Showing posts with label UNSELD Siegfried. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UNSELD Siegfried. Show all posts

Mar 5, 2017

Thomas Bernhard and Siegfried Unseld:
The Correspondence
Translated by Douglas Robertson

Bernhard-Unseld Correspondence--Complete
1961
Letter No. 1
Vienna
Obkirchergasse 3
October 22, 1961
Dear Dr. Unseld,
A few days ago I sent your firm a prose manuscript.1 I wished by means of this manuscript to establish a relationship with Suhrkamp.  I own several books published by your firm, and they are among the best that have appeared in modern times.  This is another thing that has prompted me to turn my back on certain other relationships that I have already secured.2 Perhaps a conversation with you could be arranged.  At the end of November I shall be passing through Frankfurt.  Although I do not know you personally, I do know a handful of people you know.  But I am venturing to go this alone.3
Yours very respectfully,
Thomas Bernhard
Editors' notes:
On September 17, 1961, writing from the same Vienna address, the residence of Hedwig Stavianicek, Bernhard sent to Suhrkamp a manuscript together with a letter reading as follows: “Dear sirs, I am being so bold as to send you my manuscript ‘The Forest in the Street’ and to request that if possible you arrive at a decision about it by the end of November.  I further request that you briefly acknowledge your receipt of the manuscript. […] P.S. You are the first publisher to whom I am sending this MS.”  The manuscript in question is a revision of the novel Schwarzach St. Veit, which was extensively reworked over the course of 1961, and which Bernhard began writing in 1957.  It has never been published.  In January 1989, a month before his death, a section of the work, entitled In der Höhe.  Rettungsversuch.  Unsinn [On High.  A Rescue Attempt.  An Absurdity] appeared under the imprint of the Salzburg publisher Residenz (see. Letter No. 522; for the typescript and publication history see Bernhard, Werke 11, pp. 336-346).
Between 1957 and 1959 four books by Thomas Bernhard were published: three volumes of poetry, Auf der Erde und in der Hölle [On Earth and in Hell] (1957), In hora mortis (1958), and Unter dem Eisen des Mondes [Under the Iron of the Moon] (the first two by Otto Müller in Salzburg, the third by Kiepenheuer & Witsch in Cologne), and die rosen der einöde, fünf sätze für ballett, stimmen und orchester [the roses of the wasteland, five pieces for dancers, singers, and orchestra] by Samuel Fischer in Frankfurt am Main. (die rosen der einöde was reprinted in Bernhard, Werke 15, pp. 7-52.)  Bernhard’s hopes for further publication through Fischer were conclusively dashed in May 1961, when the firm’s then director, Rudolf Hirsch, mailed him back all the manuscripts he had submitted to it.
The letter bears a note in Siegfried Unseld’s handwriting: “Give MS to Mr. Michel.”  On January 24, 1962, Karl Markus Michel wrote to Bernhard at the address he had provided: “[…] unfortunately we cannot […] quite warm to your novel […].  The subject matter, as embodied in the characters, setting, and plot, is rather feeble to begin with, and it subsequently becomes so bogged down in atmospherics, pontifications, and other impedimenta that a palpable gulf between its matter-of-fact foundation and its ambitious literary superstructure arises.  […]  Widely varying stylistic possibilities are tried out in the absence of any deep necessity or indeed even superficial motivation for such experimentation, and the novel as a whole consequently acquires a highly diffuse character.”

October 22, 1961: The first letter from Thomas Bernhard to Siegfried Unseld
1964
Letter No. 2
[Address: Vienna1]
Frankfurt am Main
October 7, 1964
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Dr. Botond has briefed me on her conversation with you. I hope very much that after this conversation you were reassured on that one specific point and that you are lending no credence to any of the rumors that are circulating but rather placing a modicum of  trust in what we intend to undertake in a new and, I hope, intensive fashion at our firm. It is most important to me to set out on this new path in concert with you. 2
Dr. Botond also informed me that you would be sojourning for a substantial interval in Yugoslavia.3  I propose that we should meet as soon as you return; I presume that this will be possible in November or December.
I wish you a pleasant sojourn and have high hopes for our conversation.
Yours,
Siegfried Unseld
1. Unless otherwise noted, Unseld’s letters to Bernhard from before 1969 were written on Insel Editions stationery.  In handling letters that survive only as carbon copies (which are indicated by the placement of Unseld’s signature within square brackets [as, for example, in the yet-to-be-translated Letter No. 25 of this edition (DR)]), the editors have inferred the provenance of the stationery from the strict separation of the business affairs of Insel from those of Suhrkamp.  [The translator hopes that the liberties he has taken with the wording of this footnote have enabled him both to capture the hyper-pedantic tone of its original and to spare the reader some of the trauma occasioned by the pedantry itself.  (DR).]
2. Effective January 1, 1963, Unseld, Balthasar Reinhart, and Peter Reinhart (the three owners of Suhrkamp Editions), together with Rudolph Hirsch, acquired Insel editions from Jutta von Hesler, the daughter of the firm’s founder, Anton Kippenberg.  Hirsch and Unseld became joint chief executives of the firm.  This change of ownership was of interest to Bernhard because his fifth book and first novel, Frost, had been published by Insel, and his Amras was scheduled to be published by the firm in the autumn of 1964.  Upon Hirsch’s 1964 withdrawal from Insel both as an editor and as a part-owner, his reader, Anneliese Botond, wrote to Bernhard on August 13 of that year from her home address in Frankfurt: “On the one hand I am sworn to secrecy; on the other hand, I wouldn’t want you to hear about this from anybody else, and in any case it is important for you to know what is going on at the offices of your publisher.  The news is this: Hirsch is leaving the firm.  It is impossible for me to explain to you here how this came about; the story is labyrinthine and complicated and basically quite simple.  Plenty of people saw the breach between Unseld and Hirsch coming: now it has happened.  I don’t wish to tell you about the suppositions, hypotheses, and speculations that came in the immediate wake of this event either.  At the moment one thing is certain: Hirsch will remain at his post through the end of the year, and the firm will survive—i.e., it won’t be swallowed up by Suhrkamp, as we feared at the very beginning. […]  My advice is this: don’t try to do anything, and don’t get worried.  Amras will be coming out in September […] as if nothing had happened.  What matters most is that we’ll be able to talk things over in peace at the book fair—in five weeks.”  Amras was delivered to the bookstores on September 24, 1964.  In connection with its publication, Bernhard was in Frankfurt during the city’s book fair (September 17-22).
3. Thomas Bernhard stayed in Lovran with Hedwig Stavianicek from October 12 to 28, 1964.
Letter No. 3
Lovran, Yugoslavia
[Villa] Belvedere
October 16, 1964
Dear Mr. Unseld,
I don’t believe any rumors and I’m not signing anything and at the moment I personally don’t see any reason for spontaneously jilting Insel Editions.1
It’s only the Frankfurt climate that has prevented a discussion between you and
me from taking place.
It turns out I shan’t be coming to Frankfurt for some time yet.
Sincere thanks for your lines from
Your loyal
Thomas Bernhard
1In the same vein Bernhard wrote on November 24, 1964 to Rudolph Hirsch: “It has been some time since I last worked on the novel [Verstörung (Gargoyles)], which is progressing very slowly.  How long this work on the book will take I cannot say, nor could I care less.  Until this book is ready or in such a state that I believe it has to be finished, I shan’t be trying to do anything publisher-wise.  I’m letting everything stay as it is.  […] It’s too bad you’re now so far away from me again when I was so happy being under the same roof as you.  But my luck with everyone always takes this sort of nasty turn.  It’s fortunate that Ms. Botond will be staying with the house.  There would of course be absolutely no point, apart from that of making me unnecessarily more pointlessly tense, in my jumping ship from Insel; in any case, it would be a jump into ice-cold water.”  He was at least initially planning such a change, for on September 29, 1964, Janko von Musulin, the chief executive of Fischer Editions sent him the rough draft of a contract (in which “everything is accurately set forth as promised to you”), which provided for the publication of a novel in 1965 as well as of all further prose works written within two years of the finalization of the contract.  Bernhard did not endorse the draft.
Letter No. 4
[Address: St. Veit im Pongau1]
Frankfurt am Main
December 11, 1964
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I have just heard that you are receiving the Bremen Literary Prize.  For this I would like to give you my warm congratulations—you deserve this prize along with the public recognition associated with it.2   Our firm will endeavor to take adequate advantage of this.
From Mrs. Botond I have learned that you are back from Yugoslavia.  What kind of travel plans do you have?  It seems to me a good idea for us to make things clear to each other in a peaceful setting sometime.  It is most important to me to have your works in the catalogue of Insel Editions, and I am even ready and willing to give proof of our interest by issuing you a lump payment deductible from the forthcoming royalties from the new book, or even a monthly stipend.  Ideally we will come to an understanding about this viva voce, but I wanted to communicate to you my readiness for such an agreement right away.
I assume you will be traveling to Bremen for the award ceremony.  I myself already have an un-postponable appointment in Paris scheduled for January 28 and 29.  But if your trip to Bremen is to take place during that interval we could meet and talk before or after it.
Once again: warm congratulations!
Yours,
Siegfried Unseld
In the fifties and sixties, Bernhard and Hedwig Stavianicek often stayed at the Donauerhof, a boardinghouse in St. Veit im Pongau—the town in the Salzburg district where Bernhard resided for several months between 1949 and 1951 (from July 27, 1949 to February 26, 1950, as well as from July 13, 1950 to January 11, 1951) as a patient at the Grafenhof Lung Institute.
The 10,000-deutschmark Rudolf-Alexander-Schröder-Foundation Prize / Literary Prize of the Free and Hanseatic City of Bremen  (first awarded in 1954) for the year 1965 was awarded to Bernhard for Frost.
In a handwritten note Anneliese Botond, writing on the same day to the same St. Veit address, reported to Bernhard: “Dear Mr. Bernhard, Unseld had come to the office especially to talk to us about you […] after barely five minutes the news about the prize came!  Could it have come at a better time?  […]  One might almost think that Unseld made you an offer on account of the prize.  But it’s really got nothing to do with it.  It’s a pure coincidence.” 

Annaliese Botond at her desk
and on the bank of the Seine in Paris in 1954
1965
Letter No.  5
Vienna
1.15.65
Dear Mr. Unseld,
I am looking forward to meeting you on my way back from Bremen and I am wishing myself a detailed discussion and an undisturbed conversation about my future at your firm, which I have no notion of leaving.1
Dr. Botond has surely already told you that I have taken up residence in and from the beginning of February will actually be living in the belly of an Upper-Austrian colossus from which I have no desire to emerge ever again, but which has still not been paid for.2  For all that, I am in the best of all possible moods and so I am setting off on my trip, from which I would like to return in an even better mood.
I shall be in Frankfurt from the night of the 28th and therefore available from the morning of the 29th.3
Yours very respectfully and sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
1. The awarding of the Bremen Literary Prize took place on Thursday, January 26, 1965.  The presenter of the award, Gerd Kadelbach, comments: “The painter Strauch’s extreme sensitivity, which crowds out every other emotion in his life, and his mastery of this sensitivity through thought screaming into the void, constitute the great theme of his novel Frost […] The authorial ‘I’ has released from itself a Strauchian ‘I’ and, along with the ‘I’ of the medical student, is the observer of itself, and has become both researcher and the object of its own researches.”  (Gerd Kadelbach: “Thought Screaming into the Void” inThe Bremen Literary Prize, pp. 121f.).  Bernhard expressed his thanks for the prize in a short speech: “We are terrified, terrified, namely, in constituting such an enormous mass of raw materials for the new humankind—and for the new knowledge of nature and for the renewal of nature; for the past half-century we have collectively been nothing but a single, unique pain; this pain today is us; this pain is our spiritual condition.”  (First published under the title “Mit der Klarheit nimmt die Kälte zu” [“The Cold Increases with the Clarity,” in Jahresring 65/66, pp. 243-245); for an account of the circumstances in which the prize was awarded, see Bernhard’s My Prizes [specifically pp. 29-46 in Carol Brown Janeway’s translation; the translation of the preceding quotation from Bernhard’s speech is my own and diverges not unmarkedly from the corresponding passage on pp. 118f. of the Janeway version].  An appraisal of the awardee in the Weser-Kurier (Wilhelm Hermann, editor) for January 26, 1965 bears the headline Ein einziger Gesang in Moll [“A Single Song in the Minor Mode”].
Regarding the discussion with Unseld, Anneliese Botond advised in a letter from the beginning of January 1965: “I believe that a conversation would now be a good idea.  The moment is auspicious, your position is auspicious, and what is more, Unseld’s attitude to everything pertaining to Insel has been more relaxed and more favorable since his taking over the directorship of the firm.  I have agreed to be in Bremen on the 26th and am a bit frightened.”
2. On January 6, 1965, through the mediation of the estate agent Karl Ignaz Hennetmair, Bernhard purchased from Ruolf Asamer a farmhouse-cum-courtyard in the Upper-Austrian hamlet of Obernathal, in the township of Ohlsdorf, for 200,000 Austrian schillings (ca. 30,000 deutschmarks).  At the time of the purchase the house was a ruin, and Bernhard spent a great deal of time and money on its restoration.
3. In this sentence, “27th” and “28th” have been crossed out and replaced with “28th” and “29th” by a third party.  In addition the sentence is underlined in red
pencil and flagged “App[ointment].”  In the lower left margin of the letter the third party has also written and crossed through in pencil this remark: “Is this appointment planned for Paris? (as per letter to Mr. Breitbach)”.  In a December 8, 1964 letter to Joseph Breitbach, Unseld promised to come to Paris on the 28th and stay till the 29th.  Breitbach had arranged a meeting between Max Frisch and the publisher Antoine Gallimard on this date.  Unseld canceled his trip to Paris because of an illness.  The letter bears a further remark by Unseld: “Att[ention]: Botond.”
Bernhard and Unseld first met in person on January 28, 1965 at Unseld’s personal residence at 35 Klettenbergstraße in Frankfurt.  Bernhard later recorded his impressions of their interview.  “The beginning of my association with Unseld had been a demand, I would almost say an act of extortion, on my part.  Two years after the publication of Frost and two years before the appearance of Gargoyles, in January 1965, I demanded 40,000 (forty thousand) marks within twenty minutes, because I was in a hurry.  At the time, as I learned from his wife nineteen years later, Unseld had a fever of 40 degrees centigrade.  So it now occurs to me that I was asking the publisher for a thousand marks for every degree of his body temperature or every half-minute of his time.  After this deal, which gratified me immeasurably and was vital to the salvaging of my Upper-Austrian madhouse, I went to Giessen to give a talk, and the whole time I was thinking that doing business was at least as fine a thing as writing and that much to my misfortune I was really quite a shrewd businessman.”  (Thomas Bernhard, Unseld, p. 237f.)  Forty years later Anneliese Botond recalled the conversation thus: “The master of the house was ill; he had a fever; he made his appearance in a dressing gown.  The conversation might have lasted a good half-hour and was subject to a time limit (Bernhard and I had a train to catch).  For the best part of the available time the two gentlemen talked about this and that—travels, people, places.  The reason for the visit was broached only in the last minute of the interview, and the decision was made quickly: Bernhard wanted DM 40,000 in order to buy his farmhouse-cum-courtyard in Austria, and Unseld promised him the money. […] I shall never forget Bernhard’s frenzied joy, which he gave vent to only once we were on the train.”
Letter No. 6
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
March 19, 1965
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
It is high time the substance of our recent conversation, which took place under inauspicious circumstances, was formalized in writing.
We discussed the continued presence of your previous and future works at Insel Publications.  I shall reiterate here that I attach the greatest value to this presence.  In the modern literature section of the firm’s catalogue, which I intend to expand, you are the most important pillar.
I expressed my readiness to give you a large advance on your new prose works and to remit to you a sum of DM 15,000 deductible in regular installments from the royalties of your new novel.1 
You requested a loan in the amount of DM 25,000 for the purchase of a house.  We also intend to grant you this loan, specifically under the following terms:
The loan is interest-free;
The dates of repayment are:
        For the first DM 10,000—December 13, 1965,
        For the second 10,000—December 31, 1966,
        For……….       5,000—December 31, 1967.
The total sum in the amount of
        DM 40,000 (forty thousand deutschmarks)
will be remitted to you on March 31, 1965, at the post office in Freilassing, Bavaria.1a
I hope you find these stipulations to your liking, and I request that you indicate your assent to them by signing the attached copy of this letter, which will then have the status of a contractual agreement.2
Yours                       
with best wishes                 Agreed: signed, Thomas Bernhard
signed, Dr. Siegfried Unseld               Ohlsdorf, March 25, ’65
1. The novel Verstörung [Gargoyles] was published on March 15, 1967 by Insel (see also Letters Nos. 28, 29, and 31).
1a. Presumably because Freilassing was on the Austrian border, though in my ignorance of  pre-Euro Austrian and German finance law I cannot help wondering why the check or money order could not be delivered to a site even closer to Bernhard—e.g., an Austrian post office (or better still an Austrian bank where Bernhard had an account). (DR)
2. The letter bears the following typewritten copy notation: “1 Copy to / Accounting, 1 Copy to / sto, 1 Copy to / Str[itter].” (Stritter is evidently a person; perhaps, like Botond, a reader at Insel. Among other unguessed possibilities, "sto" may be somebody's initials or an abbreviation for "Steuerordnung," something to do with tax records.   I thank flowerville for help with this notation [DR])
Letter No. 7
Ohlsdorf
March 25, ’65
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I am very happy about our agreement and about the fact that I shall be staying with Insel Publications.  I am in excellent shape and I plan to finish the novel by the end of the year, and to finish the play for the Europa Studio in Salzburg at around the same time.1
I look forward to a warm and better-coordinated continuation of our discussion on a date that must sort itself out on its own.2
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
The signed copy of your letter of the 19th is enclosed.
Along with Verstörung, Bernhard was writing a play that at the time of this letter bore the title Die Jause [The Tea Party] and was later renamed Ein Fest für Boris [A Party for Boris].  Thanks to the advocacy of Josef Kaut, who had employed Thomas Bernhard as a “journalist” in the 1950s and was now a member of the board of directors of the Salzburg Festival, the play had been scheduled to be performed in 1966 at the Europa-Studio, a subsidiary of the Festival established in 1964 as a forum for modern dramatists.  Plans for this performance came to nothing; see also Thomas Bernhard: Werke [Vol.] 15, pp. 449-453.
The letter bears in its left margin a handwritten note from a third party “Express”—and another note in the lower-right corner—“Detached: Copies given to / Bo[tond].  Str[itter].”
Letter No. 8
        
Frankfurt am Main
May 26, 1965
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
During our conversation in Frankfurt we also briefly talked about how we should constantly be making an effort to find new readers for your works.  I see such a possibility in the publication of Amras at edition suhrkamp, which will impart an especially attractive appearance to your novella.  I would be very happy to add Amras to this series, and I assume this is something that would please you.  I shall presumably come to such an agreement with other Insel authors; this is the best form of cooperation between the two firms.
Suhrkamp Publications guarantees a print run of 10,000 copies.  The royalty fee, which is the same for all authors, is DM .20.  In conformity with our agreement it will be divided between you and Insel.
I hope you find this arrangement to your liking.
Yours
with best regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 9
Vienna
June 20, ’65
Dear Mr. Unseld,
My “Amras” will fit in well at Edition Suhrkamp, and I most joyfully give my consent.  It might also be worthwhile to issue a volume of short prose pieces (novellas, etc.), and another one bearing the title “Practice Plays for Drama Students”; it consists of theatrical scenes and plays that were written for the Mozarteum seminar.1
This year I am getting better and better at leading the life, the existence, of a writer, and for (and in) me this in itself has something enormously exciting about it at the moment.
After a sojourn in Slovakia a draft of fresh air is wafting through the manuscript of my novel.  I intend to be finished with the whole big “pain in the neck” by the end of the year.
Apart from a trip to Russia I am not going to undertake anything further this year.2
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Practice Plays for Drama Students [Übungsstücke für Schauspielschüler] is Bernhard’s title for a 1958 collection of short plays furnished by him to the Mozarteum School for Music and Dramatic Art, which he attended between 1955 and 1957.  The plays in the collection are entitled Springtime,Minds, Conversations of Various Birds, Rosa, Epilogue to Rosa, The Feminine Fabrication, or, The Window, Circus, and The Scaffolds.  The manuscript initially bore an inscription from Charles Péguy reading, “The bad days that fall like autumn rain…,” but this was subsequently crossed out and post-scripted by the comment “Sentence from Artaud.”  Practice Plays for Drama Students remains unpublished (see Note. 1 to Letter No. 432).  The Feminine Fabrication, Rosa, and an early version of Springtime received premieres on July 22, 1960, under the direction of Herbert Wochinz, at the barn at the Tonhof, the estate of the couple Maja and Gerhard Lampersberg in the Carinthian town of Maria Saal.  The plays were printed in Bernhard’s Works (Vol. 15, pp. 61-88 [see also the history of the plays’ geneses and performances on pp. 437-446]).  This sentence is underlined in red pencil.
Within its date-stamp the letter bears the following handwritten remark: “Dr. Bo[tond] seen,” [i.e., “Dr. Botond has seen this letter”? (DR)] as well as another handwritten remark by a third party: “Obernathal, Ohlsdorf OÖ [i.e., Oberösterreich: ‘Upper Austria’ (DR)].”       
Letter No. 10
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
June 28, 1965
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your letter of June 20.  I am delighted by our unanimity.  We shall endeavor to give a new echo to “Amras” at edition suhrkamp.  Naturally I am also interested in the other texts you have chosen.1  Perhaps a so-called suhrkamp text (a line of edition suhrkamp) could be made out of them.  These texts differ from the other volumes in edition suhrkamp in containing a detailed afterword, a biographical sketch, and a detailed bibliography.  They are volumes that have a pedagogical character and are meant to be used in schools.2  If you think your texts are suitable for this series, we will be happy to prepare such a volume.  Take your time; we are in no hurry.
Have you heard about our new plan for the insel collection?  I shall send you another prospectus.  We held a press conference that raised a bit of dust.3  If it interests you, we will be happy to send you a press kit.
Yours
with warmest regards,
Siegfried Unseld
In the publisher’s copy (but not the original) this sentence is underlined and marked with a red slash in the margin.
The first volume of the suhrkamp texts (Günter Eich: Ausgewählte Gedichte [Selected Poems]) appeared in 1960.  Beginning in May 1963, with the publication of the first 20 volumes of edition suhrkamp, they were continued as a subseries of that line of paperbacks.
At a June 14, 1965 press conference at Insel Publications’ headquarters at 38 Feldbergstraße in Frankfurt, Unseld introduced the first new series to appear under his directorship of the firm: the insel collection  [die sammlung insel].  The prospectus states the objectives of the series in the following sentences: “The ‘insel collection’ will bring out literary and scientific texts of the past selected because of their importance to us today […] The ‘insel collection’ seeks out the new in the old, seeks out the informative, the progressive, the propulsive, and zeroes in on what is current in history.”  The first six volumes were delivered to the bookstores on September 1, 1965; six further volumes appeared on October 15 of the same year.  With Volume I, Galileo Galilei’s Siderius Nuncius: Nachtricht von neuen Sternen [Tidings of New Stars], Insel seems to have wished to signal to the public that this series would have a similar mission to that of the successfully launched suhrkamp editions (whose first volume was Bertolt Brecht’s Life of Galileo).  The series was discontinued after Volume 46, in 1969.
Letter No. 11
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
August 23, 1965
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Now that we have got the current year’s production queue set in stone, we can gaze at more distant prospects in peace.  How are things looking on your end?  Are you making good headway with your work?  It would be nice if you could send me a line or two from which I could get an idea of the nature and scope of the work and of its presumptive date of completion.
Yours
with best wishes and regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 12
Rome
113 Viale Bruno Buozzi
September 9, 1965
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I have been staying for a while now in Rome, in the hope of finishing my novel here; the book will perhaps be thicker than Frost; it is provisionally entitled Repose.
At some point I shall also be sending you a short prose text bearing the title “Climatic Deterioration.”1
In two days I shall be traveling to my accustomed haunt, Lovran, Villa Eugenija, Yugoslavia, which I think will be a better spot in which to round off my work on these texts.2  Rome is noisy, has a horrible climate at this time of year, and is expensive.
I would like to know what translations are still in the works, apart from the one for Garzanti, which is magnificent; I don’t know anything.3  I’d like to enfranchise myself from the novel by the end of the year.  I am feeling more and more at home again in my old notion that the finest settled mode of existence must consist in not having a single possession to one’s name apart from an addled brain.  Consequently I am none too happy with my house, and so I am thinking of selling it.  It is the sort of possession everybody longs for, but I have come to find it quite a tiresome burden; thanks to it I have suddenly become an “Austrian citizen,” which is something I have no wish to be.
Here there are an astonishingly large number of German translations and the whole literary scene reminds me of a large covered food market; supply, demand, fresh and spoiled goods diffuse a smell that I find quite agreeable; in Germany this isn’t possible; I especially love French books, which aren’t clothbound; where we come from the intellect is clothbound, the lovely clothbound German intellect…
Alexander Blok’s Essays made last night’s mugginess bearable for me.4
In my mind’s eye I’m constantly reviewing a scene from Wednesday before last, when two automobiles that had just passed me in the approach to Chiuso on the waterlogged Strada del sole were swept from left to right into the abyss by the storm surge; five corpses; lousy indeed is the comedy in which one repeatedly is obliged to make it to the final curtain alive, and soaked to the skin to boot.
Now I’m bound to be mulling over the question of what a publisher is all evening long.
Your loyal
Thomas Bernhard
This sentence is marked with a red slash in the left margin.
Thomas Bernhard and Hedwig Stavianicek shared lodgings in Rome from August 30 to September, 11, 1965; from September 14 to 27 they were together in Lovran.
The first Italian translation of Frost, Gelo, a version by Magda Olivetti, was published by the firm of Einaudi in 1986.
Alexander Blok, Selected Essays, selected and translated from the Russian by Alexander Kaempfe, was published in 1964 as Volume 71 of edition suhrkamp.  This publication is in Bernhard’s library at Ohlsdorf.  Presumably the book was a gift to Bernhard from Unseld.  The epigraph of the printed edition of Ein Fest für Boris (published in 1970 as Volume 440 of edition suhrkamp), “Granted: most premieres are unbearable ordeals and a mockery of art,” is taken from p. 20 of Suhrkamp’s Blok selection; its context is a review of the first Russian performance of Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening.
Letter No. 13
[Address: Villa Eugenija, Lovran, Yugoslavia]
Frankfurt am Main
September 13, 1965
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
A publisher is a man who is used to being surprised anew every day by the reflections, imaginations, and desires of his authors!  I read your letter from Rome with sympathy.  I can well imagine how you must be feeling after that incident on the Strada del sole.  The old proverb, media in vita…more apt than ever.
I have to say I am a little distraught that you are of a mind to give up the house that you once represented to me as an ideal domicile for work.  A publisher’s principal duty (as you yourself once hinted to me) is after all to make sure that his author always enjoys the best possible working conditions; I thought you were well situated in your house in Salzburg.  In your place I would have felt as little put out by my Austrian citizenship as by any other kind of citizenship, considering what a thing of little value citizenship is nowadays.  But who sold you the house?  Don’t you feel like a real dupe now?  And don’t forget that we lent you DM 25,000 for the purchase of this house.1
I am delighted to hear that you will be able to finish the new novel by the end of the year.  That means that we will be able to publish the book in the second half of 1966, and that seems to me like a good deadline to aim for.  I am also looking forward to receiving “Climatic Deterioration.”  Always send me everything as soon as you have finished it.
Yours
with best regards and wishes,
Siegfried Unseld
In a letter of September 18, 1965, Bernhard informed Karl Ignaz Hennetmair of his “firm resolution to sell Nathal, my wish to dispossess myself of it,” and granted Hennetmair full power to act as his proxy.  His rationale: “My ties to the landscape, etc. remain strong, but I have come to realize that it is still too early for me to settle down; I have all of a sudden become horribly immovable; I am debarring myself from all sorts of possibilities, e.g., accepting fellowships to study abroad, in America, Italy, etc.”  By October 12, 1965 he was writing to Hennetmair that he was “by no means ‘in a mad rush’ to jettison the house and farm […] I have reached a point where I’m no longer harried by exclusively unpleasant thoughts of Nathal as I’m falling asleep and before I wake up.” (Thomas Bernhard-Karl Ignaz Hennetmair, pp. 24 and 42).
Letter No. 14
[Address: Villa Eugenija, Lovran/Yugoslavia1]
Frankfurt am Main
October 18, 1965
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
The Austrian Association for Literature has scheduled a twofold function for November 3 in Vienna: a reading by [Franz] Tumler from his new book Notes from Trieste and a conversation with me about Insel.  I would very much like you to be present at this function, which begins at 11:00 a.m., as well as at a dinner with some retail booksellers on the evening of the same day.  I would be glad to cover the cost of your travelling to Vienna and staying at a hotel there.  It would really mean a lot to me to have you on hand at this gathering.
Please write to me—or, even better—send me a telegram, letting me know if you can come.
Yours
with best wishes
Siegfried Unseld
(for Dr. Unseld, who had to leave for the book fair before the transcription of the dictation)1a
According to a typewritten comment on the carbon copy, a copy of the letter was sent to the Obkierchergasse in Vienna [i.e., presumably, to Stavianicek’s Vienna residence (DR)]
1a. Presumably Unseld’s absence precluded his conforming to some preferred       epistolary routine (e.g., dictating the letter in person rather than via tape and reviewing the transcription on the spot) (DR).   
Letter No. 15
[Telegram]
Vienna
October 25, 1965
looking forward to november 3 vienna  = bernhard
Letter No. 16
Frankfurt am Main
October 25, 1965
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your telegram.  I shall be coming to Vienna late in the afternoon on November 2.  Could we meet in the evening at the Hotel Royal, at 3 Singergasse? From there we could leave for a supper together somewhere.1
Yours
with warm wishes until our meeting
(for Dr. Unseld, who had to leave the office before the transcription of the dictation) 1a.
Unseld writes of his conversation with Thomas Bernhard in his Viennese Travel Journal:November 2-4, 1965 thus: “I had several successful meetings with him; these now gradually dispelled the shadow of our first meeting. [see Letter No. 5, n. 3].  He is going to submit the manuscript of his novel to Insel at the end of January.  By now he has written about 400 pages; a hundred more are yet to come; I assume the whole thing will have a length of 300 pages.  The current title, Repose, is hardly likely to stick.  His play The Tea Party is finished and in the hands of the directors of the Salzburg festival, by whom the play was commissioned.  Bernhard has ceded all performance rights to Suhrkamp Theatrical Publications; he has already informed Salzburg of this and asked them if they could come to an agreement with us in the light of his contractual obligation.  From what I know of the Salzburg people, I hardly think them likely to do this.  […] We ourselves will also be receiving the manuscript by the end of November.  At that point we plan to read it right away in order to come to a decision on the question of duplication and eventual publication.
On the function hosted by the Austrian Association for Literature Die Presse reported on November 4, 1965 under the headline “Book Launch for Tumler”:  “On Wednesday, under the auspices of a press reception and book launch, the Association for Literature succeeded in doing something it had been trying in vain to do for years: not only luring the Austrian writer Franz Tumler to Vienna, but also getting him to give a reading.  Before the reading, Siegfried Unseld, who as a publisher looks after not only Tumler’s output but also that of many other writers, including the outstanding young Austrian Thomas Bernhard, talked about the work of his publishing firms, Suhrkamp and Insel.”  The dinner with the two firms’ Austrian distributors and the Viennese bookstore owners was attended not only by Bernhard but also by Peter Handke, Zbigniew Herbert, and Franz Tumler.   
1a.   Cf. n.1a. to Letter No. 16 above (DR).
Letter No. 17
Frankfurt am Main
December 3, 1965
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I am highly delighted to have Amras in the edition suhrkamp series!  The book has just come out. 1
We printed a run of 7,500 copies.  Suhrkamp Publications will split the royalty fee with Insel Publications.  We are sending you five complimentary copies; the 15 additional copies are available to you on demand.
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld
On December 6, 1965, Amras, Volume 142 of the edition suhrkamp series, was delivered to the bookstores.
Letter No. 18
Ohlsdorf
12.14.65
Dear Dr. Unseld,
The new reissue of Amras in your edition makes the book look even clearer, more distinct, and more beautiful, and I wish all my books could be published in this format.  Not once has this reissue awakened my innate pleasure in taking things to task for their hyper-excessive aesthetic crudeness.  And so I must thank you for the idea of publishing the book in edition surkhamp with such celerity.  The delightful thing about stars is that although they all shine with varying luminosities, they are nonetheless all stars, and I look upon the volumes of your edition as I do the stars above my head.  And if I still have one wish left it is for one of my books to be published for the first time under the auspices of my beloved Bibliothek Suhrkamp.  This double (and indirect) compliment causes me no strain, because it is an entirely natural one to make; it is self-evident.  I am working intensively on bringing the novel to a finish.  It is possible that I shan’t even interrupt work on it for a yuletide sports break, for at the moment it seems to me that a renunciation of skiing, one of my oldest passions, would do me a world of good.  Official holidays I am always happy to skip over; I have always found them tedious.  Less and less often do I succumb to the temptation to flee, to interrupt, my work for the sake of a superior amusement, because in my own face I now see with appalling clarity the features of the born egoist; such that my work is already my sole recreation, my sole joy, my all-consuming vice.
The time when I shall stop inconveniencing you with financial diving stunts is approaching with great speed and certainty;1 subsequently our relationship will perhaps be able to forgo completely that quite marvelous tension that I am unsurprised to find suiting me so well.  It is only fitting to mix a bit of economy into poetry; of reality into fantasy; of ugliness, hideousness, horribleness into beauty.
Right after the novel I shall be bestowing some time on the play for a change.2
As I pretty much never get around to reading anything at all, let alone perusing any actual printed books, I have nothing to say about the items from the insel collection that were sent to me.3  May the people nearest to you and your (like it or not) unrelentingly trenchant temperament allow you to have a merry Christmas and make it back to Frankfurt without a single broken bone or sprained muscle.
My wishes and greetings are coming to you from a gloomy fox’s den; the slyness of the fox consists in his never leaving his den under any circumstances.
Yours,4
P.S. Please send me the 10 Amrases.
Anneliese Botond informed Bernhard by telegram that he would be receiving the requested DM 3,000 in December from Insel Publications.
In mid-November 1965 Bernhard sent Insel the manuscript of the play The Tea Party.  In a letter dated November 25,  1965, Anneliese Botond imparted some critical remarks on the play to Bernhard.  On November 25, 1965, Karlheinz Braun, director of Suhrkamp Theatrical Publications, composed a four-page letter to Bernhard: “First of all: the subject, characters, and large-scale structure of the play are interesting, are well-developed, are all sound. The play is convincing, is logical in its stylistic and dramaturgical technique  […] The grandeur of the subject and of its large-scale structure does not  quite match up with the reality depicted in the play.  Moreover, the play’s style gets in your way; it inhibits you; you need to introduce more reality into the play.  How must this sense of actuality be effected?  I believe you must be concrete and yet “high-flown,” in order to avoid using words symbolically, which tends to push you either too far in the direction of “realism” or too far in the direction of “symbolism.”   For example: the good woman asks for her newspaper.  The people are on strike.  The dialogue that follows “the printers are on strike” (p. 6), is pure awkwardness (everywhere is being stricken, everybody is striking), owing to your growing and precise awareness that you are not allowed to explain why, for what reason, you are not allowed to become more realistic.  So the passage ends in mindless chatter.  […]  I believe, dear Mr. Bernhard, that the play is worth your putting more work into it; it will not be all that much more work, but it will be worthwhile—for the play.  And I firmly believe we should put out the play, i.e., publish it at Suhrkamp Theatrical Publications and print it as part of our series in edition surhkamp.”
On November 30, Bernhard replied from Ohlsdorf thus: “Dear Mr. Braun, when I get the time I shall take a fresh look at The Tea Party and try to make it into a more acceptable play; having by then had done with prose, had my fill of prose, I shall preoccupy myself with drama; I shall work on the latter only once I have finally grown sick of the former.  Your thoughts on my Tea Party have been preoccupying my mind in a peculiar fashion.  Yesterday I asked for the play to be sent back from Salzburg because I had not heard from anybody there in six weeks; also because I need a copy of it if I am to revise it.  But right now I am too much infatuated with prose to be able to tackle The Tea Party on the spur of the moment, and I really don’t wish to do so either.  But in my world everything is always changing from one day to the next, and all of a sudden one night I may rewrite the play, I may overhaul it and change everything, as I am always happy to make sudden changes; I am familiar with this way of working from my prose-writing routine.  The more drafts the better.  But two more months might not be enough for the novel; I keep running into one new and decisive crux after another; why, I ask myself, am I making so much work for myself, if I’m always going to be exasperated with the results no matter what?  But the opposite state of affairs on all fronts would assuredly be much more lethal to me.  But if you wish to put out, bring out, print The Tea Party, I certainly see this as grounds for rejoicing, or at any rate for treating myself to a momentary thrill of delighted anticipation of that publication.  I thank you; yours sincerely, Thomas Bernhard.  On December 10, 1965, Bernhard received from Josef Kaut a formal written rejection of the play for performance as part of the Salzburg Festival on the grounds that “its subject-matter seems too lugubrious for a summer festival performance.”  (See The Correspondence between Thomas Bernhard and Josef Kaut, p. 232.)
3. Annaliese Botond sent Bernhard the first six volumes of the insel collection (Galileo Galilei: Sidereus Nuncius, Bertolt Brecht: Über Klassiker, Georg Büchner/Ludwig Weidig: Der Hessische Landbote, Denis Diderot: Nachtrag zu »Bougainvilles Reise«, Jonathan Swift: Satiren, and Der Berliner Antisemitismusstreit).
4. The letter is unsigned.
Letter No. 19
[Address: (Ohlsdorf); on Suhrkamp Publications stationery]
Frankfurt am Main
December 16, 1965
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
To be sure, one would have to be a fox to have a fox’s den, and be able to write such letters and novellas, and hopefully also a good novel; enough said…at Christmastime, when my mind turns to ski trips, I think of yours—and I assure you this is no mere pleasantry.
The ten copies of Amras are on their way to you.
All the best
Yours
Siegfried Unseld
1966
Letter No. 20
Ohlsdorf
1.22.66
Dear Dr. Unseld,
There are periods in life when you all of a sudden find yourself suspended in midair over a terrifying abyss, and you have an infinite number of spectators, who keep up an unrelenting roar of applause and look on as you shine and almost completely deafen you with their (perfidious) admiration, but not a single one of whom ever thinks to stretch out a resilient net on to which you might at the last minute safely allow yourself to fall so as not to end up as a comical, albeit lamentable, and hence ultimately laughable corpse among living human beings.
With the 3,000 that I requested of you, and that you remitted to me overnight, you have stretched out a net underneath me.1  For this new (because not the first) down-payment on a truly mighty trial of strength I thank you!  Now I am sure I won’t rush the work as it draws to its conclusion; and yet I will certainly have it finished on time, meaning in time for it to be included in the fall schedule, as it must be.  I have pushed all distractions into the now-insignificant background.
Apropos of things other than the novel (even at night I can’t seem to come up with a title for it): I have sent Ms. Botond two proposals regarding some short prose pieces.2 Lately I have received several bids for “publications” in various newspapers; if I reply to these people at all I shall direct them to apply to my publisher.  I really have no desire whatsoever to offer anything to the newspapers; I can’t see any good coming out of it; I obviously know what a pigsty looks like and what a pig among other stinking pigs amounts to.  I also have a horror of anthologies, and I have noticed that upon being included in one I was angered, and that upon being excluded from one I was pleased.  I really do think that the less I get involved in the literary lottery the better off I shall be.3
My plan is to surrender to my own pleasure and to my own selfishness, my perversity, as others do to a particularly grueling type of sport; I shall write, and you’ll receive everything as I finish it, and you can do whatever you like with it, provided you don’t put it to some blatantly repugnant use.  But I don’t think you will do that.  As I have no other interests than writing, I can’t imagine this not leading to something useful.  In connection with all this, I would like to say once again how important Ms. Anneliese Botond is to me.
I don’t think it would be a good idea to go all the way with the play—i.e., to have it performed this year even after a thorough revision, not even if it were to be made into a truly “masterly” piece of work beforehand.  I shall be writing something to this same effect to Mr. Braun, as all critical energies (auxiliary energies) really ought to be focused on the novel.  Because when several ships all suddenly sail out of the harbor at the same time—“incidentally, incidentally, incidentally,” etc.—none of them ever reaches its destination.
St. E(a)rnest (like St. Ludwig) is only to be found in comedies, if anywhere.
I am thinking of you now that I have abandoned my work and just got myself ready for a longish getaway; this is the most beautiful time of the year. 
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Regarding the payment, which had been remitted to Bernhard in 1965, Annaliese Botond wrote to Bernhard in a letter dated January 11, 1966: “Do write to Unseld if you haven’t already done so.  He hardly grumbled about the 3,000.  He was very generous, and you owe it to him to tell him so.”
Analiese Botond replied to Bernhard regarding this proposal on January 25, 1966: “So you want to have a volume of novellas in Edition Suhrkamp?  Nobody is appalled; everybody is content; Unseld, Busch, me.  The volume could appear in the fall, perhaps at the same time as the novel.  Can you send me the manuscript? […] And you also want to put out a book in the Insel-Bücherei?  When? and what is going to go into it?  The IB is not half as advantageous to you as Edition Suhrkamp.  We will consider what is best to do here when we know the complete contents of your pantry.”
Nevertheless, in 1966 several texts by Bernhard appeared in anthologies and journals: “Politische Morgenandacht” ["Matutinal Meditation on Politics"] (in Wort in der Zeit [Word in Time]), “Viktor Halbnarr: Ein Wintermärchen” [“Victor Halfwit: A Winter’s Tale”] (in Dichter erzählen Kindern [Writers Tell Stories to Children]), and three advance publications from the 1967 collection Prosa: “Jauregg” (in Literatur und Kritik [Literature and Criticism], “Die neuen Erzieher” [“The New Tutors”] (in Akzente) and “Die Mütze” [“The Cap”] (in Protokolle).
Letter No. 21
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
January 25, 1966
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I enjoyed your letter of January 22.  The only thing left for me to do is to wish you everything you’ll need in order to bring your manuscript to a definitive conclusion.  You seem to have arrived at a favorable situation.  In the fall we will have to hand only two novels by important authors: Böll and Walser1, so that there is room enough for a third important book, and you may rest assured that we regard yours as such a book.  I say this only by way of cheering you on.  I wish you all the best.
Yours,
Siegfried Unseld
1966 saw the publication of Martin Walser’s novel Das Einhorn [The Unicorn] and Heinrich Böll’s novella Ende einer Dienstfahrt [End of a Mission].
Letter No. 22 (handwritten)
Lovran
4.19.661
Dear Dr. Unseld,
As I now have the choice of handing in a rushed—but for all that a good and (to me) amusing—book in two to three months, I shall have to forgo the fall deadline.  As I am entitled to call the best publisher in Germany my own, I know that in spite of my failure to keep my word I shall be able to hope for the degree of understanding I desire.
I could never—either now or later—have forgiven myself for finishing the novel so hastily–and my publisher couldn’t have either.  I know this is a piece of bad news for those involved in the technical side of bookmaking.  But even on pain of death I wouldn’t be able to act otherwise.  I am a victim of my reason.  I abhor the sort of emotion that, in being divorced from reason, is only ever pure emotion or emotion alloyed with taste.
I am working with my eyes fixed firmly on the fairest constellation shared by the two of us.
Vis-à-vis the deadline, I myself have hitherto been quite a gung-ho speed fiend—but possibly after a brief burst of anger at me—which I admit you have every right to—you will instantly realize that the best expedient is to plan on bringing out the book no earlier than at the beginning of the New Year (my own preferred deadline, as it happens).  In order not to leave you hanging in the air in the long [(?)] term on my account, I shall at some point be sending you a play—let us say a third of the book.  In other matters I ask you to judge me according to what you are obliged to regard as the strictest letter of the law.
I know it won’t do you much good for me to tell you that I would very much like to give you a warm handshake right now.
This fall I must ask you to publish nine novellas—it would be best for them to appear on their own—in the edition series; if you don’t I shall plunge through the gap between books into the shark tank of book reviewers.
One more thing:  as far as your excellent money goes, I have been budgeting it so wisely that no mishaps can possibly occur.
And yet one more thing:
Apart from my undergirding reason-based reservations, I really do have a very good feeling about my work.  I remain in good health; hence I do not doubt that everything is in perfect working order.  I am making things difficult for you, just as I am forever making everything difficult and ever more difficult for myself.  But it is in this making-things-difficult that the only real pleasure in life consists.
I detest lousy books, but for the sake of a single good one I would shove half my fatherland into the abyss.
Yours,
now twice as strongly as before,
Thomas Bernhard
Bernhard shared lodgings with Hedwig Stavianicek in Lovran from April 12 to 20, 1966.
Letter No. 23
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
May 9, 1966
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I read your letter after my trip to America, during which I asked myself—especially during certain of the weaker Gruppe 47 readings—why you of all people were never in attendance at such conferences, but perhaps the truth is you find them too trivial.  Peter Handke put on quite a splendid show and also made quite a name for himself.1
What am I to say about our shared problem at this point?  Your argument is of course quite convincing, and I would rather wait for a good manuscript than publish a bad one.  So I am glad that I will be able to count on receiving the manuscript by the end of August or at the latest by September.  We will then diligently set about producing the book and no less diligently set about launching it with sample copies, etc., in the New Year.
There is no need for you to fret; I understand your situation, I sympathize with you, and the author’s calendar is always more important than my own.
I would like to make mention of a certain remark in your letter: you write that you “have been budgeting” my money very “wisely.”  Now at one point, in view of your inability to repay your loan on the scheduled dates, you had offered to sign over a mortgage on the house to the publishing firm.  I attached no great importance to this matter then, and I don’t attach any more to it now, but I am a bit surprised that you have not brought it up again since.
What have you so far got planned for the summer? –well, of course you will keep working.  But if at any point you expect to be in the Munich area, please let me know; perhaps we could see each other then.
Yours
with warm regards
Siegfried Unseld
Between April 20 and May 4, 1966, Unseld was in the United States, where he attended the Gruppe 47 conference at Princeton University and then met with American publishers and agents in New York.
Letter No. 24
Ohlsdorf
6.14.66
Dear Dr. Unseld,
A man given to silence is well advised every now and then to let the people close to him know that he is not being in the least bit secretive.  As to how this applies to me: I am now giving to the world and to myself a demonstration of a man putting himself through the commonplace paces of the daily grind, which alone enables me to make progress, setting aside the fact that there is no such thing as making progress, that the foundation of our perceiving, of our seeing, etc., itself does not exist, that if anything exists at all it is only an absurdity to top all absurdities that exists.  What is charming about the whole thing is that people say that I discern my own features in the utter absurdity to top all absurdities.  For the majority of creatures this signifies the nadir of desolation.  But my life is not desolate.  And neither is yours.  A man who thinks is a rarity; people who think are rarities.  Because uninterrupted thinking impedes movement, the rarities are nothing but antiquities.  This is why the present is completely invisible; naturally everything, all of history, is visible from the star pupil’s seat.  What we are discerning is already history.  The present is what is really not yet; the future is what is not…I’ll let you go!
Now I no longer have any excuse to keep dragging out the novel, because if my book is to come out in the New Year, the race to get it out by the fall is over.  Knackered horses, knackered riders, not a single correctly tabulated inn bill, etc…anyway, so in August I will be in Frankfurt in person.1  I quite like the hullabaloo there; it excites my nerves in a most salutary fashion.
To answer your questions: 1. The book is almost finished.  In August I shall be 
traveling with it to and down into the hole (hell?) that is the lion’s den.
2. I have been wanting to have Attaché at the French Embassy, nine novellas or rather prose pieces, published as a volume in the edition series; by when must I send to you, if
it is not too late, as I have so far met with no takers for it.  I personally set great store by it.
3. After the novel I would like to have a go at rewriting the play; in its present form it still isn’t my own, and I am thoroughly dissatisfied with it.  Is Mr. Braun interested in my doing this?
4. The mills of the district court grind so slowly that I still haven’t been entered into the land-register, and so I couldn’t fork over the mortgage to my house now even if I wanted to.2  For the time being last year’s letter bearing my signature in acknowledgment of the receipt of DM 25,000, or DM 15,000, should suffice.  In a worst-case situation, the present lines, in which I am acknowledging that I am in debt to the publishing firm, should also suffice.  (All the same, I hope that no out-of-the-blue but mysterious legal argument occasions the imposition of a lien on the mortgage; I certainly deserve some kind of punishment.)
5.  That I would be nothing but a wretched dog without you I am conscious of every day of my life, albeit only in my extra-authorial subconsciousness.  For you I have already kept my left hand in the fire (the right one I write with) long enough to burn it to ashes.  I have no intention of withdrawing it from the fire in the foreseeable future.
In the past fourteen days a kind of regression to infancy has taken place.  In Vienna a ten-year-old opera featuring a libretto by me is being produced at the Theater an der Wien as part of the Festival Week.  There has been a lot of resentment, and a lot of fuss made about the composer.  A worthy poetic gem cast before swine.  I shan’t be going to Vienna for the premiere on June 18, because I am hardly in the market for a hot head, etc., etc.3
Next week, on the 23rd, I shall be in Munich to comment on two dozen seminar papers on Amras.  I have suddenly taken a shine to the idea of throwing myself to the young people as to so many wolves.  Nowadays unfortunately they don’t gobble you up--quite the contrary, etc.  I have a predilection for “etc.”...
On the 6th of July, I shall be in Berlin; on the 7th I’ll be back here.  I, along with Mr. Bichsel from Switzerland, will be reading an excerpt from the novel at the Academy of (Fine?) Arts.4  I am doing it because it will afford me one of those cost-free changes of scene that I find necessary from time to time.  Of course what I’d like best, if I didn’t have to write, would be just to travel around while doing pretty much nothing at all.  That would be my sole predilection.  But the world isn’t kind enough to let me be...because it would be kind enough to do so.
I just remembered something: I’ll be leaving for Munich as early as the morning of the 22nd, because I plan to attend the birthday dinner for Wolfgang Koeppen that Mr. Breitbach has arranged to take place in the Maximilian Rooms; I believe it starts at 8 PM.5
And will it not be possible to see you?
At the rock bottom of both the individual’s and the collective’s Weltanschauung, etc., all the letters ever written are nothing but ghastly sallies of flirtation.
And here is yet another one: the greatest mistake a person can make is to believe he doesn’t exist when he isn’t writing.
It has now been a week, I think, since I received your lines--and better lines than those I could not have expected.
Yet again I am finding it extremely difficult to say thank you.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. Wieland Schmied was here, and he read to me an excellent, clever, and entertaining excerpt from a book called A Flight with Ben Nicholson and Other Impressions.  Would that be of any use as part of the edition series?
Both while revising Frost in December 1962 and during the 1963 book fair, Bernhard stayed at the Reschke boarding house at 29 Oederweg in Frankfurt.
Bernhard was first entered into the land register as the owner of his farmhouse-cum-courtyard in 1968.
At 11 p.m. on June 18, 1966 at the Theater an der Wien as part of the series “Music Theater in the Night Studio” of the Vienna Festival Week there took place a (according to the printed program) “premiere”: “desperato.  Words: Thomas Bernhard (Second Part of “the roses of the wasteland”).  Music: Gerhard Lampersberg.”  The performance featured Hilde Zadek, Herbert Prikopa, the Viennese Radio Chamber Orchestra, Chorus Coach: Gottfried Preinfalk.  The program quotes Gerhard Lampersberg as describing the score of “the roses of the wasteland, five pieces for dancers, singers, and orchestra” as his “masterpiece.” The text and histories of genesis and publication of the roses of the wasteland comprise Volume 15, pp. 10-51 and 428-434 of Bernhard’s Works.
The function, which was held at the West Berlin Academy of Arts on July 7, 1966, was entitled “Young Generation.”  The other readers were Rudolf Dederer and Bernward Vesper.
At 8:00 p.m. on On June 22, 1966, Joseph Breitbach hosted a 60th birthday dinner for Wolfgang Koeppen at the Maximilian Rooms in Munich.  Present in addition to Bernhard et al. were Tankred Dorst, Christian Enzensberger, and Werner Vordtriede.  On June 23 Bernhard participated in Vordtriede’s seminar Critical Appreciation of Modern Lyric Poetry and Prose (which met on Thursdays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. during the summer semester of 1966).  He shared his impression of the seminar with Joseph Breitbach in a letter dated June 28, 1966: “Unfortunately my appearance at the university degenerated into a hardly amusing experience, and my distaste, or rather contempt, for dissection in the operating theaters of literature, immediately spread to the people sitting across from me [...] The generation after me, these university students ten years my junior, strike me as being intellectually wretched and mangled by the global mania for specialization; every single one of them is nothing but a tiny segment of a pair of pliers (pliers that cannot grip), of a hammer (a hammer that cannot strike), etc...I seriously doubt that a people (such as the Germans), a world like the one that is emerging now, can live on catchphrases alone.  German youth (Germany) is exhausting itself in a revolting, blood-curdling welter of journalism about the Berlin Wall, Nazism, and geopolitical footnotes like Vietnam.  The Germans have never understood how to live, and the most foreign of all foreign words for them is noblesse.”  (For background information on both the dinner and the seminar, see Fellinger, Vorbereitungen zu einem Gerburtstagessen [Preparations for a Birthday Dinner].)         
Letter No. 25
Frankfurt am Main
June 28, 1966
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your amiable letter of June 14.  It arrived in the middle of two very busy weeks: I had to brief the sales representatives for both houses, and so I was obliged to “sell” them my books for the second half of 1966.   That all ended happily.  So for me it now feels a bit like Christmas, and I can turn my attention to things to come with more equanimity.
I am glad that you are getting on well with the novel.  If I correctly understood your letter, you will be here in August.  It would naturally be very nice to be able to read the novel before then—or will you once again be needing those August days in Frankfurt as a last-minute stimulus?
It was certainly very remiss of me not to inform you that edition suhrkamp has been planned quite far in advance—i.e., the schedule is definitively set through April 1967.  But we still have a few catalogue numbers free in May and June of  ’67.  I would be very happy to put out a volume of novellas by you.  Would it be possible to see the novellas?  We are of course already familiar with the title story from its publication in »Wort in der Zeit« [Word in Time].1
Naturally we are also interested in your new play, as we are in pretty much everything that comes from Thomas Bernhard.
This remark is intended in both a specific and a general sense.
All the best—I hope to see you soon.
Yours
with warm regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]
In the left margin next to this paragraph are three typed asterisks that are repeated below Unseld’s signature; the text that follows this second set of asterisks reads: “Regarding this: today Dr. U. immediately telephoned Herr Busch [the editor in charge of edition suhrkamp] and scheduled the title Attaché at the French Embassy for May of ’67.”  Bernhard’s novella Ein junger Schriftsteller [A Young Writer], which was not included in the collection entitled Prosa, appeared in the journal Word in Time 10 (1965), Vol. 1-2.
Letter No. 26
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Ohlsdorf
9.4.66
The transcribed excerpt is, I believe, suitable for being read aloud at my publisher’s house inasmuch as it is a good--by which I mean a thoroughly characteristic--sample of the novel.
I am pretty sure I won’t be violating any laws of hospitality by reading it.
My jitteriness is uncontainable and so is my wanderlust, but after staying only ever so briefly in Frankfurt I intend to trace a mighty, meandering, roughly two-week-long arc through and around Hesse via Brussels, stopping only when I finally allow myself to be detained by the authorities.1  The novel is called Repose, and I no longer have any desire to change its title.
Sincerely,
your loyal
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. I would like to know whether you accept or reject the excerpt, and I ask that you communicate this news as concisely as possible in a letter directed to Ohlsdorf.
At the residence of his friends Mr. and Mrs. von Uexküll, at 60 rue de la Croix in Brussels, Bernhard committed Verstörung [Gargoyles] to paper between September 23 and November 1, 1966 (cf. Bernhard, Works, Vol. 2, pp. 213f.).
“Express” has been handwritten on the letter by a third party.
Letter No. 27
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
September 9, 1966
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I have read “Moser Gives It a Third Try” and find it quite satisfactory.  Accordingly, I would like to invite you to read it at the reviewers’ reception.  You still have time before then to make a few slight revisions in the course of conversing with Dr. Botond.1  The reception will begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, at 35 Klettenbergstraße.  Please arrive punctually.  In the meantime we will try to work out everything having to do with the nettlesome question of accommodations.
Yours
with friendly regards till our next meeting!
Siegfried Unseld
During every book fair beginning in 1959, Unseld held a reception for book reviewers at his house in Frankfurt.  At each of these receptions an author would read from the manuscript of a book scheduled to be published the following year.  In a handwritten letter dated September 9, 1966, Anneliese Botond wrote to Bernhard: “The play you sent me is good.  But at the same time I notice--this is something I can merely register--that it does not exert the same fascination on me as, for example, Amras.”  In the Thomas Bernhard Archive there survives a twelve-page manuscript that Bernhard paginated and superscribed with the handwritten title “Moser Gives It a Third Try” (SL 10.17).  The manuscript is an excerpt from a draft of Verstörung [Gargoyles]. A transcription is included in Bernhard’s Works (Vol. 2, pp. 127-140).
Letter No. 28 
[Ohlsdorf]
12.9.66
Dear Mr. Unseld,
I would be happy to meet with you if, as I informed you earlier, you are willing to make a trip to the mountains.
I am glad that the new book has already been typeset and that the galley proofs will be coming in the next few days.  The longer I think about it, the better Verstörung looks to me as a title.
In January, Musulin and I will be having a conversation about the new book for West German television; it will be broadcast in March.1
I will lend my support to everything of a propagandistic nature when and however I can; besides, that sort of thing is obviously not without its charms.  These days I am sloughing off the best part of my time by remaining cloistered, shrouded, in Nathal, and engaged in a major new work, and I shall stay here until the writing necessitates a change of scene--to Brussels or London.
Here I have an ideal prison qua workhouse in the best environs imaginable.
In the second half of January I shall probably be spending a couple of days in Frankfurt.2
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
West German Television broadcast Janko’s barely three minute-long conversation with Bernhard on March 6, 1967, on the show Selbstanzeige [Voluntary Self-Disclosure].
“Express” and “Ohlsdorf, Upper Austria” have been handwritten on the letter by a third party. 
Letter No. 29
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
December 13, 1966
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I thank you for your letter of December 9.  Hopefully Ms. Botond has communicated to you with the utmost clarity how abundantly unhappy I am with Verstörung1a as a title, and I am even unhappier with your intransigence towards the other titles we have proposed.1  Don’t you dare blame your publisher if the book fails to enjoy the success its contents deserve.  It is a first-rate text, and I am very glad that we are able to publish it, but it is extremely deplorable that your book bears a title that is bound to scare off potential buyers.
From the evening of December 22 through January 3, I shall be at the Hotel Bellevue in St. Christoph am Arlberg.  It would be lovely if we could meet then.
After that I shall be going to see Günter Eich in Bayerisch Gmain for a day or two.2
Yours
with best regards
Siegfried Unseld
1a. Meaning “derangement,” “disturbedness,” or “perturbation.”  One jocularly wonders if Unseld, Botond, or Bernhard ever considered Wasserspeier (Gargoyles) as a title (DR).
2. Anneliese Botond initially proposed the alternative title Der Fürst [The Prince], but after her colleagues Braun and Busch pronounced Verstörung “first-rate” and typical of Bernhard, she advised him to stick to that title.
3. Günter Eich lived in Bayerisch Gmain, Bavaria.
1967
Letter No. 30
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
February 21, 1967
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Perhaps you have already learned about this from Ms. Botond, but I would still like to inform you of it myself: we have brought the technical departments of Insel and Suhrkamp somewhat closer together.  I have relocated my Insel administrative office to the Suhrkamp building at 69 Grüneburgweg, where the readers of both Suhrkamp and Insel, including Dr. Botond, are now also lodged.  Otherwise nothing will change, apart from the fact that I am hoping to function somewhat more effectively, especially in the affected departments.  You may now reach the readers, the Insel production office, and me at 69 Grüneburgweg, P. O. Box 2446, Telephone: 72 08 01.
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 31
  
