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Karl Ignaz Hennetmair - A Year with Thomas Bernhard

Das versiegelte Tagebuch 1972

Published for the first time unabridged, including original documents, this is the record Karl Ignaz Hennetmair made of his daily conversations and encounters with Thomas Bernhard. ------------------------------------------------------- “Thomas is not earnest or bitter; when he whinges about publishers it’s cheerful and witty. I say, ‘publishers like to have their authors on a string, like puppeteers with their puppets. Every publisher has a handful of strings, and as soon as they tug on one, an author appears. But when they pull your string it jams and nothing moves. They just don’t get it.’ Thomas says he will travel to the prize-giving via Frankfurt. There he intends to walk through his publisher’s offices saying, ‘have a good look; this is what a writer looks like [in dialect]. You know, I talk mostly in dialect there,’ he says. ‘I’m pretty brutal. When the secretary asks me to wait, I say something unintelligible. And then the door is opened, some young writer is shunted aside, and I can get straight to Unseld.’”

In 1972 the estate agent Karl Ignaz Hennetmair, a friend and neighbour of Thomas Bernhard, decided to keep a diary of the events and conversations involving Bernhard that year, creating a document of incalculable value to Thomas Bernhard fans. His enemies would have found much to enjoy too, as the manuscript sometimes shows the master in a dark light – but where are the Bernhard detractors today? Thomas Bernhard had understandable difficulties with the outside world; initially it took no notice of him, but as his reputation grew it began to beleaguer him, coming too close for comfort. Sometimes it tended to present him – a man interested solely in his literature –simply as stupid. To counteract all that, he had Hennetmair, who found him his property, his houses and woods, negotiating the deals at favourable prices, but also mediated between the writer and the outside world on an everyday level. Hennetmair dealt with everything from broken window frames to mental garbage, acting as dumping ground and recycling facility. He always kept unwanted visitors away from Bernhard, but equally received him into his own family circle. There they chatted, joked and put the world to rights. Later Hennetmair retreated to his study to write it all down in his diary, which we can now satisfy our curiosity by reading.

Book details

592 pages
format:160 x 220
ISBN: 9783701716401
Release date: 05.06.2014

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Karl Ignaz Hennetmair

was born 1920 in Linz and died 2018 in Ohlsdorf. He worked as a travelling salesman, piglet wholesaler and estate agent.



"In these years of shallow entertainment, this proves to be an immense book - one, moreover, written by an outsider with a command of language. No one may dare to comment on Thomas Bernhard any longer without having read this book."
Rolf Michaelis, Die Zeit

"Hennetmair is a reality broker who has dealt us the (largest possible) reality on Bernhard. All further devotions to Bernhard have hereby been rendered superfluous."
Hans Christian Kosler, Neue Zürcher Zeitung