Author Archives: Scott Abbott

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

The Idiot (from Peter Handke’s Die Obstdiebin / The Fruit Thief)

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Another couple of steps farther, at the threshold of the square fronting the train station, part of the goings-on, the Idiot of the No-Man’s-Bay. (There have been various others, and there might well have been even more.) For some time … Continue reading

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tiny shadow hairs: from Alex Caldiero’s Italian Notebooks

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We all know what a poem should look like. It should look like this beauty from Alex Caldiero’s book Some Love: A proper poem, Welsh/American poet Leslie Norris writes, must be groomed:   The poem stands on its firm legs. Its … Continue reading

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The Idiot: A History of the Story

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In his Nobel Prize lecture Peter Handke spoke about stories from his childhood that formed him and that still accompany him as a writer. One of them appeared in his Der kurze Brief zum langen Abschied, 1972: Er fing zu … Continue reading

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Not “Schadenfreude” but “diebische Freude” — solidarity among thieves in Peter Handke’s Die Obstdiebin — The Fruit Thief

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The break between semesters opens up free time for walks and reading and the contemplation that can attend both. I find myself turning to Peter Handke’s novel Die Obstdiebin, published in 2017 but only now drawing my sustained attention, turning to … Continue reading

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Images on the Solstice: From Peter Handke’s Novel “The Fruit Thief” (Die Obstdiebin)

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Images arise deep within himself, the narrator writes, and describes them with a single sentence I’ll translate here as solstice work, on a day following a week of darkness and anxiety, on a day the sun stands still (sol-stice) and … Continue reading

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Handke’s Characters: Never Black, Never White — New York Times

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The essay today in the New York Times about Peter Handke and his work and the Nobel Prize and the controversy surrounding it is more thorough and thoughtful than most recent responses. The headline is atrocious, and it’s too bad that … Continue reading

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Attempt to Exorcize One Story By Means of Another

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Driving home last night with my son Tom after having seen Trent Harris’ disturbing film about Pol Pot’s devastation of Cambodia and a young man caught up in the genocide as a child, a man working in the aftermath to … Continue reading

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Peter Handke’s Nobel Prize Speech

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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 … Continue reading

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it can fool me but once

My mother, Janice Hilton Abbott, died on December 3, just four weeks before her 91st birthday. I’ve been looking at photos, reading things she wrote, remembering. Sunday morning, just four days ago, I sat next to the bed where she … Continue reading

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The Perils of Self-Righteousness

On Thanksgiving Day, a man whose anger is approaching rabidity posted a piece that claims that Peter Handke is a genocide denier or worse because he stayed for a night in a hotel outside of Višegrad used during the war for rapes. … Continue reading

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