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
March 22, 1967
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
From a well-informed source I hear that you have already received your first copy of your novel, and I have also learned that you are pleased with its exterior.1  Well, we did do what we could to neutralize the negative effect of the title with an attractive cover.  The day before yesterday I spoke to two intelligent female bookstore proprietors who had already read the book.  Their first reaction: a very fine, literarily meritorious text, but why this title?!  At that moment I regretted yet again that I had been obliged to give in to you.  Well, I am getting older, and as my age increases so will my stubbornness!  We have printed 4,000 copies, hence Nos. 1 through 4,000, retail price: DM 16.80.  Your royalty share is 10%, your complimentary copies are 40 in number.  These are available to you on demand.
The first highly favorable notice, a radio review by Günter Blökker, has appeared.  If more critics’ voices like his are heard, it should do the book a world of good.2
Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld
In a handwritten letter dated March 10, 1967, Anneliese Botond informed Bernhard that he would be receiving his first copy of Verstörung the following week.  The book was published by Insel Publications on March 15, 1967.
Günter Blöcker [(sic) on the divergence from Unseld’s spelling (DR)] commented on Verstörung between 3:45 and 4:00 p.m. on the Sunday, March 12, 1967 installment of the German Radio show Books in Conversation.  The spoken text is a slightly abridged version of a review that appeared in the March 25, 1967 number of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung under the title Geometry of Afflictions, and in which Blöcker writes: “But over and above all these merits, the author is to be praised for his possession of that rarest and most precious of qualities: seriousness.  Here by literary means is effected the practice demanded by the narrator’s father, namely ‘etiological research.’  Neither sociological optimism, which couldn’t care less about anything, and for that very reason regards itself as realistic, nor a retreat into aestheticism, which changes fundamental human truths into ‘black humor’ as a way of cheaply disposing of them, but rather an impassive sounding of the depths of what has been sown in us by nature, and a sense of awe in its presence.”
Letter No. 32      
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
April 27, 1967
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I have a request to make of you today.  We must do something for the insel collection and had the idea of developing a prospectus on the collection to be inserted in Authors of Distinction.  Would it be possible for you to write a couple of lines about one book or two books or about the entire undertaking or its general drift?  I would be very grateful to you.
Yours
with warmest regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 33
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
May 8, 1967
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Just a brief note: don’t let yourself be any more discouraged by the reviews than I am letting myself be discouraged by them.  It was of course clear to both of us that there would be objections to Verstörung, even if I am somewhat nonplussed by the vehemence of Reich-Ranicki and Eisenrich’s disapproval.  But let the critics have their high jinks.  The main thing is for you not to be affected by them. |My faith in you as an author is unshaken.|1
Yours
with warmest regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Marcel Reich-Ranicki’s review of Verstörung (“Confessions of an Obsessive” in Die Zeit, April 28, 1967) includes such passages as “Whether he wants to be or not, Bernhard is an Austrian national bard, one who is admittedly impelled to write not so much by love or introspective musings over life in the Tyrol or the Styrian valleys as by rage and disgust, if not outright loathing. [...] His one-sidedness strikes one as audacious one moment and simplistic the next.  It facilitates the severity and the idiosyncrasy of this epic, but unfortunately also sets narrow limits to it and often occasions monotony [...] His new book, the novel Verstörung, evinces this with almost appalling clarity.”  Herbert Eisenreich’s review of Verstörung (“Irrsinn im Alpenland” [“Lunacy in Alpine Country”] in Der Spiegel, May 1, 1967, pp. 164f.) contains, for example, the follwing sentences: “With the arrival of Thomas Bernhard the primeval forest has once again irrupted into the decidedly urban precincts of literature [...] In short: an absence of plot, an absence of distance, an absence of counterpoint--these are three aspects of a single state of affairs: an absence of truth.  A state of affairs that is plainly legible throughout the entire corpus of non-representational (and hence  supposedly--but merely supposedly--modern) literature, but which becomes genuinely credible only when a literary master embarks on the wrong path--as Thomas Bernhard does in his novel Verstörung.” 
Letter No. 34
Vienna
5.18.67
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Of all the objects in my safe--which is by no means a figment of my imagination--the one I value most is the trust of my publisher, an inestimable self-evident treasure.
I am discovering that the reviewers, the moronic ones and the non-moronic ones alike, have allowed themselves to get flustered by my book, which is the entire point of such a book.  As you are doubtless--nay, certainly--aware, all book reviewers are morons, but even among these moronic reviewers there are some who are especially, cataclysmically moronic.  I know this and the dietary regimen is not upsetting my stomach; the only thing that matters to me is how and in what context this reviewerly moronism--this literary-critical bill of fare--is being served up.
Within the next fortnight I shall be sending Mr. Braun my play, which is entitled A Party for Boris, and next year, in the fall, I shall be putting out my new novel; my publisher will publish it and [I] shall work, do nothing but work and in so doing enjoy my lifelong pleasure.
In me you have an author who is no moron and who will not allow himself to be irritated.
Yours very sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard       
Letter No. 35
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
May 22, 1967
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I enjoyed your letter of May 18 very much.  I now feel reassured that you are working without distraction.
Years ago I was in correspondence with Hermann Hesse. Eventually I confessed to him that I was contemplating a dissertation on him, and asked him ever so timidly if he would even allow me to write it.  He wrote back to me, “I don’t allow myself to be concerned about things that are written about me.”
That is a worthy sentence that we should take to heart.
I am looking forward to A Party for Boris.  I shall read it straight-away and I am especially pleased that we will be allowed to publish another book by you next fall.
If your travel plans ever involve any northerly regions, please let me know.  It would be lovely if we could meet.  I have the laudable intention of spending the summer in Frankfurt.
Yours
with warmest regards,
Siegfried Unseld     
Letter No. 36
[Address: (Ohlsdorf); on Suhrkamp Publications letterhead]
Frankfurt am Main
May 29, 1967
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Your novellas have been issued as Volume 213 of the edition suhrkamp series.  A contract relating to this has been sent to you.  You have, however, not yet sent it back.  Please promptly give it your overdue attention.  The conditions of publication are specified in it.
I cannot refrain from mentioning that I find Prose a rather infelicitous title.  Unfortunately, Mr. Busch did not inform me of this change; if he had I would have gotten in touch with you immediately.  This title is suitable only for purposes of classification or for posthumous editions, in other words for things that are conclusively finished, and I hope that you are still very much in the full flower of your development!  But what is done is done.1
And here comes another critical comment.  Please do not react publicly to any criticism that is leveled at you.  Your letter in Der Spiegel could rebound against you like a boomerang.  It is impermissible to react as you did, and you must somehow manage to curb your high spirits.  It’s no different for me, of course.2
Yours
with warmest regards,
Siegfried Unseld
The 1967 collection Prose contained only seven novellas instead of nine as originally planned.  Shortly before the printing there commenced a discussion about the title.  On this topic Günther Busch wrote to Bernhard on March 6, 1967, “What is bothering me is the book’s title.  I don’t exactly find the story about the attaché the strongest in the collection, and it would be much better if we didn’t stake the book’s fortunes so calculatedly and overtly on what strikes me as a not very well-turned novella.  On April 3, 1967 Bernhard replied to Busch, “Dear Mr. Busch, I have heavily corrected the two hazardous stories “Yesterday Evening” and “Attaché.”  “Yesterday Evening” has been retitled; it is now called “Is It a Comedy?  Is It a Tragedy?” [...]  We can resolve the question about the title, I think, if we stick to Prose.  Anything else I find indigestible, and it will only make me angry in the long run.” Bernhard reacted to Unseld’s critical comment on the title in a June 2, 1967 letter to Busch: “Even if my publisher is not enthusiastic about Prose as a title, I am.”  In the same letter Bernhard proposed to Busch the publication of his first volume of poetry, On Earth and in Hell, in edition suhrkamp.  His rationale: “It now saddens me that these poems, my most accomplished ones, are totally forgotten and unknown.”
Unseld refers here to Bernhard’s one-sentence letter to the editors of Der Spiegel (May 29, 1967, p. 23) on Herbert Eisenrich’s review of Verstörung: “Please have my next book reviewed collaterally by a chimpanzee or toadflax who naturally should also be of Austrian birth or residency.”   
  
Letter No. 37
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
August 4, 1967
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I very much hope your convalescence is progressing.  Incidentally, you really are not neglecting much of anything in this excessively hot summer that isn’t exactly conducive to work.1
The reviews of your book are growing in number, and it is just as certain that a copy of the book is finding a buyer every now and then.
But what is more some victorious tidings have just come in: the New York firm of Alfred A. Knopf has decided to publish Verstörung.  This is a second important sealed deal after the Gallimard one, and I would very much like to congratulate both you and myself on it.2
All the best and warmest regards
from
Siegfried Unseld 
Between June 21 and September 20, 1967, Thomas Bernhard was obliged to submit to treatment at the Baumgartner Höhe Clinic in Vienna.  Shortly before a morbus boeck had been diagnosed and a tumor operatively removed from Bernhard’s chest.  Anneliese Botond briefed Unseld on Bernhard’s stay in the clinic and informed Bernhard of the briefing in a letter of June 24, 1967.  This stay assumes a literary form in the 1982 novella Wittgenstein’s Nephew (see Vol. 13, pp. 209-229 of Bernhard’s Works).
Gargoyles, Richard and Clara Winston’s translation of Verstörung, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1971.  Perturbation, Guy Fritsch-Estrangin’s French translation of the book, was published in 1971 by Gallimard in the “Du monde entier” series. 
Letter No. 38
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
November 7, 1967
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Ms. Botond has given me a note consisting of three pieces of information.1  Firstly I have learned to my delight that you have finished a new novella but would like to unveil it to the public in the fall of 1968.  I can well understand that, but the question arises of whether its publication might not be actually be more successful in the context of edition suhrkamp.  We would certainly print as many as 10,000 to 12,000 copies of a new novella.  The only difficulty is owing to the fact that we must make a decision in the next fortnight, because that is when we will firm up the schedule for next year.  What do you think of that idea?  If you like it perhaps you could send us the text of the novella?
You are quite keen on going to America and quite keen on being invited there.  That would be a bit difficult to manage because the Americans have started getting very tightfisted with their invitations.  Invitation via German cultural channels has its own difficulties arising from your Austrian passport.  This coming week I shall be going to Bonn and there I’ll talk to a few cultural luminaries in the government.  Perhaps I can work something out.  And the third thing:
I have learned that you have not yet signed the contract pertaining to Verstörung, and that you are particularly irked by the option clause.  I sympathize with you completely, and I do not harbor the faintest suspicion that you will be unprepared to offer your next manuscript to Insel Publications.  And I know from my own extensive experience in such matters that a constraint of this kind does not as a rule have a salutary effect.  But I have always told my authors that there is such a thing as mutual loyalty, and that it is manifested both in my commitment to the publication of their prospective books and, complementarily, by their voluntary cession of their next manuscript to the publisher.  You know that an option that is not undergirded by a specific sum of money is legally unenforceable.  To this extent you are completely free, and I can at least assure you of the following fact: that no author who has ever wanted to break free of me has been motivated by such an option clause.  That has never happened, and I hope it never will happen in the future.  And my dear Mr. Bernhard, let me remind you that Insel Publications has already issued you numerous prodigious advances.  I would be a poor upholder of the interests of the firm indeed if I were to make a special exception in your case by cavalierly overlooking this fact.  Please do try to appreciate this.  Otherwise, I can only say yet again how very delighted I am to be able to publish you, and you may rest assured that the entire firm has also been taking and will continue to take the greatest pains in disseminating your work.
Yours
with warmest regards,
Siegfried Unseld
In a memorandum of November 6, 1967, Anneliese Botond noted: “The novel is finished, but Bernhard would prefer to unveil it to the public in the fall of 1968  (publications not so close together) followed by the novel in the fall of 1969.  He thinks he can finish the novel this summer.  Bernhard is very keen on going to America for a couple of months in the first half of next year.  He is asking us if we can help him to get an invitation (through the Goethe House, Victor Lange, or other Germanists in America, the Ford Foundation?).  He plans to sign the contract pertaining to Verstörung straight-away--but without the option clause.  He plans to give his future books to Insel Publications anyway and in any case but of his own acc[ord].  He says he is horrified by coercion.”  In its eleventh paragraph, the draft of the contract for Verstörung states: “The author concedes an option on his work to the publishing firm.”  Thomas Bernhard accepted the option clause by signing the existing contract on November 22, 1967.
Letter No. 39
Ohlsdorf
November 14, 1967
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I am sincerely hoping and aiming for an early fall completion date for the novella that is to be published in the edition series.  Then, the following year, I would like to have my novel published.  It is in the nature of things for you to be supplied with my manuscripts for the future--obviously.  From time to time I have recently found myself despairingly wondering if I even have a publisher at all, because at such moments it has seemed to me as if nobody anywhere gave a damn about me.  But afterwards I have ended up wondering what a proper, genuine publisher actually is, and more especially what he is nowadays, what sort of figure he cuts in the present, and then invariably, and possibly against my will, I think of you.  You are the only one left; aside from you there is no one.
An author is a thoroughly and utterly pitiful and laughable thing and all things considered so is a publisher.  But in the final analysis the publisher is even more materially an anonymous party who has entered into a pact with the Devil and thereby transformed himself into a thing that is by no means as vulnerable and laughable as an author, who is thoroughly and utterly vulnerable.  There really is no great mystery to be made about anything whatsoever--including any author or any publisher.
In all honesty, I must acknowledge that my productions are best served by appearing under your imprint.
I have my pride and you have yours, and both of us are dependents of a certain poetic quality in nature, a quality within which we live and exist, and of which neither of us can say what it is.
I am feeling thoroughly happy and working well.
Yours very sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 40
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
November 17, 1967
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
To put it quite simply, I very much enjoyed your letter |!| It will stand for me as a milestone in our relationship; I hope we now know what we are to think of each other, and not only know it today but will also know it tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
So we will be putting out your novella in edition suhrkamp and of course at the best release date: in September 1968.  Then in the fall of 1969 we will issue your novel with genuine intensity.
As we must now prepare the announcement of the schedule of the edition through October 1968, I have been thinking about
the title of the novella and
we will have to produce a synopsis of the novella.  Do you care to compose a trifle of that sort?  We would publish that anonymously, or could you let me borrow the novella in its current state for a short time?
So much for your amiable letter.  Once again: I thank you very much.
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 41
[Telegram Memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
November 28, 1967
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
For the announcement in edition suhrkamp we urgently need title, manuscript, or a synopsis of the novella.1
Warm regards--Siegfried Unseld
Presumably this memorandum relates to the synopsis of "Ungenach" for the announcement.  Bernhard’s reply has not survived; Suhrkamp Publications’ Preview for the first half of 1968 includes the following synopsis, which must be traceable to Bernhard, because the novella it describes differs substantially from the one that was eventually published:
“279 Thomas Bernhard, Ungenach, A Novella
First Edition
Thomas Bernhard’s new novella centers on a man who arrives at an Upper-Austrian village, Ungenach, for a gruesome funeral.  He arrives too late and stays in the house until he hears the village-dwellers returning from the funeral; these are people whom he cannot see, whom he does not care to see, because he cannot abide their company.
The novella describes Ungenach during the absence of its inhabitants, who are all
attending the funeral; during an interval when Ungenach is completely empty and devoid of all the human beings who constitute Ungenach.”
1968
Letter No. 42
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February 19, 1968
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
The Austrian State Prize was an occasion of great joy for all of us here!  Hopefully it will spur you on to further and fresh achievement.
Yours
with warm regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]
Letter No. 43
Ohlsdorf
3.16.68
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I hereby expressly request that you make public--i.e., publish, through the agency of your press bureau--the following facts that are quite characteristic of my country, whenever you see fit to do so:
On the 4th of this month, at midday, the awarding of the State Prize took place at the Ministry for either Education or Culture.  As an individual writer, I received several reminders that I was expected to deliver a so-called thank-you speech, which I eventually composed and also delivered.  (The speech is enclosed.)  No sooner had I finished this speech and returned to my place in the audience, than I heard behind me an elderly man shouting “What overweening impertinence!” whereupon, just like on a sinking luxury liner on the Hamburg America Line, the musicians on hand for the occasion struck up their obligatory dreary strains.  Immediately after the final cadence had been played, the Minister leapt to his feet and formed his fist into a ball (literally) and rushed up to me and screamed, “We didn’t invite you!” and “We remain proud Austrians notwithstanding!”--this after having described me in his “encomium” as “a Dutchman living in Austria, hence a foreigner” and otherwise spoken nothing but inane rubbish --then rushed through the exit door and slammed it shut, thereby causing the windows of the Ministry’s auditorium, in which the ceremony was taking place, to rattle.  The master of the house received resounding applause.  Nobody had understood a thing I said.  A memorable, farcical scene.  Oh well.  (A rough description from a newspaper is enclosed.)  The colossal silver-key buffet remained deserted; three headwaiters in tails were left with no work to do; there were exclamations of “Dutschke!” and “Hundertwasser!,” and I stood there, flabbergasted, in a corner of the auditorium, and asked myself what I was to do next.  This gaggle of provincial notables was behaving exactly as I had--admittedly indirectly, from a philosophical perspective--described it as behaving: laughably, chaotically.  The virtually untouched buffet, along with all other suchlike leftovers, migrated to the district poorhouse or the Lainz nursing home.1
The publisher of the Forum, the best journal of cultural and political affairs that we have, requested a copy of the speech and is going to print it with comments in its May issue as the inaugural item in a series of articles and essays entitled Fifty Years of the Austrian Republic.2  It will then be seen on what basis a minister for culture, the culture that he does not possess and whose right to administer he has forfeited etc., etc…
During the evening of the same day I received a telephone call from the ministry warning me not to publish my speech no matter what I did.  Even in dictatorships I have not found myself in such delicate situations.
But now I turn to the matter that I would like you to publicize through your bureau with unconditional immediacy; this is something that must be publicized, and, publicized, to be sure, if you please, in a conspicuous setting:
Yesterday morning I received a registered express letter from the “Austrian Industrialists’ Association,” who in camera, at the behest of a jury, had promised me the “Anton Wildgans Prize of Austrian Industry” way back in December, and had, moreover issued me a payment of 20,000 schillings even before Christmas; and now this letter reads: “Dear Mr. Bernhard, we are very sorry that we have been obliged to cancel the award ceremony for the Anton Wildgans Prize that was to have taken place on March 21.  We have already sent word of this cancellation to the Minister of Education, our president and board of directors, and our invited guests.
In the next few days we shall permit ourselves to remit to you the 10,000-schilling outstanding balance of the honorarium associated with the prize and to send you the certificate.  Yours very respectfully, the Austrian Industrialists’ Association.”
So: no ceremony, no banquet!  Basta!  Now they are all hush-hush about a prize that they made such a noisy fuss about earlier. 
I speak with impeccable grammatical correctness, calmly, and while elegantly and unobtrusively attired, and without imparting the faintest tremor to the tranquil tenor of my philosophical meditation, on a subject that I have been expressly requested, nay, sworn to talk about, whereupon a scandal ensues...whereupon the Industrialists’ Association cancels the ceremony that they had determined to hold for me, because a certain cabinet minister happens to be an idiot, and on account of a text that all those people misunderstood and have not seen since, and that not a single person, not a single brain, apart from me, you, and Mr. Kruntorad from the Forum, is familiar with...grotesque!  grotesque! (You know where that comes from.)3
I am now expressly requesting that you publicize these events in a conspicuous setting (because here everything is hopeless).  I shall now deliver the “thank-you speech”--a speech that the Industrialists’ Association commissioned from me weeks ago and that I squandered 14 days on--at the University of Saarbrücken, to which I was invited even earlier;4 the speech once again treats of philosophical matters, which I cannot talk about here, as we have seen.  Grotesque.
Laughable, but true, i.e., lamentable.
On the 20th I have a reading to give at the Vienna PEN club, who have not invited me to any of their meetings until now; the next day I shall be heading straight for Yugoslavia and taking Ungenach there with me, because the sea will certainly do it good.  From there I shall send Ungenach to Frankfurt; and then, if I come to Frankfurt--I shall possibly be at the TH in Darmstadt on 4.26--I can directly hear your thoughts on it.  I am naturally thrilled at the prospect of a conversation with my publisher.
By the end of the year the novel should be far enough along for publication in the fall of ’69.
I am an absolutely happy individual, a man who is by nature taciturn yet determined; irritations last only a few hours apiece; after one of them I walk around outside, I read a well-turned sentence, I look at a painting of some German or other-European martyr qua philosopher, and I am once again in my element.
In two hours I am leaving for Vienna, and I shall be reachable there by telephone until the 21st.  Please also send me the name and address of my Yugoslavian translator so that I can keep him informed and thank him.  My address through about April 28 is: Hotel Beograd, LOVRAN, Yugoslavia.
I am now beginning to get serious; I hope I can count on at least another ten years; I am hot on the trail of a new vein of efficiency.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. My novel deserves, I think, to be well prepared for.
[Enclosure 1 and Enclosure 26]
On March 4, 1968, the Austrian State Prize for Literature (which included an award of 25,000 Austrian schillings or approximately 3,500 deutschmarks) was presented to Bernhard by Theodor Piffl-Perčević, the Minister of Education.  Bernhard was one of six people to receive State Prizes on that day; the others were the sculptors Josef Pillhofer and Alfred Hrdlicka [about whom Bernhard holds forth disparagingly if sympathetically in his 1986 interview with Werner Wörgerbauer (DR)], the medallist [i.e., maker (not winner) of medals (DR)] Elfriede Rohr, and the composers Gerhard Wimberger and Josef Doppelbauer.  In Meine Preise (pp. 66-85) Bernhard again recorded his impressions of the sequence of events at the award ceremony.
Under the headline “Stalking the Truth and Death.  Two Speeches,” the Neue Forum (May 1968, pp. 347-349) printed the speech that Bernhard had written for his receipt of the Anton Wildgans Prize for Austrian Industry--and that was never delivered owing to the cancellation of the award ceremony--along with the speech for the State Prize ceremony.  The two speeches are prefaced by the following editorial note: “Society honors its artists with prizes and distinctions; are these artists therefore duty-bound to honor the society in which they live?  One can thank the awarders of distinctions (and the attendant monetary sums) with well-turned words, or one can, in being duty-bound to one’s own (prize-crowned) works and prize-crowning society, give thanks by saying what one believes to be true.  When a writer of Thomas Bernhard’s stature utters words of despair to his fatherland, this is—in the fiftieth year of the Austrian republic—an occasion for scruples.  Let these scruples find their way to our editorial offices; we shall be happy to publish them, pro or contra, as a symposium on this jubilee year.”  The first speech begins with this sentence: “If we are stalking the truth without knowing what this truth is, this truth that has nothing in common with reality but the truth, it is failure, it is death, that we are stalking…” And a later passage in it reads: “[...]but I could, as you must [surely] imagine, speak here about the State, about federations of States, the decline of States, about the impossibility of the State, and I know that you are glad that I am not speaking about that, you have been afraid all the while that I might utter something that you were afraid of and you are basically glad that here I am really not speaking about anything.”  In the speech for the State Prize one reads: “We are Austrians, we are apathetic; we are life as the vulgar lack of interest in life, in the process of nature we are megalo-mania as the future” (Bernhard, Meine Preise, pp. 121f.).
  
“Grotesque” is a stylistically significant word in Verstörung.
On April 24, 2968, at the University of Saarbrücken and at the invitation of Saarland Radio and the university’s students, Bernhard read a text entitled “Nature, Anarchy” (a later version of “A Young Writer”) as well as the two novellas “Two Tutors” and “Is It a Comedy?  Is It a Tragedy?” from Prose.
On April 2, 1968, Anneliese Botond sent Bernhard the address of Borivoj Grujic.  Mraz, the Serbo-Croatian translation of Frost, was published by the Belgrade-based firm of Prosveta.
Enclosure 1 is the original typescript of the acceptance speech for the State Prize.  Enclosure 2 is missing; presumably it was Hans Rochelt’s article on the award ceremony,  Zerstörte Idyll [“An Idyll Destroyed”], which appeared in the Oberösterreichischen Nachrichten of March 5.
Letter No. 44
[Address: (Vienna)]
Frankfurt am Main
March 18, 1968
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Last weekend Ms. Botond telephoned me and told me all about the scandal in Vienna.  You of course know that my whole heart goes out to you, and I had no trouble imagining your situation.  Other authors have had to endure this kind of thing: Frisch when he criticized Switzerland; Enzensberger when he received a prize in Nüremburg and in the encomium announced that he intended to place the prize money at the disposal of those people who had been denied their rights by the judicial system of the Federal Republic.1
Now, today, I have received your letter and the text of the speech.  I would like to be quite frank with you about this.  You of course expect no mere tactical reply from me; rather, you quite justifiably wish to hear me say that I will support you in this difficult situation.  And so I will, and gladly, but I shall do so, my dear Mr. Bernhard, in a different way than you expect.  I would like in other words to argue that we should instead initially take absolutely no notice of this affair.  If you can still do so, you really are best advised to forestall the publication of the speech in the Weltwoche.2  We who know you naturally do not find this speech scandalous, but all the people who do not know you, who have not read your books, are bound--and again quite justifiably--to take umbrage at it; and I shall even be so bold as to say, my dear Bernhard, that from your biased and besmitten perspective you are in no position to assess the effect of your own words.  In this speech you have not merely offered criticism; rather, you have indiscriminately declared an entire country to be bereft of intelligence and a future.  As I said, other authors have done this before.  Max Frisch once gave a lecture about Switzerland called “Land without a Future,” but, my dear Bernhard, that talk was firmly sited within the ambit of criticism and of the possibility of change.  In your speech everything looks definitive and permanent, and your fellow-countrymen both within and outside your audience are bound to bristle at sentences like “We also are nothing and we deserve nothing but chaos.”3  And you, my dear Mr. Bernhard, must learn to accept and to put up with this reaction. This is difficult, and I can see how touchily you are reacting on your end.  If the people don’t want to fete you, don’t let it faze you; it’s a thing of no importance.  And in a way you have got to sympathize with these people.  What, after all, are they supposed to do?  You have not merely provoked them; they feel as though you have represented them as a nullity.  From where then are you getting the idea that they still owe you a fete?  I wouldn’t dream of asking for one.  I can envisage only one possible reaction, and that is to accept what has happened.  The moral high ground of your speech is entirely on your side, and I am standing steadfastly beside you.  But you mustn’t fail to realize that with your speech you have hurt the feelings of certain other people.  As I said, what you said is nothing new, nothing shocking, to us connoisseurs and friends of Thomas Bernhard.  But the circle of people who know and appreciate you is small.  In my view what has just happened to you is the latest in a series of representative events, and it reaffirms something previous experience has taught me: that the purpose of a writer is not to deliver speeches and trot out theses, but rather to say what he wishes to say in the context of a specific work.  In such a setting, what he says is not isolated, but rather situated in the overall context of a single consciousness and body of thought, and it provokes internal rather than external reactions.
So: be strong, withdraw back into yourself, write your book.  Everything else is unimportant.4
Yours sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
Hans Magnus Enzensberger was awarded the Nüremberg Prize for Literature on March 16, 1967.  He entitled his acceptance speech A Speech on Heizer Hieronymus.  While reminiscing about his Nüremberg childhood Enzensberger asked of this Hieronymus, “Was he really called Hieronymus; was this his Christian- or surname?  Why did he disappear?  When?  Was it in 1935?  1937?  Was he taken away?  What is the meaning of the word ‘cell,’ which somebody let slip when Heizer’s residence stood vacant.  [...]  And Mr. Hannover the lawyer from Bremen writes to me, ‘Every year in the Federal Republic at least ten thousand investigations of political criminals of conscience are launched.’  From this I conclude that Heizer Hieronymus has not vanished without a trace.  He is back again, in other cellars, under other names [...] with the money associated with this prize, Post Office Giro Account No. 1312 has been opened.  [...] It will support people who have been brought to trial for their political views, as well as the next of kin of the condemned.”  This speech touched off discussion of the “Enzensberger Case” in the Bundestag on April 13; that same month Günther Nollau, vice president of the West German intelligence agency, inveighed against Enzensberger in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.  (Speeches and debates are documented in Enzsenberger’s Staatsgefährdende Umtriebe [State-Threatening Activities]). 

An article in the March 22 1968 Weltwoche entitled “The Gratitude and Ingratitude of Thomas Bernhard.  A Tragedy about an Austrian Speech” consists of the text of Bernhard’s speech and an account of the award ceremony that tallies with the one in Bernhard’s letter to Unseld.
The penultimate sentence of the speech for the State Prize reads in full: “We need be ashamed of nothing, but we also are nothing and deserve nothing but chaos” (Thomas Bernhard, Meine Preise, p. 122).
The March 21, 1968 issue of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung contains an article by Karl Heinz Bohrer under the headline “The Poet’s Curse.”  It includes the full text of Bernhard’s speech, and such sentences in it as “The prize-winner was addressed as ‘Dutschke’ and ‘Hundertwasser.” indicate that its author was privy to Bernhard’s letter to Unseld.  In conclusion, Bohrer writes: “To what extent, one must ask, is a poet to be accorded the liberties of a court jester? [...] In this unusual case the reaction was all the more bemusing in that Bernhard did not deliver any kind of proper political speech, but rather foisted his existential manifesto, his Austrian lugubriousness, his dealings with death, upon an audience who were visibly looking forward to a buffet meal.”

