police, Reformers in the Rain: Letter from Belgrade.” Salt Lake Observer, December 4, 1998 (1 and 21). 

Peter and I skirt the flooded Sava River at the beginning of a most memorable “Afternoon on the Sava” … link to the essay above

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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2 Responses to Peter Handke: 79th Birthday Today

  1. John Waldron says:

    Hello Scott! Sorry to bother you with such a silly question, but would you happen to know of any place I might still be able to purchase that beautiful copy of Handke’s “To Duration” published by The Last Books? I’d just really love to own it but can’t seem to find it. Regardless, thanks very much for your time!


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