Reflections on The Weight of the World

The beauty of the world today is unbearable for one person alone, even for two; possibly three might endure it

One after another flow Peter Handke’s formulations in The Weight of the World, described as a combination of professional notebook and personal diary. Suggestive of Kafka’s diaries, but also of the Twitter timeline or Tumblr blog of a disturbed genius (surely complementary terms).

The danger of being alone, of all this thinking, pondering, “soul-searching,” etc., is that one loses one’s capacity for opening up to others

But how trustworthy is the description on the jacket cover of this edition? We are wired to look for narrative, to detect a sequence behind Handke’s attentive noticing. Can we accept these fragments as merely ‘details of Peter Handke’s daily life in Paris from November 1975 through March 1977’? Why this particular period? Inevitably the book raises unanswered questions.

In talking with this woman, I must take care not to think, after every sentence, that I’ve told her off again! ( I must take care that our conversation doesn’t become a duel)

These fragments insinuate themselves into sleep and waking thought. Handke observes moments of infinitely small detail, reflections on individuality and authenticity. How do we live with others? How do we live with ourselves?

3 thoughts on “Reflections on The Weight of the World

  1. >In its own way it is very beautiful, Stefanie, though that is not the first word that would come to mind as a description. The more you read, the more you get a sense that this period of Handke's life was one of immense pain and uncertainty. It is so clever.

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