Letter No. 45
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
July 9, 1968
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I hear we are once again having difficulties with each other about the honorarium.  What could possibly be the reason?  Am I wrong in thinking we have already worked out a not-ungenerous solution to these problems?
I am enclosing a copy of the May 8/November 22, 1967 contract in which we settled on the terms of the publication of Prose in edition suhrkamp.  This document strikes me as a model that we would do well to copy in the contract for the new book, Ungenach.
I had rather hoped you would be applying this honorarium to the paying off of your loan.  But if you are now in urgent need of this sum, I am prepared to remit to you half of the DM 2,000 now, upon the settling of the contract, and the other half when the book appears.  I very much hope that you will not take it amiss when I tell you that larger honoraria are not possible under the auspices of edition suhrkamp.1
You are aware, I trust, that the prospective publication date of the book is September 1968?
Yours
with warm regards
[Siegfried Unseld]   
Günther Busch, in his capacity as the editor in charge of edition suhrkamp, communicated to Unseld Thomas Bernhard’s wish for a DM 3,000 honorarium.  On July 11, 1968 Anneliese Botond wrote to Bernhard, “How can we account for this letter?  If only I had known.  I am certain that U[nseld] had already approved the 3,000--I learned this from Busch, who told me that he had told it to you.  And now he is pulling back, insulting you, compromising me.  There is no need for me to tell you what you have to do, and the match can really only end with you as the winner [...] A curt rumble of Ohlsdorfian thunder in answer to the lightning from the skies of Frankfurt is very much in order.”   
Letter No. 46
Ohlsdorf
7.11.68
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I am very sorry that I didn’t get to see you in Frankfurt; but getting to spend some time with your wife was a real pleasure.  Please tell her this.
As far as the honorarium for the book goes, we both proceeded by literal and generous leaps and bounds at the start of all this, and I rather thought that in virtue of having fought a running battle with my novel Verstörung for three straight years I had already effectively paid off a goodly portion of my loan.  The notion that such an eminent and expert publisher as yourself has not managed to sell more than eighteen hundred copies is so absurd that nobody would believe me if I told them as much, because just by ambling around the country with my rucksack, I could certainly sell more copies on my own in four weeks.  Neither my disappointment nor my incomprehension knows any bounds if you have come to feel that this book about which the best of all possible critics have all in all kicked up the best of all possible fusses, etc...I shall leave off haranguing, but I will say this: that I really did blow a great window of opportunity, or at least three years of work.
All of that, apart from the unbelievably beautiful published appearance of the book, which has been superbly printed, is etc.  Has it not occurred to you that the firm may be ever so slightly responsible for what has happened to Verstörung?  I don’t know.  You really ought to  pay off the loan yourself.
Now, you likewise must of course have realized that I must have something to live on.  The loan dates from four years ago; now what kind of fool could have lived on that amount of money for four years?  Granted, then, that I need to have something to live on; if I don’t have anything, I must, just like everybody else, start working.  I have nothing against working; to the contrary, I have for [the] longest time much preferred chopping down trees and things of that sort to writing, but if I do that then I can’t even dream of getting any further along in the novel I’m writing and so forth.  Don’t you realize every living human being has got a belly?  He’s got to fill it; it’s just that simple.
As far as Ungenach goes, I would prefer to tell the following story once again, although I am no storyteller:
Ungenach, a story (by Thomas Bernhard)
“Once upon a time there was an author who wrote Amras and received a whopping 3,000 marks because his Amras was appearing in the edition suhrkamp series.  Two years later, the same author wrote a volume of novellas entitled--infelicitously so, according to his publisher--Prose, and received for this book a lump sum of only 2,000.  Then he wrote--because of course he is always writing, because he simply writes etc.--a book entitled Ungenach and demanded (as a shoemaker would do for a finished pair of shoes) the same payment he had demanded for Amras: again, DM 3,000; and that or those 3,000 were promised to him by his publisher, as was quite fitting and proper; and now, believe it or not, this same author has received from his publisher (let him be whatever he likes now!)  a contract (and a dunning-letter!) for only 2,000, a contract in which even those 2,000 are tendered as if in some kind of utterly extraordinary act of largesse…” (Fragment and End of the Story).
I could be furious at this point, but I am not, because the natural environs of my lovely house are so very lovely because they are so very raunchy.  I could even be something else entirely, but I am not any such thing.  And yet I do say to myself that this man’s publisher (hence the author’s publisher), having by this point been guilty of criminal negligence, really should at minimum do something now, four years after his first great outpouring of largesse, to preserve this aura of largesse.  That would be lovely.  At the moment I have no faith in the largesse of the publisher.
But why engage in all this ranting?  It is quite clear that I might as well make my living in a conventional fashion; at least I shall be free of the millions of revolting cramps that seem to be indissociable from writing in my case.
Your letter (of July 9) is disquieting.
I don’t know what you have in mind.  Even if you insist on having the loan repaid immediately and try to sandbag me with it, you won’t succeed in killing me; I shall scare up the money somehow, and you will receive it.
But that would be a truly insane and lamentable solution, I think.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. And what do you take me for anyway--some sort of two-bit hack?
P.P.S. At the moment I couldn’t care less how you behave towards me; I find the whole thing too ridiculous by half.
P.P.P.S. And if you’re even thinking of touching any of the various literary prize moneys, I must remind you yet again that my hospital stay put me--and only me--out of pocket to the tune of 60,000 schillings.
P.P.P.P.S. I have no desire for any sentimentality.
Letter No. 47
Frankfurt am Main
July 15, 1968
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
In your letter of July 11, you ask me what I take you for.  Well, the sincere and honest answer to that question is: a writer of the first rank, a writer who has executed several important works and who I am certain will write works of even greater significance.  And I also take you for a kind person whose heart, I know, is in the right place even when he puts himself in the wrong.
And you really are in the wrong here, my dear Mr. Bernhard.  The firm cannot be held responsible for the success or failure of Verstörung--not in any way or to the slightest degree.  And even if we had published a thousand advertisements and you had traveled around peddling the book yourself, an overwhelming swelling of interest is not possible, and it is not possible on account of the structure of your texts--i.e., the stylistic qualities as well as the contents of your works.  Moreover, I must remind you of our discussion of the title.  Of course, to the bitter end I balked at accepting Verstörung as a title.  You were and continued to be intractable.  Nobody here at the firm argued in favor of that title.  It was as clear as day to us that a book with such a title would be rejected first by the book retailers, who would exclude it from their inventory, and subsequently by people shopping for books to give as presents (who account for 90% of all purchasers of books).  Such people don’t want to have anything to do with a book with a title like Verstörung.  We all knew this, but Thomas Bernhard spurned his publisher’s arguments; he knew better, and now we are reaping the consequences.  In so saying I do not wish to be taken to imply that we would have obtained an essentially different payoff with a more “positive” title, but merely that the entire affair would have had a very different look to it.
And here is another thing.  You know that Beckett is ranked Number 1 out of all the authors at Suhrkamp Publications and that we work really hard on his behalf.  Allow me if you will to share with you Beckett’s sales figures:
Molloy (published in 1954) 2,554 copies sold
Malone (published in 1958) 1,632   “ “
The Unnamable (publ. 1959) 1,467 “ “
How It Is (published in 1961) 873      “ “
Dramatic Poems
1 + 2 (publ. 1963 + 1964) 1,366 + 1,176 copies sold
Our electronic sales statistics record an average of 10 copies sold per month.  That is, to put it bluntly, a witheringly puny payoff.  But we have very little power to change it, although we are constantly attempting to do so.  Not once has Beckett complained about these sales figures; to the contrary, he is aware of how much work we are doing and is grateful for it.  And to be sure we also know a little bit about the fortunes of earlier modern authors.  Consider a case that legitimately bears comparison with your own, that of Kafka.  He never sold more than 300 copies of a first book within the first year after its initial publication.
We must have patience, my dear Mr. Bernhard.  There is no way around it.  You must have faith in the two firms that are issuing your books.  And at both firms you have people who are working really hard on your behalf.  And first and foremost among them I would very much include myself.  During my last conversation with you I got the very strong impression that you had an accurate view of the situation.  But no sooner had you left my office than your insecurities started stirring again.  I know that this is what happened, and I am not complaining about it, but I do believe that you are engaging in this dunning and complaining as a means of enabling yourself to write more books, and only that can change your situation.  By no means have your books been failures for us so far.  To be sure, the sales figures aren’t very good, but you have by now made quite an illustrious name for yourself as an author; the reviews class you among the first rank of prose writers; the public has acknowledged the merit of your work by awarding you prizes.  What we now need is an important new book conceived on a grand scale.  Then we shall achieve the success that you justly claim as your due.  We must abide by reality.  I have told you what the sales figures for your books in edition suhrkamp are.  You cannot expect a publishing firm to behave unrealistically, and I have proved to you that we have been quite generous to you.  You yourself told me less than a year ago that you had a large enough income to live on and that you wished to apply all additional income you received from Insel or Suhrkamp Publications towards paying off the loan.  Obviously this is the only way in which the balance of the loan can be reduced unless it is offset by the revenue we are expecting from future books.  As I said, we must have patience.
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 48
Ohlsdorf
7.22.68
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Your letter of the 15th is full of truth, but it contains one error and is otherwise imbued with a kind of agronomic slyness that I am quite familiar with and that I cannot cease to marvel at.
The error is to be found in the place where you accuse me of “dunning and complaining in order to enable [myself] to write more books.”  I think you will hardly find another author on the firm’s roster or on the roster of either of your firms who writes to you no more than once or at the very most twice a year, and this with the utmost concision (my last letter excepted!), and so what leads you to conclude that I am constantly dunning and complaining?
This may have struck you as true when you were drafting your letter, but as you can see it is not.
Everything you write is quite clear and there is no need for me to go into any of it.  Indeed, complete transparency of understanding now prevails on both sides.
When I said to you once that I wished to have all my honoraria (the word does have some verbal connection to honor) applied to the repayment of my loan, I was naturally referring--and I even said as much--to my “major” books, meaning of course the ones that bid fair to bring in the most revenue, even should the world start spinning in the opposite direction; but naturally I am also trying to pick up some cash by means of “lesser” publications; this is something you must be aware of, and indeed be sympathetic to.  And among these lesser publications are included whatever I happen to publish under the auspices of the edition, my favorite flock of books next to the Bibliothek.  And the validity of this notion of mine is apparent from the fact that in 1965 you gracefully remitted to me a pre-stipulated royalty of DM 3,000; I have the receipt here; there were 3,000 (three thousand!!!) of them, and they were remitted to me in December of ’65.  A felicitous constellation.
Should, I now ask myself, what was fair in 1965 no longer be fair in 1968?  Am I now, when, as you know, everything is more expensive than it was back then, supposed to receive less money for a work of superior quality to my previous ones (for I have indeed improved, as you yourself imply in your letter)?  That would be an insupportable absurdity.
Because, after all, as you write, one must abide by reality.  I abide by reality as a single eminently tangible lump.
And so I am asking you to remit to me within the next week the three thousand for Ungenach, which is worth more money than Amras (for this is after all nothing but a business letter!), at the address from which I am writing.  The whole entire amount, with no taxes taken out, because I am now obliged to pay my taxes in Vienna.  If you are unwilling or unable to accept my proposal, I am likewise unwilling, i.e., unable to allow Ungenach to be issued in the edition series, because whether Ungenach is published or not can have no effect on what you yourself, in your letter, term my “illustrious name.”
I say this because at no point in your letter of the 15th do you address the pressing question of what is to be done about Ungenach.
I should like to remind you that you yourself accepted Ungenach at a price of 3,000, as I know for a fact.  So fetch forth that sum at once.  I find this all terribly embarrassing, etc.  Otherwise I am working well and still never letting anything put me off from my work.
The concept of patience is one of those with which I am most intimately familiar.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 49
Frankfurt am Main
July 24, 1968
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I can only imagine what future adepts of the history of literature and publishing will say about our correspondence.  Suaviter in re, fortiter in modo.
The gist of my letter was centered entirely on a single issue: your having asserted that Insel Publications was “responsible” for the book’s poor sales.  Not only authors, but also publishers, have feelings and allergies, and mine tend to flare up at this specific issue.  Whence my focus on this matter, as well as my not mentioning the problem of the honorarium for Ungenach.
It is not true that I had offered you DM 3,000 for the inclusion of Ungenach in edition suhrkamp.  That is simply incorrect; you cannot substantiate what you have written.  When this problem was brought to my attention, I consulted the statistics.  I have already given you an idea of how the two books (Amras and Prose) have been selling in the “es.”  In precise terms: by the end April 4,816 copies of Amras had been sold; so by now roughly 5,000 will have been (5,000 x DM .20 per copy = DM 1,000).  By the end of April we had sold 4,996 copies of Prose, by now roughly 5,200 copies (5,200 X DM .20 per copy = 1,040).  It is with reference to these factual figures that I must calibrate the offered honorarium.  How am I supposed to decide whether one text is better than another?  Perhaps by weighing Wittgenstein against Waldmann, Brecht against Hacks, Beckett against Christian Grote.  That obviously does not work; whence the uniform honorarium.
But we must now make a decision.  You have the galley proofs of Ungenach.  Its publication has already been announced, and it is due to appear in September.  As I am fond of the text and have a high regard for its author and I would prefer to see our differences of opinion wrangled over in the filing cabinets of the firm rather than in public, I shall yield to your elegantly formulated coercion: you will receive DM 3,000 for Ungenach
immediately upon signing the enclosed contract:
provided that you sign the enclosed proposal of exemption from the deduction of taxes, I can forward you the entire amount; in the event that you do not, I shall be forced--in accordance with the laws of our country, which I cannot violate--to deduct 25% in tax.  As far as I can see, you may sign this proposal without further ado and so furnish all the documentary evidence that is required.
I hope that this question will then have been clarified for you.  In the future we shall work out such agreements before we typeset the manuscript; then we shall no longer get ourselves into such situations.
I also wanted to share a piece of very good news with you.  We intend to put out Verstörung in the BS, and specifically in the next installment of its schedule, i.e., at some point between May and October of 1969.  I know that in doing this I am fulfilling a desire of yours, and I am pleased that you will consequently be appearing in the BS.
If you are content with such an arrangement, Insel Publications will issue Suhrkamp Publications a license for the publication in the BS, and specifically for a duration of five years.  The retail price comes to DM 6.80, the honorarium for all authors to 7.5%, i.e., DM 0.51 per copy.
In accordance with our conditions, this honorarium will be divided 50/50 between Insel Publications and you.  The advance payment is DM 1,500.  Your share of the licensing fee will be applied to the amortization of your loan.  The necessary accounting adjustments will be made after the sale.
“If you are unwilling or unable to accept my proposal, I am likewise unwilling, i.e., unable to allow” Verstörung to be issued in the BS.
Please pardon my employment of your phraseology.
In your latest letter you make no further mention of the problem of the loan.  Shouldn’t we settle it now?  I would like to submit to you a proposal regarding this; in all frankness I cannot forbear bidding you to beware of my “agronomic slyness” (which you marvel at and I for my part pour scorn on, but perhaps it comes to the same thing): I would propose that we treat half the original balance, in other words DM 20,000, as options fees for future books.  This balance would therefore be non-refundable and need not be cleared by means of payments.  For the second half, in other words the remaining DM 20,000, you will give us a document of assurance authorizing Insel Publications to take over that portion of the mortgage on your house.  Let me remind you that this was your own proposal; you even wanted the entire balance to be treated as mortgage debt.  As the repayments or the honoraria that we shall apply to the loan-balance accumulate, the balances of the loan and the mortgage-portion will correspondingly diminish. 
“Nicely put,” replied Candide, “but now we must cultivate our garden.”
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
Enclosures     
          
Letter No. 50
Ohlsdorf
7.27.68
Dear Dr. Unseld,
The galley proofs for Ungenach are now on their way back to Frankfurt, and so, in the envelope containing this letter, is the contract for the book.  I am now in Ohlsdorf and my tax office is in Vienna, and so I cannot return to you the “proposal” with my signature; as you are not allowed to break the laws of your country, please immediately remit 75% of the 3,000 to me at Ohlsdorf;  I have a plumber, a roofer, and a cement- delivery man to pay; but keep the remaining 25% in reserve for me, as when I am next in Vienna, I shall head immediately for the tax office etc.1  On the whole I am quite pleased with the book.2
That Verstörung will be coming out in the Bibliothek is also a good piece of news; hence “I am willing and able” vis-à-vis Verstörung. Naturally.
At the moment I cannot make head or tail of the paragraph about the loan, probably because I am so heavily preoccupied with my work on the “novel.”  But on the whole everything looks reasonable.
On 9.24 I shall be in Darmstadt for a reading, and before or after that I shall be in Frankfurt; probably you will be in Frankfurt too and there will be an opportunity to have a brief conversation about everything.
Nonono, I am quite happy; I am making good time in my journey and am a friend of Candide.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
The margin of this paragraph bears the following handwritten remark by a third party: “not[ed by] Accounting.”
On the same day Bernhard wrote to Günther Busch: “Your revisions are sound; I have made a couple of additional ones, along with two or three trifling  ‘retrogressive’ changes.  I am very much looking forward to the published book, and please send it to me as soon as it is finished.  I have a special request to make with regard to the biographical sketch, which has always made me sick to my stomach.  I would like the sketch to consist of nothing but the following: ‘Thomas Bernhard, born on February 10, 1931 in Heerlen, Holland, lives in Ohlsdorf, Upper Austria.’  full stop, done.  Nothing about an independent author (in the sketch in Prose, I’m called an “author”) etc.; all that stuff is revolting and uninteresting.”       
Letter No. 51
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
July 29, 1968
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I thank you for your letter of July 27, and I am pleased that even if we are not in perfect agreement, we have at least ironed out our disagreements somewhat.
I would really like to clarify further the whole business about the loan.  Did I really express myself so murkily?  The amount of the loan comes to DM 40,000.  We are splitting it between
DM 20,000.  You will sign over part of your mortgage as security for this sum.  You will be legally obliged to pay it off, either via accumulated honoraria or some other source;
DM 20,000. This sum is to be paid off with advances on your future books.  If we extrapolate from a figure of DM 3,000, the upshot would be our applying the advances of at least your next six books to this balance.  Practically speaking it would mean that you would no longer be obliged to make any payments towards the amortization of this DM 20,000 but that each of your future books would be encumbered with a fixed advance of DM 3,000.
This year’s book fair will take place between the 19th and 24th of September.  We therefore can certainly see each other before the 24th, albeit only briefly, and I am bound to be in a book fair-distracted condition throughout the meeting.  After the 24th I am planning to go out of town for four or five days of vacation. 
Yours
with friendly regards and best wishes for your work,
Siegfried Unseld     
Letter No. 52
[Address: (Ohlsdorf): circular letter to authors; Suhrkamp Publications stationery]
Frankfurt am Main
August 24, 1968
Dear Friends,
Günter Grass, Max Frisch, and Peter Bischel have (in the presence of Pavel Kohout) written the enclosed appeal.  They request your signature.  We wish to reach a large circle with this appeal.  Accordingly, upon the publication of the appeal we plan to extend the request for signature to the general public.
Please give your consent to signature by telephone or telegram no later than Monday morning.
Telephone: Frankfurt 0611 / 72 08 81 through 83
Telegram: Suhrkamppublications Frankfurtmain
Publication is to follow on Tuesday, when we shall also announce the address to which the additional signatures are to be sent.
With friendly regards,
Dr. Siegfried Unseld 
  
[Enclosure1]
The enclosure mentioned in the letter has not survived in Thomas Bernhard’s case; Uwe Johnson held on to his copy.  It is the text of an appeal in protest of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by troops of the Warsaw Pact (minus Romania) on August 20, 1968.  (The appeal appears on pp. 515ff. of Uwe Johnson-Siegfried Unseld. Der Briefwechsel.)  The text was published with the signatures of 35 authors in the August 30, 1968 number of Die Zeit.  Bernhard’s name appears alongside those of, inter alia, Theodor W. Adorno, Max Frisch, Uwe Johnson, Günter Grass, and Siegfried Unseld.
Letter No. 53
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
September 3, 1968
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Ungenach has been issued.  I am very happy about this.  We printed a run of 7,000 copies; the retail price is DM 3, and your honorarium is DM .20 per copy.  The guarantee honorarium for 15,000 copies, DM 3,000, you have already received.1
Twenty complimentary copies are available to you on demand.  I am sending you one copy in advance.
Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld 
Ungenach was delivered to the bookstores on August 29, 1968 as Volume 279 of edition suhrkamp.  With the publication of Ungenach, Bernhard became a Suhrkamp Publications author.  Accordingly from this date onwards Unseld’s letters to him were surmounted by the letterhead of Suhrkamp Publications.  Exceptions to this policy will be noted. 
Letter No. 54
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
October 21, 1968
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I feel that it is my duty to apprise you of certain conversations that have taken place here at the firm.  Please accordingly excuse my ambushing you with these sheets.
Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld
[Enclosures1]
The letter contains eight enclosures of several pages each: letters, newspaper cuttings, and memoranda--all numbered by a third party--about the “readers’ revolt” at Suhrkamp and Insel Publications.  The revolt took place in the context of the at times-violent clashes that erupted during the Frankfurt Book Fair (September 19-24), clashes between the extra-parliamentary opposition (especially the Socialist German Students’ Association [SDS]) and the fair’s management (who called the police to their aid).  Unseld assumed the role of mediator between the two fronts (which also formed within the German Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Association).  On September 27, nine readers of Suhrkamp and Insel Publications (Annaliese Botond among them) wrote a letter to Unseld in which they criticized his behavior during the book fair on the grounds that it had gone against the grain of the principles championed in the books published by the two firms.  In response to this behavior they proposed a constitution for the editorial offices (Enclosure 1).  This constitution, conceived as a trial version of a “constitution for the democratic government of both firms in their entirety,” stipulated that the publication schedule was to be determined by majority vote (Unseld was to get one vote; only in cases of a tie would a single vote have determinative force), and was adopted (Enclosure 2).  On the afternoon of October 14, Unseld held a meeting to which he had invited authors, readers, and other staff.  The outcome of this meeting were an aide-mémoire (Enclosure 6) and a news release (Enclosure 4), both written from the point of view of the readers.  The two documents were published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of October 16 (Enclosure 5).  Unseld disputed the accuracy of the documents’ representation of the October 14 meeting in a memorandum on the subject of the aide-mémoire (Enclosure 7).  Finally, Unseld offered to help the readers Walter Boelich, Günther Busch, and Karl Markus Michel to establish a new publishing firm of their own.  The three of them rejected this offer.  Enclosure 3 has not survived: to judge by a similar letter to Uwe Johnson it was probably an article by Jürgen Serke entitled “The World’s Greatest Book Market Saved at the Last Minute.” The texts of the complete group of enclosures were printed in pp. 1137-1148 of Uwe Johnson-Siegfried Unseld. Der Briefwechsel.  The envelope of the letter mailed to Bernhard also contained a copy of an October 21, 1968 letter to Enrst Bloch in which Unseld expressed his attitude to the readers’ revolt. (This letter was printed in pp. 171-178 of “Ich bitte ein Wort…” [“May I have a word with you…”].  Der Briefwechsel Wolfgang Koeppen-Siegfried Unseld.)  At the end of 1968 the readers Walter Boehlich, Klaus Reichert, Peter Urban, and Urs Widmer quit the firm.   Karlheinz Braun founded the Verlag den Autoren [Authors’ Publishing Firm] in 1969; at the end of 1970 Anneliese Botond left the firm.
Letter No. 55
Ohlsdorf
12.16.68
Dear Siegfried Unseld, Doctor and Publisher,
I cannot come to St. Anton and hence also cannot come to your holiday domicile, because my novel is engrossing me completely, engrossing the whole of my attention.
As I hear absolutely nothing from the firm and couldn’t care less about not hearing from it, I haven’t the faintest idea of what sorts of ghosts--literary, political, etc.--it is preoccupying itself with at the moment; and yet on their account I have received today from the revenue office a request for payment of upwards of 57,000 Austrian schillings by January 15, 1969.  This event has quite literally shaken me, because I am in rare form indeed right now, am I not?, but I have no desire to go to prison, as I am so productively preoccupied in my own private jail cell already.  And I also have no desire to show my head outside my house-and-farm.  And so I ask you: what is to be done???
The reasons for my being obliged to pay such a sum are well past sorting out by any means.
But I am also no longer interested in accepting an advance for a new work--i.e., my Poems.
My proposal is this, and “in view of” the fact that I am an industrious individual, I think that both you and I will find it acceptable: that every nine months--i.e., three-quarters of a year--I shall produce for you a work in printable form--in other words, attend to its proofreading, etcetera--for a “salary” of DM 1,000 a month, to be paid in advance.
I can’t think of any other way of extricating myself from the muck I am now immersed in.
I am awaiting your honest reply in this matter; without it I shall be genuinely ill at ease.
But right now I cannot afford to be ill at ease, because I have to finish my work, to finish the novel in March or April, and the novellas in June, July (in accordance with my agreement with Mr. Busch) etc.
I have definitively and pointedly turned down a proposal for a film adaptation of Verstörung, along with a heap of money, even though a screenplay has already been written, cameramen already hired, locations already secured, etc., because I cannot help feeling that to film an adaptation of this book, which in its definitive form exists exclusively on paper, would be an exercise in nonsensicality. 
Hence I am asking  you to uphold my reputation rather for good than for bad behavior.
I would like Mr. Braun to tell me what is going on with my play; the printed books should have been ready well over a month ago; I have heard nothing; I have seen nothing. 
I know that “literary composition” is also an exercise in nonsensicality, but it is and remains my favorite exercise in nonsensicality.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 56
Frankfurt am Main
December 19, 1968
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
You have written me the most dexterous and refined letter ever sent to me by any author.  My compliments.
I have spoken with a specialist in Austrian tax liability.  There is certainly no danger of your ending up in debtors’ prison if you fail to pay the requested amount.  I would strongly advise your hiring a tax accountant immediately.  Have you not had one until now?  A tax accountant will explain to the Austrian authorities that at the moment you are in no position to pay the entire sum but that you are willing to pay it in principle, meaning that you will remit a portion of it to them by a certain date, and the rest in quarterly installments.  A good tax accountant will see all that through.  I shall be happy to remit to you a sum of DM 2,000 by January 15 so that you can make this first payment, and I shall deduct this sum from your future royalties for A Party for Boris.  I think the play has a good chance of being a success, not only at the Burgtheater but also elsewhere, and we will champion it energetically.
Proofreading is of course a job in itself.  The readers would presumably not look with a kind eye upon such competition.
Aren’t you overrating the cinematic profession a bit?  I can easily imagine a film adaptation of Verstörung that wouldn’t do the slightest harm to the book.
By the way, the drama division received the four-part copies two days ago, and they have certainly already forwarded them to you.  At all events, I have received a copy, and as of this writing I consider A Party for Boris a great play that you have brought off quite successfully.
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld
1969
Letter No. 57
Ohlsdorf
1.2.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I thank you for your letter, apropos of which: for years I have had an extremely good Viennese tax accountant, and in point of fact the good--nay, excellent--man submitted an installment payment schedule for my taxes quite some time ago, but the approval of it is taking for ever.  Should the schedule be authorized, as I naturally expect it will be, the old rate of DM 2,000 will still be too small, and I shall have to have DM 3,000 ready to hand on the 15th.
I believe you can painlessly resolve to bump up the price of my play from two thousand to three thousand.
Please send your reply on this matter to this address.
Please also see to it, have it seen to, etc., that the transfer of the money allows me to have it physically in my hands on January 15, 1969; otherwise I shall have to pay a substantial fine and the cry of the cuckoo will spoil my farm.
Yours very sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 58
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
January 8, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
You will have three thousand marks on January 15.1
Sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
On the firm’s file copy there is a typewritten note reading: “The DM 3,000 are an advance on royalties from the play A Party for Boris.”  On the verso of the original is the following list in Bernhard’s handwriting: “22nd Cologne / 23rd Bielefeld / 24th Berlin / 25th Hanover / on the 24th a plane ticket from Hanover to Berlin--& (25th) back! / 26th Hamburg etc.” 
Letter No. 59
Ohlsdorf
1.12.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Thank you for your initiative!
In October, I do not wish, as per my promise to Mr. Busch, to publish a collection of self-contained novellas like Prose, but rather a single prose piece of about the same length as Ungenach, a piece entitled Watten (a card game).  (edition).
The question of whether it is wise to issue the novel, which is engrossing my present vital forces, later this year after the play, the novella, and Verstörung in the BS, about which I am especially delighted and naturally I am delighted about the lot, I must answer on my own behalf with a resounding no.   
I must take this opportunity to tell you that I recently gave an old friend of mine, a “fantastic realist” from Vienna, three short prose pieces that we decided not to publish  under the imprint of the firm some time ago, for a bibliophilic collection of his sketches to be published by Residenz Publications; I hope it finds some slight smattering of attention, which it deserves.1
In sum I am asking you to reserve October for the release of Watten, to get me out of this horrible cloud of uncertainty about Boris, to encircle Verstörung about the waist with one of your lovely black belts, and to “purge” yourself of any impulse to contest the publication of the novel--which, if I don’t suddenly croak, I shall undoubtedly have finished by the end of this new year--in ’70 at the earliest.  I am haunted by a vision of my works devouring each other in ’69 with nothing but a stupid, hamstrung author surviving as leftovers.
Yours very sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S.. What is with this From Transcribed Dreams thing?  Is it some kind of sudden flash of fancy of yours that you forgot about in just as sudden a flash, or a ghastly reality?
In 1969 Residenz Publications published Bernhard’s book An der Baumgrenze.  Erzählungen.  Zeichnungen von Anton Lehmden [At the Timberline.  Novellas.  Sketches by Anton Lehmden].  It contained “At the Timberline,” the title story, and “Der Kulterer,” as well as “Der Italiener.  Ein Fragment” [“The Italian.  A Fragment”].  “An der Baumgrenze” was first published in Jahresring [Growth Ring] 67/68, Stuttgart, pp. 46-52, “Der Kulterer” (under the title “Der Briefträger” [“The Postman”]) in Neunzehn deutsche Erzählungen [Nineteen German Novellas], Munich 1963, pp. 65-87, Der Italiener in Insel Almanach auf das Jahr 1965 [1965 Insel Almanac], pp. 83-93.  During a 1969 meeting in Ohlsdorf, Bernhard wrote “I won’t be unfaithful again!” as a dedication in a copy of the Residenz collection that he gave to Unseld.  (For the text and context of “An der Baumgrenze” see Vol. 14, pp. 99-107 and 543-556 of Bernhard’s Works; for “Der Kulterer” and “Der Italiener,” Works, Vol. 11, pp. 356-371.)
Bernhard--Inscription for Unseld.jpg
Thomas Bernhard’s dedication to Siegfried Unseld in the 1969 Residenz Publications collection of novellas At the Timberline: “I won’t be unfaithful again!”
Letter No. 60
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
January 23, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Thanks very much for your letter of January 12.  I am bedridden and spellbound by a recrudescence of the flu, and so I can regard the world from the perspective of a visiological |dictated: misological| invalid…
We will be happy to reserve a number in the edition for Watten (for November).  October has already been settled on and made public; the new schedule begins in November 1969.  I am very pleased that we will be able to publish this text in the edition.
All the same, my dear Bernhard, we really should not let that deter us from publishing your novel on time in the fall.   Admittedly the important question is whether you are finished with it.  I don’t think that we are dealing with an incommodious backlog here; quite the opposite, and I really must ask you to trust my experience in this matter at least for once.  The two publication events will actually bolster each other, especially if we can achieve or at least schedule a good premiere for Boris beforehand.  Perhaps we can then concentratedly bring about our desired breakthrough.
And there is another thing to be considered: both novels that had been slated to appear in the fall, Johnson’s and Grass’s, will most likely not be ready by then.1  There will hardly be anything coming out.  You would be standing alone if you could bring forward a novel then.  That would be an incomparable situation.  And after all it would be your situation: that of a productive writer, while your colleagues are of course sinking ever deeper into hypertrophic scepticism.
On the train I recently ran into the theatrical director Hans Hollmann and told him about Boris.  He was ablaze with enthusiasm about it and incredibly eager to stage it.  We will see how it pans out.
With friendly regards
|your perturbed1a| Unseld
The first volume of Johnson’s Jahrestage [Anniversaries] appeared in September 1970.
1a. “Perturbed” in the original German is “verstörter,” presumably in wry tribute to Bernhard’s Verstörung [DR].
Letter No. 61
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February 3, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard
The news that Dr. Braun has quit Suhrkamp Publications has surely reached you by now.  As far as I am concerned I made a sincere attempt to persuade him to stay on, and in extensive conversations Günther Busch, Karl Markus Michel, and Martin Walser have made the same attempt.  But Dr. Braun stuck to his decision even though he assured me that in all his years here he had managed to carry through all his projects in complete independence and without encountering any interference whatsoever from me.
This event has put me into a difficult position.  My complete confidence in Dr. Braun’s work and and my attendant delegation to him of all responsibilities is turning out to be a kind of boomerang, because it may make it look as though I didn’t care much about the development of the theatrical publications division or, for that matter, about its relations with the authors of the theatrical publications division.  That is not the case, but the theatrical publications division was very much Dr. Braun’s bailiwick.  Hence I am especially keen to emphasize to you that I am going to exert the greatest imaginable effort to insure that the theatrical publications division of Suhrkamp continues to develop in the direction that it has been developing in over the past few years.  Administrative continuity will be guaranteed by the presence of Ms. Bothe, who has been at her post for several years.  Martin Walser has already declared himself willing to assume interim leadership of the division.  This is a temporary arrangement that will allow us to look for a successor at our leisure and afford this successor an opportunity to learn the ropes.  It goes without saying that we have resolved that Dr. Braun’s official successor will be a man who enjoys the unqualified trust of the division’s authors.
It is, my dear Mr. Bernhard, a decidedly absurd series of events.  I cannot make head or tail of Dr. Braun’s motives.  But you may rest assured that we will do everything in our power to press on impassively with our work, and all of us--especially including myself--will champion your play, along with those that hopefully will follow it, with great alacrity and passion.
Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 62
Ohlsdorf
2.5.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I have such a cheerful attitude to work right now that not even the greatest of all absurdities is capable of razing me to the ground.  If there is anything I believe in at all, given that one cannot believe in anything, it is a cool head.
In Germany there is an outbreak of headlessness, an illness that  has always been in the process of being healed.
Deadly seriousness is roaming through Germany, but it is ridiculous.  I have not the flimsiest reason for leaving the firm, in which I have so far always, in the teeth of the most natural resistance, gotten my way, and in which I shall continue to get my way in the future.
Admittedly, I must now produce a bigger blockbuster.
Yours,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 63
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February 10, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I thank you for your letter of February 5.  Last Saturday Dr. Braun and a few authors from the theatrical publications division (Handke, Sperr, Reinshagen, Ziem, Runge, etc.) decided to found a new firm, Braun Dramatic Publications.  I have no idea how this will work out in detail.  But the new firm will not be able to do anything radically differently, and I can hardly imagine that it will manage to garner its authors any more money through profit-sharing.  Indeed, I fear the contrary.  I myself am naturally only sorry to be losing the performance rights for Handke’s works.  He came to see me and explained himself at great length.  He himself sees the whole thing as a kind of “game”; ho-hum.1
Don’t you doubt for an instant that we will work as hard as we can on Boris’s behalf.
Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld
                
On February 17, 1969, under the headline “Authors’ Publishing Firm.  A Broken Leg,” Der Spiegel reported: “During the first Suhrkamp crisis [see Letter No. 54] last fall, when the readers Boehlich, Widmer, and Urban resigned [...], Braun worked out a compromise with Unseld.  But the new ‘editorial office council’ that was supposed to democratize all of the firm’s important decisions ended up not producing in practice any of the results that its formation had been intended to achieve.  When in an interview with Christ und Welt Unseld gleefully announced that everything at his firm was the same as it always had been, the disillusioned Braun took the logical next step: he asked to be let go.”  On February 8, 1969 Peter Handke, Hartmut Lange, Gerlind Reinshagen, Martin Sperr, Dieter Waldmann, Konrad Wünsche, Joachim Ziem (all of whose plays had until then been distributed by Suhrkamp Dramatic Publications), as well as Bazon Brock, Wolfgang Deichsel, Günter Herburger, and Erika Runge, met in Frankfurt and resolved to found the first German publication firm organized as a cooperative.  Karlheinz Braun and Wolfgang Wiens formulated a “Constitution of the Authors’ Publishing Firm”: “The ‘Authors’ Publishing Firm’ has been founded by its authors; it is the property of its members.  The membership is comprised by the authors and the employees of the firm.  The members govern the firm.  (The producers are all working on their own behalf, under their own supervision, for the sake of lining their own pockets.)  At the Authors’ Publishing Firm there is no ‘publisher.’  The business affairs of the firm are conducted by ‘delegates’ who are elected by the members every three years. [...]  As at every other publishing firm, the authors receive their royalties; the delegates and employees receive their salaries.  In addition, the profits of the firm are distributed among its members” (Das Buch vom Verlag der Autoren [The Book of the Authors’ Publishing Firm], pp. 19ff.).  On April 1, 1969, the firm began its operations as a limited liability corporation and partnership.         
Letter No. 64
[Address: Ohlsdorf; Telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
March 14, 1969
have just signed contract with deutsche schauspielhaus we are wishing for a successful stage production.1
sincere regards yours siegfried unseld 
On the telegram memorandum taken down by Unseld’s secretary, Burgel Geisler, appears the following note in her handwriting: “The receiving office reports that the telegram is undeliverable because Thomas Bernhard has gone away for three weeks.  3.17.69.”  Bernhard spent March 23 through 24, 1969 in Lovran with Hedwig Stavianicek.   
Letter No. 65
Opatija/Yugoslavia
Hotel Atlantik
3.4.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Dr. Botond (this is the place for all sorts of abstract nouns attesting to the inestimable quality of this woman as an institution, but I shall refrain from including them, because for me praise couched in absolute, categorical terms is the most abominable kind there is) writes that you had the intention of visiting me in Ohlsdorf around April 1.1  As I do not regard the proposed visit as an April Fool’s joke but rather as an utterly extraordinary and and a superlatively ideally encouraging event and I am also looking forward to it, the fact that I am not at Ohlsdorf at the present time is direly awful.  Although admittedly not all that awful, when you consider that I have fled with the novel on my back to the seaside and that here in the most miserable weather and alongside naked coastal rocks and in the splendid salt air I have discovered the best conditions for the continuation and completion of the novel.
In concrete terms: I hope I shall have decisively “killed” the novel by the end of May.  It is of course always a matter of slaying a monster.  Because then it will lie still.  I am quite plantlessly delighted that my Boris will be taking to the stage in Hamburg.  I wish you peace at the firm.  Concentration on the books.
But of course soon you will once again be travelling to the mountains of Bavaria, and from there it will be just a stone’s throw to me.  I am looking forward to it.
Perhaps you can find some good news for me and write it up send it to me here; that would, I think, be a good idea.  If there is no good news for me, please make some up.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
On March 1, 1969, Anneliese Botond wrote to Bernhard: “[...] yesterday we had a farewell party for Braun; beginning next week he will be residing at his own publishing house.  The last thing he did here was secure the Hamburg premiere of A Party for Boris  [...] Unseld has instructed me to tell you that he could (would like to) visit you at Ohlsdorf around April 1 and that he would then very much like to pick up the manuscript of the novel (but will he be able to?).” 

Letter No. 66
Frankfurt am Main
March 21, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your letter of March 14.  When I signed the contract with Hamburg on Friday, 3.14, I sent you a telegram, but it was returned as undeliverable.  So now I have your address, and I would very much like to wish you good speed in carrying on your work.  Naturally I would have liked to see you on April 1.  But it is really more important for you to be able to work and write.  Anyway, it really does seem to me that this is the most important thing: to engage in productive work.  Let us leave the chattering and gossipping to other people.
I can certainly also arrange to visit you in June or July.
This is the excellent news: that Thomas Bernhard is working, and his publishing firm is calmly awaiting the product of his labor in order to bring it to full fruition.
sincere regards
--and bathe assiduously--
Yours,
Siegfried Unseld   
Letter No. 67
[Telegram]
Vienna
3.26.69
am in vienna = thomas bernhard
Letter No. 68
Ohlsdorf
4.9.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
More than fourteen days ago I wrote to the accounting department asking them very politely, supplicatingly, to send me my account statements for ’68 as promptly as possible, i.e., immediately, because I need them at the moment; so far I have received no reply and I am writing directly to you because my tax accountant has now set me a firm deadline of 4.14, and I don’t want there to be any hideous hassles.  I cannot (my letter was an express letter, by the way!) comment on the abominableness with which I am being left in the lurch.  It is bad enough that I am fighting a running battle with the finance ministry, and I have no intention of fighting another one with your accounting department.
P. S. from the author: I have finished the novel, but it is not going to appear until next year; I have no intention of cutting away the gangplank underneath my own feet with madcap impulsiveness and at the stupidest possible moment--in other words cutting it all away at once.  My schedule is shaping up as follows, and it craves the endorsement of my publisher:
In October: Watten, a novella, roughly about as long as Amras in the edition
In the winter I would like to ask you to print Boris in the edition,
Early next year, also in the edition, a volume of prose pieces, comparable to Prose
Then, regardless of whether the play is a success or a flop--I am bracing myself for both possibilities; neither of them will affect or disturb me, and either will be quickly forgotten afterwards--the novel will appear in the fall of ’70.
It horrifies me to reflect on how completely Verstörung fizzled out; you know of course that it has vanished without a ripple along with all your fantastic reviews etc., owing to inattention.
This is not an accusation, and yet it is one, but one directed solely at my debt to the firm, which I shall never be able to pay off by such means as I expended on Verstörung.  But what I need is independence of a financial nature, a clearing away of the debt; but towards this end something must be done; if I simply work and every now and then am forced to “beg” for some ridiculous advance, the publication of each book will be an event of no interest to me.  To have a well-made book in my hands for one glorious moment, which reaches, lasts, two or three days if I’m lucky--is this all that the gross output of my brain is to amount to as far as I am concerned?  Here I am at a loss for the appropriate words.  But have the appropriate words ever occurred to a writer at the appropriate juncture?  No, never.  All words of all writers, in every single expression of their (these two’s) perplexity, are ill-timed.
I am taking care not to espouse a single further slogan.
I salute you; I am happily
Yours,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 69
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
April 17, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Your letter of April 9 reached me yesterday, 4.16.  I don’t know why it took so long.  You will receive the financial statement this week, meaning that it will be mailed from here before the end of this week.  Until now this unfortunately could not be done.  In the second half of this year we plan to import our accounts for Insel into our electronic data processing system.  I hope this business will take less time then.
Every revenue authority in the world is equipped to deal with cases like yours through hourly and monthly installments.  So that must be possible.
If only you could finally stop griping about what has happened to Verstörung.  I in turn could of course keep telling you that because you chose that title despite my opposition to it, the book will never be a success, at least not a “commercial” success.  You have of course received plenty of literary accolades, and what is more, the publication of the book in the BS is coming up in August.  I can’t do anything more for you in this case.
Watten is definitively slated to appear in the es (as Volume 353) in November.  We cannot firmly add A Party for Boris to the November ’69-April ’70 scheduling block, because the date of the premiere has not yet been established, and of course it is out of the question to publish the text before the premiere.  This, then, is what we have done: we have added the play (as Volume 390) to the schedule for May of ’70.  From there, depending on the date of the premiere, we may be able to bring the play’s publication date forward.
I am pleased to learn that we will have another prose text available for publication in the edition in early summer.  I shall be happy to bring it out then.  Then we will unhurriedly prepare the novel for publication in fall of 1970.  It will be very agreeable to me if we have the manuscript in January or February of ’70.
Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 70
Ohlsdorf
5.11.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I am in such a good mood that I simply have to write to you; don’t bother searching for the reason; I don’t know what it is myself.  And then I’m getting the feeling that I possibly put you out with my importunate letter.  But right now I have no use for putting people out.
But sometimes it is simply the process of tidying up that degrades the typewriter into a producer of uncouth verbiage.
I am walking around with a play in my head and it would be lovely if I could make ends meet until the premiere in Hamburg without succumbing to the influence of the monkeys at the newspapers.
Moreover you have expressed a potential wish to come here at some point; I extend to you the warmest invitation to do so; that is all.
I am looking forward to the Bibliothek. (Verstörung.)
At bottom I am no money-grubber.
But of course you know that.
On the whole I couldn’t care less about money, as long as I have all the necessities.  Anything more than that I have no need of, and it is actually a burden to me.  I need peace and quiet; I have peace and quiet.  (A nursery rhyme and a nursing-home rhyme.)  Your publishing firm is the finest of all and I hope it will once again be nothing but a publishing firm.
It is so very senseless to snivel, but I am not snivelling, but merely pouring scorn.  And sneering at myself.
If there are any more books by Georg Forster apart from the first one, I would really like to receive it (them).
And other books; I am the most presumptuous person in the world, as you also know.
Our joint timetable naturally remains in place.
You know that I like to live, like to travel, like to eat well and love nothing else other than good writers.  This is why I have so little love in my heart.
I have been quite enthusiastic about Kropotkin!!!1  Only stinking mice are writing nowadays; literature is being nibbled away.  Ugh. Yuck.
And I still don’t know why I am writing to you today.  There are no extrinsic reasons.
And the next time you write to me, please do so “sincerely” once again and not “with friendly regards,” which I abhor from the very depths of my soul.
Yours from the very depths of his soul,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. My reader A.B. is the post to which I am glad to tether my sheep, the entirety of my authorial vocation.
P.P.S.  For the most part, our literature, including even much of what you produce--I’m hanging myself high as can be right in front of you--is an infinitely extensive corpse devoid of both philosophy and poetry not to mention the slightest hint of good taste or intelligence.
(You needn’t sign this!)
Thomas Bernhard’s surviving library contains the Insel Publications 1969 edition of Max Panwitz’s authorized 1889 translation of Peter Kropotkin’s Memoirs of a Revolutionist.  The text figures prominently in the novel The Lime Works--which Bernhard was working on at the time of this letter--as a favorite book of its central character, Konrad.  Kropotkin’s name appears  in the novel 76 times, in places originally occupied by Lermontov’s  (see Volume 3 of Bernhard’s Works, and pp. 238ff. of that volume in particular). 
Letter No. 71
Frankfurt am Main
May 21, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard
Thank you very much for your letter of May 11.  I would really like to come and see you now, to visit you and talk with you and even do some other enjoyable things there; of course I now know what your estate looks like thanks to my television screen.  But at the moment I cannot get away from my desk.  At the beginning of June the sales representatives will be here at the firm, and we are all up to our necks in preparations for their presence.  After that I have to go out of town for a bit, but then, in the second half of June, I shall be somewhat freer.  Perhaps we can see each other sometime in early summer.  Or would you rather come to Frankfurt?  If that appeals to you, let me know so that we can settle on a date that will be agreeable to us both.  There is a second volume of Forster that we have brought out; I shall be happy to have it sent to you.1 Otherwise, literature, philosophy, and poetry are in a bad way.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Georg Forster: Werke I-IV: Band I: Reise um Welt [Voyage round the World], edited by Gerhard Steiner, was published in 1967; Band II: Ansichten vom Niederrhein und andere Schriften [Views of the Lower Rhine and Other Writings] was published by Insel in 1968.  In the margin of this paragraph in the firm’s file copy the word “done” appears in Burgel Geisler’s handwriting.   
Letter No. 72
Ohlsdorf
6.23.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
A two-day, pre-July 20 excursion to Frankfurt--because I believe I must at some point once again see my publisher face-to-face, and also see his new building, the readers, etc.--would be good for me; I would arrive in Frankfurt on the 17th and depart on the evening of the 19th, provided that the firm allows me to travel entirely at its own cost; I myself have no money to spare for a jaunt of this sort.
I think it is better to talk than to correspond, because in people’s correspondences misunderstandings have been intersecting for millennia, as you know very well.
What is going on with Boris etcetera and in general.
Today I found myself wondering whether it would be possible for the firm to have the long-deceased Frost resurrected in some useful form.  For years the book has been a corpse, a fate that it does not deserve, etc.  This year a young man is writing a dissertation on my work, and I have received from him a marvelous work on Ungenach, the foundation or starting point of his dissertation, a successful seminar paper.  A female doctoral candidate at the uni in Vienna is writing a dissertation on The Concept of the World of the Theater in Thomas Bernhard’s “Verstörung.”  And yesterday evening on the radio, which I seldom turn on, I heard an hour-long discussion in which almost nothing but Frost was talked about and in which several university professors ended up arguing over who was more knowledgeable, Homer or Thomas Bernhard.  |Drivel.|
I am of course delighted about all this, and it is also very nice to be be here and to have nothing to worry about other than the book nearest within my reach, namely Watten.
I shall bring Watten with me.
It is unconditionally necessary for me to come to Frankfurt, because a series of obscurities must be clarified, to the extent that they are amenable to clarification.
And I would also like to ask you now and once and for all to consider whether it would be possible at around wintertime for me to take a trip to America at no expense to myself.  November, December would be the right time for such a trip.
I am very happy
sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard 
Letter No. 73     
Ohlsdorf
7.1.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I am gathering momentum and a trip to Germany is out of the question; I am also crossing out the wish to go to America that I indicated in my last letter.
Is Basel going to put on Boris?
I intend to have my new play finished when the first one is published.
For half a year I have managed to pit my wits against the tax office to good effect; but I am now at their end, and so I must ask you to send me the 3,000 marks; I find it difficult to use the word express, but if it is possible please send it by the end of this week!!  (Three thousand.)
You write that you would be happy to take a trip here during the summer; you are welcome at any time; you know that.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 74
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
July 2, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
You are quite right about epistolary correspondence and its verbal immobilization of many difficulties.  But I shall be very happy to see you, and I do believe we have a few obvious and not-so-obvious things to discuss.
I am therefore quite happy with the idea of your coming to Frankfurt at the firm’s expense on July 17.  Will you be spending the night with us?  I myself will be going away on July 19, and so I particularly welcome the prospect of a conversation on those two days, the 17th and the 18th.
So, everything viva voce henceforth.
signed
Siegfried Unseld
Dictated in absentia
to Burgel Geisler
Letter No. 75
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
July 8, 1969
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I am poring over your letter of July 1 and pondering its contents.  When are we ever going to eliminate the tiresome wrangling over financial matters from our correspondence and relationship?  Of course you are hardly posing me a problem, but you know that even numbers speak a language.  Insel Publications lent you DM 25,000.  It has advanced you honoraria totalling DM 32,000; additional credits totalling
DM 24,000 have also been remitted.  Thus there remains an unpaid balance of
DM 8,000.
Suhrkamp Publications remitted to you an advance of DM 3,000 for Boris and a guarantee honorarium of DM 2,000 for Ungenach.  That amounts to a grand total of DM 38,000 which is hardly a trivial sum.  I really deserve some sort of acknowledgment beyond your persistent animadversion, which I seem to draw upon myself for God knows what reason.1 
You also know that I value your works.  Admittedly you do not know how very highly I value you.  We shall continue working as we have done to disseminate your books.  That will be difficult, but we are not giving up and never will give up trying.  We have devised something special for Verstörung.  This is going to be a supplement that will afford an interesting mirror of the criticism of the book, and we shall also disseminate this supplement very vigorously.  Furthermore, we are planning a book for the “es,” On Thomas Bernhard, which will be edited by Ms. Botond.  It is expected to consist of some important essays about you along with a concluding bibliography.  This book will, I hope, do you a great deal of good; and what is more, you are seen in good company here, alongside Frisch, Eich, Walser, etc.  As you can see, a few good things are happening, and you would really do well to acknowledge this too.
But now apropos of your latest request: I can issue you DM 3,000 as an advance on the honorarium for your new book, but not all at once; rather, in monthly sums of
DM 1,000.  This is slightly connected to our financial situation, which at present is not particularly rosy.  In any case, revenue authorities are generally quite happy when any money at all comes in.
When will we be receiving the manuscript of Watten?  When do you think you will be able to finish the manuscript of the new novel?  I have a special plan in mind for it that I shall wait until then to write to you about.
Yours
with best regards
Siegfried Unseld
1.   Unseld drew his figures from a statement of accounts for honoraria dated July 4, 1969: “Mr. Thomas Bernhard was credited the following sums from 1962 through 1968.”  The precise grand total of the payments from Insel Publications through December 31, 1968 came to DM 32,282 (DM 24,000 as payments on account; DM 7,782 for Frost plus DM 500 as an advance for Frost), the credits based on honoraria to DM 24,208 (DM 2,078 for Amras, DM 7,041 for Verstörung, DM 14,248 for Frost, DM 408 for Prose, and DM 433 for Ungenach.  A total of DM 6,035 was still owed to Suhrkamp Publications (A DM 3,000 advance for A Party for Boris, a DM 407 uncleared advance for Prose; as well as uncleared guarantee honoraria: DM 572 in the case of Amras and DM 2,056 in that of Ungenach).
Letter No. 76
[Telegram]
Gmunden
7.24.69
request remittance of the three thousand by wire to ohlsdorf = sincerely bernhard
Letter No. 77
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
July 25, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
You did not respond to my proposals.  And so yesterday at the instance of your telegram I had the DM 3,000 sent to you.  The preceding payments were advances on your forthcoming novel, whose manuscript you intend to submit to us at the end of the present year.  These latest DM 3,000 are therefore an advance on the work to come after the novel.
Yours
with best regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 78
Ohlsdorf
7.28.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I really can’t make head or tail of your letter of the 25th, and I am every bit as clueless about the general state of our financial arrangement; at some point that has got to be clarified viva voce by our combined brains with the help of documentation and then sorted out for good; and I hope that that some point is not to be in the all too distant future.
I thank you for your prompt remittance of the 3,000, which has put my mind at ease and saved me from a nasty mishap.  And so my doubts were unwarranted; all is well.
My constant and most ardent desire is to spurn all the moronic and bumptious but also seductive proposals of the Devil once and for all, and henceforth to cease reacting to the importunities of the vulgar journalistic and even more vulgar essayistic larger world and to preserve in safekeeping a permanent place for my own thoughts at my desk, a lifelong wildlife reservation for my perverse pleasure in writing, and hence for me alone.  I am devoting all my befuddled exertions to the attainment of this necessary condition.  And the publisher will also have to be happy to have his author whistling out of tune.
In the past few weeks a publisher whose name I can put on paper for you if you are curious to learn it has wanted to buy me “lock, stock, and barrel,” to pay off all my debts and put me on a salary for life, but I naturally have not accepted his “proposal” for numerous reasons that are all too familiar.  I am not about to dig my own grave in a crassly obvious fashion; if I do so it is going to be in a superlatively refined manner, and I’ll manage to get the job done all the same.
I am resistant to money, which means that every now and then I find myself in the position of emitting a genuine cry for help; that I occasionally succumb to the obligation to commit the distasteful act of asking for something.  But on those very occasions words are nothing but agents of putrefaction.
Has it never occurred to you that I have published neither articles nor essays etcetera even though they would bring in tons of money, etcetera.  Agents of putrefaction.
Now I shall resume indulging in my pleasure; I shall soon be sending off Watten and you will receive the novel on time, but the book must not, I think, “appear” in the form of a celestial apparition--an idiotic if standard expression: “appear”--before the fall of ’70.  And I intend to hold on to it as long as possible; I am a last-minute man; I am a tightrope walker without a tightrope, and the abyss is not only underneath my feet.       
When is the postman going to bring the Bibliothek Verstörung?
The question about whether Basel is actually going to put on Boris likewise remains unanswered.
Admittedly unanswered questions are always the most uninteresting ones.  In every case answers stultify questions and shrink them down into an indescribable nullity.
Early today I read that Gombrowicz had died and all day long I’ve been unable to do anything; there are thousands of writers whose deaths would leave me unmoved; indeed, I could learn of the total mass murder of virtually an entire generation of writers without batting an eyelid, but this particular death saddens me.1
Somebody has told me about your playing tennis.  A worthy character sketch.
But every description occasions a completely false mental picture.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Witold Gombrowicz died on July 25, 1969 in the town of Vence in southern France.
Letter No. 79
[Address (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
July 30, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your letter of July 28.  You say you couldn’t make head or tail of my letter of the 25th.  I must give you a breakdown of the various books and publication schedules with which the payments I have issued you are associated.  The payments issued to you so far apply to the books up to and including Watten.  The
DM 3,000 most recently remitted to you is a payment on account to be deducted from the royalties of your forthcoming novel, of which you write to me that you will send it to me “on time.”.1a  In any case, I am quite happy and willing to talk to you about all this viva voce.  Will you be in Ohlsdorf during the week of August 25-30?  I would very much like to come and see you at some point.  Please write back to me about this with all speed; I would like to tell Günter Eich when I shall be coming to see him during the same trip.
During this conversation we will be able to clarify various things, among them perhaps the date of the appearance of the novel, which, “ex certainis causis,” as my Latin teacher used to say, I would be keen on seeing published on July 1, 1970.1     
We are happily and eagerly awaiting Watten; I am looking forward to reading it.
The publication of Verstörung in the BS has been slightly delayed because we are putting a copy of the “Bernhard Supplement,” which has turned out looking very nice, into all the BS volumes, as well as into all the relevant volumes of the “es.” I am expecting the first copies on August 4; you will receive a copy at the same time by the quickest route.
Basel will stage Boris; they have not yet been able to settle on a date, but their acceptance of it is a binding fact.
From Ms. Botond you will have heard that we are going to devote the July 1970 volumes of the “es” to the firm’s authors, and then issue volumes consisting of secondary literature; hence, volumes about Frisch, Eich, Weiss, etc., and also a book about your works.  In conformity with my wishes, your volume will be compiled by Ms. Botond personally.
Yes, I play tennis, and also chess.  There are people who say that I am a born gamester.  If that is true, I would assert that I am a special type of gamester, in that I play games quite seriously and very much for keeps, whereas I prefer to work out more serious matters by treating them like a game.
Yours
with best regards,
Siegfried Unseld
1a. This breakdown seems to contradict Unseld’s previous letter, in which he stated that the most recently remitted DM 3,000 was an advance on the text that was to follow Das Kalkwerk/The Lime Works. (DR)
1. Peter Suhrkamp founded Suhrkamp Publications on July 1, 1950; hence, exactly twenty years earlier.
Letter No. 80
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
August 1, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Would you like to take a trip to Israel at any time next year, after you have finished your novel?
There may be a possibility of such a trip opening up.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 81
Ohlsdorf
8.2.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
No matter what happens I shall be in Ohlsdorf between the 25th and the 30th, and I shall be expecting you.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 82
Frankfurt am Main
August 6, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
So, let us firmly agree that I am going to visit you at some point between August 25 and 30 in Ohlsdorf.
I shall inform you of my precise arrival date soon.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 83
Ohlsdorf
8.6.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Dr. Botond has just written to me that she has given you notice and is leaving the firm.  I cannot believe that you have unquestioningly allowed this foolish act to take place, in other words, acquiesced in it without question, and I would very much like you to think the whole matter over and if possible do everything in your power to prevent this woman, whose significance to the firm can scarcely be overstated, from taking a step that must surely figure among the most foolish that I have ever seen a human being take.1
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
On August 1, 1969, Anneliese Botond wrote to Bernhard: “Dear Mr. Bernhard, I am preoccupied with two things that have some bearing on you.  The first is an es volume called On Thomas Bernhard [...]  Unseld offered me your volume, and I naturally shall be glad to prepare it, provided that you are amenable to it, and provided that something good is going to come out of it.  What I am mean is that I have a certain reservation: there has of course been an infinite amount of material written about you, but how much of it is suitable for this volume?  [...] What is more, this volume is also going to serve a highly sentimental function as a ‘farewell gift.’  What I mean is that what was bound eventually to happen has now happened: I have given Unseld notice and will be at the firm for only a couple of more months [...]  But it seems to me that nothing bad can happen to you at the firm.  Unseld will offer you his friendship when he comes to Ohlsdorf in August, and unless I am sorely mistaken, you will get along well with him.  From now on your books, all of them, will be published by Suhrkamp, and quite rightly too.”

