Thomas Bernhard’s childhood years, the beginning at the end, a martyrdom commences. The shame of being born out of wedlock and the mother’s accusation: You have ruined my life! These were years of fear and war. It was a time far removed from joy, although not entirely without its moments of elation.
Thomas Bernhard was born on the 9th of February, 1931 in Heerlen, Netherlands, and dies on 12th of February 1989 in Gmunden, Upper Austria.1952-1957 he studied Music and Acting at the Akademie Mozarteum Salzburg, since 1957 he lived as a freelance author. He has received some of the most prestigious literature prizes and awards, among them the Österreichischer Staatspreis 1967 and the Georg-Büchner-Preis 1970, and is considered as one of the most important german language authors of his century.
In Salzburg ist Thomas Bernhard aufgewachsen, hier hat er die prägenden Jahre seines Lebens verbracht, hier sind seine ersten Theaterstücke aufgeführt worden und seine ersten Bücher erschienen. „Eine perfide Fassade, hinter der alles Künstlerische absterben muss“, hat er Salzburg genannt, aber auch immer wieder beschrieben, dass es nichts Schöneres gebe als den Blick vom Mönchsberg hinunter auf die Festspielstadt. Ausgewählte Zitate belegen diese lebenslange Hassliebe, der kongeniale Zeichner Nicolas Mahler illustriert sie mit präzisen, liebevollen Bildern und der Experte Manfred Mittermayer begleitet sie mit einem kenntnisreichen Nachwort. Ein unverzichtbares Geschenk für Salzburg-Fans und Bernhardianer, die schon alles haben!
“The Breath” forms the core of Bernhard's autobiography. It is where deepest despair and creative force are blended into the potent mix that makes his writing so unique, fascinating and boundary-breaking to this day. Bernhard was in his late teens when severe pleurisy abruptly wrenched him from his apprenticeship. He was hospitalised and considered terminally ill. But the 'room for lost causes' into which he is shunted turns out to be a place of new beginnings. Thomas Bernhard decides to live – and following the death of his grandfather resolves to become a writer himself. Lukas Kummer has found a rich and powerful imagery for this journey from near death to redemptive self-creation.
In memory of his idol Thomas Bernhard, the internationally renowned artist Erwin Wurm has created a unique special edition. In dedication to the author, Wurm has produced a series of new drawings – affectionate, wry and very personal. "The Cause" and its consequences: in five stories between fact and fiction Thomas Bernhard laid bare how he became the author he was – from his childhood and boarding school days in Salzburg, his apprenticeship and studies, through to his isolation in a lung sanatorium at the age of eighteen. Those who want to understand Thomas Bernhard's world will find the key to it here.
His admission into the lung sanatorium Grafenhof heralded the start of a new chapter in the young Thomas Bernhard’s tale of suffering. In the isolation of the sanatorium he was at the mercy of the doctors, the nursing staff, his fellow patients and above all, himself and his will. In this hopelessness he practised revolt.
Severe pulmonary disease tore Thomas Bernhard away from his daily life before he was even eighteen. His body forced him into the isolation of hospital wards, into the company of the barely alive. His final stop was the bathroom from which only the dead returned. There he suddenly knew that he mustn’t stop breathing, that he wanted to live.
One morning, the pupil decides to withdraw from his life. In the cellar, on the fringes of the detested town, in the ghetto of the have-nots and criminals, Thomas Bernhard finds himself an apprenticeship in a grocery store. There he gets to know those who have been cast aside by society, and he gets to understand himself.
The causes were catastrophic: the boarding school was a prison, the town a terminal disease. There was war and there was his grandfather, who only talked to him about the masters, Mozart, Rembrandt and Beethoven. The causes were destructive, and they left indelible traces in Thomas Bernhard’s life and work.
Die Ursache / Der Keller / Der Atem / Die Kälte / Ein Kind
Thomas Bernhard's memoirs of his youth - consisting of five volumes "Die Ursache" (1975), "Der Keller" (1976)," Der Atem" (1978), "Die Kälte" (1981), "Ein Kind" (1982) - contain central motifs of his novels, as well as the origins of the hurts he endured. His childhood, his schooldays as a boarder in Salzburg, his apprenticeship and student days, and his isolation at the age of eighteen in a sanatorium. Anyone wishing to understand Bernhard's world will find the key here.
The sister comes in, grabs the washing, and throws it onto a chair beside the bath. Then she lifts my hand. All night she calls at various rooms, lifting people’s hands and feeling their pulses. She starts stripping the bed, the bed in which someone has just died. She throws the covers on the floor and then lifts my hand again, as though waiting for me to die. Then she bends down, gathers up other covers, and goes out with them. Now I want to live. (From: In the Cold)
The autobiography is Thomas Bernhard's richest and most mature work. It is one of the great literary documents of our '70s. (Marcel Reich-Ranicki, FAZ)