About Vienna - Your City Travel Guide
About Vienna - Your City Travel Guide
About Vienna - Your City Travel Guide


Austrian literature: Peter Handke, Copyright: Christian Brandstätter Verlag, Wien

Peter Handke (1942 – )

Peter Handke is journalist, translater and highly successful writer of plays and prose. Many of his works have been translated into various languages.

His style is largely influenced by the aesthetics and theory of postmodernism. Especially in his early works Peter Handke loves to experience with language. Language is central to his literature rather than merely a means to further the plot. His early novel 'Die Angst des Tormanns vorm Elfmeter' (The Goalie's Anxiety at Penalty) explores the limitations and disintegration of language and reason.

In line with postmodern tradition Handke blurrs the limitations of literature and genre, freely mixing styles and disappointing conventional expectations of his readers and audience. Famous example is his early play 'Publikumsbeschimpfungen' (Scoldings of the audience), a play that scandalized Viennese theatre scene.

Handke's oevre is large and often characterized by long sentences and a distinct sense of utopia behind all the disintegration and criticism.
Handke also worked as translator and for radio and television. Wim Wenders turned one of Handke's screenplays into a legendary film: 'Himmel über Berlin' which was adapted for the American market as 'City of Angels' starring Meg Ryan and Nicolas cage. By the way, the plot of 'Himmel über Berlin' is based on Goethe's 'Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre' (Wilhelm Meister’s apprenticeship).