Letter No. 84
[Address: Ohlsdorf; on Insel Publications stationery]
Frankfurt am Main
August 13, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your letter of August 6.  Obviously I had an extensive conversation with Dr. Botond.  But I ultimately found it impossible to dissuade Dr. Botond from her firm decision.  I was quite surprised that she wanted to leave by the end of September instead of staying on until her contractually allowed resignation date, June 30, 1970.  The main impetus of her decision was her feeling of total isolation, both from the staff of the firm in general and from her fellow readers in particular.  And on top of this she had no desire whatsoever to shoulder any of the responsibility associated with the increasingly difficult situation at Insel; and this situation is indeed becoming more complicated, with regard both to the firm’s schedule and to its material conditions.  She has no idea of how any of that is going to pan out, and so she would prefer not to be encumbered with any responsibility for it.  I am afraid that your sensible reflections are no match for the strength of her emotions.
Obviously, we will talk about this when I am at your place.  I shall give you my precise arrival date in writing soon.  I can’t do that today because Günter Eich is in hospital.
Today we laid Theodor W. Adorno to rest.   A remarkable period of murders, deaths, funerals, and trials.1
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
On August 13, 1969, Theodor W. Adorno, who had died in Visp, Switzerland on August 6, was buried at the main cemetery in Frankfurt.  In Los Angeles on the day of Adorno’s funeral the pregnant actor Sharon Tate and four other people were killed by members of the “Manson Family.”     
Letter No. 85
[Address: Ohlsdorf; Telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
August 15, 1969
urgently requesting manuscript “watten” owing to november deadline.  regards unseld
Letter No. 86
[Address: Ohlsdorf, Telegram Memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
August 21, 1969
Awaiting your call Office 74 02 31 or Home 55 28 67.  Regards Unseld1
Unseld met with Bernhard in Ohlsdorf on August 26 and 27, 1969; afterwards he visited Günter Eich, who had just been discharged from hospital, in the town of Großgmain near Salzburg.  In his Travel Journal for Austria from Monday, August 25 through Friday, August 29, 1969, Unseld wrote:
‘A conversation with Bernhard had become indispensable.  It was necessary to reestablish a solid foundation for Bernhard’s relationship to the firm.  I believe  we succeeded in doing this; at any rate, such is my unshakable impression.
Regarding his domicile and the landscape:
Ohlsdorf is sited very close to a splendid Upper-Austrian landscape dotted with lakes: Traunsee, Attersee, Mondsee, Wolfgangsee (I saw laundresses who washed their garments in pure lake water).  Bernhard’s farm is an eight-minute drive from Gmunden (there are no filling stations on this stretch of road).  Bernhard has converted an old quadrangular farmhouse to his own uses; i.e., the wing containing the barns and stables has been cleared out and whitewashed; the whole of Suhrkamp Publications could be housed within it.  The residential wing is spartanly, simply furnished with a luxurious bathroom.  It is draughty there.  Distractions from work are notably absent.  Bernhard lives there completely on his own.  A cleaning woman comes by once a week; from time to time a man or woman from one of the farms in the area brings him eggs, milk, or--as during my visit--excellent home-distilled schnapps.
In concrete terms we talked about three1a things:
I. Finances
As near as I could gather from Ms. Roser [the firm’s accountant in charge of honoraria], Bernhard has received from us a loan of DM 25,000 and a balance of payments and credits totalling DM 16,000 (a sum that includes the payments but not the credits issued in the first half of 1969).
We agreed on the following:
The loan will continue to be treated as a loan.
The payments amounting to DM 16,000, which originally covered only fees associated with works already written, will now also cover the options payments for Bernhard’s next three works.
Bernhard will sign a declaration stating that in case of his death or incapacitation he will cede all honoraria to Suhrkamp until the entire balance of payments and credits has been cleared.  I shall ask Mr. Nabbefeld [the firm’s commercial manager] to prepare a suitable agreement in collaboration with Mr. Torz.
Beginning on September 1 and for a period of two years Thomas Bernhard will receive DM 800 per month to be deducted from the revenues of his past and future books.  The payments will be remitted to Account No. 318 at the Gmunden branch of the Bank for Austria and Salzburg.
Moreover, for a period of two years Thomas Bernhard will  demand no honoraria from us.
Once the financial situation vis-à-vis both firms through 6.30 is clear, namely at the end of August / beginning of September, I would like finally to issue Bernhard a clearly itemized “bill.”  Then, around the end of September, I shall ask Ms. Roser to give me the new account balance.
II. I discussed with Bernhard his “transfer” to Suhrkamp publications.  This question was easier to discuss because Ms. Botond had already advised him on it [see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 83].  The pros and cons were debated at length, and in the end Bernhard was content with the change.  The novel, which is complete in outline and in a draught typescript, will be able to appear as part of Suhrkamp Publications’ schedule for July 1970.  How we will apportion the honoraria payments between the two firms will have to be discussed by Dr. Haag [the firm’s tax accountant], Mr. Nabbefeld, and me.
III. Publications    
He sent the manuscript of Watten by express mail to Ms. Botond on the Friday before my visit (8.22.69).
A Party for Boris is scheduled to appear in the “es” in the first half of 1970.
The new novel is scheduled to appear in the main schedule of Suhrkamp in July 1970.  We will receive the manuscript in January, at the latest in the middle of February.
Bernhard was delighted with the BS edition of Verstörung.  He would really like to write some more things  for this series.  Before my visit to him I had read the novella “Midland at Stilfs” in Akzenten [Vol. 16, 169, pp. 338-355] and was able to tell him about my enthusiasm.  He is going to write two more novellas with similar themes and the same structure.  We agreed on the publication of a volume in the BS in October 1970 (Volume 258, ca. 120 pages).
Bernhard showed great interest in our publication schedule.  He is quite prepared to give us advice and even editorial help.  During our conversation Bernhard showed himself to be extremely knowledgeable about modern literature.  While we were talking about the BS, it occurred to him that Trakl was absent from the series.  He would like to compile a volume of Trakl for the BS, specifically for 1971.  The book would impart the essence of Trakl’s oeuvre in 150 to 180 pages.  He is also friends with the present editor of the Trakl critical edition, and so we shall be able to get hold of correct texts.  Both the copy[right] and publication rights for Trakl are of course in the public domain.
IV. On Thomas Bernhard
He is very happy about the book and also happy that Ms. Botond will be editing it.  The following people have written complete dissertations or other texts about him:
Hans Höller
18 Pestalozzi Straße, Vöcklabruck, Austria 4840
Dissertation
Wendelin Schmidt-Dengler
Germanistisches Institut, University of Vienna
Dissertation
Hans Rochelt
5 Blumenstockgasse, Vienna I
Dr. Inzel Kykal
2 Wimhölzel Str., No. 13, Linz, Austria 4020
Scholarly Text
In Professor Vortriede’s seminar in Munich a Mr. Zelinsky is working on something about Amras.
“People in Berlin” have written to Bernhard telling him that they wished to compile a Bernhard bibliography for a “scholarly journal.”  Bernhard looked for the letter but could not find it.  Ms. Botond would like to follow up on this.
The following texts can be included in the book:
Handke on Verstörung--One or two of the long Blöcker reviews--Zuckmayer on Frost--Walter Jens has expressed himself in very positive terms to him regarding Ungenach.--We might ask Canetti, who had told Bernhard that he wished to write about him.--Martin Walser (I have spoken to him by telephone; he is prepared to write about 3 to 5 pages about Ungenach and Verstörung).  Part I of the book should comprise “biographical” texts by Bernhard:
His acceptance speech for the Bremen Prize.  Appeared in Jahresring 1966 [see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 5].
His prize speech in Vienna in 1968.  Published in Monat, August 1968 [The acceptance speech for the Austrian State Prize was first published in the Vienna newspaper Neues Forum; see Note No. 2 to Letter No. 43].
His undelivered speech for the Wildgans Prize, published in Neues Forum 1968 [see Note No. 2 to Letter No. 43].
Bernhard was sceptical here, but I would be very much in favor of including it: his remarks on “official theater” that were published in the special issue of Theater heute  [Theater Today].  The remarks were made in a letter addressed to [Henning] Rischbieter [Theater heute’s editor].  The review that the letter mentions and that Bernhard wrote at the age of eighteen is still in his possession, and he could furnish us with a copy of it for the book.
All this together should give us a sizeable volume.
V. But now to the most surprising item: an offhand comment that happened to touch the nerve of Bernhard’s love-hate attitude to Austria brought the conversation to the subject of Insel Publications’ “Österreichische Bibliothek” [“Austrian Library”], which had been founded and edited by Hugo von Hofmannsthal in 1915.
We spoke twice at great length about the institution and prospects of a “New Austrian Library” and also about people who should edit it or conceptualize it.  Bernhard and I both came to regard the idea of such a library as a very reasonable one.  I told him that we would discuss it both here at the house and elsewhere.  I have enclosed the notes from our discussions as an extra attachment, as I would also like to present this idea to Handke and get his opinion of it.’
1a. Unseld’s numeration suggests they discussed at least five things in concrete terms (DR).
              
Letter No. 87
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
September 3, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
What a pleasant time we spent together!  At any rate, I found it pleasant; I feel as though we have only just now really gotten to know each other.
I have made meticulously detailed notes of our conversations.  You will soon be receiving a separate letter from me on the subject of finances.  We have firmed up our publication plans.
Watten November 1969 in edition suhrkamp
A Party for Boris in the first half of 1970, likewise edition suhrkamp.
The new novel in the July 1, 1970 Suhrkamp schedule.
Three new novellas under the title Midland at Stilfs in October 1970 (Volume 258) in the BS.
To my great delight you declared yourself willing to edit a volume of Trakl, and we also talked about the book On Thomas Bernhard, which Ms. Botond is going to edit, and she will write to you in conformity with our agreements.  I can also tell you that since our meeting I have spoken with Martin Walser by telephone; he is quite taken with both Verstörung and Ungenach, and he would like to commit his impressions to paper for publication in this book.
Enclosed are the minutes of our conversation about a “New Austrian Library.”  Just imagine: I saw Hilde Spiel at Eich and [Ilse] Aichinger’s place and I managed to talk with both ladies about this undertaking.  Both were quite taken with it.  Aichinger wants to contribute; Hilde Spiel lacks a sustained block of unscheduled time as of now.  She wants to think it over.
I am sending you a couple of copies of the breakdown that you could perhaps give to some friends.  Would it be possible to get hold of Artmann somewhere and talk to him?  He would be an important contributor to the initial planning.  After that is done, I will discuss our plans here at the house and let you know how they are received.
I thank you very much for our get-together and hope that we can have another one sometime soon.
Yours
with sincere regards,
signed
Siegfried Unseld
Dictated in absentia
to Burgel Geisler
Enclosures
[Enclosure; typescript]
August 26-27, 1969 conversation with Thomas Bernhard about a “New Austrian Library” at Insel Publications
[The first page of the typewritten minutes of the conversation between Bernhard and Unseld is a photocopy of pp. 612f. of Insel Publications’ Bibliographie on which the volumes of the Austrian Library are listed with the remark: “The series--edited by Hugo von Hofmannsthal--was published between 1915 and 1917.  Among the members of the editorial committee were Leopold von Andrian, Richard von Kralik, Heinrich Friedjung, Max Mell, and Anton Wildgans.  The summary texts for the prospectus were written by Hofmannsthal.  (They were included in Volume III of Hofmannsthal’s  Prosa, Frankfurt am Main, 1952.)  The 26 volumes were issued in the same format as that of the Insel Library [Insel-Bücherei], with yellow dust jackets.  Through Volume 13 the title plates were printed with black lettering and borders; the succeeding volumes had green-bordered title plates.  Most volumes were printed in runs of ten thousand copies.  A few of the titles of the series, which was not resumed after the First World War, were incorporated into the Insel Library.”]
Bernhard and I took as our starting point the notion that in Austria there are an increasing number of new voices who embody something unique and who will probably never flourish without wider exposure in Germany.  The idea behind a new collection would be not only to show what a wealth of talent Austria has had and continues to have at its command, but also how this wealth en bloc is mirrored in the forcefield of the German-speaking world; hence, it would also be a question of pointing up reciprocal relationships.
As possible managing editors, i.e., planners and co-conceivers of such a series, we have named H. C. Artmann, Ernst Fischer, Barbara Frischmuth, Peter Handke, Alfred Kolleritsch, Leo Navratil, and Hilde Spiel.
The “New Austrian Library” ought not to be published as an integral part of the Insel Library, but rather formatted and packaged to match the volumes in the “new” Insel library that we are planning.  So: Format IB, Ballacron covers, yellow dust jacket with an overprinted color pattern, length 60-250 pages, price variable.
Bernhard and I regard the following as possible titles:
1st Series, six volumes, May 1970:
Adalbert Stifter, Sonnenfinsternis [The Solar Eclipse of July 8, 1842].  Afterword by Peter Handke.
A volume from the old “Austrian Library.”  The proposed books are Vol. 1, Grillparzer’s Political Testament, with Hofmannsthal’s introduction, or Audiences with Emperor Joseph edited by Felix Braun, who could perhaps add some more material to it, or Documents from Austria’s War with Napoleon.
Wittgenstein.  A freestanding text or letters on Austria-oriented subjects.
Karl Krauss, Poems.  Selected by Peter Hamm (this would be brought in with an eye to the prospective BS project).
Walter Schmögner, The Plopp-Wu-U-Um-Whaaasch.
H. C. Artmann, med ana schwoazzn dintn, expanded by Artmann, perhaps also Villon’s Ballads in Viennese.
2nd Series, six volumes, September 1970:
Anthology of new Austrian literature (unpublished texts, edited by Kolleritsch)
Sigmund Freud
On Austrian Sociology: Part I (here a subseries with factographies should be developed)
Adorno, Alban Berg
Another text from the old Austrian Library, e.g., Schubert in His Circle of Friends or texts by and about Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven
Thomas Bernhard, novellas
3. From November 1970 onwards two volumes should appear every month: the two volumes should be coordinated with each other, e.g., Karl Kautsky, Political Writings, and Andrian, Garten der Erkenntnis [Garden of Knowledge].  Or Roth, Legend of the Holy Drinker, and Hildesheimer, Who Was Mozart?
In addition to the well-known and unknown classic Austrian authors, one would also have to keep in mind people like Kürnberger or Ferdinand Ebner or Theodor Kramer (edited by Guttenbrunner).
September 2, 1969
Letter No. 88
Ohlsdorf
9.15.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Perhaps your car will pull into the courtyard of my house again sometime soon; I shall be delighted if it does!
For days I have been intensively busy with the novel, awaiting the galley proofs of Watten--which I beg you to enable to be published on schedule--and in the best constellation imaginable.
The seclusion of this place, when I am working intensively, is enormously salubrious for me.  I am “exploiting” this condition. 
Apropos of financial matters: I am awaiting your letter, the documents, etc.  Apropos of the payments starting from September, please remit each of them to me at the beginning of the month.  The first one has not yet arrived here.
But the most important issue is completely clear.
Regarding the Austrian Library:
It seems best to me, if this is possible, to put just a few people in charge of the project, as well as to “rope” as few people as possible into the whole thing.  Especially while there is still less than complete clarity about its execution.  The idea is actually brilliant and realizable, which is reason enough for enthusiasm.  As editors I can only really imagine:
Ernst Fischer
Artmann
Barbara Frischmuth
Peter Handke
Hilde Spiel
Leo Navratil
That group, in my eyes, would make the best team.  I don’t know anything about Kolleritsch. A relatively old literary mode, a relatively new one, a philosopher, a politician, a painter, and an absolute fool should always each get to say their piece, I think.  Wieland Schmied could be responsible for the volume of so-called graphic art.
For the first six volumes
I envisage: 1. Sonnenfinsternis (Handke)
Something from the old Bibliothek*
Wittgenstein
Ferdinand Ebner! (Hans Rochelt)
Karl Kraus, Poems (Hamm)
Artmann
I would not initially care to publish somebody like young Schmögner.  We already have Artmann ready to hand to fill the spot of the contemporary fool.  On the whole, I think such a series ought to comprise a kind of Austrian exempla classica, and in every installment there should be one new book on whose jacket it is explicitly stated that it is [meant to appear] new, contemporary.
A glance at the first list suggests to me: please write to Hans Rochelt/ c/o A. David/ 5 Blumenstockgasse / No. 4 / Vienna 1,  on account of Ferdinand Ebner, the philosopher, who is practically unknown in Germany and out of whom you can probably make something as exceptional as whatever can be made out of Wittgenstein.
I am genuinely more than excited about the idea of the Austrian Library, and for want of taking a more active role, I now can only hope that it ends up as something approaching my conception of it.  This country does not by any means deserve such a library, but to those who will ultimately form that library’s contents it will doubtlessly give some posthumous pleasure, not to say honor, a concept that is not worth a single extra box on the ears.
I am eager for information and I send you my thanks and my greetings
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
*Not that there’s much in it that will be of any use in the future!!!  But to start with, why not, as a token gesture.
  
Letter No. 89
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
September 18, 1969
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Thank you very much for letter of September 15.  For my part I can only say that I shall be glad to steer my car back into the courtyard of your house; and I am sure that that will happen sometime in the next year.
We shall be sending you the typeset Watten on September 30.  Because time is tight we have skipped the correction of the galley proofs.  I am pleased to hear that you are working productively on your novel.  If it even approaches Midland in point of concentration of material it will be a great work indeed.
Regarding our material agreements: the first payment to you was remitted to you somewhat belatedly, because the manageress of our accounting department was on leave.  But it has been several days since we committed the authorization of payment into the hands of our bank.  So you must have received the money by now.  In the future you will receive the payments punctually at the beginning of the month.
Our plan for the Austrian Library is creating quite a stir.  Martin Walser has vehemently excoriated me for promoting this plan: he says that it is regressive, museum-like, that it somehow abets the annexation of Austria, and that I’ll eventually even manage to buy myself a post as a privy counselor (here he is of course mistaken, because as we know this post of all posts is not for sale).  But there are other voices.  Peter Handke is quite taken with the plan and is also quite happy to write the afterword of Solar Eclipse.  Barbara Frischmuth is also of our party.  She would like to edit Abraham a Sancta Clara with an afterword.  Hilde Spiel essentially welcomes the plan.  But she still lacks the necessary free time in her schedule.  The new reader at Insel, Dr. Shaked, is also positively disposed to the plan and has made several astute remarks about it.  After my conversations with Handke and Frischmuth, it is my considered view that the series should perhaps not be planned on an overly grand scale.  I infer something to the same effect from your latest letter, when you write that we should be trying to produce a kind of Austrian exempla classica.  Don’t we want to arrange it so that we start out with six books, issue another six books after an interval of half a year, and then see how far we get with that?  Another thing to consider is the possibility of foregoing the inclusion of an old title from the old library.  By doing that we would deflect all accusations of regressiveness from the outset.  What do you think of that?
Your team of editors looks good to me.  But I think Thomas Bernhard should also be on that team.
Now to the individual titles: I agree with you on your newly proposed titles for 1, 4, 5, and 6.  I was briefly in London and spoke with Rush Rhees, the editor of Wittgenstein.1  As far as he knows there are no manuscripts directly relating to Austria or Vienna.  The decisive document would have been his letters to Ficker, which, however, have not yet been published.  But we could still do a Wittgenstein book.  We already have as Volume 3 of Wittgenstein’s Writings a book called Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle.  Conversations.  Recorded by Friedrich Waismann.  I could easily imagine Ingeborg Bachmann making a distillate of this book and also wanting to write a commentary on it.  What do you think of that?
We have to talk about Artmann.  Wouldn’t it be possible to include a complete collection of his Viennese poems?  That would of course have to involve more than med ana schwoazzn dintn.
The question of whether to include a volume from the old library deserves more careful review.  If one were included it would obviously have be one of the volumes edited by Hofmannsthal, so maybe Grillparzers politisches Vermächtnis.  These are things to consider.
We intend to give further thought to them.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld   
P.S.: The enclosed prospectus was issued in [a] run of 200,000 copies.  So we are doing something for the BS and its authors.2
On September 14 and 15, 1969, Unseld was in London, where he met with Walter Benjamin’s son, Stefan, and Rush Rhees.
The leaflet bears on the first of its four pages the caption “Thomas Bernhard’s Novel Verstörung” and courts the reader’s attention with a quotation from Peter Handke, the concluding sentence of his review “When I Read Verstörung by Thomas Bernhard” (first published in Manuskripte 21, X 67-II 68, pp. 14f; cf. Vol. 2, pp. 225f. of Bernhard’s Works).  The two inner pages are filled with excerpts from reviews of Verstörung.  The fourth page contains biographical information along with a list of Bernhard’s works published by Insel and Suhrkamp so far. 
Letter No. 90
Ohlsdorf
10.20.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Please give your accounting department a ring and tell them that they still haven’t remitted me anything for October and that it is important, as well as acceptable, to remit the payment to me at the beginning of each month.*  How is our project coming along?
I am going to be in Hamburg for a few days to have a chat with Wendt and Peymann, which I think will be worthwhile.
Sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
*Please give your computer’s head a permanent delousing!
Letter No. 91   
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
    
Frankfurt am Main
October 20, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Contracts that must take the possibility of death into account are always more complicated than one expects they will be.  We have also had to talk with our lawyer, and I have had to swallow the admonition that one cannot allow an interest-free loan to be extended indefinitely (for in that case you would be obliged to pay taxes on it, because such a loan would constitute an exemption from common commercial practice).  I have accordingly applied a small interest fee to the balance (5%; the firm is currently charged 8.1%).  Furthermore terms of some kind must be imposed on the repayment of the loan; otherwise the contract will not be valid.
But my lawyer has concocted something else on top of all this.  He was was wondering whether we might not ask you, by way of securing our debt claim in the event of an unforeseen catastrophe, to relinquish your rights to honoraria from third parties.  I myself do not attach any especial importance to this point, but I have provisionally accepted it.  If you think this goes too far, just strike through §7 before you sign the contract.  That is also all right with me.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld 
Enclosure
[Enclosure; Typescript; Carbon Copy]
Contract
Mr. Thomas Bernhard, Obernathal / Ohlsdorf, Austria A 4694
and
Dr. Siegfried Unseld as Fully Liable Partner in Insel and Suhrkamp Publications / 29-25 Lindenstraße, Frankfurt am Main 6
have entered into the following agreement:
I
Thomas Bernhard and Dr. Unseld have agreed that all legal relationships between Thomas Bernhard and Insel Publications and Suhrkamp Publications are to be transferred to Suhrkamp Publications.  This also applies retroactively to the loan and credits remitted to Thomas Bernhard by Insel Publications.  This arrangement need not entail that in the future all of Thomas Bernhard’s books will automatically appear under the imprint of Suhrkamp Publications; to the contrary, Thomas Bernhard and Dr. Unseld will jointly determine under the imprint of which firm and in which form of publication the future works are to appear.
In order to secure Thomas Bernhard a material foundation for his authorial activities Suhrkamp and Insel Publications have granted Thomas Bernhard a loan and certain payments of honoraria, and the firms are prepared to continue to grant him such payments of honoraria.  The present contract is intended to fix the terms of such agreements in writing for clarity’s sake.
II.
The firms have granted Thomas Bernhard a loan of DM 24,289.10  Through 12.31.1969 this loan has been and will continue to be interest-free; from 1.1.70 onwards an interest fee of 6% [sic] will be applied to it.  After 12.31.1974 either Thomas Bernhard or Suhrkamp may recall the loan at three months’ notice from a deadline of 6.30 or 12.31 of a given calendar year.  After the recall deadline the balance of the loan, along with all accumulated interest, will be due for repayment.
Using established arrangements pertaining to honoraria as a precedent, the firms have issued certain payments; after subtraction of sales revenues through 8.31.1969, the total balance of these payments comes to DM 15,428.31.
Suhrkamp Publications pledges within the context of Insel / Suhrkamp Honoraria Payments to issue Thomas Bernhard a sum of DM 800 per month throughout the period of 9.1.1969 through 8.31.1971.  The payments will be paid to the order of Thomas Bernhard at Account No. 318 of the Bank of Upper Austria and Salzburg; Gmunden, Upper Austria.
Thomas Bernhard pledges, during the period of the repayments mentioned in II.3, not to receive any honoraria in addition to these payments or to make any demands for honoraria.
The honoraria due to Thomas Bernhard from the works that have so far been accepted by or are currently being produced for Insel Publications or Suhrkamp Publications; as well as from the cession of originator’s rights, copyright, and all other rights of dissemination mentioned in Subparagraph II.5; as well as from all works or publications of any other kind that may subsequently be accepted by the firm, will be applied to the amortization of the balance mentioned in Subparagraph II.2 as well as to the remittance of the payments mentioned in Subparagraph II.3.
In acknowledgment of the payments granted to him by the firm so far, Thomas Bernhard pledges to cede the copyright as well as all other potentially accruing rights of publication and dissemination for his next three completed works to Suhrkamp Publications.  Suhrkamp Publications pledges to promote the work of Thomas Bernhard with highly especial assiduity.
Thomas Bernhard expressly declares that in the event of his death or incapacitation the firm shall be entitled to clear any balance of credit outstanding as of that point of time by means of any existing or future claims to honoraria on the part of him or his heirs that may arise subsequent to one of these points of time; in such an event he resigns all claims to honoraria to Suhrkamp Publications.
Towards the end of securing the claims on Thomas Bernhard that are Suhrkamp Publications’ due, the former in the event of his death or incapacitation herewith resigns to Suhrkamp Publications his and his heirs’ rights to all honoraria from the firms of Suhrkamp and Insel as well as from all third-party publishers, and from any business or from any institution governed by public law, in consequence of the reprinting of his works.  Insofar and as soon as these rights to honoraria exceed the due claims of Suhrkamp Publications, the latter pledges to re-cede the resigned rights to Thomas Bernhard or his heirs.
It is agreed that Frankfurt am Main will serve as the site of fulfillment and jurisdiction.
Ohlsdorf                                                         Frankfurt/Main,                                                       
(Thomas Bernhard)                                                (Dr. Siegfried Unseld)
Letter No. 92
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
October 29, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I thank you for your letter of October 20.  In future the remittances will be made punctually at the beginning of the month.  The accounting department has confirmed this.
The Austrian Library project is hitting some snags.  Even those who were most supportive at the outset (Handke and Barbara Frischmuth) have become fault-finders.  Martin Walser subjected it to heavy bombardment by the argument that we should be “giving our all for Bernhard, but doing nothing whatsoever for an Austrian series.”   If I want to become a privy councilor, I really shall have to buy myself the post.  (But Walser is mistaken if he thinks this post is up for sale.)  We shall talk about this next time.
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 93
Ohlsdorf
11.1.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Naturally I am not going to sign your contract.  The fact that the firm has employed a legal professional to draw it up renders the proposed contract an effrontery.  Apropos of the financial numbers and figures cited in the contract: I can hardly believe, in the light of my familiarity with the slovenliness of the firm’s accounting department, that they tally, but I have no choice but to accept them.  Accordingly, my situation vis-a-vis Insel-Suhrkamp Publications will remain as it is.  But this sameness entails the following:     
I shall not send any further manuscripts to the firm until the firm has completely paid off my debt to Insel-Suhrkamp by means of those of my works that have already appeared under the imprint of Insel-Suhrkamp Publications, including my play A Party for Boris.  Only once I am completely debt-free will I be able to submit manuscripts to you again.
Moreover: if the firm entirely erases my debt by means of my previous works, which have hitherto been indissociably tied to Suhrkamp-Insel, our collaboration will continue.  If the firm does not erase my--relatively trifling!--debt within a period of at most two years, my next book will appear under the imprint not of Suhrkamp-Insel but of some other publishing firm.
But if Suhrkamp-Insel Publications is in no position to erase my debt by means of my works in the firm’s catalogue within a period of two years, it can at any time demand in full my repayment of the debt, after which I shall then be completely free.  I am capable of furnishing the sum of money in question at any time.
When I tell you that since March of 1969 I have earned more from my little book At the Timberline, which has appeared under the imprint of Residenz Publications in Salzburg, than from the combined total of my important Suhrkamp-Insel works published in the course of six years, I believe I am entitled to conclude that there is something not quite right about Suhrkamp-Insel Publications’ way of doing business.  Spare me the details.
Moreover, I am enraged, outraged, flabbergasted, by the fact that the firm is awarding stipends of twelve thousand Deutschemarks per annum and propagating throughout the length and breadth of the land the illusion that it is a generous guardian and custodian of its authors and their works, knowing as I do that I personally in all these years have yet to have a single penny “bestowed” upon me.  But again: spare me the details.  It is monstrous that I have been working more or less uninterruptedly with great intensity and hence difficulty for sums of money that are hair-raisingly tiny (2,000 marks altogether for an edition volume, etc.) and that I can no longer allow myself to make do with.  I cannot continue accepting Suhrkamp-Insel Publications’ laughable bids a second longer.  But I also believe that a correspondence about this whole subject is pointless and that only a conversation, which must take place here, will be of any value.
Your visit here was invigorating, but your utter lack of consistency is astonishing.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 94
Frankfurt am Main
November 6, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I have carefully read your letter of November 1.  You are behaving unreasonably, unjustly, unfairly.
What ever can have happened?  During my visit we discussed the notion of drawing a line, as it were, under all payments to date, i.e., of Insel and Suhrkamp Publications’ seriously endeavoring to clear away the moneys disbursed to date by means of running honoraria from works ceded to date.  That was something the firms committed themselves to do.  This commitment was to be complemented by your own commitment to ceding your income from honoraria to the firms in the event that something ever happened to you.  Is that really so complicated?  As for the fact that I called upon a legal professional to draw up a rather tricky contract, you surely ought not to resent this given that in this document you are to be making not merely a verbal promise but a de jure pledge to your heirs.  I cannot descry the slightest trace of “effrontery” in this.  We are both pledging to do something and must abide by this pledge.
I will bet you any sum you care to name that you are mistaken in saying that the Residenz Publications book At the Timberline has garnered you more money than the combined total of all your works at Insel and Suhrkamp Publications.  If you like we can argue this out right away, and you will see that you are mistaken.  Besides, a vita made up of Suhrkamp-Insel publications makes every publisher’s work easier.
And please stop being so pettish about the Suhrkamp dramatist’s stipend.  This stipend is suitable for young unknown playwrights, but not by any means for a man of your stature!  Your receiving it would just look like a bad joke and would be unworthy of you.  It is in any case not true that we have never bestowed a “penny” on you; sure, literally that is true, but in a figurative sense it obviously isn’t.  Why do you refrain from acknowledging that loan of DM 40,000 that Insel Publications’ granted you way back when?  Please just consider for a moment, why don’t you, that each and every year Insel Publications is obliged to come up with DM 3,200 interest for that loan.  I would never have made mention of this but for the fact that you are reacting so mean-spiritedly and pettishly.
Once again: we are drawing a line under the whole affair.  I think it is important for you to make a legally binding declaration for your heirs’ sake (so that in the event that something happens to you we can square the honoraria with the amount still due from previously disbursed moneys).  That is all that this is about.  Moreover--and on this I am in agreement with you--we are only talking here about a brief time-span of two or three years.  Of this I am sure.
There is another thing you have forgotten: we agreed that you would be granted monthly payments.  You have already received two of these payments; both these monthly payments and the sums remitted to you for your taxes already count unambiguously as advances on future books.  Please bear that in mind.
All that aside, you are quite right; we really should get together one more time.  I shall be very happy to do this, because I have extremely fond memories of our latest conversation and I believe we really got to know each other much better in the course of it.  So: when will you next be in Vienna again?  How does the weekend of November 15-16 sound?  If this weekend date is agreeable to you, would you please, for my personal calendar’s sake, be so kind as to send me a telegram?  As you can see, this is important to me.
We have just received the first copies of Watten.  I shall be sending you a copy by separate post; more will follow.  It total you have 45 complimentary copies at your disposal.  We printed a first run of 9,000 copies.  Two other titles have been newly published in the edition; in May, Boris will follow in the edition.
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 95
[Telegram]
Gmunden
11.10.69
expecting you weekend ohlsdorf please send telegram sincerely = bernhard
Letter No. 96
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram]
Frankfurt am Main       
November 12, 1969
vienna would be much better for me stop we could also meet on weekend 22/23 in vienna stop again please reply by telegram
regards unseld
Letter No. 97
Frankfurt am Main
November 14, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I have unfortunately not received any further news from you; perhaps your personal calendar did not afford room even on the weekend of 11.22/23.  I have therefore postponed my trip; if I have an opportunity to meet you in the next week perhaps I could schedule it then.  But I really would be pleased if we could meet in Vienna.  You have of course told me that you are in Vienna practically every week, and perhaps you can somehow arrange for us to see each other there.  Ohlsdorf means two days of travel for me, after all.
Yours
with best regards,
Siegfried Unseld   
Letter No. 98

