Voyage to the Sonorous Land, or The Art of Asking and The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other

Peter Handke; Translated by Gitta Honegger

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Two plays from the 2019 Nobel laureate for literature explore the life-affirming qualities of language

In these two plays, here translated into English for the first time, the renowned Austrian writer Peter Handke inquires into the boundaries and life-affirming qualities of language. At a time when language no longer seems to serve the purposes of a genuine human community, Handke asks, is such a community possible?

In Voyage to the Sonorous Land, or The Art of Asking, a cockeyed optimist and a spoilsport lead a group of characters to the hinterland of their imaginations, where they search not for the right answers but for the right questions. The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other takes place in a city square where more than 400 characters pass by one another without speaking a single word. Handke here journeys to the brink of speech: Who is that person passing by? Is she on her way, or is she coming back? Is her story ahead of her, or is it behind? In the silence of the square, Handke returns the gift of speech, the magic of telling a story, to the spectator.

Peter Handke is the recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature. His widely acclaimed plays have been translated into every major language and performed around the world. Handke is also the author of screenplays (Wings of Desire) and prose works (including the novel, The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, and the memoir, A Sorrow Beyond Dreams). Gitta Honegger is chair of the Department of Drama and producing artistic director of the Hartke Theater at the Catholic University of America.

"Peter Handke's adventures in theater space and time, in the mysteries of scale (the kinship of the minuscule and the immense) continue to excite—thanks here to Gitta Honegger's delicate translations."—Stanley Kauffmann

"These two plays are indeed original, important, and increasingly fascinating the more one thinks about them. And the translations are as good as they come—lively and immediate."—Sophie Wilkins
ISBN: 9780300062748
Publication Date: August 28, 1996
144 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Thomas Bernhard

The Making of an Austrian

Gitta Honegger

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