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Thomas Bernhard's relationship
to Vienna and Austria was ambivalent. At the same time celebrated
and abused by critics and audience Bernhard managed to throw
light on the abysses of the Austrian soul, if such a thing exists.
His texts often contain harsh descriptions of life in post war
Austria, especially in conservative rural areas.
In 1989 his play 'Heldenplatz' (square of heroes, the
name of the square in front of Vienna's Hofburg)
he focussed on the antisemitic atmosphere of contemporary Vienna.
A Jewish family verbally abuses themselves and a good number
of Austrian values. The ensuing scandall was legendary and Bernhard
was the target of self-proclaimed defenders of Austria's honor.
Critics and audience failed to see the underlying irony and
the (black) humour of figur constellation and language.