[Telegram]
Gmunden
11.18.69
saturday sunday vienna phone 3650842 sincerely = bernhard
Letter No. 99
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
November 18, 1969
coming to ohlsdorf sunday evening november 22 stop request your call thursday morning -- regards unseld
Letter No. 100
Ohlsdorf
12.16.69
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Your visit instilled a fundamental feeling of calm that has yet to dissipate; I am working and every now and then I reflect on what a salutary effect on my entire constitution your visit has had, in that I am now making speedier progress on the book; on the other hand, every hour reaffirms to me the certainty that what I am now working on can only be the beginning of I know not what, and it is excellent to know this and above all to know nothing.1  Once I am finished with the book a comedy will ensue; the whole business surrounding the performance of a play is itself always tantamount to a second comedy; perhaps this second comedy is about how the performance was postponed ad nauseam, but then the performance itself amounts to a separate, third, comedy, and in truth probably every play ever written for the theater has undammed an endless succession of comedies; as we have seen, every tragedy ever written so far has always undammed a flood of comedies.  I thank you for your visit!
The intensity of winter has been transformed into the intensity of labor for me.  That I have doubts about everything every hour is a different matter.  Probably the whole thing amounts to an equilibrium of temerity and doubt.
In Watten I have been unable to avoid detecting several errors, but they can all be weeded out in a subsequent edition.  I could be driven insane by trifles if I didn’t know that it is senseless to get exasperated for days on end over a single alphabetic character.  If you ever put out a so-called omnibus edition, I would ask you to include in it nothing but these three prose pieces--Amras, Ungenach, and Watten, which together would amount to quite a hefty volume that would be more cohesive than any other possible collection.
I would like to have the galley proofs for Boris, because there are still some errors in the stage script.
After The Lime Works, in the immediate backdrop of my imagination, stand the play; another novel, which I already have in my head in its entirety and in all its artlessness-- by which I mean an openness to every possible shade of the fantastic; then a work of largish scale several years from now.
I would especially like to thank you for the books you sent me.
Hölderlin, though, has always struck me as a cold, handsome youth who was never alive.
For the year to come, I have cancelled all readings and declined every single invitation to absolutely everything.
I loathe all speechifying and self-promotion.
You have reason to be proud.2
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Unseld’s Travel Journal for the November 22 meeting in Ohlsdorf reads:
“He had insisted on my visiting him so that we could definitively sort out our relationship; he categorically rejected the contract my lawyer had drawn up.  We then jointly drew up and signed a 12-line agreement of a legally binding character [see the text below Unseld's Note No. 5 below].  From this agreement follow certain consequences that will have to be discussed. 
Our short-term schedule for publication:
A Party for Boris
in the e.s. on the date of the premiere, hence probably in May of 1970.
2. The third transcribed draft of his new novel, entitled The Lime Works, is complete.  He is working on a fourth complete transcription.  At the end of February of 1970 we shall receive the manuscript.  Prospective publication date: Third Schedule, July 1, 1970.
3. BS Volume Midland at Stilfs, October 1970.
The volume contains three texts:
“The Weatherproof Cape”
“Midland at Stilfs”
“At the Ortler”
The first and third texts we shall receive in July of ’70.  The version of Midland at Stilfs that appeared in Akzenten can be reissued without changes.
4. Along with the prose works a 2nd play will be appearing; he will have finished writing it by the end of ’70.
5. For 1970 we can plan a kind of “Thomas Bernhard Reader” either as a volume of the Books of the 19 [Between 1954 and 1972 a coalition of 19 publishing firms published 209 economy-priced volumes each containing a selection of a given author’s work.  The books in this series were furnished with their own publisher’s mark.] or as a Suhrkamp Book for the Home [Between 1954 and 1975 Suhrkamp issued some extra economy-priced books labeled “Books for the Home”; these were intended to compete with book-club and trade-paperback editions.]   It will contain the novellas Amras, Ungenach, and Watten; an opera libretto (previously published by S. Fischer) [the roses of the wasteland, published in 1959]; the audio play The Mountain.  Marionettes as Human Beings [see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 117]; & other texts.”
He says he is “furious” about the biographical information in the es volume Watten (sincere regards to Busch).  Why, he wants to know, are the very prizes he detests the most mentioned, and the others not mentioned?  Either no prizes or all of them.  He says that on p. 57 there is a bitter typographical error (he sends his sincere regards to Mr. Busch).  That a sentence has had its ending left out: “Now, as he agreed…” and that “hut” appears instead of “huts.”  In the future Bernhard is to receive the complete “es” and BS (Ms. Kalow).  He is also to receive the last volumes of the insel collection as well as [Walter] Schmögner, Drachenbuch (Dragon Book) and Pluderlich, Joyce, Letters and Dubliners (done ge[isler]).”
The agreement mentioned in the travel journal, which was typed by Bernhard on his own typewriter and signed by him and Unseld, reads:
“Today, 11.22.1969, in Ohlsdorf, Thomas Bernhard and Dr. Siegfried Unseld have agreed to the following:
All the payments granted to Thomas Bernhard by Insel and Surkamp Publications through 8.31 stand for a three-year term (8.31.1972) of publisher’s rights for all books hitherto submitted to the firms.  All revenues from these works will go to the firms.  If the debt has not been paid off by 9.1.1972, the firms will forfeit their claim to the remaining balance of the debt.
In the event of Thomas Bernhard’s death the latter’s heirs are legally bound to resign the publisher’s rights until the debt has been discharged.
Beginning on 9.1.1969 for a period of two years the publisher will issue to Thomas Bernhard an advance on prospective works in the form of a sum of DM 800 per month (punctually, at the beginning of each month).
Signed as a token of our mutual understanding
Ohlsdorf, on 11. 22.1969.”
2. On the letter there is remark in Unseld’s handwriting: “repld. fr. St. Moritz.”
Letter No. 101
Frankfurt am Main
December 19, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
The year 1969 brought us both, I suppose, our “encounter.”  But the year 1970 is decidedly going to be a Thomas Bernhard Year.  I promise you this.
On that note, I send you my sincere regards.
Yours,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 102
[Handwritten on stationery of the Hotel Belvédère Garni, 7500 St. Moritz]
St. Moritz
December 30, 1969
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your letter of 12.16.  I hope for your and my sakes that our plans come to fruition.  In 1970 keep being as productive as you are now: then everything else will turn up and fall into place.
I feel very sincerely attached to you.
Yours
Siegfried Unseld 
1970
Letter No. 103
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
January 13, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
A few days ago I sent you the new schedules of Insel and Suhrkamp for the first half of the forthcoming year as well as a new prospectus for Bibliothek Suhrkamp.  Verstörung is listed among the older titles, and if you take a look at the competitions section, you will see that your book is once again obliquely alluded to.  So we are making music.
I am sending you the copies of my letters to Mr. Lietzau and his reply.  We are trying to get into a position to have Hollmann produce the play in Munich.  But that will be decided in the next few days.
Yours
with sincere regards
Siegfried Unseld
Enclosures1 
[Enclosure 1: Letter from Unseld to Hans Lietzau]
Mr. Hans Lietzau, General Administrator
Deutsches Schauspielhaus
29-41 Kirchenallee
2 Hamburg 1
Frankfurt am Main
January 7, 1970
Dear Mr. Lietzau,
I thank you for your letter of December 23.  As the firm was closed through January 5, I was unable to reply to you until today.
Here we have discussed the siting of the premiere date of Thomas Bernhard’s A Party for Boris as a matter of genuinely extreme importance.  There have been conversations with Messrs. Everding and Hollmann.  I must report to you that we have been getting a rather different idea of the potential schedule from these gentlemen.  But basically everything is as it ever was: Suhrkamp Publications would once again like definitively to allow the Deutsches Schauspielhaus to premiere the play.  You write of the end of June as the latest date-range.  We wish to impart the utmost precision to this affair: the premiere date must be no later than June 30 1970; we must be free to negotiate performance dates of July 1, 1970 and later with other venues; we are trying through a modification of the season schedule to get a July performance in Munich, but at the moment this is still doubtful.
I would like to ask you, my dear, esteemed Mr. Lietzau, to direct your undivided attention and the undivided might of your theater’s resources to this premiere.  I must beg leave to point out to you that in light of the prospective performance at your theater we have already forgone one other possible performance, in Basel under the direction of Hollmann.  It is highly important to us for this play by a major author to be staged in the best possible form.  Accordingly, I would sincerely like to ask you to devote every possible resource to the play.
Yours
with friendly regards
[Siegfried Unseld]
[Enclosure 2: Letter from Unseld to Hans Lietzau]
Mr. Hans Lietzau, General Administrator
Deutsches Schauspielhaus
29-41 Kirchenallee
2 Hamburg 1
Frankfurt am Main
January 13, 1970
Dear Mr. Lietzau,
I thank you for your letter of January 10.  I join you in hoping that you will be able to stage an adequate performance of such an important play.
I shall be happy to get in touch with you during my next visit to Hamburg.
Yours
with friendly regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]
On the carbon copy under this notation there is a remark in the handwriting of a third party: “Letters Lietzau 12.23.69 & 1.10.70 / Letters Unseld 1.7 & 1.31.70.”  This correspondence between the general administrator of the theater in Hamburg and Unseld centered on the topic of the date of the premiere of A Party for Boris.  In March of 1969 (see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 65) a contract with the Deutsches Schauspielhaus was finalized, but the premiere date remained undetermined.  In early December 1969 it began to look as though the premiere was not going to be able to take place before the summer season of 1970.  Consequently, the firm entered into negotiations with Hans Hollmann and the Münchner Kammerspiel regarding a possible premiere in May of 1970.  On December 14, 1969, Bernhard himself wrote to Ursula Bothe: “Mid-June is the worst possible date-range for the premiere of Boris; on the other hand, I can’t initiate anything whatsoever from here and so I must let everything come and go as you see fit to make it do so from Frankfurt. […] From both my own point of view and that of my play, Hamburg and Munich alike are unimaginably alluring.”  On December 18, 1969, Unseld met in Hamburg with the Schauspielhaus’s chief dramaturge, Enrst Wendt.  “Lietzau was not in Hamburg [...]  Wendt wriggled like an actual eel on behalf of the theater; it was, he said, their only premiere, they really needed it; he implied that Peymann would never stage the play if he couldn’t get the premiere, which I very much doubted.  I explained the Bavarian option to him--explained that there was nothing he could legally do to stand in the way of a deal with Munich.  But he neither assured me that the premiere would happen in any case nor said that that it would not take place in any other case.”  Thereupon, on December 23, 1969, Hans Lietzau wrote to Unseld in an attempt to persuade him to accept a premiere at the end of June 1970.       
Letter No. 104
Ohlsdorf
1.25.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
At the end of February, if all goes according to plan, as I think it will, I shall be sending off the novel.  Perhaps I’ll even come to Frankfurt for a couple of days and bring it with me.
But the present period of work has also not been without its hassles, and yesterday I received from the district court in Wels the enclosed document (I am also enclosing the envelope on account of the interesting occupational title on it), which I would like you to peruse.   The publicly filed suit for defamation of character has probably been occasioned by a passage in my note in the August ’69 issue of Theaterheute (I would like you to get hold of a copy of this issue),  which reads as follows, “...the then-preeminent Austrian cultural and political weekly Die Furche, which admittedly nowadays functions as nothing but a public digest of perverse Catholic-Nazistic vacuity…”  I haven’t got a copy of the magazine, but I know by heart the sentence that the suit undoubtedly pertains to.  I would like you to mull over this whole defamation of character business, even though I am of the opinion that no newspaper in the world is capable of lodging a suit against so-called defamation of character, because no newspaper whatsoever in the world has a character to defame.  But so what, anybody can sue anybody for anything and any reason he likes.  It’s all fine by me, and if I’m brought to court, at least everybody will once again get a piece of my mind.  But I shall be in a tight spot if--you will see what I mean once you’ve read through the Theaterheute note--this turns into some provincial comedy, and I appear in court completely alone (as I did 15 or 20 years ago), and perhaps I won’t even show up but simply write up something and have it read out there; I don’t yet know what I’ll do, but the upshot is that if I don’t have a good, progressive lawyer I shall be in a tight spot.1  And so I’m asking you if for this business you can recommend and ultimately place at my disposal a lawyer of this kind who is an absolute master of the subject.  In Vienna.
The transcription of the novel, The Lime Works, is progressing smoothly, even if this specific act of transcription feels to me like the most trying ordeal a human being can undergo.2
Please don’t leave me in the lurch in this business with the courts; tell me what I should do (or shouldn’t do); right now I need my head for other things.  You know what those things are.
I thank you for the items you sent me, and I am sincerely
Yours,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S.  Would it be possible for you to send the originals of these court papers back to me after you have them copied?3
P.P.S.  Dimwittedness must always, in every case, be understood as the opposite of sharp-wittedness, and as nothing else.
On p. 144 of the annual special issue of the journal Theater heute for 1969, Bernhard wrote under a header reading  “In Austria Nothing Has Changed”: “Twenty years ago, when I was a mere eighteen years old, a lawsuit was filed against me in the Salzburg District Court because in my august capacity as theater critic for the then-preeminent Austrian cultural and political weekly ‘Die Furche,’ which admittedly nowadays functions as nothing but a public digest of perverse Catholic-Nazistic vacuity, I described my impressions of the Salzburg [State] theater.  [...] I was fined four thousand schillings by an Austrian judge [...] twenty years ago.  Back then, and for me in particular, four thousand schillings was an enormous sum of money. [...] twenty years later, I have to say that Austrian theater has not changed the slightest bit; indeed, I have to say that today everything is actually much more dilettantish and depressing than back then.  But as I have no wish to be again sentenced to pay a large fine (or serve a prison term), because it is silly to shove money down the throat of the useless State or to sit in prison, I shall not delineate my impressions of our theater.”
The article referred to in this passage appeared in 1955 in the weekly newspaper Die Furche under the headline “Salzburg Is Waiting for a Play.”  In the article, Bernhard wrote: “We keep waiting and waiting for the Salzburg State Theater finally to put on a play that can be argued about in culturally significant terms. [...] But how, one pointedly asks oneself, can a city like Salzburg, which every summer is transformed into a European music and theater center of the first rank, stand to own a state-sponsored playhouse that for the remaining ten months of the year sinks to the abysmal level of a music hall for hayseeds? [...] It is as if from the highest to the lowest levels there were an absence of every form of ‘consciousness,’ to say absolutely nothing of enthusiasm.”  On January 12, 1956 the general manager of the Salzburg State Theater, Peter Stanchina, who had not been mentioned by name in the article, filed a “private lawsuit for offences against the contents of the press” in the Vienna District Criminal Court.  In an initial ruling Bernhard, who did not attend the hearing, was declared not guilty of defamation of character.  After Stanchina objected, Thomas Bernhard was sentenced on July 8, 1957 to pay a fine of 300 schillings.  On July 8, 1959, Stanchina withdrew his suit.
2. On the fair copy of the manuscript of the novel, Bernhard typed the phrase “defamation of character,” along with compounds derived from it, nine times; at the beginning of the novel (p. 8 in Volume 3 of Bernhard’s Works) it is mentioned that Konrad has fifteen convictions, “mostly for so-called defamation of character and for so-called minor and grievous bodily harm.” [cf. the corresponding passage in the authorized translation by Sophie Wilkins: “mostly for libel and aggravated assault”]  The polemical analysis of the concept of defamation of character culminates on pp. 105-106 ( “a world, he said, in which one can be dragged into court for so-called defamation of character and which maintains it has character and in which it is maintained that there is character in it, when there is quite obviously no longer any such thing as character; better yet, he said, there has never even been anything remotely like character; he said that it was not only a horrible, horrifying, [world] but rather also a ludicrous one […]”), as well as on p. 108.
3. On the “court papers” is recorded a January 22, 1970 decision of the district court in Wels, Upper Austria, which reads as follows:
“In the matter of the criminal suit for defamation of the character of the press lodged against Thomas Bernhard, journalist and theater critic of Ohlsdorf 4694, by the private plaintiffs 1) The Herold Printing and Publishing Firm, Ltd., 2) The Herold Company, and 3) Dr. Willy Lorenz, editor in chief, all of 8 Stroszigasse Vienna 8 1081, and collectively represented by Dr. Max Vladimir Allmayer-Beck and Dr. Max Josef Allmayer-Beck, attorneys-at-law at 2 Parkring, Vienna 1, the Wels District Court has arrived at the following
Decision:
In accordance with § 52 Par. 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1960, the suit has been assigned to the Vienna District Criminal Court,
The private complaint was lodged at the Wels District Court on account of that court’s proximity to the defendant’s place of residence.  In accordance with § 51 Par. 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1960 the private plaintiffs have requested the assignment of the case to the Vienna District Criminal Court. 
In the light of the foreign situation of the place of publication and printing, the scene of the crime shall be defined as the place where the printed text has been disseminated.  There is no available evidence that suggests that the text has been disseminated within the judicial district of Wels.  From certain information in the periodical publication it may be inferred that provision has been made for the publication’s dissemination in Vienna.  To this inference no reasonable objections can be made, especially in the light of the special nature of the periodical publication.  Moreover, there exists a consultable precedent for the settlement of a private lawsuit of this kind in Vienna.  Consequently, Vienna may by all means be regarded as the scene of the crime.
Therefore at the request of the private plaintiffs and in accordance with
§ 52 Par. 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1960, the lawsuit was ceded to the Vienna District Criminal Court.”
The envelope referred to by Bernhard has not survived.  [Perhaps the “interesting occupational title” on it was the one of “journalist and theater critic” assigned to Bernhard in the decision. (DR)]
Letter No. 105
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
January 27, 1970
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your letter of January 25.  Today I have dispatched three letters asking the addressees to name me the best lawyer in Vienna.  Please be patient.  I shall be writing to you shortly.  I am sending the court papers back to you as requested.
Three of the authors for the special jubilee July schedule won’t be finished with their manuscripts in time!   I have therefore had to drop the idea of a third July schedule. That means that The Lime Works will now be delivered not in July but at at the end of August.  I hope this won’t dishearten you.  You can of course still count on our exerting a hundred percent of our effort for you.
Whenever and wherever I can, I plug A Party for Boris.  Of course new possibilities for it are constantly opening up. |:  Hamburg definitely in June|
So much for today in the way of an interim report.
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
Enclosure
[Enclosure; letter from Unseld to Ferdinand Sieger]
Dr. Ferdinand Sieger1
4 Urbansstraße
7 Stuttgart 0
Frankfurt am Main
January 27, 1970
Dear Mr. Sieger,
I am enclosing a letter from Thomas Bernhard.  He is involved in a criminal lawsuit.  In the August issue of Theater heute he has written the following: “...the then-preeminent Austrian cultural and political weekly Die Furche, which admittedly nowadays functions as nothing but a public digest of perverse Catholic-Nazistic vacuity…”  The periodical is now suing him in Vienna.  He needs a lawyer there.  Would you happen to know of any in Vienna, and what is your assessment of the situation?
Yours
with sincere regards
[Siegfried Unseld]
In their index of persons, the editors give Sieger’s dates as 1912 to 1996 and describe him as a “Stuttgart attorney, a specialist in questions of copyright” (DR). 
Letter No. 106
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February 3, 1970
In my search for a possible lawyer for you I have gotten a few interesting leads.  First of all a letter from my own lawyer, of which I enclose a copy.  Hilde Spiel told me about Dr. Peter Stern, 2-6 Elisabethstraße, Vienna 1.  Dr. Stern is a fairly young and very agile lawyer who has often represented Alexander Lernet-Holenia in similar cases.  Should we ask him?
I am, to be sure, of the opinion that we should initially still try to get some kind of out-of-court settlement.
That is all for today.
Yours
with warm regards
Siegfried Unseld
Enclosure1
On January 29, 1970, Ferdinand Sieger wrote to Unseld:  “Apropos of your query of January 27, 1970: 1. As the lawyers in Vienna who are best acquainted with the business of publishing and journalism I can recommend our correspondence colleagues Dr. Fritz Psenicka, Dr. Walter Ender, and Dr. Konrad Landau, 8 Rosenbursenstrasse, Vienna 1.  2. The assertion that Die Furche functions  nowadays as nothing but ‘a public digest of perverse Catholic-Nazistic vacuity’ strikes as me as hardly actionable under German law.  Moreover this is an instance of a non-adjudicable value judgment, whereas the signal feature of criminally prosecutable statements is that they contain allegations about matters of fact.  Accordingly it should all come down to the fact that the assertion about ‘perverse Catholic-Nazistic vacuity’ is not taking aim at a specific historical moment and a particular historical event, but rather constitutes a witticism, a synoptic catchphrase for the intersection of certain mentalities.  For expedition’s sake I am enclosing a copy to be forwarded to Thomas Bernhard.”  The enclosed copy echoes Point No. 2 of Sieger’s letter.
Letter No. 107
Ohlsdorf
2.13.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
The hearing of the case against me will be on March 11 at half-past nine in the morning at the district court at 6-12 Hernalser Gürtel in the eighth district of Vienna, and I am asking you to select my lawyer, enter into an agreement with him, and have him furnished with all the relevant materials pertaining to me.  Probably Dr. Stern is the best choice.
As I am now in the midst of the delicate task of transcription, a process that must be attended to with the minimum possible degree of distraction, the assistance of the firm is of crucial importance to me, because basically I cannot do anything from here; the whole thing is not even worth talking about, but therefore all the more vexing.  Please activate the firm’s apparatus, that colossal, miraculous machine, on my behalf.
Naturally an out-of-court settlement would be the most agreeable outcome.  But how to get one?  I am literally incapable of intervening.
Not to mention that there is no longer all that much time left before the hearing.
I sincerely thank you for everything
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
 Letter No. 108
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February 19, 1970
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Please immediately send the documents for the court case, which you still have, to
Dr. Peter Stern
2-6 Elisabethstr.
Vienna I.
I shall be meeting with Dr. Stern on Monday or Tuesday of the coming week in Vienna.  I would still like to try to have the affair settled out of court somehow.  And settled with suitable brevity.1
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
During his trip to Vienna Unseld met with Bernhard on February 24.  The Travel Journal for Vienna, February 23-25, 1970 reports:
“The meeting was difficult because the lawyer, whom five people had recommended to me for Bernhard, committed a written solecism, and so Bernhard did not wish to hire him.  We then chatted with three other people about the Furche affair and finally commissioned Dr. Schwager to represent Bernhard’s interests.
I offered to work towards a mediated solution with Mr. Lorenz, the editor of Die Furche; the offer was rejected.
The Furche people quite obviously wish to have Bernhard convicted.
Then Bernhard expressed great scepticism about our public relations office, whose total staff, he said, comprised two pensioners.  He said that they had sent him a mimeographed letter and consigned him some reviews, and that these had consisted of one long review and a few magazine-cover mentions; whereas the most important of the long reviews had been left out.
Then he said he didn’t want The Lime Works to appear in the second half of ’70.  On this point I most vehemently disagreed with him and managed to get close enough to making him change his mind that I am now going to write him a letter in which I outline all the arguments once again.  He will hand in the MS for Lime Works at the end of March; by 4.15 at the latest.  In this event the BS volume Midland would be postponed to January 1971.
Telephone conversation with the Burgtheater, General Administrator Hoffmann.  The Burg unfortunately cannot admit A Party for Boris into its repertoire.  A studio theater is unavailable.  We are giving up on this plan.  We must inform Mrs. Van Witt, who was not in Vienna.
Letter No. 109
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February 26, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Nobody thought to telephone Ms. Botond either yesterday or today.  By now she will have already left the country.1
I wrote to the lawyer and sent him the books.  A copy of my letter is enclosed.  I hope the whole affair will be settled in a manner that does not put any lasting strain on you.
Of course I think it is a good thing for us see each other from time to time; in any case, I always look forward to seeing you, and I believe we are even showing each other that we are capable of talking over our disagreements like grown men.
I have once again put your thoughts forward for discussion here in the house.  We are all of the opinion that you have no reason to fear being criticized for being “overproductive.”
The novellas Ungenach and Watten appeared in 1968 and 1969; your most recent novel, Verstörung, in 1967.  So no reasonable person will cast aspersions on you if a new novel appears in 1970.  There is no second-guessing the irrational and the insane, but one shouldn’t take one’s cues from them, and one most certainly shouldn’t be afraid of them.
There are several reasons why the imminent publication of this book would be a good thing for us.  My principal and undivided consideration is for your method of working.  If you leave the text sitting for too long, you will lose your interest in it.  And regardless of how the text is treated in its preparation for the press, I know that as an author Thomas Bernhard will not be well served if there is a substantial delay between the completion of the manuscript and the publication of the finished book.
We ourselves would like to regard the entire schedule for the second half of 1970 as a jubilee schedule.  And we would be especially pleased to have your novel appear in this schedule and to be able to say that Thomas Bernhard was represented in it.  It is also worth mentioning that I regard the book’s publication as an especially auspicious event from a tactical point of view, and I believe we will be able to obtain maximal and optimal results from it.
And so I would once again like to make the case for your sending in the manuscript by the end of March at the latest.  If we receive it by then we shall be able to get to work on it and prepare it for the press in an atmosphere of calm.
We shall then publish Midland at Stilfs in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp in January or March of 1971.
I would be grateful to you if you assented to this solution so that all uncertainties would vanish and we could start planning things properly.
Hegel is on his way to you.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Enclosure
[Enclosure: Letter from Unseld to Nikolaus Siebenaller]
Dr. Niklaus Siebenaller
4 Schottengasse
Vienna 1
Frankfurt am Main
February 25, 1970
Dear Dr. Siebenaller,
Thomas Bernhard has told me that you are representing him in the Die Furche suit.  I am enclosing my lawyer in Stuttgart’s opinion on this question.  Suhrkamp Publications is much obliged to you for undertaking to represent Mr. Bernhard.  In my view Thomas Bernhard is one of the true greats of contemporary literature.  We should all try to insure that this protest, which he certainly will not repeat, occasions him no harm.
In a separate post I am sending you a few books by Thomas Bernhard so that you can get a first-hand sense of the stature of this writer.  In this connection I am also directing your attention to the enclosed prospectus, in which we have instanced the voices of a few critics.
With friendly regards
your very devoted
[Dr. Siegrfried Unseld]
                                      
Enclosures2
  
Anneliese Botond lived in Latin America from 1970 to 1974.
One of the enclosures is presumably identical to the enclosure in Letter No. 105.  The second enclosure, the prospectus, is probably the one mentioned in Letter No. 89.
Letter No. 110
Ohlsdorf
3.18.70
Dear Siegfried Unseld,
I shall be sending the manuscript of The Lime Works to Frankfurt in mid-April, and it will then be publishable in the fall; I think that that will be the best time to issue it.
In Vienna Die Furche withdrew their suit in the middle of the hearing, which lasted three-quarters of an hour.1.
My momentum is excellent.
In May I shall be at a reading in Hamburg; would you be interested in being in Hamburg at the same time to schmooze with the “author.”
Let us hope we have good luck at the playhouse; so far the luck has been nothing but bad, and perhaps that is lucky for us.
Midland please in January.
Hegel is standing cheek-by-jowl with Kant.2
The future belongs to no one.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. Please ask the accounting department to send me my account statements for ’69; at the request of my tax accountant please put the sentient loan on a separate sheet.3
The summary trial of Bernhard in the Furche case took place on March 11, 1970 and ended in a compromise agreement.
Thomas Bernhard’s surviving personal library in Ohlsdorf contains the sixteen volumes of Suhrkamp’s edition of Hegel’s Works in Twenty Volumes that had appeared by 1970, as well as all of Suhrkamp’s 1968 edition of Kant’s Works in Twenty Volumes.
In the margin of this paragraph a note by a third party reads “Done.  3.20.70.”
Letter No. 111
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
March 24, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your letter of March 18.  I had gone out of town for a short time.1  My accounting department told me they had sent you the account statements while I was away.  I hope you have received them by now.
Has a specific date been set for your Hamburg reading in May?  If so, please do send it to me so that I can make my travel arrangements.  I look forward to any opportunity to meet with you.
Yours
with sincere regards
Siegfried Unseld
|Midland: BS 275 January|
Unseld spent March 14-22, 1970 vacationing in Switzerland and attending the Hölderlin Society’s conference in Stuttgart.
Letter No. 112
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
April 16, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard
We are getting close to the point of no return in our  preparations for the schedule for the second half of 1970.  The production department must print sample copies for the sales representatives.  We on this end are already hammering out texts and announcements.  So it would be possible for you to send us the manuscript now?  Please do so.
Today I received from Otto Müller Publications the news that that firm is planning its own edition of Volume I of the historical-critical edition of Trakl.  And so our Trakl plan floats away.1
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld
On February 27, 1970, Bernhard called on Otto Müller Publications’ reader Richard Moissl in Salzburg and presented to him Unseld’s alternative to the original plan of issuing a selection of Trakl’s work (see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 86), namely the publication of  a Suhrkamp school edition of Volume 1 of the historical-critical edition of Trakl.  On April 13, 1970, Moissl informed Unseld of Otto Müller Publications’ decision to publish its own budget edition.
Letter No. 113
Ohlsdorf
4. 28.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I had been fully expecting to accompany a friend on a trip to Cologne next Tuesday or Wednesday, May 5 or 6, and so to be stopping by Frankfurt with the manuscript in hand then; but it has now suddenly become uncertain whether the trip will take place, and so the plan is now as follows: either I shall be coming to Frankfurt on Tuesday or Wednesday or I shall be sending you the manuscript express on Tuesday.  In the meantime I shall be making a number of corrections that it will be better to take care of in the manuscript than in the galley proofs.  The whole thing has turned out to come to two hundred pages.
I am now writing my second full-length play and asking you what you have heard about the first one, because I have heard nothing.
What does your definitive fall publication schedule look like?
I don’t know of many young people whose style of writing is strongly reminiscent of my own; am I supposed to rejoice at this or hurl curses at the whole stinking rabble of hacks!1
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
The letter bears a remark in pencil by Unseld: “No Frölich.”
Letter No. 114
Ohlsdorf
5.5.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
The manuscript is being sent off at the same time as these lines; perhaps you are cursing me; I can’t do this any other way.
In the first week of June1  I shall be in Hamburg; it would be good if we could have a chat then; I don’t know exactly when I have the reading in the theater.  At the moment I am writing the new play and apropos of the old one, Boris, I thank you and above all Burgel Geisler for the speedy consignment of that red band that is such a stylish fit for Boris.2
By the end of June I shall know, we shall know, whether the comedy has been ruined or brought to life.
You have twice said that I can travel to Israel; such a trip would be fine by me at any time.
Please give my warm regards to Mr. Busch, as well as to Mr. Beckermann, who has written briefly to me, but whom I have yet to meet,3 and also perhaps you should be giving some thought to my stopping by Frankfurt sometime and taking a look at the firm’s new building, perhaps.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
The words “first week of June” are underlined in red ballpoint and marked with two lines in the margin.
A Party for Boris was published on May 5, 1970 as Volume 440 of edition suhrkamp.  Burgel Geisler sent Bernhard in Ohlsdorf an advance copy along with a cover letter.  “[...]a lovely red Party for Boris is sitting on the table with the first copy; I shall send it to you at the end of the week and before Mr. Unseld returns at the beginning of next week from America, to which he has been called away on business.”
In April both Günther Busch and Thomas Beckermann corresponded with Bernhard about the definitive selection of contributions to be included in On Thomas Bernhard, edited by Anneliese Botond.  On April 30, 1970, Beckermann inquired after the manuscript of The Lime Works by telegram.  On April 30, 1970 Beckermann sent Bernhard the table of contents of On Thomas Bernhard.  On May 6, 1970 Beckermann received the following reply regarding the table of contents: “[...] two questions: the list of contributors for the es volume does not include the excellent essay by Hans Höller, which Ms. Botond herself once described as outstanding.  Why?  The list includes an article by Mr. Schonauer [Franz Schonauer: Thomas Bernhard, Verstörung] that was copied in the cheapest manner and for the most part verbatim from a Blöcker review and then published in the Neue Rundschau.  Why?  On May 16, 1970, Bernhard declared to Beckermann, “[...] the effect of the ‘speech’ in the presence of the minister [on the occasion of the awarding of the State Prize in 1968; see Letter No. 43] is voided by the so-called ‘Matutinal Meditations’ [first published in Wort in der Zeit, Vol. 1, 1966, pp. 11-13]; the ‘Matutinal Meditations’ therefore should be omitted; this can be done unregretfully, because stylistically speaking the piece is a complete failure.”  On May 23 May, Bernhard submitted a vita that he had compiled especially for the book (see On Thomas Bernhard, p. 142f.) and attached to it a note: “Most of the contributions are facile and moronic, but there’s nothing that can be done about that now; at the same time I cannot hold my peace.  I especially could have done without the moronic antics of Mr. Preiẞnitz.”  On July 5, having received his first copy, he stated, “Dear Mr. Beckerman, against such victim-annihilating frolics as the On book, which arrived here yesterday, one must struggle with great subtlety and in a state of extreme depression.”         
Letter No. 115
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
May 8, 1970
I thank you for your two letters from April 28 and May 5.  I am especially grateful to you for your manuscript of The Lime Works, which has just arrived.  I am very eagerly looking forward to reading it this weekend.
From June 1 through 5 we will be having closed meetings with the sales representatives of both Insel and Suhrkamp Publications.  I shall be engaged throughout all five of those days, and so unfortunately I shall be unable to come to Hamburg then.  In the second week of June, in other words, from June 7 onwards, such a trip would be no problem, but would it not make more sense for you to come to Frankfurt that week?  I would be glad to have you here; you could stay with us and also take a leisurely tour of the firm’s building and chat with the readers you haven’t met yet.  Please do write to me letting me know what you think of this.  I would be highly delighted if you could come.1
Enclosed is an overview of the schedule for the second half of 1970.  As you can see, it contains nothing by Fröhlich!2
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Enclosure
[Enclosure; list of titles]
Suhrkamp 2nd Half of 1970
Celan, Lichtzwang [Light-Compulsion].  Poems.
Ernst Augustin, Mamma. A Novel.
Jürgen Becker, Umgebungen [Surroundings].
Thomas Bernhard, The Lime Works, a Novel.
Günter Eich, Ein Tibeter in meinem Büro [A Tibetan in My Office].  Maulwürfe [Moles] 2.
Uwe Johnson, Jahrestage [Anniversaries]. Aus dem Leben der Gesine Cresspahl.  Aug.67-Feb. 68.
Dieter Kühn, N.
Alf Poss, Hinausgeschwommen [Floated Out].
Beckett, Watt.
Christiane Rochefort, Frühling für Anfänger [Springtime for Beginners, possibly a translation of her 1969 novel, Printemps au parking (DR)].
Works of Herman Hesse in 12 volumes.
Ödön von Horváth, Collected Works.
Joyce, Letters II
Books of 19, December [i.e., December 19? (DR)].  The Best of H.C. Artmann. 
A selection by Klaus Reichert.
Brecht, Poems, Vol. 10.
Spectaculum 13 (Beckett, Bond, Hacks, Handke, Horváth, Michelsen, O’Casey, Fleißer). 
From June 5 to June 7, hence for three days, Bernhard stayed in Hamburg in order to attend rehearsals of A Party for Boris.  This stay yielded the television interview Three Days.  “In the summer of 1970, after a search that lasted literally days and eventually degenerated into a personally embarrassing farce, a search for a suitable setting for such an undertaking, I unquestioningly sat down on a white park bench in suburban Hamburg in order, as previously stipulated, to utter in the presence of the director Ferry Radax a series of sentences regarding myself [...].  But the fact that a film has been made, a film in which for fifty-five continuous minutes my person is seated on a white park bench in suburban Hamburg for no other purpose than to say (or not to say) the first thing that occurs to it, [...] and the fact that the resulting film was ultimately acceptable, immediately led to the idea of writing a longer film, meaning one lasting at least an hour and a half (Thomas Bernhard, Works, Vol. 11, p. 259; first published in The Italian, 1971).  Three Days was broadcast on West German Television on October 17, 1970, the date of the awarding of the Büchner Prize to Bernhard.  West German Television’s cultural and literary publications division prefaced their transcript of Bernhard’s utterances (Thomas Bernhard.  Three Days.  A Portrait by Ferry Radax, place and date of publication unknown) with some remarks about the film: “From the outset the director regarded conveying the sole predetermined situation (Thomas Bernhard sitting on a bench and talking) as his most important task.  Each passage from each monologue has been shot in a single unedited take.  Initially each cut marks only a transition to a new unit of thought; later in the course of film a second aim becomes evident: the attempt to so to speak disassemble the predetermined situation into its individual aspects through an unorthodox and sometimes even extreme cutting technique, and thereby to distance the viewer anew with each cut.  A second structuring medium is the gradual revelation of what the author sees opposite him--the technical apparatus (spotlight, tape recorder, video recorder, the production crew).  In this manner the process of producing a film is to be rendered transparent; at the same time, the viewer is to be made conscious that the reproduction of seemingly “natural” situations and processes that technology makes possible is in reality a procedure of the utmost artificiality, an artificiality also signalized by the stereotypical narrative demeanor of Thomas Bernhard’s prose works” (p. 111f.).  The director recalled: “I was naturally frustrated, because how can you make a film out of a man sitting motionlessly on a bench in front of four running cameras for an hour? [...] the camera on Day 1, morning, from 150 to 50 meters’ distance  On Day 2, midday, from 50 to 20 meters [...] Day 3: start late afternoon, distance 10 meters, after nightfall distance 2 meters to 50 centimeters.  I wanted the passage of day into night to be recorded for the sake of adding the unity of time to the unity of place and character (Radax, Thomas Bernhard and Film, p. 210).  Bernhard wrote a film scenario based on his novella-fragment The Italian (the fragment and the scenario appear in Vol. 11, pp. 183-248 of Bernhard’s Works).  Radax in collaboration with his cameraman, Gerhard Vandenberg, developed the scenario into a script that West German Television commissioned to be made into a film.  The film was shot in the winter of 1971 at Castle Wolfsegg near Ohlsdorf with a cast that included Rosemarie Fendel, Kurt Jaggberg, and Fabrizio Jovine.  (Date of first broadcast: October 18, 1971).  In 1972 the film received three Adolf Grimme Prizes, one of which went to Bernhard for the scenario. (On the origins of the fragment and the film, see Vol. 11, pp. 356-365 of Bernhard’s Works).  For Bernhard’s reaction see Letter No. 151.  On June 9, 1970, on his way back to Ohlsdorf from Hamburg, Thomas Bernhard stopped off at Frankfurt Station.  In a June 11 letter to Hedwig Stavianicek he reported, “As I was riding through the little town of Butzbach on the train the day before yesterday, I thought to myself, so that’s where Büchner was imprisoned [...]  And when I got to Unseld’s house for lunch [...] he kept asking me in a roundabout way whether I had heard anything from the academy yet, but I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about [...]  suddenly he simply said point-blank, ‘Two days ago the German Academy awarded Thomas Bernhard the Büchner Prize [...]’” (Bernhard, Works, Vol. 3, p. 243).
In 1971 Hans J. Fröhlich’s novel Engels Kopf [Angel’s Head] was published by Suhrkamp Publications.  Bernhard and Fröhlich had known each other since 1967, as is apparent from an August 7, 1967 letter from Fröhlich to Bernhard: “I sincerely thank you for having spoken of me in such friendly terms to Ms. Botond.  Without your assistance my book [the novel Tandelkeller] would perhaps no longer be appearing this fall.”
Letter No. 116
Frankfurt am Main
May 11, 1970
[Telegram]
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
“lime works” is magnificent.  i am enthusiastic.  congratulations to us both.  stop.  the text seems press-ready to me.  i want to give it to production dept immediately.  one request: that the underlines should not be set in italics.  that would be too much.  would it be all right with you if we typeset everything normally?  once again my congratulations and my admiration.
yours siegfried unseld
Letter No. 117
[Telegram]
Ohlsdorf
5.12.70
typset everything normally = bernhard1
Bernhard subsequently decided that certain passages should be italicized after all, and so on June 16, 1970, Thomas Beckermann sent him the first part of the rough collated copy of The Lime Works and returned his manuscript to him.
On June 19, 1970, Unseld visited Bernhard in Ohlsdorf and described their meeting in his Travel Journal for Austria and Switzerland, June 14-21, 1970: “I discussed the contract for The Lime Works with him.  Differences of opinion were resolved, and a few amendments were introduced as well.  But Bernhard still could not make up his mind to sign the contract.  But he wishes to make up for this.  He doesn’t want to sign any of the earlier contracts.  He believes they should be incorporated into our new agreement, and I agree with him.
What he desires most is the publication of The Lime Works in a run of 10,000 copies.  I told him I would have to discuss it at the firm.  The awarding of the Büchner Prize will take place on October 17 in Darmstadt.  Bernhard wants to give a short speech.  I think we should exploit the Büchner Prize situation as a promotional opportunity.  Certainly by all means in Darmstadt.  Perhaps we could persuade the book dealers’ association in Darmstadt to undertake a bulk mail campaign or something similar.  A question for Miss Weimar: what is the situation of translations of Thomas Bernhard’s works?  Perhaps in view of the Büchner Prize and of the new Büchner Prize-mentioning prospectus we are preparing, we should promote the translations again.  Thomas Bernhard is prepared to come to the Frankfurt Book Fair and to participate in the panel sessions.  He is, however, against paired readings in the first week of September.  If we plan to present Augustin [Ernst Augustin’s novel Mamma, like the Lime Works, was delivered to bookstores on September 1, 1970] alongside Bernhard, we will have to do so over the course of two separate evenings, i.e., a Thomas Bernhard evening and a separate Ernst Augustin evening.  Regarding [Ödön von] Horváth, Bernhard suggests that I should write to Mr. Heer proposing to him a matinee performance at the Academy Theater in commemoration of the new edition.  I shall be quite happy to do this.  Bernhard has two recommendations for the Bibliothek Suhrkamp: Canetti, a selection from Crowds and Power; eventually consider the entire book.  Ask Miss Geisler to order a copy.  Moreover, Bernhard will be happy to compile a selection of Trakl for the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.
In August we shall receive the last two novellas for the BS volume Midland at Stilfs.  We will then still be able to choose between bringing the book’s date of publication forward and publishing the book as March 1971 as originally planned.  Aside from this, Bernhard is working on two things.  The first is a new play, a “comedy of the idiots,” the second, a new novel, which is set in a paper factory.  On the whole it was a very successful encounter.  My connection with Bernhard has been further solidified and deepened.  The next day he accompanied me on my trip to see Günter Eich.  Postscript on Thomas Bernhard: in the June issue of the journal Literatur und Kritik, “Der Berg” [“The Mountain”], a pantomime by Thomas Bernhard, has been published.  We could acquire it for the theatrical publications division.  An Austrian theater is going to host the premiere.  Yet another play by Thomas Bernhard already exists as a preliminary draft.  Naturally he wants it to be published in edition suhrkamp.”
Der Berg.  Ein Spiel für Marionetten als Menschen oder Menschen als Marionetten [The Mountain.  A Play for Marionettes as People or People as Marionettes ] originated in 1957.  It was first published in Literatur und Kritik, Vol. 46, 1970, pp. 330-352.  On April 7, 1970, Austrian television broadcast a performance of the play.  For the text of the play and information on its genesis, see Vol. 15, pp. 89-136 and 446ff. of Bernhard’s Works.
From a note to Unseld’s Chronicle headed Example of a Day’s Travel.  Friday, June 19, it is evident that Unseld, in the company of Jürgen Becker and his wife Rango Bohne, went to Ohlsdorf by car from Poschiavo, Switzerland (where the Hildesheimers lived) via Kirchichl, near Kufstein (where the Augustins were staying).  In this note, Unseld reports, “This lime works is based on an actual one in Traunsee.  Bernhard pointed it out to me later on.”         
Letter No. 118
[Telegram]
Hamburg
June 29 [1970]
play overwhelming success as was performance.  my sincerest congratulations.  siegfried unseld
  
Letter No. 119
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
July 1, 1970
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
It was exactly as described in my telegram.  At the very beginning of the opening scene there was some booing, but it was immediately drowned out by repeated bursts of applause in the same scene.  At the end, this escalated, such that one may unaffectedly speak of a hurricane of applause, which is really quite uncustomary in Hamburg.
I believe that your play was given a complete expression of its essence.  Granted, perhaps here and there I would have had the actor redo his line.  But this reservation is irrelevant.  The reverberatively huge response was sufficiently persuasive.
Peymann achieved outstanding results.  Boris was perfect; regarding Judith Holzmeister in the role of the Good Woman it is possible to be of two minds.  She has a manner of speaking that is hardly to my liking.  On the other hand there is something inherently over-the-top about the role itself.  The set designs struck me as first-rate.  As far as they go this is truly a model production.  You know that the rehearsals and the date of the performance kept getting further and further postponed.  In the end the theater covered itself by heading fate off at the pass, i.e., by scheduling the performance for the last day of the season.  Immediately afterwards, the theater closed up and went on summer vacation.  For the Schauspielhaus the success of Boris marks the high point of the season, and Lietzau has assured me that the play is going to play an eminent role in their next season.  We are now going to try very hard to hold him to his promise.1
I am sending you the reviews that we have received today.  Further reviews will be on their way to you in the next couple of days.
I congratulate you, dear Mr. Bernhard.  I congratulate us both, and I am delighted to be writing this on the date of the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of Suhrkamp Publications.
Yours sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
Enclosures2      
A Party for Boris premiered at the Deutsche Schauspielhaus, Hamburg, on June 29, 1970, in a production by Claus Peymann.  The cast included Judith Holzmeister as the Good Woman, Angela Schmid as Johanna, Wolf R. Redl as Boris, and Heinz Schubert as the Oldest Cripple.  Sets were by Karl Ernst Herrmann, costumes by Moidele Bickel.  Bernhard was not present at the performance.  Only July 5 he wrote to Ursula Bothe at the Suhrkamp theatrical publications division, “[...] For me, who spent the entire evening of the 29th pacing up and down in a state of nervous tension until I finally quite miraculously withdrew from this unbearable state by taking a ton of sleeping powder, our success in Hamburg was completely unforeseeable, completely unexpected.  Of Peymann I can say that I knew from our very first encounter that he was the right man for Boris.  There wasn’t much need for quibbling.  But at the high point of my curiosity I told myself it was better to leave the theater alone.  In the fall I shall go to see one of the earliest performances.”  After the premiere, its only performance during the 1969-1970 season, the play was re-accepted into the Schauspielhaus’s repertoire on September 30, 1970 and received eleven performances at the theater through the following December.
In the bottom margin of the carbon copy of the letter are the following typewritten notations:
Hamburger Abendblatt 6.30
Welt 7.1
FAZ 7.1.
SZ 1.7
In the Hamburger Abendblatt Paul Theodor Hoffmann wrote under the headline “The Dead Love before the Eyes of the Living,” “The Deutsche Schauspielhaus has attained the high point of its season in that season’s finale.  After Hans Lietzaus’s masterly production of The Cherry Orchard [...] Claus Peymann helped the Austrian lyric poet and prose author Thomas Bernhard achieve a stunning theatrical debut. [...] The eponymous party for Boris (his birthday party) is an endgame. [...] In the endgame, Peymann, Peter Handke’s whiz kid of a collaborator (on Attacking the Audience), provocatively flaunts his directing style: a chorus, a canon, and scraps of dialogue; a virtuosic, pantomimic mode of expression; reality in the midst of the absurd.”  In Die Welt Manfred Leier (“Symposium in the House of Ill Repute”): “A drama of disgust, basically.  A play about debasement of the most profound kind, hence debasement that certainly does not become more bearable, such that the debased characters scarcely comport themselves like human beings at all.  A drama of disgust that nevertheless recalls the work of Beckett.  A whiff of the archaic wafts through the play.  The entire gathering of invalids turns into a monolithic apotheosis of infirmity.  A musty stench ascends from the bodies.  They are buried alive.”  Rolf Michaelis (“Elegy for Fifteen Wheelchairs”) in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung concluded: “Here stands a man with not merely one foot in the grave.  All this writer’s texts are memoirs from beyond the grave. [...] Bernhard rescues his work from the listlessness and idealessness of monotonous threnodies played on the anti-intellectual misanthrope’s hurdy-gurdy via grotesque humor. [...] Great existential misery, to be sure, but amid much ‘horrible laughter.’  Tears, but tears shed by a clown.”  Hellmuth Karasek opined in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (“Boots for Legless People”): “In the prodigious abominations of the last scene [...] Peymann and Bernhard confront our beautiful, wholesome world with the grotesque mug of everything that we have pushed into the asylum and that Bernhard wants to release from the asylum in the form of Ensoresque visions.  Naturally this sort of thing has a certain perversely culinary appeal for the spectator.”          
  
Letter No. 120
[Address: (Ohlsdorf); handwritten]
Frankfurt am Main
July 3 [1970]
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Enclosed are further reviews and also a copy of the “Theater Special Circular” with which we are trying to secure additional performances.1
Yours sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
The enclosures have not survived.  In the July 3, 1970 issue of Die Zeit appeared a critique by Henning Rischbieter with the headline “Applause for Bernhard’s Boris”: “The few boos from the back of the house were drowned out by the sustained applause: applause for Judith Holzmeister, Burgtheater actress, lady, serpent of the salon, and heroine [...]; applause for Angela Schmid [...]; applause for Wolf R. Redl who as Boris [...] was capable of making a timid, tired motion of his head into a grand human gesture [...].  Applause finally for the director Claus Peymann. [...]  Applause for the author too?  This year’s Büchner Prize winner did not appear onstage.  Does this mean he finds premieres unbearable?  This one was no mockery of his art [...].”  On July 2, 1970 Botho Strauß wrote in the Frankfurter Rundschau, “In his first play A Party for Boris its double character, its disjunction between artificially arranged, gestural diction and its seemingly realistic elaboration of a sequestered, pathologically abnormal milieu in which all human and social relationships are marked by disassociation, is emphatic almost to the point of univocality [...]  By these means, Bernhard is attempting both to fulfill and destructively to transgress one of the theater’s fundamental commandments: in contrast to his prose works, this play allows for concrete human connections among its grotesquely stunted characters.”           
Letter No. 121
Ohlsdorf
7.5.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
The telegram, letter, and reviews have put me into a very good mood over the past few days, a mood that I have, however, cut short by resuming my work at a timely moment.  That Peymann was an exceptionally good man for my play was clear to me from the beginning and consequently he and I have not needed to exchange many words, but at the same time it was completely unclear to me how the chilly Nordic audience would react to Boris; my scepticism has proved to have been ill-founded--and naturally I am very happy about this.
In the fall I shall have a look at one of the first, not the first, performances, then I shall travel northwards for a bit.  After watching a few short scene-excerpts on television, with an enormous burst of laughter from [Judith] Holzmeister at the end, I felt as though the whole thing ought to be performed by a group of first-rate English actors, by an English theater troupe.
For Ms. Holzmeister the performance was really quite an enormous achievement, when I consider what an awful rut this woman was stuck in two decades ago.
I am glad that everything has gone off so smoothly,
Yours sincerely Thomas Bernhard
May I please ask you for a present: everything by Ernst Bloch!,
There is of course no need for you to blab about this to my “colleagues”!
P.P.S. Come back again soon!!1
See Note No. 1 to Letter No. 117.
Letter No. 122
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
July 13, 1970
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your letter of July 5.  You can be sure your joy is exactly the same as mine.  Of course the theatrical publications division of Suhrkamp deserves some small share of the credit for this success, because were the ones who drew the play to Claus Peymann’s attention and committed it unreservedly to his care and also came up with the idea of trying to have the play produced and performed in Hamburg.  I am very glad that everything worked out so well.  Naturally we will keep trying to drum up additional performances.  I have already informed our sales representative in London that the play is genuinely worthy of being performed by good actors.
Your request for “everything by Ernst Bloch” puts me into a bit of a quandary.  You know that Bloch’s work was published in a complete edition.  But there are several volumes of which we only have a few copies left in stock, and we must keep a close hold on these.  We can arrange to send you the majority of the books free of charge, and to charge you the authors’ price (35% discount) for the few that are in short supply.1
I was delighted by your invitation to come to see you again.  I am mulling over the theme of the meeting and when it will possible for me to make the trip.  How is the work on Midland at Stilfs coming along and what do you plan to work on afterwards?  The comedy or the novel about the paper factory?2
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld   
Bernhard obtained the sixteen-volume edition of Bloch for 50% of the retail price.
At the bottom margin of the letter Bernhard wrote a Gmunden telephone number as well as the calling codes for Germany and Frankfurt.

