Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Language Barrier: thoughts on "The Goalie's Anxiety..."

I had a conversation with one of my clients on Wednesday (after the beginning discussion of Handke and "Goalie." I had previously told her about The Sorrows of Young Werther, however, in this conversation I found myself taking an enormous amount of time to say absolutely nothing. I could NOT find a way to convey to her the feeling and tone of Handke's writing that told the story. I tried to tell her of the depersonalization of the reader herself (me) in reading the depersonalization of Bloch himself. I tried to convey the structure of the sentences. I tried to explain how Handke narrates the mundanity of each action, observation or thought in a way that leaves you feeling empty and upended inside. I attempted to describe the slow emergence of Bloch's awareness with the present leading up to the conclusion...

She is very well-read, my client, and so she continued to give me back words and phrases in the effort to grasp what I was trying to tell her. All of them MISSED! MISSED! The longer this went on, the more I became aware of just how brilliant this work of Handke's is; how skillfully he writes about language so that we cannot describe it but only experience what it is for ourselves.

And that was the conclusion we both reached. I wrote the title for her on a sticky note at the end of our appointment.


Scott Abbott said...

can't wait for today's discussion. hope we can make good sense of the book together.


handke uses two means in GOALIE, grammatical sleight of hand + phenomenological description to evoke states of mind. i have occasionally wondered if it might be possible to write that book entirely within such grammatical manner as its opening that takes possession of the reader in that manner, and that manner then is that of a grammar determined by what are called "object relations" in psychoanalysis... Wender's film finds no equivalents, if they even exist, a grammar of images.