Letter No. 123
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
July 21, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
In the latest issue of Cologne’s Rheinischer Merkur I read a very fine account of A Party for Boris penned by Heinz Beckmann.  I am sending you a copy of this page.  You can see from this that discussion of the play is continuing.
I hope this gives you a fresh impetus.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Enclosure1
The enclosure has not survived.  It was presumably a copy of Heinz Beckmann’s article entitled “An Unbearable Examination,” which appeared in the July 10, 1970 issue of the Rheinischer Merkur.
Letter No. 124
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
July 24, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Could you set aside September 2 for a reading in Hamburg?  You have of course written that you intended to travel northwards anyway.  So I hope this can be fitted into your plans.  This is going to be a Suhrkamp function at which you and Ernst Augustin will both be reading.
Please confirm your participation in the event for me.  We must drum up some business.
Yours
with sincere regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]   
Letter No. 125
Ohlsdorf
7.28.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I do indeed plan to go to Hamburg in the second half of September, but not in the first, and so as far as I am concerned I certainly will not be in Hamburg on the 2nd.  But if you attach some especial importance to my being in Hamburg to give a reading on 9.2., your wish is my command.
On the other hand I must point out that I declined the theater’s invitation to give a reading at Lietzaus’s house before the premiere of Boris; but perhaps now that the premiere is past it wouldn’t be an entirely bad thing for me to give a reading at the theater.  In September, after the warm-ups for the next run of performances of the play.
Please think it over and come up with the most sensible possible course of action; if that turns out to involve a reading at the theater, please get in touch with the dramaturg, Mr. Wendt.  I would quite like to know what has become of your plans for a little film castle in Frankfurt.  (Date!)
My play will be finished soon, but I have told everybody who has asked me about it that I don’t know when it will be finished.
I shall be bringing the text of Midland with me to Germany.
Obviously, I hope you and I will get to see each other in Darmstadt.
I shall be traveling either in the company of my aunt or on my own.
At first I thought it would be a good idea not to give a speech, but now I see that that would be foolish and cowardly.  And so I will speak to the Academy after all.  Every simple course of action is in the long run an appalling one.
In closing, I must ask you to grant me two thousand marks of emergency credit; something appalling (nothing devastating, but for all that unavoidable) has happened here, and I have signed a bill of exchange that I would like to redeem as close to immediately as possible.  If you can assist me, please send the money by wire.1
Sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
In the margin of this paragraph is a handwritten remark by Burgel Geisler: “sent by wire on 7.31.”
Letter No. 126
Frankfurt am Main
July 31, 1970
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Thank you most heartily for your letter of July 28.
I have been pondering the pros and cons of the Hamburg function.  I agree with you that it is probably better for you to give a separate reading on your own and in the context of the Schauspielhaus.  I have therefore canceled the Suhrkamp function.
We are trying to make the little film castle in Wilhelmsbad a reality.  So far it looks as though it would be possible on 9.25.  But the whole thing has a certain tentative feel to it, given that nobody knows what films we plan to show.1  
I am very eagerly awaiting the text of Midland, and I am naturally very curious about the new play.
Obviously I shall be coming to Darmstadt.  I think it only fitting for you to give a short speech.
You will have received the DM 2,000 by now.  Especially among friends it is important to be punctilious in money matters.  We have an agreement and we have mutually agreed to adhere to it.  I would therefore propose our regarding these unstipulated DM 2,000 as a loan. 
Otherwise things are going well here.  Now that we have spoken by telephone The Lime Works will go to press.2
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld 
P.S.  We just received an inquiry from a bookseller in Wiesbaden whether you would perhaps be willing to give a reading during the fair or when you are in Darmstadt in October.  Please write to me about this.
During Unseld’s visit at Bernhard’s house in Ohlsdorf in the company of Rango Bohne and Jürgen Becker on June 19, 1970 (see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 117), there were discussions of a function during the Frankfurt book fair, as Unseld notes in his Travel Journal for Austria and Switzerland, June 14-21, 1970: “An evening in Wilhelmsbad, in the the theater recently built there by Hessian Radio.  It has about 120 seats.  So it would be an evening for booksellers, an ongoing reception with drinks and snacking opportunities; each guest would have the choice of lingering and drinking or going into the theater, in which the following program of events would be running.  Jürgen Becker reads from ‘Environs,’ a film, duration 10 minutes.  Next Ernst Augustin would read live, so to speak; then the film ‘Vitus Bering’; then the film ‘Thomas Bernhard’ [Konrad Bayer’s novel The Head of Vitus Bering was published in 1970 as Volume 258 of the Bibliothek Suhrkamp; in the same year Ferry Radax shot a 25-minute film of the same name.  For an explanation of ‘Three Days,’ see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 115], then Uwe Johnson could also read this time.”  The plan was never realized.
Presumably on the same day or slightly earlier Unseld and Bernhard spoke to each other by telephone in order to clarify the questions about the paginated rough copy of The Lime Works that Thomas Beckermann had posed to Bernhard in a July 22 1970 letter; on the carbon copy of the letter there are some notes in Unseld’s handwriting.   
Letter No. 127
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
September 3, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I am holding the first copy of your book The Lime Works in my hands; I am quite sure it is your best book, and if we are ever going bring about your breakthrough to a wider circle of readers with a single book, then it is now and with this one.  In any case we have already embarked on an intensive, concentrated campaign; the Büchner Prize will contribute its fair share to this.
The retail price is DM 18; your honorarium for the 1st 10,000 is 10%, hence 1.80 per copy; our system of amortization is of course quite familiar to you.
Now I can only hope that you are satisfied with the outside appearance of the book.  How many complimentary copies do you want sent to Ohlsdorf?
And what are your travel dates?  Are you coming to the book fair?  If you are--as of course you had more or less agreed to do--it would be nice if you could arrange to be here on Saturday, September 26 no matter what.  At 6:00 p.m. there will be a gathering of a small group of booksellers at my house in Klettenbergstraße; it would be nice if you could read a brief passage to this group.1  But you need not come to Frankfurt expressly on account of this gathering--not unless you find it tempting, and in that case you will of course be sincerely welcome.  Please write to me soon; I am very curious and anxious to learn what you think of the book.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Enclosure: Lime Works
Bernhard did not participate in the booksellers’ evening during the book fair (September 24-29).  In his place Max Frisch read from his Diaries 1966-1971, which was published in 1972.
  
Letter No. 128
Ohlsdorf
9.7.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I am extremely pleased with the neatly printed and inventively swathed book and it is clear that I wish it the greatest possible success; in this we are of one mind.
I probably will be traveling to Hamburg, but only after going to Darmstadt, so everything can be done in one trip.1
The fact that I now have several weeks left for my play, my comedy, cheers me no end.
The heavenly and infernal spheres alike are circling auspiciously.
Yours very, very sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. In the fall of ’71 (September) a volume entitled Atzbach (subtitled Prescriptions) might be appearing in the “es.”  Will you please note that down?!
A week after the awarding of the Büchner Prize, at 11:00 p.m. on October 24, 1970, at the Deutsche Schauspielhaus, after a performance of A Party for Boris, Bernhard read for 45 minutes from The Lime Works as part of the Extra 6 series.  In an article headlined “Extra 6 for St. Bernhard,” the October 26, 1970, Hamburger Morgenpost reported, “Although the Austrian is no elocutionist (‘...the German public is so serious that one cannot get away with reading anything serious to it’), he is thrilling listen to.  The narrative soundlessness of his prose idiom--evident here in his seemingly artless use of the subjunctive of reported speech--has an ominous and morbid effect on the listener.”   
Letter No. 129
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
September 11, 1970
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I take pleasure in your extreme pleasure.  Hence I thank you heartily for your letter of September 7.
I am glad to learn that you will now not be going to Hamburg until after the award ceremony at Darmstadt.  I have noted that we will be traveling together to Frankfurt after the conclusion of your Darmstadt schedule (the last event will be a lunch on Sunday the 18th); you can then stay overnight with us if that is agreeable to you.
And please don’t forget that you are planning to bring Midland at Stilfs with you.
I am very happy about your further news; first of all, that you can now work productively on your play, on the comedy, and that the heavenly and infernal spheres alike are circling auspiciously for you and that in September of 1971 we shall be able to publish an e.s. volume with the uncommonly apt Bernhardian title of Atzbach.  We shall make that a fixed event in the schedule.
I have just been notified that the second print run of Watten has been issued (10-14 thsnd.).  I shall have a copy sent to you.
Yours
with sincere regards and wishes,
Siegfried Unseld     
Letter No. 130
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
September 23, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
A certain Dr. Walter Brandau has written to me from Vienna.  He would like to make a film of Boris’s Symposium (as he calls it).  The man is as yet unknown and has so far only made a name for himself in commercials.  But he is fascinated by the play and would like to have a go at adapting it.
What do you think of it in principle?  Perhaps you can think the idea over, and we can talk about the logistics when you are are here.
Yours
with warm regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]
Re book fair
I have just awarded the Swedish translation rights for The Lime Works (Norstedts Förlag).
Letter No. 131
Frankfurt am Main
October 20, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I found it very pleasant that we got to spend somewhat more time together than usual, and we should repeat such meetings from time to time.
The effect of the Büchner Prize has been very nice both before and since the ceremony.  Your book sales have picked up.  We shall shortly be printing a second run of The Lime Works.1 
Now let me remind you once again about Midland.  I would be very happy if I received the text soon.
Enclosed you will find the contracts that were signed in Frankfurt as well as the statement of royalties.
Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld
The presentation of the Georg Büchner Prize of the Academy for Language and Literature to Bernhard took place in Darmstadt on October 17, 1970.  The award certificate bears this text: “In a seemingly equanimous prose idiom, he has searched out the relentless process of the destruction of individual life, and through his novels and novellas he has pointed up the this process’s affiliation with the latent pathologies of our age.”  In his laudation (printed in the 1970 Yearbook of the Academy) Günter Blöcker declared, “[...] If I had to say in a single brief sentence in what way Thomas Bernhard is [...] important, nay, indispensable, to us, that sentence would have to be, ‘He shakes us up in the midst of our false security.’”  Bernhard’s acceptance speech begins as follows: “Honored guests, that of which we speak is unexplored; we do not live, but rather conjecture and exist as hypocrites, castoffs in the dire, ultimately lethal misunderstanding of nature, a misunderstanding in which, thanks to science, we are now irrecoverably lost [...].”  (Bernhard Meine Preise, p. 123; for his impressions of the award ceremony see pp. 109-114 of the same volume.)
In his October 21, 1970 note, “Conversation with Thomas Bernhard on the Occasion of His Visit to Frankfurt on the Occasion of His Acceptance of the Büchner Prize,” Unseld remarks, “In connection with his acceptance of the Büchner Prize, Thomas Bernhard visited Darmstadt and Frankfurt in the company of his aunt, Hedwig Stavianicek.  The lady’s 74th birthday was on October 18, and at the lunch held by the city for the recipient of the Büchner prize she was presented with a bouquet of roses.
Regarding his own plans, Bernhard expressed himself thus: Midland at Stilfs—novellas—are finished; he will send them to us at the end of December.
After that he will be working exclusively on his new play, a comedy whose title he said he had not yet settled on; he intends to send it to us in the winter.
Subsequently he will be working on a book scheduled for publication in the e.s., Atzbach.  Prescriptions.  Atzbach is the name Bernhard has concocted for an insane asylum in which the people are fed according to prescription.
After finishing this text, Bernhard will write his next novel, which he would like to have completed by April of 1971; this is the novel set in an Austrian paper factory.”

Letter No. 132
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
October 26, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Knopf has just published the English translation of Verstörung under the title of Gargoyles.  This has turned out to be a very nice-looking book.  We will be sending you your six complimentary copies.  We hope that we will soon be able to finalize the agreement for The Lime Works as well.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 133
Ohlsdorf
10.27.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
My extensive perusal of the contract for The Lime Works that I signed in Frankfurt impels me to withdraw my signature from that contract with immediate effect.  There are clauses in this contract that I cannot accept under any circumstances and I request that you not regard my signature of the contract as binding and send the signed contract for The Lime Works to me at Ohlsdorf.  The same goes for the Watten contract.
All told, my trip through Germany may be regarded as a depressing inventory of all the states of affairs with which I was confronted between Passau and Lübeck.  The nonsensicality and nonsensicality-abetted stupidity that was never before so investable with governmental pomp as it is today, is of appalling dimensions in Germany.  The surface is one of enervating vulgarity, beneath which a gargantuan corporeal and spiritual catastrophe seems to be heralded.  The minds of all are full of treachery, and in everything on which these minds dare to stake their existence this treachery is unsurpassable.
The revolutionaries qua intellectuals or intellectuals qua revolutionaries (it’s all enough to make you puke!) gorge themselves in the Chinese and Yugoslavian and Italian restaurants.  The whole thing is revolting, because it is in Germany.
Yours with very sincere regards,
Thomas B.
Please have all enquiries as to whether I could give a reading somewhere, anywhere, answered with the reply that I loathe readings and no longer give them.
|P. S.| Into the Limeworks contract, as well as into all the other contracts, all of them so far, there must be inserted a passage stating that their legal force will end with immediate effect should the firm cease to be overseen by you or should it pass into other hands.  The complete contracts are to be thus amended; perhaps this can be done through the post; if not I must ask you to get together with me in the mountains at some point, whenever it is convenient for you.
Letter No. 134
Frankfurt am Main
November 3, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I acknowledge receipt of your letter of October 27.  What experiences must you have had during this trip through Germany!  Did you really find Hamburg so disappointing?  I didn’t get the impression that the events in Darmstadt or Frankfurt could cause you to have such experiences.1
Now to the question about the contracts: I would be very happy to speak with you about it sometime soon, but at the moment this is simply impossible.  I am certain, my dear Mr. Bernhard, that in the course of a relaxed conversation I could convince you of the justness of the various points of the contract, but for now what should really matter is that we already have this contract, whose terms we shall jointly enforce in a sensible manner.  What is more, the books Watten and The Lime Works have of course already been published; they are making their way in the world of the reading public quite independently of what we have included in the contract.  So you must have faith.  We are making the best we can of this.
When we meet next time and when we draw up another contract together we can certainly talk about a clause that attaches the contracts to me personally.
When may I expect to receive the manuscript of Midland?  Little by little time is getting short.
As I have already written to you, the demand for The Lime Works is strong and sustained.  We are printing a second run.  I hope this pleases you.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
The awarding of the Büchner Prize to Bernhard was met with some criticism--for example, in the pages of Die Zeit.  Two articles on a single page (p. 23 of the October 23, 1970 number) very swiftly reacted to the presentation of the prize: In “Remarks on Integrity” Rudolf Walter Leonhardt (a.k.a. “leo”) wrote, “Certainly Thomas Bernhard has a right to his opinion.  However crazily twisted may seem his views--views that for all their dubiousness, and despite everything, evince an appreciation of words as a medium of communication, of information, of human potential--Thomas Bernhard himself is beyond reproach.  But what can possibly incite the abused abusers solemnly to intone in the name of the German language and its literature, ‘Praised (and prized) be Thomas Bernhard!’”   David E. Zimmer entitled his polemic against the author and the Academy “How Despair is Rendered Implausible by Applause”: “The awarding of a prize to Thomas Bernhard brings together two fully incommensurable systems.  To celebrate Thomas Bernhard is tantamount to pouring scorn on him or demonstrating that one has not understood him.  It is tantamount to saying that he cannot have been very serious.  And in playing along with the game Thomas Bernhard is effectively saying, ‘I have not been very serious.’  In his works Thomas Bernhard says nothing but that we are all wretched, mentally incompetent, crazy, over and over again; and he said nothing but this in his Darmstadt acceptance speech--this may very well be an all-too-valid insight, but it is hardly one worth applauding or feting.  And when it receives applause and acquiesces in that applause, it annuls itself and consequently has not deserved any applause.”             
Letter No. 135
Ohlsdorf
11.4.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
You still have not replied to my letter from last week; the nature of the problem is quite clear to me; probably I have put your nose out of joint; a remarkable depression of a thoroughly political nature has taken possession of me since my return to Ohlsdorf, although it started setting in as early as Hamburg; I have found it impossible to keep completely mum about the entire thing, and so you have received some unpleasant reading-matter from Austria.  Of our meeting I have nothing but fond memories and today I would especially like to thank your wife for her many kindnesses to me and to my aunt; it really amounted more to a birthday trip for an old lady than to the journey of an intransigent author through a Germany rife with misunderstandings.
My mind is clear, my thoughts are managing to engage with the cogwheels of their environment, my work is progressing; moreover--and this is something that makes absolutely no sense, because by simplifying things it makes them more and more complicated--it is affording this man of well-nigh forty years of age the pleasure of his life, as he has yet another go at it; it is the pleasure of the brain of art enjoying itself.
As for our contracts, a single slash-mark through all the documents is absolutely necessary; the thing won’t work if there are even two different strokes; I quite rightly regard all spontaneity in this matter as somewhat fishy.
I am making some corrections to Midland--just a few, but they are needful to the whole business; we do after all want to put out a book that is, to our eyes, immaculate.
You will have the whole thing in your hands at the end of November.
In the next few days I shall be sending a synopsis of Atzbach to Günther Busch.1
The lights will go on at the paper factory; it is going to be a humorous book, no less difficult.
Without a doubt one’s rage and brutality towards everything can veer from any point of the compass to any other from one hour to the next.
The fact that the critics are suffering from degenerative dementia is no reason to slacken one’s pace in a given direction, whatever that direction may be.
The English, American Verstörung is a splendid book and imparts good cheer.
How many Limeworkses have you sold so far?
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
On November 14, 1970 Thomas Bernhard sent Thomas Beckermann his preliminary synopsis of Atzbach.  Prescriptions: “Little by little and through his tempo of life and death the handyman and habitual criminal Schmöll, having been recently assigned to the Atzbach workhouse, more intensively proves to himself, with the help of every incident and with the greatest precision, that basically the world, and always in every case the immediate environment of the individual, consists not merely of natural and conceptual matter, but rather--for every thinking person, and consequently for every person who dares to think--of nothing but prescriptions, of an embarrassing and upsetting infinity of human and therefore inhuman and inhumane prescriptions.  For Schmöll the world is a world of prescriptions and human beings are beings of prescription, everything in it and everything in them is a prescription.  Schmöll says nothing (because he has given up the habit of speaking), but he thinks: everything is a prescription and therefore thinks: everything is unbearable.”  In the accompanying letter Bernhard wrote, “[...] hopefully this short note is enough for you.  I am just finding it impossible to say anything further.  What doesn’t come through in it is the fact that in virtue of its sheer unbearability Atzbach is funny.”
Letter No. 136
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
November 6, 1970
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I thank you very warmly for your letter of November 4; I am glad that you followed up your earlier letter with this one.  I am confident that we basically already understand each other; we shall calmly talk over these things at the earliest opportunity.
I can easily understand why you were irritated.  At the moment our political landscape is anything but inviting, or even hopeful.  One often gets the impression that some catastrophe is in the subterranean making.  Well, we shall see.  The only thing thing we can do is is carry out our own task as well as possible.
This is why I am so pleased that you are writing with such productive  intensity.  We must have a chat about the “man of well-nigh forty years of age’s pleasure of his life” sometime.  Where will you be on 2.9.1971, by the way?
So I am expecting Midland at the end of this month.
I give you my sincere regards.
Yours,
Siegfried Unseld
P.S. I have already written to you that the first run of The Lime Works (there were 3,000 copies) is sold out; a second run will be delivered on December 13.
Letter No. 137
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
November 10, 1970
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Over the weekend I was in Stockholm in order to hold talks with Peter Weiss and a few friends.  I also spoke with Bengt Holmqvist, who is probably Sweden’s most influential literary critic.  He spoke to me of his fascination after reading The Lime Works: “In my view Thomas Bernhard is the only German-language writer with a secure entitlement to a Nobel Prize.”  Bengt Holmqvist has also recommended the book to the Swedish publishing firm of Norstedt, which has since accepted it.  Probably Mrs. Holmqvist will translate the book.1  
After I got back I spoke with Dr. Karl Korn from the FAZ; quite spontaneously he told me that in recent years he had not read any novel that had fascinated him as much as The Lime Works.  He said he was so enthusiastic about this book that he had almost thought about reprinting it in the newspaper, but then his colleagues had blown the whistle on him.
I am forwarding to you the comments of these hardly insignificant voices.  From here at the firm we are doing everything we can to give your book a wide dissemination.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Unseld was in Stockholm from November 7 to 9 and met with Peter Weiss and his wife, Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss, the literary critic of Dagens Nyheter, the co-administrator of the rights to the works of Nelly Sachs, Bengt Holmqvist, and his wife Margaretha, as well as Olof Lagercrantz.  Margaretha Holmqvist’s Swedish translation of The Lime Works, Kalkbruket, was published by Norstedt in 1972. 
Letter No. 138
Frankfurt am Main
November 11, 1970
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Just a postscript.  Enclosed is suhrkamp information No. 2.  Please take a look at the inside pages.  You are literally the outcry of the inside |(i.e.,  of my admiration!)| 
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld 
Enclosure1
In 1970, the biannual suhrkamp information replaced the superannuated and much-criticized yearly Jahresschau Dichten und Trachten (first issue: 1953) as the firm’s regular advertising publication.  On pp. 16-18 of the second issue of suhrkamp information for 1970 appear a production photograph from the Hamburg premiere of A Party for Boris, the text of Bernhard’s acceptance speech for the Georg Büchner Prize, and a list of Bernhard’s books in the Suhrkamp and Insel catalogues. 
Letter No. 139
Ohlsdorf
11.30.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
The sequence of the prose pieces is the same as in the envelope:
“Midland at Stilfs”
“The Weatherproof Cape”
“On the Ortler.”
I am picturing an easy-to-read printed page, which means the largest possible typeface.
When will it be possible for you to meet with me?
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 140
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
December 8, 1970
I was out of town for a few days and therefore could not acknowledge the arrival of your November 30 letter and of the eagerly awaited manuscript before today.  It will be the next thing I read.  I am very much looking forward to it.
But I am writing to you so promptly now because you asked me to give you a date for a meeting.  These days my schedule is very tight.  But I can give you a possible date that might be agreeable to you as well.  Could we meet on Sunday December, 13, in Munich?  As far as travel distance goes that would of course be halfway between the two of us.  But do tell me if it is even possible.  If it is, I would propose our meeting at 4:00 p.m. at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof.  I would be delighted to see you.  Please do send me a telegram or call me.1
Yours
with sincere regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]       
Unseld was in Munich on December 13-14, 1970 for talks with independent publishers and to visit Wolfgang Koeppen, who was once again holding out the prospect of completing a novel.
Letter No. 141
Ohlsdorf
12.15.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Owing to the death of my uncle during the past week, I have been unable to come to Munich; my plan to give you a ring fell through.1
But surely you will soon be taking another trip to my neck of the woods, and we could meet then.
How soon do you think I shall be able to receive the galley proofs of Midland?
I am working well and everything is on an excellent footing.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. In the Frankfurter Zeitung I read an article by you about Barnes, the American woman, an article that is as excellent as Djuna Barnes herself is great; hopefully you find this praise to your liking, as it doesn’t come easily to me.  (It will be a long time before you get any more of it!!!)2
The younger brother of Thomas Bernhard’s mother, Rudolf Freumbichler, born in 1910, died on December 8, 1970.  His funeral took place in Salzburg on December 15.
In his article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of December 7, 1970, “A Testimonial as an Annuity” Unseld reacted to Rolf Hochhuth’s November 25, 1970 FAZ article “The Written-off Writers,” in which Hochmuth argued in favor of the thesis that “old writers” were being oppressed by publishers, and began by describing a visit to Djuna Barnes: “A few weeks ago I encountered Djuna Barnes in New York; of her abode she warned me in advance, “I live here like a rat in a hell.’  On the door of Number 5 Patchim Place there is no nameplate and no doorbell.  Djuna Barnes lives on the second floor, which she leaves only once a week to buy her sole dietary staple: ice cream (otherwise she drinks tea) or to visit the hospital, as she is ineluctably plagued by leukemia, arthritis, asthma.  The single-room dwelling consists almost exclusively of books, a desk overstuffed with papers, a bed; a minuscule closet, a kitchenette in which there is not room enough to swing a cat.  The windows cannot be shut completely; the house seems not to have been called on by a maintenance worker in decades; nothing is ever repaired.  The landlord cannot evict her as long as she continues living and paying the 49 dollars in rent, a decidedly modest sum for an ‘apartment’ in New York, but 49 dollars are 49 dollars, and Djuna Barnes, America’s greatest living female writer, does not earn those 49 dollars.”
Letter No. 142
Frankfurt am Main
December 21, 1970
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Sincere thanks for your letter of December 15.  Naturally your praise of my note on Djuna Barnes mellifluously flowed down my throat like the finest late-vintage wine!  I am especially sensitive in this ear, and so you have sent me the finest imaginable end-of the-year present.  Thank you very much.
You will receive the galley proofs of Midland at the beginning of February at the latest.  I am glad that you are working well and that everything is going so excellently.
I shall probably be in Munich from January 19 through January 26.  I would like to arrange either for us to see each other in Munich or for me to come to Salzburg then.  Would any day during that stretch of time be agreeable to you?
I wish you bearable holidays, a good end to the year, and, for 1971, the most important thing there is: productivity.
Yours very sincerely,
Unseld
P.S. Whenever you are in Vienna please give my wife’s and my very sincere regards to Mrs. Stavianicek.
1971
Letter No. 143
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
January 6, 1971
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I shall be sending you the schedule for Insel and Suhrkamp Publications for the first half of 1971.  I hope you get a good impression of our upcoming work at the firm.
For me both of your books, Midland at Stilfs and Atzbach, are important.  You know that the Bibliothek Suhrkamp seems to me to be the best forum for your works.  |In the edition s.| we have given you the position of the jubilee volume number of 500.  In this please once again observe how hard we here at the house are are exerting ourselves on behalf of your works.1.
In the last few days of the year I had several conversations with the Hamburger Schauspielhaus.  They are of course probably orientated towards development there.  I have managed to get the new administration to accept A Party for Boris again.  It all depends on the dispositions of the actors now.2
On December 25 I had a talk with Harry Buckwitz.  This is the situation for A Party for Boris: Ms. Bothe gave him a definitive option.  Admittedly it is an option that may be construed as having been devised for the regular schedule and not for the night schedule.  Unfortunately it is no longer possible for me to take the play away from him and give it to the Theater am Hechtplatz, this for two reasons.  First of all, he has already announced his production of A Party for Boris, and it would not be a good thing if it were to be performed somewhere else now that a production at the Zürcher Schauspielhaus has been announced.  But now for the second reason: Agnes Fink, an ideal actress, is already studying the role and preparing for the performance!  I really don’t think we could ask for a better actress in Zurich.  Because of her I simply had to make a definitive commitment to Buckwitz.3   I did however manage to get him to agree that if the performance on the night schedule was a success he would secure further performances on the regular schedule.  Besides I know, and not only from him but also from my friends in Zurich, that the nighttime performances at the Zürcher Schauspielhaus are quite popular with young people.  These performances are always totally sold out.  Naturally the ticket prices are very cheap, but on the other hand there is also always a turnout of about a thousand people.  Buckwitz is very eager to invite you to give a reading.  Are you amenable to this?  Please do drop me a line.4
I am delighted, Mr. Bernhard, that at the very start of this New Year we already
have another opportunity for a productive partnership.  Productivity is and remains the most important thing.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
P.S. Dr. Rach has now joined the theatrical publications division.  He is getting the hang of being in charge of the division; the whole thing looks very hopeful.  Ms. Bothe didn’t want to work with Dr. Rath, and so she quit on 12.31.1970.  But the work is proceeding at its usual pace, and administratively everything is staying on an even keel.  We are in constant communication with Hamburg by telephone.           
Midland at Stilfs was published in March 1971 as Volume 272 of the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.  From a letter  from Burgel Geisler to Bernhard dated January 21, 1971, one may gather that on the same day he was sen t the paginated rough copy of the novels and a request to make his corrections as quickly as possible.
Atzbach was slated to be published in October 1971 as the 500th or jubilee volume of edition suhrkamp, but no book bearing this title was ever realized (see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 215).  The name “Atzbach” appears in several of the bundles of papers in Bernhard’s estate.  (Atzbach is a place in the Upper-Austrian district of Vöcklabruck, not far from Ottnang-Wolfsegg.)  In addition to the typescript of the preliminary synopsis (supplemented by handwritten notes, e.g., “When my work on Handel...etc. Beginning of Atzbach,” NLTB, SL 2.9/2) the Thomas Bernhard Archive contains inter alia an untitled, extensive, five-page typescript that seems to match up with the synopsis, in that it includes a succession of prescriptions.  Its setting is Atzbach, which is evidently supposed to be a prison.  Additionally, in an 88-page bundle there survives a 20-page “Atzbach-complex” that constitutes a preliminary draft of Gehen [Walking].  But Bernhard neither incorporated this narrative thread, in which inter alia the letters of a certain Professor Justin in Kaptstadt were to play an important role, into the final version of Gehen, nor fashioned it into a separate Atzbach novella.  The name does however surface one more time in Bernhard’s later work, in Der Theatermacher [Histrionics or The Scene-Maker], which originally was to be set in Atzbach, from which the name of the definitive setting, Utzbach, was derived.
In 1971 there were no further performances of A Party for Boris in Hamburg.
The Swiss premiere of A Party for Boris was initially scheduled for June of 1971, but owing to the illness of Agnes Fink, who had been cast to play Johanna, it did not take place until November 28, 1971 at the Night Studio of the Zürcher Schauspielhaus.  See also Letter No. 178.
At a matinee on the day of the Swiss premiere of A Party for Boris, November 28, 1971, Thomas Bernhard read the two novellas “Zwei Erzieher” [“Two Tutors”] and “Attaché an der französischen Botschaft” [“Attaché at the French Embassy”] from Prosa.
Letter No. 144
Frankfurt am Main
January 14, 1971
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I hear you are giving a reading at the beginning of February in Stuttgart.  Would it not be possible for us to meet?  Please do send me a specific date.1
And also tell me where you are going to be on February 9.  It would naturally be especially lovely if we could get together on that day.
Allow me, for the sake of putting you into a bright and sunny mood, to inform you that we have now printed a second run of the Bibliothek Suhrkamp edition of Verstörung.
We were circumspect and printed only 2,000 copies; in other words, the 4th and 5th thsd., but we can of course print another run at any time.  In this series we must see that we don’t make any slips during the reprinting.  But I am naturally very glad that in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp the book has picked up some new readers.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
P.S. I am having five specimen copies sent to you in a separate post. 
Here Unseld is possibly referring to an inquiry of Horst Albert Glaser, the Professor of New German Philology at the University of Stuttgart, who in a letter of January 7, 1970 invited Bernhard to give a reading as part of a seminar. 
Letter No. 145
[Handwritten on the stationery of the Hotel Krone, Winterthur]1
[Winterthur]
1.25.71
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I am en route to Brussels & expect to be in Frankfurt on
2.12 (a Friday)
in order to clarify all questions, to solve all problems, in concert with you.
For the 9th, please hop on a plane & alight in Brussels--this would please me no end--you are after all not wanting in adventurousness.
One’s 40th birthday marks the beginning of the satyr play.  Today I shall be stopping by the theater in Zurich.
The year has begun with superlative intensity--in Belgium I shall be getting back to work on Atzbach. 
We must talk things over!  Please write to me immediately at:
Th. B.
℅ UEXKÜLL
RUE DA LA CROIX 60
B BRUXELLES 5
Please also send me a paginated rough copy of MIDLAND2 to the same address express.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. I don’t know anything about a “reading” in Stuttgart & I shan’t be reading there.
Bernhard was on a reading tour, as part of which he read from The Lime Works at a meeting of the Winterthur Literary Society.
Below this sentence there is a note in Burgl Geisler’s handwriting: “Done 1.26.71 / Ge.”  In a letter dated January 26, 1971 Burgl Geisler informed Bernhard that a paginated rough copy of Midland had been sent to him by express mail.  In this letter she also notified him that she was sending him a specimen copy of the second printing of On Thomas Bernhard.
  
Letter No. 146
[Address: ℅ Uexküll, Brussels]
Frankfurt am Main
February 5, 1971
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
So my wife and I will be coming on February 9.  We will be arriving in Brussels fairly late in the morning.  Would it be possible for us to meet at around 1:00 p.m., at our hotel, ALBERT I, Place Rogier?  In the event that you desire some other rendezvous point, please just let us know through the hotel’s management.
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld
in absentia
(Karin Derpa, Secretary)
      
Letter No. 147
Frankfurt am Main
February 23, 1971
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
My time in Brussels was highly ingratiating, and I almost wish certain people had fortieth birthdays more often.  I hope you also feel good about it in hindsight, meaning, I hope, that you are at work on your new texts.  Today I would like for a start to give you a rough, undetailed overview of all the financial options that are incontestably available to you should they be needed.1
Here and just now we have simply consolidated all the Insel and Suhrkamp Bernhard accounts and set up two new accounts:
Account A “Old Works” (Amras, Frost, Verstörung, Boris, Watten, Prose,
Ungenach).  We had made our unorthodox agreement about these on 11.22.1969.  This account will be closed on 8.31.1972.  Today it looks as though we will be able to offset the ca. DM 32,000 debt with ca. DM 22,000 in honoraria, so that the debit balance will now stand at only ca. DM 11,000.  You have until 8.31.1972 to pay off this balance. 
Account B Here is where “Future Works” (The Lime Works, Midland at Stilfs,
Atzbach, and others) figure.  Here we had stipulated 24 monthly installments of DM 800.  By 8.31 these installments will amount to a sum of DM 19,280.
On the credit side of this account are the following sums:
The Lime Works reckoning for 1970
ca. DM 9,000
Midland and Stilfs and Atzbach
through 8.31.1971 roughly DM 7,000
Ancillary rights to Midland at Stilfs
and Atzbach through 8.31.1971 DM 2,000
Lime Works through 8.31.1971 DM 2,000
so that in total this amounts to a sum of ca. DM 20,000, so that on 8.31.1971 Account B will also balance out.
Additionally there is the new loan of DM 15,000.  I gave you the check for it in Brussels.  We will initially treat this sum as a loan, as as said you wished to do in Brussels; I would propose we treat it is as such through 8.31.1972.  At that point (or at some opportune earlier point, as the case may be) we will of course be able to enter into a new agreement.
So all told we can be quite optimistic about the financial picture.
Midland at Stilfs will be coming out at the beginning of March.  We are now waiting on the manuscript of Atzbach.  We are talking with the German Paperback Book Company and Rowohlt about licensing Frost.
I have spoken with my colleagues in the drama division.  We--they and I--would be highly pleased if we could have the text of the play well before the end of the summer.
So much for today. 
Yours
wishing you all the best and with sincere regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]

In Travel Journal for Cologne-Dusseldorf-Brussels-Aachen for February 8-10, 1971, Unseld wrote:
“He was cheerful and relaxed on his fortieth birthday.  He was delighted at my visit and at the salutations I paid him as well as with the gift [two silver candlestands that Unseld had bought earlier that day at Stuart’s, the Brussels antique shop].  An opportunity for extensive conversations.
We can count on receiving the manuscript of Atzbach as scheduled.
Then in the fall of this y[ea]r we will be receiving the text of the second play.  He has already practically finished it, but he would like to let it sit for a while and then make another transcription of it in the summer.
In parallel to this we will begin work on the next novel, which ‘will be even more intensive than Lime Works.’  After the play and the novel will come another shorter work for the edition or for the Bibliothek.  He thinks of these works as ‘rest stations’ between the major works.
In a couple of years he will embark on his magnum opus, a long prose work that he plans to spend several years writing.  The question will then of course be whether his already-extant works have made it materially possible for him to do this.
Incidentally, he has our material agreements very much in mind and also takes them very seriously.  We intend to treat the new sum of money we have issued him as a loan. 
Bernhard’s friends in Brussels are officials associated with the Brussels Commission.  One of them, Dr. Franz Froschmaier, is the deputy of the German commissioner.  When I arrived in Brussels, the European authorities were deliberating the next step to be taken towards the monetary and economic unification of Europe.”
Letter No. 148
[Handwritten; picture postcard: “Il Canale e la Chiesa Sant’ Antonio Triest--The Canal and Church of Sant’ Antonio, Trieste”]
[Trieste]
2.27.71
Via Trieste to Belgrade1--good luck in June with JOICE.2
You can have a bath!
sincerely
Thomas Bernhard
In February and March 1971, in the context of the “Literary Year 1971” organized by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education and Art in collaboration with the Austrian Cultural Institute in Rome and the Austrian Reading Room in Zagreb, Bernhard went on a reading tour that took him through Gorizia, Trieste, Zagreb, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Rome, Bolzano, and Merano.
Unseld was scheduled to participate in a Joyce conference in Trieste on Bloomsday, June 16, 1971, but he canceled on the grounds that his workload would not permit him to attend. 
Letter No. 149 
[Handwritten; picture postcard: “GOMAGOI--Strada Stelvio--Gr. Ortles/Ortler District--Stilfserjochstraße”]
[Gomagoi]
3.16.71
“News from GOMAGOI”
At the Ortler.  I am looking forward to the book1; from 3.19 I shall be back in Ohlsdorf.
Sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
“At the Ortler.  News from Gomagoi” is the title of the concluding story of Midland at Stilfs.
Letter No. 150
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
March 18, 1971
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Midland at Stilfs has already been printed and bound; over the next few days the copies will be sent to the bookdealers.  I am very happy about this book.  I am sure it will figure among my favorite items in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp for a long time.
Do you wish to have all fifty of your complimentary copies?  We have printed a run of 5,000 copies.  The retail price is DM 5.80; your honorarium is 7.5%.  Thirty complimentary copies are already on their way to you in separate posts.       
Do you like the cover and the dust-jacket?
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 151
Ohlsdorf
3.31.71
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Both inside and out Midland turned out to be a very fine book at which I rejoiced enormously for days on end after my return.
By now I have embarked on the final version of Atzbach, which I shall hand in in May.
This prose text is occasioning me both enormous mental strain and enormous enjoyment.
My situation is The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner; I have given this title to my present existence.
I [will] have finish[ed] up with the “dramatic spectacle” this summer.1a
Regarding Boris, I would like some precise and detailed information from the drama division.
Here in very recent days, during my absence, a project that requires the utmost circumspection, a film adaptation of one of my books, has been made, shot, finished.  It is a film based on a prose sketch that I entitled “The Italian,” which is from the Timberline; the main character, the Italian, is an actual Italian, Mr. Jovine from Rome, a man with a magnificent profile who has to speak several sentences from Hegel in the film.1
I was away for two whole months and there were some superlatively lovely and superlatively pointless moments between Waterloo and Gomagoi, between Brussels and Belgrade, between Novi Sad and Rome, all of them incendiary material for my writing-desk.
Now I no longer have any intention of going away for even brief periods and my contempt for readings is unsurpassable.
There is nothing more disgusting and senseless than giving readings, but of course I have only given a couple of readings; the most recent one indeed and all told I gave with the greatest reluctance and for only twenty minutes, which the people found literally striking.
And now I won’t give any further readings anywhere, not even in Zurich, not anywhere ever again.
The ever-so-elegantly hallmarked candlesticks from Stuart’s shop in Brussels have found a suitable setting.  When will you come to have a look at these remarkable showpieces?
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. We should have a go at having another mussel group some time!
1a.  Brackets mine.  The sentence looks like one in the present perfect (or simple past) tense, but Unseld's  reply that he is pleased that Bernhard will be finishing the play seems to require treating the tense as some sort of elliptical future perfect. (DR)
Ferry Radax, with whom Bernhard became acquainted during the shooting of Three Days, filmed an adaptation of the novella-fragment Der Italiener (See Note No. 1 to Letter No. 115).
Letter No. 152
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
April 6, 1971
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I was delighted with your letter of March 31, 1971.  Midland figures among my favorite books, and “News from Gomagoi” is certainly a very fine story.  I received your postcards, and I am keeping them in a special place.  Thank you very much.
I am pleased to hear that we will be receiving the final version of Atzbach in May and that you will be finishing up with the play this summer.  We will quite definitely see each other before then; we will of course meet in June somehow or other, either in Trieste or in Ohlsdorf.  I have an ardent wish to see the two candlesticks at your house sometime soon.
Party for Boris: the Zurich performance will take place in May.  The conversations with the Burgtheater in Vienna are continuing, and now a stage in Graz has also come forward, but there is still nothing definitive.1  I will keep in touch and for now just once again send you my warm thanks for your letter and my
sincere regards and best wishes 
Yours
[Siegfried Unseld]
On the Zurich performance of Boris, see Letter No. 178; the Austrian premiere of A Party for Boris took place on October 20, 1971 under the direction of Axel Corti in the context of the Styrian Fall Festival in Graz.  While thinking through the wording of his letter Unseld jotted “May in Zurich/Graz + Vienna, Burgtheater” in pencil on the verso of the page. 
  
Letter No. 153
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
June 1, 1971
requesting phone call wednesday morning
regards siegfried unseld
Letter No. 154
[Handwritten; post card]
Ohlsdorf
6.7.70
Dear Dr. Unseld,
On Friday I have a three-hour layover at Rhine-Main Airport before I continue by plane to Cologne--if we could have DINNER together (arrival time: 5:50 p.m.) please wire me at Ohlsdorf--I am very much looking forward to seeing you1
Yours
sincerely     
Thomas Bernhard
The postcard bears an express mail label.
Letter No. 155
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram-memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
June 8, 1971
Friday 6:30 p.m. Halle Airport-Hotel, greatly looking forward to it.1
Sincerely--Siegfried Unseld
On the telegram-memorandum Burgel Geisler wrote “12.45,” apparently the time of transmission.
Letter No. 156
[Address: Ohlsdorf; by express mail]
Frankfurt am Main
June 18, 1971
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
The house here is really happy about our decision, our decision regarding the paperback books.1  But the production department is complaining about the timetable.  Would it be completely impossible for you to submit the manuscript to us any earlier than the deadline we so generously agreed to (June 30)?  I am requesting this merely because we must write some copy for the announcement and we certainly can’t do that if we haven’t got anything to read. 
And one more request: is there a picture of you walking extant?  That would be especially ingratiating.
Thus but briefly for today; more to come very soon.
Sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld   
During their meeting on June 11, 1971, Bernhard evidently upbraided Unseld for not having included anything by him in the firm’s new paperback series, suhrkamp taschenbücher, which was to be launched in October 1971.  The list of the first 40 titles of the paperback series had been made public in Frankfurt on June 7, 1971; the media—including the June 7 issue of Der Spiegel—reported on the announcement at great length.  Bernhard and Unseld agreed to issue Walking as Volume 5 of the suhrkamp taschenbüher.  The book that had been announced in the preview as Volume 5, Jürgen Becker’s Eine Zeit ohne Wörter [An Age without Words] was then designated Volume 20.
Letter No. 157
Ohlsdorf
6.22.71
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I am going to need at least two more weeks before I hand in the manuscript; hopefully you harbor no doubts about the precision of my method of working; and so the production department will have to wait until the delivery of the final version of the manuscript on circa July 6/7; but so much time has passed by now that the impossible has become possible, as in the case of practically everything, as we know and as should make us strong and proud at the same time.
Our dinner at the airport at Frankfurt with its Lake Constance whitefish and jumbo jet suction cups is something we should repeat in a different locale and with different entertainment in the not-too-distant future.
The film has turned out splendidly and I am quite happy about it.  In October, the owner of the publishing rights to The Italian in Salzburg will be bringing out a picture book with a ton of photographs from the film shoot and also the script and the original novella, “The Italian,” etcetera; this book (if you had been at all inclined to publish anything of its kind) would have appeared under the Suhrkamp imprint, had I not in ’68 gone on a jaunt to Salzburg with the three novellas in hand in consequence of the laxity of our mutual obligations in those days.1
I am now on the side of a mountain and not in Ohlsdorf because concentration is important to me and the postman gets on my nerves; the mail delivery brings to my house nothing but the most laughable, infuriating items; piles of inanely printed paper that give the impression that their intended reader can only be an idiot.  Can you answer one question for me: why do publishers print with the greatest speed everything written by the youngest of writers in the briefest span of time with the least amount of effort and the smallest amount of genius in the most imbecilic manner?
          
Very sincerely yours, your dogsbody,
Thomas Bernhard
In 1969 the Salzburg-based firm Residenz Publications published An der Baumgrenze [At the Timberline], a collection comprising the title novella and the two novellas “Der Kulterer” and “Der Italiener.”  In 1971, Wolfgang Schaffler’s firm [i.e., Residenz again (DR, rolling eyes in exasperation)] published Der Italiener, which in addition to the early novella-fragment [i.e., “Der Italiener” itself (DR)] contained the film scenario of the same name, the monologue “Three Days” and production stills from the shooting of Der Italiener the film.  For details on the development of this material that was to be so important to Bernhard (in the writing of Extinction) and on the publication history, see Volume 11, pp. 356ff. of Bernhard’s Works.   
Letter No. 158
Frankfurt am Main
June 24, 1971
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
Thank you very much for your letter of June 22.  As long as we firmly commit ourselves to a deadline of June 6/7, everything will move along smoothly.  After this new deadline we can still regain our balance, but please don’t leave me in the lurch.  I have already had many difficulties owing to changes of plan, but naturally the most important thing is for us to receive a reliable text; I am already very much looking forward to that.
We shall reprise our get-together soon.  Please: don’t leave me in the lurch!
Yours,
wishing you all the best and with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld 
P.S. I have actually already got a firm appointment for June 29 and on account of it shall be in your neck of the woods.  Should anything change on your end, on the afternoon of June 29 I shall be reachable
℅ Hildegard Unseld, Dr. Hausdorf’s Clinic, 8183 Rottach Egern, Oberachweg 8, Telephone 08022 / 6314.  I can visit you on the 30th.
Letter No. 159
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Vienna
7.7.71
Equally huge mental portions of exhaustion and joy attend my completion of the manuscript promised to you.
As I possess only this original and am committing it to the post, please make a photocopy and send it to me without delay.
Over the summer I shall be preoccupied with work for the theater.
As it is evident, has once again become evident, that there are a great many unanswered questions about our relationship, and, for example, the date of Suhrkamp Publications’ last payment to me is on my doorstep (August), it is necessary for us to see each other.
If for any reason you find it impossible or even merely painful to issue Walking in your new series of books--as I notice that you have already got a fixed numeration in place including for Number 3, such that it looks as though everything is quite definitive--then please publish Walking in the fall in one of your two other series.1
No one can be hurt so long as I couldn’t care less about rocking the boat.2    
Yours
with many sincere regards to you, Busch, and the others
Thomas Bernhard
According to the preview distributed at the June 4, 1971 press conference, Volume 3 of the suhrkamp taschenbücher was to be Peter Handke’s screenplay Chronik der laufenden Ereignisse. [Chronicle of Ongoing Occurrences].
In the left margin of the letter appears the following note in Unseld’s handwriting: “Letter of 2.23.71
Account B ‘future works’
8.31
@800.00--
3 7 21
      105
      3,150”
In this note Unseld refers to Bernhard and Unseld’s October 1969 agreement (see Note No. 1 to Letter No. 86), which among other things budgeted monthly
DM 800 payments from the firm, as well as to Letter No. 147, dated February 23, 1971.  The arithmetical calculations pertain to the quotation for Bernhard’s honorarium for Walking; see Letter No. 161.”
Letter No. 160
Frankfurt am Main
July 13, 1971
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Warm thanks for your letter of July 7.  The manuscript has arrived safe and sound!  Unfortunately it got here only yesterday, Monday, and not over the weekend.  I am now having the manuscript photocopied and I shall send you a copy back to you in a separate post.  I expect to get round to reading it at some point today, and then I shall report to you on my impression of it.  Walking is firmly scheduled to be one of the first 10 volumes of the new suhrkamp taschenbücher series, which will be on display at the bookstores on October 1.  The modifications to the schedule are going forward without a hitch because Jürgen Becker has not managed to finish work on his manuscript in time.  That is all for now.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
P.S.: I recently asked you once again if there existed a photo in which you were seen walking.  It would be very nice.  And if there is such a photo extant, please send it to us.
Letter No. 161
Frankfurt am Main
July 15, 1971
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Walking is a work of the first rank.  It is quintessential Bernhard.  Indeed, it is the most radical, the most unflinching, the most consistent work by you to date.  From beginning to end it fascinates.  I really could not stop reading it and by the second read-through I was braced for certain reflections.  I congratulate you on this text.  To be sure, it will offend a great many people, but over the long run it will make Bernhard more famous.
It is entirely in keeping with the eruptive cast of this text that a handful of passing slip-ups, most of them being mere typographical errors, have escaped your attention.  These slip-ups we have silently corrected.  It was more difficult to decide when to capitalize certain adjectives.  Something Vulgar, something Brazen, something tremendously Dismal—all these obviously had to be capitalized, because otherwise they would have been unintelligible.
On Page 3, the sense of lines 11-12 is confused; the sentence now reads:
“…because on Monday as on Wednesday he walks much slower, on Monday much faster.”
You should give some thought to this as you are making your corrections.
On Page 3, you write: “…that time and again we descend into a deeper depression than we already are.”
By this you obviously must mean “…than the one we are already immersed in.”
Will you keep this in mind for your corrections?
There are several places in your text where words are missing—for example, a reflexive pronoun 12 lines from the top on Page 18: “…that…the extraordinary mind would kill.”
This is obviously supposed to be “…kill itself.”
I don’t quite comprehend the functions of the speech prefixes on Page 30—“Oehler to Scherrer”—and Page 56—“Oehler says:.”  What I mean is that it seems to me that such a relentlessly rigorous text could easily forgo such constructions.
During the proofreading you should also give some more thought to the parallel superlatives.  It is part of the characteristic style of this work to overshoot its target; for me this tendency is exemplified by the parallel superlatives.  I am having a lot of difficulty coming to terms with these; for me there is such a thing as a “total” manner, but no such thing as a “most total” one; for me there is such a thing as “complete” inactivity, but no such thing as “most complete” inactivity; and so I have a really hard time when in a certain passage talk turns to “the most epoch-making ideas.”  Epoch-making does not lend itself to being intensified in that way; you could say “the most epochal ideas” instead, but the intensification of the verb “to make” is grammatically incoherent in this context.
As with the manuscript of The Lime Works, I am annoyed to the point of squeamishness by the underlined passages, which you obviously wish to be set in italics.  We have already discussed this in connection with the manuscript of The Lime Works, and you were amenable to our reducing it.  The language of your text, your rigorousness, your--if I may express myself thus--gloriousness, and hence the propulsive force of your language, is so majestic and strong, that you don’t need to add anything to it!  Indeed, such adventitious typographical features actually bespeak stylistic impoverishment.  What I am trying to say is that you should give a very considered second thought to this as you are making your corrections.1
But now I turn to my sole significant objection: in relation to the context of your text I completely understand what you say about the senselessness of the making of children.  To see that act in that light is not only well within your rights; it is also rigorous and persuasive.  But I have a grave objection to a certain corollary of this: so, when Oehler says (I am well aware that this isn’t the author or the narrative “I” but merely the so- called “fictional character” Oehler speaking) that parliament would merely be doing its duty if it passed a law against the mindless making of children (here I am still totally with you).   But, he says, this law should also establish a severe penalty for the mindless making of children (even here one could keep tagging along).  Then comes this sentence: “By a severe penalty to be established and administered one renownedly denotes the death penalty.”
Now this is a point of view to which I personally am quite fundamentally opposed.  I think it was a good thing that the death penalty was abolished for exactly one reason: I do not wish to see any State, under the auspices of either the left or the right, exercise the function of an executioner.  The State may for my own good take possession of all my other rights, but in my opinion the determination of whether a human being is to live or die should no longer lie in the hands of any State.    Regardless of the circumstances.  Yesterday on television I saw images of the executions by firing squad in Morocco.2  I could not but me mindful of the sorts of consequences the establishment of this penalty of yours can have.  I would very much like you to think over this passage once again with utter consistency.  Leave the text as it is up to the phrase “severe penalty,” but please strike the clause that follows it.  In my view it is the only passage in the text in which it abdicates its otherwise significant moral and philosophical high ground.
Will you consider doing that?  And please don’t get angry with me because you think that I am going to insist on your doing it.  Beyond this point, it is you who will have to be convinced, you who will have to decide this question, not me.  I am being true to that unwritten law here at the house, the law that states that the author has the last word.  But I am electing to fight it out with you up to that last word.
The manuscript was typeset immediately after I finished reading it.  For time reasons we cannot prepare any galley proofs, though we can print a rough paginated copy of the text right away.  The rough copy is supposed to be sent to us on July 30.  That means you will certainly receive it on Monday or Tuesday, August 2/3, 1971.  Where will you be then? 
Should the copy go to Ohlsdorf or to Vienna?  Please be mindful that we must time this very precisely, and I would also like to ask you if it is at all possible to send your corrections back to us within three or four days, because otherwise our schedule will get completely snarled, and because the book is of course part of a group that includes 10 other volumes, we cannot consider even the tiniest postponement of the release date.  But I believe that in this text there is nothing more that needs to be changed.  But please do let me know where you will be.
I would very much like to see you soon, not only to argue with you but also to walk with you.  That will certainly be possible one of these days.  Tomorrow I must go to see Ingeborg Bachmann on “official” business.  A house at the seaside, Villa Calamandrei, Ronchi / Prov. Di Massa, has been placed at her sole disposal for the month of July.  She reported that this house had quite a large number of bedrooms.  A visit from you would certainly be welcome.  I shall probably be there through July 22, and I must fly back on Friday morning at the latest.  I don’t know what excursions you are planning.3
After that I shall be in seclusion with Uwe Johnson on account of his next volume of Anniversaries, and then with Martin Walser.  In the second half of August I shall once again have more free time.
Apropos of our material agreements: please take a look at my letter of February 23, 1971.  In that letter there is a discussion of Account B, the one for “Future Works.”  The monthly DM 800 payments that we agreed on there will end on August 31, 1971.  If you are amenable to this, we can extend this agreement through to August 31, 1972 (of course we can always come to some other arrangement viva voce).  Walking will be appearing in the suhrkamp taschenbücher series; retail price DM 3.--, honorarium 7%, print run 15,000 copies; so altogether that will yield an honorarium of DM 3,150.--, meaning that practically four further monthly installments will be covered by it.
Once again, my dear Mr. Bernhard, I extend to you my congratulations on Walking.  Let us keep walking thus.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
            
See Letters Nos. 116 and 117; here once again Bernhard kept the italicizations in place.
On July 10, 1971, military officers under the leadership of Mohammed Medbouh and Colonel M’hamed Ababou attempted to stage a coup against the Moroccan ruler, King Hassan II.  On July 13 the shooting range at Temara (south of Rabat) was the site of a mass execution.  Those responsible for the attempted coup were tied to posts and executed by firing squad.  Hassan attended the execution in the company of Jordan’s ruler, King Hussein, who had flown in especially for the occasion.
Between July 16 and 23, 1971, Unseld met with Ingeborg Bachmann in Ronchi; on July 24 and 25 Uwe Johnson was in Frankfurt; between July 29 and August 5, Unseld was in southern Germany and visited Martin Walser in Nußdorf on Lake Constance.
Letter No. 162
Ohlsdorf
7.11.71
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I await the arrival of the paginated rough copy of Walking in Ohlsdorf, where I shall be staying all summer.1
I am also going to abolish the death penalty in Walking because the maximum penalty meant in it is a much bigger one.2  Your letter has put me into a very agreeable mood that as near as I can tell is going to last for several more days; throughout this interval I shall be busily walking and thinking or thinking and walking.
But then we unconditionally must see each other.
Yours
Sincer(liest)ly!
Thomas Bernhard
On August 4, Thomas Beckermann sent Bernhard the rough paginated copy of Walking and included with it a request to send back his corrections in time for the firm to receive them by August 11, as the first ten titles of the suhrkamp taschenbücher series were to be issued at the end of September.
As published, the revised sentence reads, “Parliament and parliaments would merely be doing their duty if they passed and enforced laws against the mindless making of children and if they instituted and administered the maximum penalty—and every parliament has its own maximum penalty, says Oehler—for mindless child-making” (Bernhard, Works, Vol. 12, p. 153).
Letter No. 163
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
July 26, 1971
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Very sincere thanks for your letter of July 21.  The letter has shifted me back into an agreeable, i.e., productive, mood.  I am sure we shall see each other soon.  I am up to my eyeballs in the preparation of texts for the second half of the year.
More to come shortly.
Yours
with sincere and all best wishes to you,
Siegfried Unseld

Letter No. 164
Ohlsdorf
8.15.71
Dear Dr. Unseld,
It is the middle of August and I am waiting for you here.1
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
The letter bears the following note in Unseld’s handwriting: “Thurs[day] 9.2.” 
Letter No. 165
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
August 23, 1971
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
What would it be like if the prophet came to the mountain?  My proposal: come to Frankfurt on Thursday, September 2, at the firm’s expense.  I would be delighted.
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 166
[Telegram]
Vienna
August 30, 1971
arriving wednesday twelve noon rhinemain requesting hotel room for wednesday night
=sincerely bernhard1
The telegram bears a note in Burgel Zeeh’s handwriting--“LH [Lufthansa] 253 [Bernhard’s flight number] from Vienna”; perhaps because somebody was planning to pick Bernhard up at the airport.
Letter No. 167
Frankfurt am Main
September 8, 1971
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I am sending you No. 6 of our Theater Service.  So, pride of place is given to The Ignoramus and the Madman.1  I hope you can send me this play soon.  I am very much looking forward to reading it.
Our conferences were not without severity, but clarity oftentimes requires severity, and at least in compensation we have smoothed out the contractual lie of the land for the next two years.  I hope you, too, see it in this light.2
I am yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld   
1. At the firm a press copy of the Suhrkamp Theater Service’s announcement about the play has survived.  A draught of the announcement, one probably based on information supplied by Bernhard, was typed on Unseld’s typewriter: “Thomas Bernhard has completed a new play.  This new drama is entitled The Ignoramus and the Madman.  The play is divided into two parts (Part I: ‘At the Opera’; Part II: ‘At the Three Hussars’); its three principal characters are a diva, the “queen of the night,” an industrialist, and a psychiatrist.  The premiere, featuring a stellar cast under the direction of Claus Peymann, will take place at the 1972 Salzburg Festival.  A detailed announcement about the play will appear in the next Theater Service.  The text of the play will be available in book form in the middle of November.”
2. In his Chronicle Unseld documented Bernhard’s visit to Frankfurt on September 1 and 2, a visit centered on conversations that were difficult for both parties.  In the entry for September 1, he wrote: “Thomas Bernhard in Frankfurt.  The conversation began at a serious low point.  I showed Bernhard the story from that day’s SDZ [Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 1, 1971] in which he had announced the premiere of his next play The Ignoramus and the Madman (incorrectly entitled The Intriguer and the Madman in the news story) at the 1972 Salzburg Festival.  I told Bernhard that I was not happy about it; I said that we had had a clear gentleman’s agreement; that all the rights belonged to Suhrkamp; that only Suhrkamp could award or withhold them, and that if he was to negotiate he was to do so only in partnership with Suhrkamp Publications.  The conversation plunged to an alarming low because I refused to give in; finally he backed down and assured us that we could draw up the contract and that we would receive our share of the publication rights and revenues.
Next a series of questions were addressed: publication contracts for newer works, his renewed desire for a loan of DM 20,000, his demand for an abrogation of all contracts in the event of my death. 
We went to the firm, where there were conversations with Dr. Rach, Ritzerfeld, Roser, the readers Busch and Beckermann.  Afterwards Bernhard signed five contracts; with these signatures, the contractual situation has been smoothed out through the middle of 1972.
In the evening he was tired and worn out and returned to his hotel at an early hour.
Thanks to this meeting, the firm’s hold on the rights to Bernhard’s works has been secured in perpetuity.  We must also make him feel that here at the firm he has a home; then this unusual author will remain productive for the foreseeable future.”
The five contracts referred to by Unseld were the one for The Ignoramus and the Madman, two loan contracts (one for the DM 15,000 interest-free loan granted in Brussels on Bernhard’s fortieth birthday [see Letter No. 147], as well as another for a second interest-free loan of DM 20,000), a contract for monthly remittances to the author (the arrangement of October 1969 [see Letter No. 91], which stipulated monthly remittances of DM 800, was maintained through August 1973), and a “contractual addendum” that acknowledged the possibility, under certain conditions, of abrogating all contracts in the event of Unseld’s exclusion from the administration of the firm.  In the Chronicle entry for September 2, Unseld continued his account of the visit:
“By agreement Thomas Bernhard came to the firm once again on September 2.  He told me that he had to talk to me about one of the points of the contract for The Ignoramus and the Madman, that he had not brought the contract with him but that I surely had the original here.  I had Fräulein Ritzerfeld fetch it, and he tore the copy out of my hands and struck out §5 [This paragraph read: “The author has offered the first performance of the play to the Salzburg Festival.  In its performance contract with the theater the firm will make adjustments to the artistic and financial conditions that the author has stipulated.  The firm will receive the share of the honorarium due to it according to the terms of this contract.”] This act shocked me, and for the first time I became animated and put my foot down and told him that I would be very happy to speak with him, but that the unilateral deletion of a paragraph from a contract was an impossibility and that if he wanted this then all our agreements would be invalidated.  It was definitely a low point.  But he backed down; as the striking-out mark had been made with a ballpoint pen and was therefore unerasable, we agreed that it did not count.  Later we wrote out the entire page anew and signed once again.  He was quite shaken up on account of these contractual matters. 
In the morning I found Bernhard’s At the Timberline. Novellas at the stv production office.  I asked him to write a dedication in it.  He wrote, ‘for S.U. sincerely in a difficult hour.  Thomas B.’”
Letter No. 168
Ohlsdorf
9.10.71
Dear Dr. Unseld,
My memories of my visit to Frankfurt last week are not especially fond ones, and I have no desire ever to reprise such a visit under the circumstances in which I met with you in Frankfurt.
As for the contract for my play that I have entered into with the theatrical publications division, and I am referring only to this contract, it was surely quite clear to you that I had signed something that, upon mature deliberation, I wished I had not signed, and that you, in a manner that was dramatically still evident to both of us, had prevented me from subsequently altering the contract as I had wished to do, and hence from exercising a well-known legal right: by this same token, any legal entity anywhere in the world can rescind such a contract within twenty-four hours. 
Immediately upon returning from Frankfurt, I wrote you a rather long letter, but I did not send it, because I thought it better to say nothing further and to let things develop on their own.1  But now I am hearing from Salzburg that the firm (Who? The firm’s theatrical publications division?) has described me as a “confused artist” and that the firm is “obviously” entering into a contract with the festival and so forth.
I don’t care to dwell on “confused” or on “artist” or on “confused artist,” or above all on “obviously,” all of them expressions that are at the very least undiplomatic and most certainly not trust-inspiring; but it certainly appears as though the negotiations between Frankfurt and Salzburg have become contaminated by something I all-too wisely dreaded: a kind of interpretative spin on my relationship with the firm that I find abhorrent.  Once again, this is how things should stand on the Salzburg end, in precise terms: the firm is to set up a contract with due and exclusive regard for what I have personally promised in connection with Salzburg; naturally this includes everything pertaining to the honorarium, which for the four or five performances in Salzburg totals thirty thousand marks that are to be remitted to me in full directly from Salzburg.
As for the videotaping of the play for television: I hear that a correspondence about this is already being carried on between Cologne and Vienna and Frankfurt; the firm is boisterously negotiating the contract, but I have a word for the theatrical publications division: please don’t sell me short.       
From the Salzburg performances onwards I have contractually obligated myself to the theatrical publications division, and I obligated myself to it quite consciously; all of that is acceptable according to the established rules.
The videotaping is to cover the complete repayment of my loan.
I shall withhold the play as long as is necessary and thereby protect it from the intrigues and gossipy chit-chat and histrionic vulgarity of the theater people.
For me Frankfurt is certainly no fruitful plain; it is a void and a vacuum.
Now here is what I did not say in Frankfurt: that I must ask to be sent carbon copies of all of the theatrical publications division’s correspondence pertaining to my play and hence directly to me personally, so that I can be sure I am in the loop.
It simply will not do for me of all people to be left in the dark about events directly impinging on me (the München Kammerspiele, for example) merely because the firm has failed to apprise me of them.  That is an absurdity that I refuse to allow or permit myself.   
If you should ever again enjoy the possibility of talking calmly and at length with me, as you once used to take pleasure in doing, of taking a walk with me in the background of the (to me) unbearable hecticness and of the basically gigantic dilettantish hive of meaningless activity that today’s Germany represents for me, I shall naturally be delighted.  The future is going to be difficult.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
This unsent letter, dated September 3, 1971 from Ohlsdorf, has survived in Bernhard’s papers (NTLB, B 623 / 1 / 2; there also exists an undated rough draft of the letter):
“Dear Dr. Unseld,
Now that I am back home, I think that it would have better if I had not accepted your invitation to come to Frankfurt; my memory of the visit now weighs so heavily on the relationship between your firm and me that I must say that thanks to the impressions that I got during the meeting and that are growing clear to me only now that I have escaped the scene of it, this relationship has become a much gloomier one.
It feels as if I had voluntarily stepped into a brutal machine that has done to me what machines do to human beings; machines have no understanding of the individuality and the form and fashion of a human being like me because they, these machines, as I have experienced them, are specially constructed sensibility-pulverizing ignorers.
You ought not to suppose that the horribleness of my experience in Frankfurt has left town along with me, and that it is possible to extinguish what it is desirable to extinguish, far above all that moment in which under the influence of some ghastly demonic possession, I dared to permit a revision of the final paragraph of that contract that I signed and that now has such an ominous appearance in my eyes, the contract pertaining to the new play.  Legally one has the right to withdraw from any kind of contract within twenty-four hours of signature, all the more so in that it would have been morally etcetera obvious for you at least to hear me out, all the more so in that on that morning (in contrast to the day before) I was well-rested and ready to consider all explanations with all my senses unfatigued.  But by behaving the way you did you destroyed nearly everything in the blink of an eye.  And pressured me into accepting a role that I am not going to play.
But I won’t go on any further about this affair and the contracts are the way they are and they will stay the way they are.  Let what comes of this come of it.
But what is to be done about Salzburg must still be determined; that is my affair, which must not be disturbed by the tiniest action on the part of the firm; this is my arrangement, and it arises from my own experiences.  I couldn’t care less about what happens above and beyond Salzburg; I am never fussy about my cast- off productions, about what we may safely call my fictional and textual children.
Regarding finances: I don’t think you are actually risking anything financially or in any other significant way.  The quality through which I experience my own work in all its self-containedness and with the complete onus of its phenomena-- which is much more severe than today’s dimwitted mass society with its would-be all-encompassing and all-integrating sociological and philosophical and pseudo-political hypocrisy imagines it to be--is its utterly ruthless weightiness, and the amount of effort I exert is undoubtedly unsurpassable.
There is no point in holding one’s peace when one has got something to explain.  The next step, which must be understood as a step forward, is going to be  absolutely difficult.
Yours with sincere regards,
Thomas Bernhard”
      
              
Letter No. 169
Frankfurt am Main
September 15, 1970
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I thank you for your letter of September 10.  I am sorry that your memories of your visit to Frankfurt are not especially fond ones--and I must rub some salt in them.
Please bear in mind that any relationship is by its nature two-sided and must be nurtured by both sides; otherwise it ceases to exist.  That morning at the firm I really did not want to agree to anything further in writing, but since you put pen to paper I had to do so as well for required form’s sake—and for the sake of future history.  It is simply not possible for you to make unilateral changes to contracts.  We have entered into a contractual union, and this contractual union betokens not only rights but also obligations.  Please bear in mind that I was once again prepared to give you a comparatively large loan; the fact that I must make sure that the firm receives its contractually allotted share is self-evident.  I cannot disregard the economic foundation of the firm.  Moreover, I absolutely refuse to do so.  It is my job to keep the ship on a steady course.  This is what allows us to do our job of producing books.
Vis-à-vis Salzburg we shall proceed as we are contractually required to do.  A contract was sent to the Salzburg Festival on Monday; like every contract it stipulates that payment is to be remitted to the firm’s accounts.
Our contract also stipulates exactly how these moneys are to be apportioned with you.  But because you have after all already agreed to the amount of this sum, let me propose to you our remittance of it to you, minus our publisher’s share, immediately upon our receipt of payment.  I am sure that this is what you have in mind.
You write that the DM 20,000 loan that we agreed to on September 1, 1971 is to be completely paid off by the honorarium from the videotaping for television.  Our loan contract of September 1, 1971 contains the following passage:
The repayment of this loan shall be effected by means of the author’s share of performance royalties and television and radio broadcasting revenues from the play The Ignoramus and the Madman.
So in this contract we have unambiguously established the terms of the complete repayment of the loan.  Nevertheless, in the light of the peculiarity of the situation and in order to show you that I am not being unreasonably intransigent, I am prepared to accept your proposal, meaning that we shall pay off the loan using revenues from the videotaping for television and draw upon subsequent performance royalties if for any reason the videotaping should fall through, although the latter is of course unacceptable. 
I would very much like for us to arrive at a clear understanding about this and for you to appreciate my benevolence in dealing fairly and sensibly with this matter, which I obviously know poses an acute problem for you.
I immediately spoke with Dr. Rach about those remarks you heard coming out of Salzburg.  We can but quite firmly deny them.  Dr. Rach had a brief telephone conversation with Professor Haeusserman, and in the course of this conversation--I can can give you my word of honor on this--no such vocables were ever uttered from Suhrkamp’s end of the line.  You should be able to figure out for yourself who actually came up with them.
I asked Dr. Rach to keep you very precisely informed and also to send you the desired carbon copies of the letters dealing with your plays.  I attach great importance to your receiving precise information.
I also cannot refrain from once again reacting to your remark about Frankfurt and about the “gigantic dilettantish hive of meaningless activity that today’s Germany represents for me.”  I respect your impression; but to the extent that your accusation is directed at the work carried on by the firm, I can only reject it.  Every publishing house has its own style, and ours has proved to be neither ineffectual nor unsuccessful.  And at the very least we have succeeded in securing the reputation of your writings.  Allow me to remind you of how of hard we had to work so that you could, for example, enjoy the great public distinction of being a Georg Büchner Prize-winner.  To be sure, you received the prize on the basis of the significance and strength of your writings, but nobody can fail to see that we played a part in the development of those qualities.  And allow me to draw your attention to two episodes from our Frankfurt discussion:  you had two wishes that were of particular importance to you; the first one was to have your play published in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp; you know that there is no better publication vehicle for this play in the entire German-speaking world than this Bibliothek series.  I granted you your wish; obviously it corresponded exactly to my own.  But should it not make us feel something at least approaching satisfaction?  And the second one: you requested an extra contract covering the event of my exclusion from the administration of the firm.  Here too I granted you your wish, and as you know I did so without attaching any counterstipulations to it.  That was yet another act expressive of trust, and I am very much of the opinion, my dear Mr. Bernhard, that we should now get back to that period of mutually trustful collaboration.  The future may be difficult; this future is just like any other one.  But the future of our relationship depends not on the numinous power of fate but rather on the two of us alone.
I believe we should let a little time pass until we have both gotten over the disagreeably exigent part of our discussions.  After that I would make it a genuine priority to visit you in Ohlsdorf and to talk, to walk, to drink, to swim, to eat, to talk with you.                     
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld   
Letter No. 170
Frankfurt am Main
September 21, 1971
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I am holding the first copy of Walking in my hands.  It has really turned out looking very nice.  I am glad we came to an agreement about this book during our conversation at the airport; I am genuinely happy to have been able to include it in the first 10 titles of the new series, which is obviously very important for the firm.
We printed a run of 15,000 copies; the retail price is DM 3; the honorarium 7%, hence DM .21 per copy.  You may receive up to 75 complimentary copies; we shall be sending you 20 complimentary copies at the same time as this letter.  The others are available to you on demand.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 171
Frankfurt am Main
October 4, 1971
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
In the light of recent events: when will you be sending me the manuscript of The Ignoramus and the Madman?  My receipt of it is important for a twofold reason--for one thing I would naturally very much like to acquaint myself with it--and for another the theaters are now preparing their programs and cast lists for 1972.  Messrs. Lietzau and Wendt recently declared to me that they must have the text soon for casting purposes.  This same question obviously also applies to the other theaters.  Are you really not yet able to part with this text?  I very much hope you are and very strongly urge you to do so.   
How do you like Walking in the livery of the Taschenbücher?  The series is finding a good echo.
Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld       
Letter No. 172
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
October 26, 1971
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I have heard nothing further from you and don’t know how I should interpret this.
We are preparing a few Viennese activities; at 8 p.m. on November 8 I shall be giving a lecture entitled “Hermann Hesse Today” at the Austrian Society for Literature.  At
11:00 a.m. the next day at the Beethoven Hall at the Palais Palffy at 6 Josefplatz, the firm will be giving a press conference followed by a reception.  If it would be possible for you to come to Vienna I would be delighted if you could attend.  I am naturally thinking not so much of my lecture as of the firm’s November 9 press conference; it would make a big difference to me if some of the firm’s authors were also present there.  But please do let me hear something from you.
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld 
Letter No. 173
Ohlsdorf
11.1.71
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I got along excellently well with Mr. Rach and it is clear to me that we are dealing with a man of real worth; those were two profitably spent days.
The understanding I have come to with Rach--the understanding that we are to keep the play more or less under wraps until the Salzburg performance--is a seminal one.1
My confidence is at its peak when I am thinking about a maximum exertion of effort.
I am not in Vienna; I cancelled my reading and I am staying in Ohlsdorf; I look upon a forthcoming visit from you as an occasion of great importance, and naturally also as an occasion for great joy; and so perhaps certain obstacles that we have lately placed in our path to such a visit may now be cleared away.
I very much hope that you will soon take a side trip to Ohlsdorf.
Rach will of course tell you all about what has been discussed with him.
To all external appearances, Walking has turned out marvelously, but it is bristling with textual errors; for example, in one place the text reads “never” instead of “ever” or vice-versa etcetera.
As you can see, there is always a subject worth meeting in person about.
I am also thinking about the red wine.2
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. I have once again deviated from the |your| “friendly regards” formula.
P.P.S. Tomorrow off to Salzburg with Peymann.
Rudolf Rach visited Bernhard at Ohlsdorf on October 30, 1971.  He announced his forthcoming arrival in a telegram that reads as follows: “On account of intensive season-scheduling conversations we unconditionally need manuscript of The Ignoramus and the Madman.  Am coming to Ohlsdorf on Saturday morning to fetch it.”  On November 4, a few days after his return to Frankfurt, he wrote to Bernhard, “Was your visit in Salzburg successful?  Did they grant Peymann the honorarium he desired?  And have we come closer to clarifying the casting issue? [...] I am still wavering over whether to broach my idea of an alternative ending.  Perhaps I should broach it.  It seems to me that the ending ought to be fuzzier.  As it now stands it unequivocally indicates an intention to go on.  On a hysterical whim the diva earlier resolved not to go and now she has changed her mind and is going to go.  Could her decision about this not be affected by her environment?  Perhaps for example via a word from the doctor that indicates that this decision is not exclusively hers to make.  In any case I would prefer a more open-ended or even a--so to speak--fuzzier ending.  It seems to me as if here the prefabricated plot device is  more forceful than the actual intention of the play.  In a letter of November 17, 1971, Bernhard replied “[...]  the minor modification to the ending is quite effective, and you provided the immediate impetus to reexamine the denouement of the scene right after your departure.  From Salzburg I hear that Peymann has ‘communicated his preliminary proposals.’  About the man himself I have heard nothing; I don’t even have his address; perhaps you could jot it down for me [...] I was given to understand as early as the beginning of fall that I had the money [the honorarium for the performance of the The Ignoramus and the Madman] at my disposal, but I don’t want to strap on my authorial revolver just yet.  On the other hand I really do need the money; here it’s flying out the window.  From the 27th through December 1 I shall be in Zurich and will give Buckwitz the play to read [see Note 1. to Letter No. 178].  Please tell Unseld that dismal weather is of enormous advantage to prose writing; perhaps I shall be finished with the book sooner than planned.  Your visit is repeatable; you know that.”  Bernhard changed the ending.  In a draft of the play (NLTB W14 / I, BL 78) the queen asks Winter the waiter if he has sent the telegrams canceling all her engagements.  Winter replies, “Naturally not [sic], madam,” to which the queen replies, “It’s good / that you didn't send the telegrams / that puts my mind at ease / I am content [...].”  Here the Doctor has the very last word: “Exhaustion / nothing but exhaustion.”  In the final version (Bernhard, Works, Vol. 13, p. 328) the queen of the night asks Winter, “Did you send the telegrams / the telegrams to Stockholm / and Copenhagen,” to which Winter replies, “Naturally, madam.”  Then the Doctor says, “It’s good / that you sent the telegrams / that puts my mind at ease / I am content / I am quite content.”  The queen has the concluding lines: “Exhaustion / nothing but exhaustion” (See also Bernhard, Works, Vol. 15, p.. 467 ff.)
In the upper-right corner of the letter is a comment in Unseld’s handwriting, “verb[ally] fix[ed],” which obviously refers to the scheduling of a rendezvous.
Letter No. 174
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram-memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
November 2, 1971
Requesting phone call regarding meeting November 10--Regards Unseld
Suhrkamp Publications
Letter No. 175
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
November 11, 1971
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
As you can see, I am once again sitting at my desk.  Despite a few obstacles I still managed to be in Frankfurt by about 10 p.m.; Willy Fleckhaus was waiting for me; we were able to have our conversation.  I am very happy about the Salzburg encounter.  Every detail of what was discussed will be deliberated and implemented.  I have already spoken with Rach; we are now having your play photocopied; you will be getting it back at the beginning of next week.
And then the two German Storytellers volumes will follow.1
But now to the most important thing: your play strikes me as a success.  Naturally it needs to be filled out by a theatrical performance, but it is more than a musical score; a harsh, austere, severe dramatic torso that onstage will undoubtedly release that mean  between delectation and horror, despair and felicity.  My congratulations.2  
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
In 1971 Insel Publications both reissued the 1912 collection German Storytellers (selected and introduced by Hugo von Hofmannsthal) and published German Storytellers: Volume 2 (selected and introduced by Marie Luise Kaschnitz).
In his Travel Journal: Vienna-Salzburg, November 7-10, 1971, Unseld wrote:
“This was pretty much my most arduous trip ever [...]
Train ride to Salzburg [November 10] for a conversation with Thomas Bernhard.
This was a very amicable conversation.  He gave me the text of his new play to take with me and thereby definitively committed it into the hands of the firm.
The date of the Salzburg Festival premiere of his play The Ignoramus and the Madman is now fixed: July 29, 1972.  Peymann will be in charge of the production; the principal roles must still be cast.
He has given a manuscript of this play to Mr. Wendt, who on his end plans to speak with Lietzau and with Nagel.  Wendt will also write about the play in the almanac of the Salzburg Festival.
Austrian television would like to videotape the Salzburg Festival production of the play.  But Bernhard has explicitly said that this has to be coordinated with us.  We must consider this with a very thoughtful eye to Austrian and German performances.  Bernhard is expecting us to be very “tough” in setting our conditions.
There is also a film adaptation of Frost in the offing.  Director: Ferry Radax.  This week discussions are supposed to wrap up in Vienna.  Austrian television plans to make the film in collaboration with WDR.  Bernhard has pointed out that the film rights belong to us; he is asking for DM 20,000.  We still have to agree on the firm’s share.  I told Bernhard that I would judge this figure of DM 20,000 to be rather too small.
For the second time already he is finding fault with the biographical note on him in the edition as well as in the Taschenbuch series: the mention of the Anton Wildgans Prize ‘drives him crazy.’  His preference is to have the note consist of nothing but his date of birth, an indication of his residence in Ohlsdorf, and a list of his works. 
He is very happy with the cover of Walking; he said it pleased him inordinately, but that a great many typographical errors had crept in.  I asked him to correct them and promised that we would get rid of the errors in the second printing.
He also told me that the proofs had been reviewed by two different copy-editors whose corrections were not mutually consistent.
Once again he asserted that it was of the utmost importance for his indications  of punctuation and spelling to be heeded.
Then he complained about the firm’s “disorderliness.”  He doesn’t like it when lots of divisions of the firm write to him directly.  I thought it would be ideal if we could have all correspondence addressed to Bernhard routed through Ms. Zeeh.
But this time all these grievances were expressed in a very amiable tone, indeed, an amicable one; we had a pleasant conversation.
Admittedly less pleasant was the fact that owing to fog planes could neither land at nor take off from the Salzburg airport.  So the passengers were bundled into a bus and transported to Frankfurt in a veritable night-and-fog journey.”
The Wendt-penned article mentioned in the travel journal appeared under the title “Illness as a Musical Problem” on pp. 162-164 of the 1972 Almanac of the Salzburg Festival; on pp. 157-159 of this same installment of the Almanac there is also an article by Rudolf Rach on The Ignoramus and the Madman entitled “Autopsied Singing.”
Letter No. 176
Ohlsdorf
11.11.71
Dear Dr. Unseld,
In Salzburg I initially intentionally and then unintentionally forgot about a scheme, a  venture, that I had planned to initiate, but I am determined to make up for the omission straightaway today.
I am requesting that the firm (if we take into consideration the arrangement we came to then) advance me the Salzburg honorarium of DM 30,000 and remit it as soon as possible to my account, No. 318, at the Bank of Upper Austria and Salzburg in Gmunden.  Minus the firm’s share obviously.  In Salzburg I was told I could have the sum “at my disposal” at any time.  I do not believe you shall refuse to grant me my wish, and in doing so you will avert a chaotic situation.
Neither the dismal weather nor the gloomy surroundings kept me from being in a good mood throughout your visit yesterday.
And probably it was not a bad thing for you either to be suddenly on your own for a couple of hours on your way to Frankfurt.
Here everything is uncanny, just right for my work.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 177
Frankfurt am Main
November 26, 1971
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I was out of town for a few days,1 and now I am faced with the sales representatives, whom in several days of conferences I must fit out for the schedule for the first half of 1972!  Of course this schedule includes a play by the name of The Ignoramus and the Madman.
It’s too bad you didn’t broach this request back in Salzburg, but on the other hand you were obviously trying to brighten the atmosphere then.  I fully understand that and I also thank you for it.
I can write to you only briefly right now because I am literally surrounded by work; the contract has not yet been sent back to us from Salzburg.  We are nagging them importunately to send us this contract.  You must understand that until I receive this contract I cannot issue any advance.  And then there is another thing: DM 30,000 is a very large sum of money!  I must be able to apply this sum to the firm’s budget.  Could we not arrange things so that--always provided that the contract has arrived from Salzburg by then--I remit you DM 10,000 in December and another DM 10,000 in March and the last installment in May?  If Salzburg should send us all the money in advance, as we obviously are going to try hard to get them to do, you would receive that amount immediately.  I hope you are content with this.
Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Unseld was in Munich on November 16, 1971 and in Berlin on November 17 to attend Peter Szondi’s funeral.
Letter No. 178
Ohlsdorf
12.2.71
Dear Dr. Unseld,
The Zurich Boris was an overwhelming success for all involved; Agnes Fink is a great artist, the people at the theater were as one can only wish them to be, and so the atmosphere of Switzerland in its entirety was quite an exciting one for me throughout the three days.
The Schauspielhaus has not enjoyed such a success in a very long time, and The Ignoramus and the Madman is going to make its first appearance in Zurich at the beginning of next season; Buckwitz and I have agreed on this; the dramaturgical personnel are quite enthusiastic about the play.1
Upon my return I found that a letter from Wendt had arrived, a letter in which he writes that he is “fascinated” by my new work and that the Schiller Theater would like to put on the play at the beginning of next season (the first Lietzau-governed one), if I am amenable to that.  We shall say yes, I think.
I am quite satisfied with your financial proposal, but I urgently need the first ten thousand; I cannot comprehend why Salzburg has still not signed and posted the contract, unless it’s in the hands of the madmen; when the money has been transferred from the horrible “fair” city (a reprint couldn’t hurt either, I think), please immediately remit to me the entire sum that is due to me.
The play has received excellent reviews in Zurich; if you are in the mood and have the time, go to the theater in Zurich.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
|Please give my very sincere regards to Paul Nizon!| 
The Swiss premiere of A Party for Boris took place on November 28, 1971 at the night studio of the Schauspielhaus Zürich.  Under the direction of Karl Fruchtmann Agnes Fink played the good woman, Anneliese Betschart Johanna, and Hermann Schlögl Boris.  Bernhard attended the performance.  At the Sunday matinee of the play Bernhard read the two novellas Two Tutors and Attaché at the French Embassy.  Positive reviews appeared in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung of December 1, 1971.  The Swiss premiere of The Ignoramus and the Madman took place on November 5, 1972, likewise at the Schauspielhaus Zürich.
Letter No. 179
[Telegram]
Ohlsdorf
12.7.71
urgently requesting ten thousand1
sincerely = bernhard
On December 8, 1971, Burgel Zeeh Geisler wrote to Bernhard acknowledging the receipt of his letter and telegram and informing him that although Unseld was out of town, the desired sum was already on its way to Bernhard’s account in Freilassing, Germany.  In a memorandum for Unseld she noted that Rach had spoken with Salzburg and “guaranteed” that the contract would arrive in the next few days, and that Lina Roser had sent the DM 10,000 to Bernhard on
December 8.  A handwritten comment on this memorandum notes that Bernhard picked up the money in person.
1972
Letter No. 180
Frankfurt am Main
January 24, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I was with Hohl in Geneva.  It would please him a great deal if you were to write an afterword for his Suhrkamp-Bibliothek volume On the Attainable and the Unattainable.  Admittedly he asks that you consent to his seeing your text before it is printed.  But to me that seems obvious; surely you wouldn’t want it any other way, as this will of course be quite an important edition.1
How are things with you?
Yours
sincerely,
Unseld
Ludwig Hohl and Unseld had a meeting in Geneva on January 20, 1972.  In his  Paris-Geneva-Fribourg Travel Journal, January 18-22, 1972, he wrote, “He is now mainly worried about the preparation of his BS volume On the Attainable and the Unattainable.  Here he has very precise ideas about the typography that he discussed with me in great detail [...] The edition notice is to contain the following passage: “The text of this book originated between 1934 and 1936.  First published in The Notes or On Unhasty Reconciliation, Vol. 1, Zurich, 1947.”  He has agreed to an afterword by Thomas Bernhard.  But he is asking for Bernhard to allow him to see it before it is printed.”   
Letter No. 181
Ohlsdorf
2.3.72
Dear Siegfried Unseld,
Two months ago I wrote you a letter to which I never received a reply.
In answer to your most recent lines: I am not going to write about Hohl.1
Here and especially in my brain a great deal of animosity towards the hair-raising brainlessness of your employees’ correspondences pertaining to me has been accumulating; more on this preferably or exclusively viva voce.
When Frost is being prepared for reprinting, please see that the original Insel edition is reviewed with both great care and absolute precision and that the task is entrusted to a person capable of great concentration (if there is any such person still left in your vicinity), lest the house should be inundated by a deluge of typographical errors.  Nobody will have done me any favors if that happens; the whole thing will have been pointless, and so if it can’t be done with extreme precision, it would be quite better if it weren’t done at all.2
I myself haven’t the merest scintilla of time to devote to comparing variant readings.
I am in very fine fettle.
Sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S. Four times over the past few days I have received an unvarying specimen of printed matter; to be punctiliously specific, a three-line announcement that the new play is going to be performed in Salzburg (there have been hundreds of such announcements)3, and in the accompanying “Press Kit No. 1” it is stated that I received the Grimm Prize for The Italian (the screenplay) based on the novel of the same name.4
On the Attainable and the Unattainable was published without an afterword on October 9, 1972 as Volume 323 of the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.
Frost was issued as Volume 47 of the suhrkamp taschenbücher on April 26, 1972 (see Letter No. 191).
The premiere of The Ignoramus and the Madman, which was directed by Claus Peymann, took place at the Salzburg Festival on July 29, 1972.
The Press Kit commented on by Bernhard was issued by the Suhrkamp Theatrical Publications Division on January 28, 1974 and survives in Bernhard’s papers (cf. NLTB, TBA, B 584/2/3b); on the relevant page Bernhard flagged the word “novel” with a wavy underline and a question mark and wrote “too stupid!” in the margin because “The Italian” was a novella [actually a fragment of a novella (DR)].  For more on the film version of The Italian, see Note 1 to Letter No. 151.
Letter No. 182
Ohlsdorf
2.11.72
Dear Dr. Unseld,
In the January 31 issue of the Nouvel Observateur I just read a review |of Verstörung| that I recommend to you for your perusal.1
A half an hour ago I wrote to Mr. Rach about every imaginable thing having to do with the play; please have a talk with him.2
The Salzburg performance was excellent, and when you are working out the agreement with the television network, please don’t forget our agreement that the honorarium must be large enough to clear my total outstanding debt to the firm.
Frost is going to be filmed next winter with state-of-the-art equipment, a year of pre-production planning; I pushed for that.3
The Grimme Prize really smoothed the way for the filming,
I believe that the Italian, however, has already, a short time ago, been licensed to be printed by the German Paperback Book Company [dtv].  What can I say about this?
I find it preposterous and, even more than that, myopic in you to have let several months pass without getting in touch with me.
On the other hand I am best off alone.
More and more I am coming to think of the firm as an anonymous, adversarial force.  Do something to enfeeble this impression.
Most of the time just thinking about Suhrkamp is enough to make me lose my temper.
Perhaps we should get together sometime.
Or perhaps not.
Indifference helps me across all the mountains of rubbish.
One cannot be enough of an adversary.
The water level of dimwittedness is rising.
The firm is moronic if it thinks it can ignore the Grillparzer Prize, which it has received from the Academy of Sciences in Vienna in recognition of one of its own products (Boris).  Arrogance or etcetera.4
Respond to this sentence when you happen to be going through a phase when you have a sense of humor.
The idiotic Grimme Prize is all I can say.5
But finally a serious sentence: I must ask you forthwith to remit to my account in Gmunden the payment of ten thousand that will be due to me as of March.
I would be saying a lot if I were further to remark that it would be pointless to make a single further remark.
We are all standing on an ice sheet of misunderstanding.  And so we would do best not to make any sudden moves, lest we tumble into the water.
It would be fine by me if you replied immediately.
Take it all as you will.
Yours,
Thomas Bernhard
|P.S.: Perhaps in Frankfurt the harvest of HOPS & MALT  has been a poor one?!|
See Michael Cournot,”Le mal du Prince. ‘Perturbation’  par Thomas Bernhard” in Le Nouvel Observateur, 31 January 1972.
In a February 11, 1972 letter to Rudolf Rach, Bernhard describes “the fact that Ganz is playing the doctor and that Herrmann and Bickel are involved in the production at Salzburg [...] as enormously fortunate.” “I think it will be in the best interests of the play if it after Salzburg the people in Hamburg take it on and if it is then performed simultaneously in Zurich and Berlin.  After that everything may take whatever course it will, but Zurich and Berlin immediately after the Hamburg run strikes me as a logical sequence.  Obviously you should allow only a man whom you can trust to keep a secret to read The Ignoramus and the Madman, but in general I am quite keen on not allowing the whole abominable theatrical world in on the secret of our play, lest we should have only ourselves to blame if over the course of the summer all and sundry come to know about my drama and have already formed an opinion of it before the curtain rises.  This most well-beaten of paths is also the most gruesome.  Why shouldn’t it be presented in Nuremberg?  Why shouldn’t it be performed in an infirmary or a preschool someday?  I have nothing against this, but it’s important to make sure nobody makes a total hash of it at the outset.  Incidentally, the Boris in Hamburg was a really huge success and I have just read that this Saturday, tomorrow, it will be performed one more time [see Letter No. 178].  [...] In conclusion: should we not meet up at some point in the near future and draw up a precise last-minute battle plan that we will insist on being subsequently carried through????  So that we don’t make any mistakes, commit any oversights that will garner us the loss of our temper a year from now, and otherwise nothing?  Let us think of Germany as a bowling alley, the theaters as the pins--right now we have the ball in our hands.    What are we going to do with the ball?”  Such a meeting did end up taking place-- on February 19 and 20 in Ohlsdorf and Gmunden.  From a March 3, 1972 letter from Rach to Bernhard one learns that the two men jointly compiled a “10-item catalogue.”  This catalogue was the starting point for the attempt to cancel the contractually scheduled performance of A Party for Boris with Judith Holzmeister at Vienna’s Burgtheater.  See also Karl Ignaz Hennetmair: A Year with Thomas Bernhard, pp. 133 ff.  The Academy Theater (the second house of the Burgtheater) gave the Austrian premiere of A Party for Boris on February 2, 1973.  The director was Erwin Axer; Judith Holzmeister played the good woman. 
On December 4, 1971 Bernhard wrote to Helene Ritzerfeld asking her to draw up a contract for the film adaptation of Frost.  Ferry Radax was to be the director, and filming was to take place in the Winter of 1971-1972.
Bernhard was awarded the 30,000 schilling-endowed Grillparzer Prize on January 21, 1972 during the Vienna Academy of Sciences’ commemoration of the centenary of the death of the prize’s eponym.  The prize was presented to him by the vice-president of the academy, Herbert Hunger.  The laudation reads: “The prize jury has awarded you this prize, which is awarded only every three years, in recognition of your play A Party for Boris [...]. [...] The prize jury has based their decision on the fact that your play A Party for Boris has an exemplary significance for our age.  It is said that in linguistic terms your drama, which many critics have compared to Büchner, to Beckett or Ionesco, possesses an urgent, pulsating force in virtue of its ever-crescent or ironizing repetitions.”  (Archive of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, No. 3079/1972).  Bernhard gave his version of the events of the award ceremony in Meine Preise, pp. 7-19 [My Prizes, pp. 3-16], as well as in Wittgenstein’s Nephew (see Bernhard, Works, Vol. 13, pp. 270-276).
See Note No. 1 to Letter No. 115. 
Letter No. 183
Frankfurt am Main
February 15, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I was out of town for eight days--hence it was only today that I received your letter of February 3, which arrived here at the same time as your second letter of February 11.1  Thank you very much for writing.
First and foremost an answer to your accusation that I had not replied to your letter of 12.2.  Allow me to point out to you that Ms. Zeeh acknowledged receipt of this letter on December 8.  In her acknowledgment she wrote to you that I was out of town, and she also informed you that your request for a remittance of payment had been granted.  Therefore your letter was indeed effectively replied to.2
But now to your new letters.  Dr. Rach came to me and showed me your letter to him.  We conferred about who would be the better person to talk to you in the first instance, and I think that in this case it is more appropriate for Dr. Rach to come see you.  He can do this very soon.  As far as my personal presence goes, you know that I am always at your disposal in the event of an emergency; on the other hand I am within my rights to remind you that we already have plans: in my calendar entry for July 29 I have written “Salzburg” followed by “Hiking Outings with Thomas Bernhard.”  Don’t you think we can address all extra-, super-, and sub-terrestrial problems on that date as we hike?  I am convinced that after that you will no longer see the firm as an anonymous, adversarial force, but rather as a power that is championing you and your works, and indeed championing them more intensively than any other publishing firm would be capable of doing.  And please remember that The Ignoramus and the Madman is going to be published in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.  You gave your all, and I gave mine.
Dr. Rach will be able to clarify the most pressing questions on his own.  But this much you will learn directly from me: I am sorry that The Italian has already been licensed to dtv [the German Paperback Book Company].   In connection with this you will of course be receiving a share of the licensing honorarium, whereas we remit our paperback honoraria in full to our authors.  But when as in this case a contract has already been finalized, there is nothing more you can do.  But in the future I would refrain from awarding any further paperback rights to third-party publishers.
We are typesetting Frost using the old Insel edition.  I have ordered a copy-editor to review the text again thoroughly.
Dr. Rach will also speak with you about the Salzburg remittances.  Before we issue any further payments we really must receive the money from Salzburg, but Rach intends to make a serious effort to obtain it.
The “hops and malt” harvest in Frankfurt has by no means been a poor one--quite to the contrary, we are enjoying something of a bumper crop in both of them.
Can you write me a word or two about the Paper Factory?  I presume the manuscript was finished long ago and is now lying in your desk drawer, and that you are simply waiting for the moment when (after you have been enfeebled by the enjoyment of Hungarian wine) I snatch the manuscript away from you.  If that is the case, I shall be coming over first thing this evening!3
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
P.S.: I shall be quite happy to forward your “sincere regards” to Paul Nizon.
Unseld spent a “holiday week” (February 7-11)  in St. Moritz.
See Note No. 1 to Letter No. 179.
Paper Factory is the title of a planned but unrealized novel that was referred to for the first time in Unseld’s June 1970 travel journal (see Letter No. 131 as well as the commentary on p. 322 on Volume 4 of Bernhard’s Works).
Letter No. 184
Ohlsdorf
2.24.72
Dear (Dr.) Siegfried Unseld,
Since your last letter you will have received Mr. Rach’s report; I hope that it is exhaustive and that it has been presented to you by Rach, with whom I have been getting along excellently, in a manner that conforms to my wishes.
Now, an addendum doing duty as a confirmation: please do not under any circumstances allow a performance of my Boris at the Burgtheater in Vienna to take place; I am dreading the worst and the worst is something I refuse to get involved with.  Retract all offers if they have not been put in writing, and even if they have been put in writing, to the extent that such retraction is still possible.
I attach precious little value to having anything performed at this theater under current circumstances.  The time for putting on my play at the Burgtheater (or anywhere else in Vienna) has not yet come.  Who knows whether it will ever come.  Nothing but the thought that I am not being staged in Vienna can put my mind at ease.
Tomorrow, after a seizure and a spell of the flu, I shall be getting back to work.1
As you can see, I am back in my element.
If only you would concretely respond just once to one of the points raised in one of my letters!
Your letters are charming and exasperating.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
On January 7, 1972, while engaged in forestry work near the “Krucka,” a house in Grasberg (a village in the township of Altmünster) that he had acquired in March of 1971, Bernhard had a seizure during which he cut himself above his left knee with a chainsaw.  See Karl Ignaz Hennetmair: A Year with Thomas Bernhard, pp. 28ff.
Letter No. 185
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February 24, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I like you very much, you know!  This sentence will be stricken from the firm’s copies; it ultimately concerns nobody but the two of us.
Dr. Rach has briefed me.  I am very glad that you can write dialogues for a play again, and you see that I am full of curiosity and anxiousness, and I also think that the title All the Happiness in the World is an especially happy one in view of the play’s authorship by Thomas Bernhard.
But I would still like to be allowed to speak with you about the publication date of the novel.  All past experience suggests to me that it is more fitting to begin publicizing an important book by the beginning of the year.
I am now about to have a balance statement of receipts and payments prepared.  No matter how this turns out, I am going to fulfill your wish and raise your monthly remittances to DM 1,000 beginning on April 1.
On matters of ongoing concern Dr. Rach will certainly write further to you.1  I shall then tentatively gear myself up for my hiking outings with you in the Salzburg area.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Unseld
See Note No. 2 to Letter No. 182
Letter No. 186
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February 29, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Something has arisen that means I must be in Vienna from the 25th through the 27th of May.  Should you also be there on those dates, I would naturally be delighted to meet with you.  So, I am dutifully giving you advance notice of my presence in Vienna.
Yours
sincererly,
Unseld
Letter No. 187
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
March 6, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Dr. Rach informs me that your friend Hufnagl the architect doesn’t think all that badly of me.  Could I have Hufnagl’s address?  I should ask him something pertaining to a Viennese architectural matter.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 188
Frankfurt am Main
March 28, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Merely for form’s sake I thank you for your letter of 2.24.  In substance you have of course sorted things out with Dr. Rach.
What kind of seizure did you have to suffer?  I am very happy to write to you and also happy to read when you write me friendly letters.  Incidentally, shouldn’t we really see each other in May?  Either in Vienna, where I shall be from the 22nd through the 24th, or on the morning of Friday, May 26th in Salzburg, from which I intend to fly back to Frankfurt at 3 p.m.  You see how I am constantly making affectionate overtures.  Brace yourself.
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld   
Letter No. 189
Ohlsdorf
4.24.72
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I shall be awaiting you with open arms in May in Salzburg.  My news for you is confined to the following points:
submission of the novel (Title: Correction)
        end of November / beginning of December
        prospective publication date beginning of 73
and
a new play at the end of the year
Logically speaking, the request of I made of Rach, namely, to send me the complete TS1 series, remains unfulfilled as of now.  I am in possession of everything through Volume 10; nothing beyond that, but just beyond that may be where things start to get really interesting.  So please remit them to me at once!
Have you read the Le Monde of 14 AVRIL?2  and, way back when, the Observateur?3
I am constantly dreaming about a voyage around the world, but such voyages no longer happen, as you know.4
Sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Bernhard is referring here to the suhrkamp taschenbücher (paperbacks).
In Le Monde on April 14, 1972 appeared two articles on the French translation of Verstörung: Christoph Schwerin’s “Une oeuvre avec laquelle il faudra désormais compter [A work to be reckoned with from now on],” and René Wintzen’s “Perturbation ou le jeu de la folie et de la mort [“Verstörung or the game of madness and death”].” 
See Note No. 1 to Letter No. 182
In the upper-right corner of the letter is a handwritten note, “through 1 p.m.,” which refers to the timeframe of the Salzburg meeting. 
Letter No. 190
[Address: Ohlsdorf]   
Frankfurt am Main
April 27, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Warm thanks for your letter of April 24.  This is a wonderful feeling, to be awaited by you “with open arms.”  How and where shall we met?  Can you pick a place in Salzburg where we could meet at your convenience at 10, 11, or 12 o’clock?  My flight from Salzburg will then take off at 3 p.m., if the fates allow.
If your news is actually confined to the two points you specified, you will be something of a silent partner.  I of course know how much you like to talk about your future opuses, but perhaps then I can update you on the latest one from Vienna and Alpbach.
Ms. Zeeh will note your taschenbuch continuation; we had not learned of it.  So: you will receive everything beginning with volume 11 and from now on regularly.1
I have not read the Le Monde of April 14, but I did read the Observateur way back when.
How come voyages around the world no longer happen?
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried U.
On May 8 Burgel Zeeh ordered the firm’s shipping department to send volumes 11 through 49 of the suhrkamp taschenbücher to Bernhard in Ohlsdorf.
Letter No. 191
Frankfurt am Main
April 28, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Frost has been published in the Taschenbuch series.1   I am very happy about this, and I can only hope that you are also pleased with the lovely blue cover.  We printed a run of 15,000.  This is merely a brief notice.  The book will be sent to you along with it.  20 complimentary copies will follow.
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried U. 
See Letter No. 181
Letter No. 192
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
May 12, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Entirely in a spirit of eager anticipation of our May 26 meeting in Salzburg, I should like to propose our seeing each other as early as 10:00 a.m.  Is that possible?  And could we stipulate 7 Porchestraße, Salzburg as our point of rendezvous?
Towards 10:00 I shall be returning to the Hertz car rental office the vehicle I am planning to rent for the round trip from Salzburg to Alpbach and back; after that I shall be at your disposal.1  In May the daily flight from Salzburg to Frankfurt leaves as early as 12:55 p.m., so that we would have from 10:00 to the departure of the plane for our conversation.
As I said, I am very much looking forward to seeing you.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
In May 26, 1972, in Alpbach,  at a conference of book dealers hosted by the publisher Fritz Molden, Unseld gave a lecture on the subject of the duties of a literary publisher. 
Letter No. 193
[Telegram]
Ohlsdorf
5.23.72
friday 10 am porschestrasse
bernhard
Letter No. 194
Frankfurt am Main
June 5, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Ah!  How enjoyable Salzburg was!1  Why don’t we meet there more often?  Today I am sending you Gerhard Roth’s Autobiography of Albert Einstein; we had spoken about it.  But I am also sending it to you on account of the color of its cover.  It turns out that in a darker shade of blue it is difficult to obtain the metallic sheen we are aiming for.  Please take a look at the back cover, specifically at the place where the printed text is black.  Does that work for you?  Please tell me your answer very soon.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Unseld
Regarding the Salzburg meeting, Unseld wrote in his Vienna--Salzburg--Alpbach Travel Journal, May 22-27, 1972, “It was certainly the most enjoyable of meetings.  Bernhard was in his best anecdote-telling mood and--quite obviously at the prompting of the Salzburgian atmosphere--he told me about his youth and childhood.
We discussed the following concrete matters:
Publication schedule:
July--BS: The Ignoramus and the Madman
1. November: Delivery of a new novel Correction (no article).  Prospective
publication date. 1st half 1973.
At the end of December 1972 we will receive the manuscript of his new drama. 
But for now nobody from our side may talk to him about it because we first have to bring The Ignoramus and the Madman into effect.  The play will play a role in the ’73-’74 season.
He is also working once again on es Volume 50, Atzbach. Prescriptions.  He said he very much wanted to see a combined edition of his novellas Watten and Ungenach appear in the BS, but I demurred very strongly at this suggestion.  I think it would be much more worthwhile to issue further copies of these as separate books in the es.
We then talked for quite a long time about a Bernhard reader on the model of the Artmann [The Best of H.C. Artmann, 1972] Handke [Prose Works, Poems, Theater Plays, Radio Plays, 1969], and Hildesheimer compilations.
The following publication schedule emerged from our discussion:
July 1972 The Ignoramus and the Madman in the BS
1st half of 1973     Correction
2nd half of 1973 es Volume 500: Atzbach
st 131: Lime Works
1st half of 1974 Bernhard reader
1st precaution taken: that the Salzburgian book dealers, and perhaps other important Austrian book dealers, should have the Ignoramus BS volume delivered to them ahead of time?  The premiere is at the end of July 1972.  The second performance will of course take place on September 1 in Berlin.  Should we encircle the book in a paper band with information on the two important performances?  Perhaps we could also think up a poster on the model of Handke’s Goalie poster.  An appropriate design will of course occur to us.
In an additional note, Conversation with Thomas Bernhard on Friday, May 26 in Salzburg, Unseld states, “‘Bernhard was in plain high spirits.  He was pleased that I had come to Salzburg from Alpbach ‘especially on his account.’
We strolled along the streets of Salzburg, then discussed a few concrete matters and publication plans; chiefly, though, at my provocation and in an ever-renewing flow of anecdotage, he talked of his childhood and youth in Salzburg.  He believed that in his Henndorf Pastoral Carl Zuckmayer had written about his unhappy youth [Zuckmayer’s memoir of his years in Henndorf was published by Residenz Publications in 1972; the passage in question is on p. 43 of the book], but the actual wording in the text of the book is ‘a youth somewhat overcast with shadows.’  ‘It certainly was a horrible 30-year stretch.’  It certainly was highly chaotic, but Bernhard never suffered outright deprivation.  He never met his father but got to know his stepfather quite well.  The early death of his mother.  He was then raised by his grandfather, the (in Zuckmayer’s words) “still-unknown epic poet Johannes Freumbichler” [ibid., p. 42].  His family wanted to force him to study towards a bourgeois profession.  The law was their first choice.  But Bernhard insistently refused; because he had always sung in the church choir he wanted to become a singer, and thanks to the intervention of Mrs. Zuckmayer he once auditioned before the bigwigs in the Salzburg opera scene.  But in the truest sense of the idiom the notes got stuck in his throat during the audition.  The whole thing was a disaster [see also Note No. 1 Letter No. 441].  He had always written for himself, since he was fifteen years old, and occasionally pestered his family by reading aloud to them.  But his association with Mr. Kaut, the current president of the Salzburg Festival, was decisive.  Kaut was then the editor of the Demokratisches Volksblatt, which is now defunct.  He encouraged Bernhard to write reports of courtroom proceedings, and these were subsequently published in the Demokratisches Volksblatt.  More than any other person, Kaut encouraged and convinced him to become a writer.
He sidestepped all questions about his relations with women by uttering some meaningless phrases, but he readily told me about his grandmother’s experiences.  He said she had been married to a very handsome man at the age of eighteen; the couple left for their honeymoon in Hamburg.  But on the wedding night his grandmother ran away from her husband because he had expected her to do things she had never even heard of.
Now it is clear to me why Bernhard required the Salzburg Festival committee to accept The Ignoramus and the Madman before reading a line of it, and to advance him the DM 30,000.  Kaut had rejected Boris, which Bernhard had actually been planning to dedicate to him, and sent the manuscript back and described the play as completely unperformable [see note 2 to Letter 18].
Understandably enough, he did not wish to talk about the new novel, Correction.  When I pressed him to do so he would only say: it is a story about a forty-year-old man who can see that he has done something incorrectly in his life, something  that must be corrected.  He must come to see the features of his environment more exactly.”
From the above oral account emerged a plan for some autobiographical notes, which were initially discussed by Bernhard and Unseld under the auspices of the provisional title Remembering.
Letter No. 195
[Telegram]
Steyrermühl
6.8.72
einstein blue very good1
very sincerely bernhard
The color of the cover of Gerhard Roth’s novel, which appeared in the spring of 1972, is metallic.  The first edition of The Ignoramus and the Madman also has a metallic color scheme instead of the non-metallic one chosen for it by Suhrkamp’s cover designer, Willy Fleckhaus.
Letter No. 196
Ohlsdorf
6.28.72
Dear Dr. Unseld,
The highest form of good fortune is happiness in misfortune; a thoroughly philosophical condition is left behind.
The topic of our reflections is our astonishment at our own good fortune in misfortune.
An accident, a mis-chance, with all its attendant possibilities, is invaluable if we have been favored by fortune.
No meditations!
Please give my regards to Ms. Zeeh, who didn’t frighten me at all, but rather actually cheered me up, because of course everything had already turned out all right by then.1 To our subject: Mr. Ganz is rehearsing in Salzburg; I met with him for the first time yesterday, and our meeting was an enormously fascinating event for me.  If this man’s extraordinary artistry does not let him down between now and then, we are going to witness a splendid performance of the play.  At the moment there is nobody who does better justice to my sentences.  One must see him speaking and moving and philosophizing about both activities.
Probably the intensity with which the rehearsals must now be conducted, the terrifyingly brief interval between now and the date of the performance, is ideal.  We never achieve anything thanks to anything but hyperconcentration.  Hyperconcentration compels us to do our utmost in our passion and fear for what we are capable of.  Because we must do everything in our power to thwart society!
If the book hasn’t already been printed and bound, I would like two complete paginated rough copies of it right away.
The tension between Correction, which has completely cut me off from the rest of the world, and the work in Salzburg, is extremely advantageous.
When will you come?  For how many days?  Here we have an invigorating ice-cold lake, as you know.
To drive from Gmunden to the theater in Salzburg and then back to Gmunden would be most ideal.  What do you think?
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Bernhard alludes to a car accident that Unseld was involved in and that Burgel Zeeh informed him of in a letter dated June 22.  In this letter she states, “[...] now that the biggest scare is behind us, I would very much like to to tell you that Dr. Unseld was involved in an accident on the Autobahn last week and is now recovering in the hospital at Heilbron.  All signs now point to his returning to Frankfurt on Monday with a fractured clavicle (and no other injuries).  He was very lucky, and we are all glad that this ended so happily.”     
Letter No. 197
[Telegram]
Salzburg
7.21.72
bs ignoramus full of unwarrantable embarrassing typos most especially medical terms appalling
bernhard1
The Ignoramus and the Madman was published in July as Volume 317 of the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.
Letter No. 198
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram-memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
July 25.72
Arriving Friday, July 28 11:30 airport.  Hotel Hohenstauffen Salzburg
18 Stauffenstrasse.  Can we meet up?
Sincerely Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 199
Frankfurt am Main
August 2, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Our encounter was once again very enjoyable, and it was so in a double sense thanks to the thoroughly favorable reaction to the play.  The Salzburg performance was unquestionably a triumph and I too think it was good, even if I cannot be quite as enthusiastic and still see some weaknesses.  My opinion aside, this can only be a good thing, because theaters always shy away from competing with a perfect performance.
One more thing to consider in connection with this: I don’t think it is a good idea to dedicate the second printing to Bruno Ganz.  Just imagine: every actor who studies this beautiful but undoubtedly difficult role would then have to pit himself against the man whom you consider the ideal interpreter of it, namely Bruno Ganz.  But by all means do what you deem appropriate. 
It is also important for us to receive the corrections of the compositor’s errors soon.  And please give a thought to Mrs. Vargo’s entrance as well.
You may rest assured that we are very energetically entrusting the play to the theaters, television networks, and also the book-dealers.
I am glad that we have concrete deadlines for submission of your new works.  At the beginning of November we are planning to meet here in Frankfurt and you will hand over the manuscript of Correction to me, and at the end of the year we will receive the manuscript of the new play.  It is important that there should be no discussion of this new play.  I won’t even tell Dr. Rach about it yet.
So, everything is on a steady footing.1
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
On the upper-right corner of the carbon copy there is a handwritten note: “cc Dr. Rach” (![DR]).
Letter No. 200
Frankfurt am Main
August 2, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I am giving you the financial rundown in a separate letter.  I have one request to make of you up front: please read through the loan stipulations and the calculations only when you are in a calm frame of mind.  The upshot of them is that everything is on a steady footing; in other words, that despite the substantial debit yielded by the tabulation of sums, I am of good cheer.
We are faced with the question of what to do about the fact that--even after accounting for the two remittances of DM 20,000 each for your play The Ignoramus and the Madman--hence a total of DM 40,000--the following debit-postings remain uncleared:
The loan you received on February 9, 1971, which is
in the amount of DM 15,000.00
An open posting from the running accounts (through
August 1972) DM 15,000.00
Monthly remittances through April 1973 DM 12,000.00
Now you wish for a further advance of DM 20,000.00
This adds up to a grand total of      DM 60,000.00
So we must see how to reckon up this grand total of DM 60,000.00.  To this end I am tendering you a proposal and requesting your assessment of it.
Our famous gentlemen’s agreement regarding the “old works” has been complied with in full.  The account has been cleared by credit entries and by the advance for the suhrkamp taschenbuch 47 edition of Frost.
Now you yourself have suggested that we should perhaps strike a new bargain of that ilk.  I am tendering you the following proposal:
That we should now amortize the the February 9, 1971 DM 15,000 loan (whose terms of repayment we should try to work out in August 1972) by means of the “old works” account and include Lime Works and Midland in this account.  So “old works” would now mean all your publications apart from The Ignoramus and the Madman.  Had this stipulation been in place earlier you would certainly have eliminated the balance of the loan on your own by now.
II. You received two remittances for your play The Ignoramus and the Madman:
DM 20,000.00 on 9.1.1971
Two DM 10,000.00 advances on the Salzburg honoraria, in other words, DM 20,000.00
The second remittance of DM 20,000.00 we can forget about, because it has been offset by the revenues from Salzburg.  Any eventual surpluses from Salzburg will, in accordance with our gentlemen’s agreement, go directly to you.
To the amortization of the first remittance of DM 20,000 we would apply the proceeds from Austrian television and from the prospective German television deal and--if need be--royalties from German theaters.  All this should suffice to “polish off” the remittance of DM 40,000.
III. That the DM 20,000 remittance requested by you should be drawn from advances on the following new works that you have mentioned by name:
Bibliothek Suhrkamp: The Ignoramus and the Madman  
Bibliothek Suhrkamp: Remembering
The novel Correction
edition suhrkamp Volume 500: Atzbach
The sum of DM 20,000.00 should tally approximately with the advances from these works, so that you can certainly clear your mind of any worries about this remittance.  Proceeds in excess of DM 20,000.00 are to be credited to the “new works” account (see IV.).
IV. The “new works” account
This account is now encumbered with the following remittances:
the invoices and remittances through 8.31.1972 in the
amount of ca. DM 15,000.00
the future monthly remittances through 8.31.1973 with
which this account will be encumbered DM 12,000.00
Total DM 27,000.00
We could offset these DM 27,000.00 as follows:
All surplus proceeds from Provisions II and III.
An advance on the new play
Other proceeds from our contracts 
I deem this solution fair and acceptable both for you and for us.  If you accept it you won’t need to grapple with any weighty considerations; we have found a slot for the old DM 15,000 loan as well as for the new remittance of DM 20,000, and the monthly remittances that we will be issuing through August 31, 1973 can likewise be offset by prospective proceeds. 
So the upshot is that everything is on a steady footing.  For you there will admittedly still be one problem to contend with: namely, that of your taxes, which I must ask you not to lose sight of.
Are you content with these proposals?  In the event that you wish to make any changes, please let me know of them.  Hopefully you will see that in thinking over these financial matters I have taken pains to anticipate your objections.  Please write to me soon, so that I can initiate the desired transfer of DM 20,000.00. 
Yours
with friendly regards
[Siegfried Unseld]
Letter No. 201
Ohlsdorf
8.8.72
Dear Dr. Unseld,
You should repeat your visit to Ohlsdorf sometime soon, especially now that the atmosphere has calmed down and is devoid of drama and people who can’t keep up when it comes to walking and running and swimming.
Our Salzburgian undertaking was a success.  The fact that, as you know, all the subsequent performances have been cancelled is regrettable but ultimately logical and by no means injurious.  The fact of the matter is that Peymann is completely in the right and if a court ends up having to pass sentence on someone in connection with the Salzburg affair, Peymann and his people can look forward to this sentence with equanimity; to me the facts of the case are clear; the guilt lies entirely on the side of the festival’s board of directors.  But everything must be explained with a clear head; I have given strict advice to Peymann, who is not always prudent; my practical court experience is proving useful again for a change, and so is my instinct, by which I mean my incorruptibility in legal matters.1
That the unrepeatability of the performance has a special charm for me is something that I need not go out of my way to emphasize to you.
Probably the whole ensemble can act the play again in Hamburg or at the Schaubühne in Berlin.  But these questions must first be elucidated.
Our contract subsists and cannot be altered.
At least the video recording will materialize, if not via the abominable Austrians then via the Germans.
The soil for the play has been well prepared, I think.
I must regard your suggestion not to print Bruno Ganz’s name under the title as a wise one, and I shall accept it at least provisionally, while our play is finding other performances.  After that the dedication can of course be made.2
Regarding the new play mum is the absolute word that everybody on all sides will have to keep.
Once again on Peymann: he has been incredibly lucky.  Enough said about that, thanks to which we too have been lucky.  The goings-on in Salzburg fit into my new work, Correction, as seamlessly as if I had needed them in order to put the finishing touches on it.  The book has me inescapably in its clutches, and vice-versa.
I must ask you to keep me informed about everything even halfway interesting that is going on or may yet go on in connection with our play, and not to leave me wanting for news; better too much than none at all.
My current run is an excellent one; the fact that I have good nerves is an enormous asset.  Other people don’t have them.
Remember that there are splendid walks here and that behind every tree there is a telephone via which Ms. Zeeh can get hold of you.  Perhaps a fall visit, a late summer visit?, if, about four or five weeks from now, I can again completely leave off working on Correction.
On the financial letter: it is not all clear to me, but if it was clear to you, I naturally will accept the whole thing.  I must ask you to remit the new 20 thousand to my Gmunden account as soon as possible; a TON of bills, et cetera, have piled up.  Then, after the handing over of Correction, we should once again be able to have a clear and binding conversation.  Please give my regards to Rach and Busch and the others.
Thomas Bernhard
My corrected copy of the play with Mrs. Vargo’s entrance in the near future.3
P.P.S. In Salzburg we descended into hell, but we have emerged from it unsinged and indeed tougher and more clear-eyed than before.
The “facts of the case” under discussion here, the so-called “Emergency Lighting Scandal,” have gone down in theater history.  (See Bernhard, Works, Vol. 15, pp. 470ff.)  During the final scene of the premiere of The Ignoramus and the Madman at the Salzburg Regional Theater, the administration broke its promise to turn the emergency lights off in conformity with a certain stage direction in the text: “the stage is completely dark.”  Thereafter there were no further performances of the play apart from the contractually obligatory videotaping for television.  Hilde Spiel summarized the scandal: “The author and director demands two minutes of complete darkness for the conclusion of the play, during which in a kind of allegory of total cataclysm a tablecloth is lifted and divested of its plates, glasses, and bottles [...] If the emergency lighting is left on, this event will be not only heard but also seen, because the eyes adjust very quickly to mere semi-darkness.  The fire department, acting on the authority of an ordinance dating from 1884, when the Ringtheater in Vienna burned down, insists that the emergency lighting should not be switched off.  The president of the festival is sent for.  According to a statement by Peymann’s team he promises to have the emergency lights turned off.  The promise is noted in the log book.  [...]  At the rehearsals a four-person relay team is employed to communicate the lights-out signal downstairs to the switchbox.  Nearly a hundred spectators enjoy a final scene darkened at the appropriate moment during the dress rehearsal--but it is not a public performance.  On the evening of the premiere, contrary to all expectations and quite without warning, the emergency lights remain on; Peymann dashes downstairs, where he finds the switchbox jammed.  Angela Schmid loses her nerve; she fails to execute the prescribed movement but rather pitches forward on to the table, thereby producing a muffled clinking instead of the grand effect intended.  Hereupon Peymann declares, ‘There will be no further performances of the play unless the emergency lighting is switched off as previously promised to us’ [...].  Then on the evening of the second performance there is an uproar. [...] At the last minute a compromise is offered.  The emergency lights are to be “manually concealed.”  Peymann quite rightly regards this as impracticable.  No other solution is offered.  A proposal by the author to omit the conclusion altogether comes too late.  The audience has already been sent home.  (Hilde Spiel: “Schatten auf Salzburg.  Fazit der Festspiele und das Ende einer Affäre”  [“Shadow on Salzburg.  Epitome of the Festival and the End of an Affair”] in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 4, 1972.)  Thereupon, on August 2, Bernhard sent to Josef Kaut, the president of the Salzburg Festival a telegram that read: “AN ORGANIZATION THAT CANNOT BEAR TWO MINUTES DARKNESS STOP CAN GET BY WITHOUT MY PLAY STOP MY COMMITMENT TO DIRECTOR AND ACTORS ONE HUNDRED PERCENT STOP THEY MAKE SELFEVIDENTLY UNCOMPROMISING DECISION RE FUTURE PERFORMANCES.”  (See the facsimile of this telegram in Thomas Bernhard und Salzburg , p. 221.)
Bernhard dedicated his next play, The Hunting Party, to the actor Bruno Ganz.
This comment is Bernhard’s reaction to a suggestion Rudolf Rach made in an April, 21 1972 letter to him (the page numbers are those of the Bibliothek Suhrkamp edition): “On page 22 Mrs. Vargo enters and exits.  On page 32 she says ‘the overture,’ and reenters only on page 33.  Does this mean that she shouts the ‘the overture’ into the room--in other words, that she is speaking from offstage?  Or should she come in one more time before speaking in order to bring in a piece of clothing or some other object?”  Bernhard did not correct this inconsistency in the stage directions.
Letter No. 202
Frankfurt am Main
August 9, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Your lack of a telephone is now making itself most unpleasantly  felt!
We must communicate about this matter.  As you can see, we too are now getting involved in this affair.  Please consult the enclosed copy for a sense of the nature of our position.  It was significant that you gave moral and public-relational  “support,” to Peymann, without lodging what the jurists would call an expressis verbis suit against the prohibition as an exercise of your personal rights.  You see, if you had done that we would have been doomed--i.e., Salzburg would have had the right to withhold the royalties from you.
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
2 Enclosures
[Enclosure 1: letter from Josef Kaut to Suhrkamp Publications]1  
[Enclosure 2: letter from S.U. to Josef Kaut]
Frankfurt am Main
August 9, 1972
CERTIFIED MAIL
Dear most honored President Kaut,
I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of August 7.  I must unequivocally tell you that I cannot follow the line of your argument.  The situation may be summarized thus:
You finalized a performance contract with Suhrkamp Publications and only with Suhrkamp Publications, not with the author in any sense.  This performance contract earmarks a lump sum of DM 30,000 for royalities, a provision that is quite independent of the number of performances.  Consequently it is quite clear that this amount is now due, inasmuch as this provision is equally independent of your decision not to undertake additional performances.
We are astonished in the highest degree that you have made this decision without informing your contractual partner, Suhrkamp Publications, and without discussing the situation with Suhrkamp beforehand at all.  You knew that I personally was staying in Salzburg during the premiere and the days immediately after it.  We could have discussed the situation then and there.
According to the terms of our contract, the balance of DM 20,000.00 is due on August 15, 1972.  I would like to ask you to declare to us that you will remit to us this remaining sum of DM 20,000.00 by August 15, 1972.  If the explanation or the sum has not reached us by August 20, 1972, we shall find ourselves compelled to demand the sum on a legal basis.  In this matter it is of decisive significance that the director and the actors are contractually tied exclusively to the Salzburg Festival and that no such ties exist between them and Suhrkamp Publications (let alone between them and the author).  The actions of the director and actors fall within the contractual competence of the Salzburg Festival, because the latter hired the director and actors.  As a consequence of this the present legal situation would not have been different even if, as you write, Thomas Bernhard had given “support” to the director.  The performance rights were granted to the Salzburg Festival by Suhrkamp Publications--and only by Suhrkamp Publications.  The publishing firm alone is your partner in this contract.  At most a writer might be entitled exercise his personal rights by lodging a verbal complaint of negligence; Thomas Bernhard has not formally done this.  Accordingly we are repeating our demand for the immediate remission of the DM 20,000.00 and asking you not to break off negotiations regarding future performances.
We further reserve the right to sue the Salzburg Festival for damages in the event that the scheduled videotaping for television cannot be undertaken.  This taping was agreed upon, and negotiations regarding additional broadcasts are already underway with certain German television networks.  The magnitude of the aforementioned indemnity suit you can work out for yourself.
I regret this course of events to an extraordinary degree, and not only on account of the great material damage all the participating parties, including the Salzburg Festival, must suffer.  The immaterial damage seems even greater to me, in that this decision is preventing the publicization of a highly significant play in the context of a highly significant performance.  I am also personally of the opinion that a solution could have been worked out in conversations with the participating parties.  Unfortunately you have given Suhrkamp Publications no opportunity to mediate in this affair.  I am in future as before and at any time prepared to engage in such mediation.
With friendly regards,
Dr. Siegfried Unseld
On August 7, 1972 Josef Kaut wrote a “registered” letter to Suhrkamp Publications on the stationery of the president of the Salzburg Festival:
“Most honored Sirs!
As you will have already learned from the press coverage, Mr. Peymann, with the support of Thomas Bernhard, has blocked the second performance of The Ignoramus and the Madman.  To this news I may add that Mr. Peymann was already occasioning a number of severe difficulties during the rehearsal period and that our technical stage crew even went on strike after they were referred to as “blue-collar riffraff” by Mr. Peymann.  Consequently we cannot but regret that we complied with the desire of Mr Bernhard and of your firm and engaged Mr. Peymann as a director.
As of now we have only ascertained via our legal representatives that
Mr. Peymann and four members of the cast are in breach of contract, such that their contracts have been terminated and no further objections on their part will be possible.  The role of Thomas Bernhard in the prevention of further performances by means of Mr Bernhard’s telegrams and public remarks is being evaluated by our legal representatives.  You will therefore appreciate that we cannot remit any further honoraria until the facts of the case of have been clarified.
We especially regret that our heartfelt efforts on behalf of the work of Thomas Bernhard have been so faintly acknowledged by the author himself and his friends, and I believe that these gentlemen have done a grave disservice to contemporary theater in Salzburg.”   
Letter No. 203
Frankfurt am Main
August 10, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I sincerely thank you for your letter of August 8.  I felt exactly as you did about this and also relish the exceptionality of the circumstance of a single performance.  But our age is not cut out for publicly celebrating such triumphs.  We should keep them to ourselves, knowing as we do that they will then enjoy their proper after-effects.
By now you will have received the copy of my letter to Mr. Kaut.  I am certain that in our basic stance we are of one mind.  In point of fact the contract could have been jeopardized if you had made your intervention into an expressis verbis suit under the auspices of your “personal rights.”  But this you did not do.  Consequently the contract subsists, and Salzburg must pay up.  But there will be a judicial contest, and here, with regard to this point, I am of a different opinion than you: I think Peymann will lose.  But be that as it may, we must occasionally manoeuvre separately, even while very much thinking in unison.
I thank you for your assent to my letter of August 2, 1972.  You may rest assured that those figures will also tally.  On the security of this letter I am now sending the stipulated DM 20,000 to your account in Gmunden.
Please send off your corrected copy of the play in as soon as possible; we must now advertise the book version intensively.  It of course stands to reason that the demand for the text will now be greater than before.
You are quite right; we should meet soon, and I too am quite cheerfully prepared for that meeting.  I indeed sensed during my last visit that you did not wish to see my stay prolonged, given that you were understandably preoccupied with other people.  So now we shall make up for this with some walking and running and swimming.
Yours
with very sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
P.S.: We have compiled here everything about the Salzburg affair that has been published in the papers.  It will all be sent to you today in a separate post. 
Letter No. 204
Ohlsdorf
8.11.72
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Your letter to Mr. Kaut is a masterpiece of resoluteness and clarity.  It corresponds exactly to my own standpoint vis-à-vis Salzburg.  Regarding Kaut’s letter: I personally never offered Peymann any encouragement in this matter; to the contrary, I did everything in my power to allow the performance to take place, but in this endeavor I completely miscarried, as you know.  In full public view, and hence in the presence of hundreds of witnesses, I attempted in person at the theater to allow the performance to take place.  The factuality of this attempt has been corroborated by an array of newspapers.
Kaut’s remark is therefore a completely false allegation.
On the other hand, seeing as clearly as I did the facts of the case, and obviously with all due regard for morality and truth, I was compelled to side with Peymann and his actors, ultimately at the instigation of the scandalously mendacious conduct of Kaut and the board of directors of the Salzburg Festival, and in terms of uncommon asperity, via my telegram1, which has been reprinted everywhere, including (for your information) the FAZ.  For the sake of Peymann and the actors, who have been genuinely defrauded, I have been compelled to place myself in the direct line of fire.  The opinions expressed in my most recent and quite lengthy telegram correspond exactly and entirely to my present sentiments.
And so I have offered Peymann nothing but “moral and public-relational support,” insofar as it has lain in my power to do so.
The idea of trying to forestall the performance never crossed my mind; quite the contrary.  But it is quite clear that I have the greatest and most respectful admiration for the consistency of the director and his actors.
And so as near as I can tell, Salzburg is obligated to pay all royalties and to cover all losses incurred as a result of the conduct of the festival’s board of directors.  Naturally these include a videotaping for television, which in the circumstances is impossible. 
I personally am aggrieved in the extreme owing to the fact that I have been unable to see my play at all since, and that my memory of it must be confined to my impressions from the first dress rehearsal.
There is really no need to go into any further detail on the merits of your letter, especially with regard to such matters, because on every point everything is so excellent that all one can really do is repeatedly acknowledge that you have formulated everything exceedingly well. 
Kaut’s letter contains false allegations, and there is not one sentence in it that has got a reliable leg to stand on.
Peymann’s remark on the “blue-collar riffraff” was ironic in intent and was uttered, amid the general laughter of everyone who overheard it, quite off the cuff, as should be obvious to anyone who knows what Peymann is like.
As to me, I have taken an unequivocal position in my latest telegram, and I shall not publicly express myself any further regardless of what eventually happens.  At no point, including in this telegram, in which I in fact expressly insist that the performances must take place, have I opposed a performance of my play.  That would never have crossed my mind.
But please do make sure you keep me abreast of any further developments having to do with the Salzburgers.
Naturally I thought that the board of directors of the festival were in touch with you from the very beginning of the conflict; the fact that they were not is incomprehensible to me.  As for Peymann and his actors, they ought to shelter themselves by immediately filing a lawsuit against the festival, against Salzburg.  But at the moment I am completely out of touch with Peymann and I have no idea what he is up to and all I can do is wish him clear-headedness, shrewdness, and prudence.
Otherwise, nothing bad can happen to us, even if some unpleasantries ensue. The case is closed.
We can still set our hopes on the Berlin performance on September 5, which I shall probably will be unable to attend, because I must work on Correction, correct Correction.  And what about other performances!?
I can hardly imagine that the production won’t be taped even if it isn’t acted live again, which I also don’t believe will happen; that is a miserable eventuality that I am unprepared for. 
I have just now once again read through your letter to Kaut with the greatest respect and, not to put too fine a point on it, with much admiration.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P.S.  Perhaps a conversation here between Rach and me a week or maybe ten days from now would be worthwhile, a conversation regarding the very near future of the play and everything having to do with it?!!!
P.P.S. At the moment I am in a little patch of woods in the mountains.2
On August 9, under the headline “Bernhard Protests.  Breach of Contract Alleged,” the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung printed  Bernhard’s long telegram to Kaut, which had been circulated by the Austrian Press Agency.  The telegram reads in full, “With a cool head I must describe today’s Festival administration-penned public diatribe against Claus Peymann and his ensemble as an infamy and its circumstances as revolting on every level.  You, the Festival administration, accuse Claus Peymann and his ensemble of breach of contract and you yourself broke your contract with Claus Peymann when you first of all broke your promise at the dress rehearsal—same reality in the première as in the dress rehearsal—at the last minute and with great deviousness and thereby imperiled the entire première and falsified the conclusion of the play through your scandalous intervention.  You yourself admitted in a conference with me after the première that you had deceived Peymann in order to safeguard the première.  Via your ambush of an intervention—and quite apart from the fact that the set designer Karl-Ernst Hermann was beaten up by unknown parties behind the scenes, a criminal act from which you have so far not distanced yourself—you have categorically inculpated yourselves of breach of confidence and also, via your arrogant cancellation of future performances, of breach of contract.
The breach of contract is entirely on your part and not on the part of the ensemble, whom I advise to insist on undertaking all future performances at the regional theater.  We are dealing here with the austerity and the incorruptibility of a nerve-racking art and its principles and not with the common subject-matter of some unsavory human-interest daily.  If you should actually cancel the performances, you, and hence the Festival administration, will be guilty of breach of contract, and with respect to everything—even the damages previously incurred.  It is not the ensemble, but rather you who are responsible for the hoaxing of the public.  In these horrible circumstances it is only fitting for the director and the cozened performers to lodge a legal complaint against the Festival administration, because Peymann and his actors, whom I stand by a hundred percent, are categorically in the right, a fact that you personally through your false and, I must say it yet again, infamous braggadocio, are slyly endeavoring to conceal.”
2. Presumably Bernhard means that he is writing from the “Krucka,” his house
   in Gmunden.
Letter No. 205
Frankfurt am Main
August 17, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Your letter of August 11 pleased me a great deal.  I am especially glad that we are of one mind in our basic stance.  Thus shall we be henceforth.
Now for two pieces of good news: quite patently under the influence of my letter, President Kaut wrote on August 14: “We have received your letter of 8.9 and after reviewing our legal position via our attorney, we have ordered the DM 20,000.00 balance of the lump-sum royalty to be remitted to your firm.”
This point is now settled.
Despite this, he grumbles a bit about how “according to Austrian law, the author of a work is required to refrain from making any public statements that run counter to the interests of the theatrical organization that has undertaken to perform it,” but on this remark he cannot possibly build an admissible case against either you or the firm.
And here is the second piece of news: I have just received from UE the news that the videotaping for television will take place on August 23 and 24 in Salzburg.1  Mr. Kaut has affirmed to me that the terms of his contract with ORF will be fulfilled, and we are now also hearing from ORF that the recording must take place.  This news also jibes with what Peymann said to Dr. Rach on the evening of the premiere, namely that no matter what the recording would have to take place; here various interests are naturally impinged upon.
And thus the case is, as you write, closed.
At the moment we have yet to receive any news about Peymann and the actors.  But
Mr. [sic (DR)] Rach will notify you as soon as we have any information.  A conversation between you and Dr. Rach will hardly be possible in the next few weeks, this quite simply because what with this being the start of the theatrical season and a time when so many premieres are warming up, he is thoroughly preoccupied with various current and urgent projects, not to mention that the book fair is casting some rather long shadows.  I am hoping, though, that by the beginning of November it will be a sensible time for a conversation.
I have apprised Max Frisch of our conversations about the Austrian Library because I have of course been discussing with him the parallel plan for a Swiss Library.  I believe these two undertakings would very nicely complement each other.  More on this at some time or other.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
P. S. You haven’t said a word about the poster that we produced for Salzburg, for the Austrian book trade, and naturally also for the German book dealers, in two versions (one for Austria and another for our book dealers).  I don’t know whether the posters have reached you; in any case, I shall send them to you again (in a separate post).3
  
During this period, the Vienna-based music and play-publishing firm Universal Edition acted as Suhrkamp Publications’ proxy in the matter of rights to plays in Austria.  The video recording of The Ignoramus and the Madman was broadcast by ORF on November 8, 1972.
The idea for a New Austrian Library at Insel had been mooted back in 1969.  (See Note No. 1 to Letter No. 86.)   The plans for a Swiss Library led to the foundation of a Zurich branch of Suhrkamp at the end of 1973.
Unseld is referring to a poster advertising the publication of The Ignoramus and the Madman in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp. 
Letter No. 206
Ohlsdorf
8.19.72
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Here, fourteen days after the contretemps in Salzburg, not a day goes by in which some of the leading articles on the front pages of this nightmarish provincial press do not empty their tub full of vulgarity and perfidy, hypocrisy and wretchedness on to me and my actors and Peymann; I gather up everything that passes before my eyes and into my ears, and out of these materials a monstrous intellectual history of Austrian national Catholically Nazistic stupidity is slowly emerging.  The plain and simple truth is that the animus against movement in nature has all of a sudden found, in blunt terms, an orifice to vent through.  In point of fact this whole affair is a paradigm for others, which are kept under wraps; it is an outrage, and it shouldn’t simply be taken on the chin.
I would like you to do me the favor of commissioning some young man to compile a well-annotated documentary record of all these curiosities in the press, and of having it published in one of your paperback series.
This week the video recording is being made in Salzburg.  I have hooked Peymann and his actors up with the best lawyer in this country, a man who really goes to work for you and is very shrewd: Dr. Michael Stern in Vienna.1
If it proves necessary, I shall naturally once again immediately take a stand on the whole business; but at the moment I have said everything of any importance that I have to say and the affair is not irritating me enough to distract me from my work. 
In the midst of our mendacious age, I am finding Hesse’s Eigensinn2 a thoroughly salutary read.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
On August 17, Karl Ignaz Hennetmair sent Unseld a letter from Hennetmair to the lawyer Michael Stern “for your information and convenience”; from this letter one may learn among other things that Hennetmair and Bernhard had asked Peymann to consult Stern “regarding this case.”
Hermann Hesse’s Eigensinn. Autobiographische Schriften [Obstinacy.  Autobiographical Writings], selected and with an afterword by Siegfried Unseld was published on August 19, 1972 as Volume 353 of the Bibliothek Suhrkamp. 
Letter No. 207
[Address: (Ohlsdorf); card]
[No location specified]
August 1972
DEAR FRIENDS
I sincerely would like to thank you for the expressions of sympathy that I received in hospital.
My accident easily could have taken a different turn...and so I know that this time I have overtaxed my guardian angel.  I have had some learning experiences: there is nothing like the social world of a hospital to make one realize what valuable commodities good health and the pleasure of being able to work are.
During my hospital stay I wrote a preface, and afterword, and a speech, all of which I am going to send to you as a token of my gratitude to all of you, who have lavished me with your greetings, best wishes, and presents.  This too has been a learning experience: it is a really fine thing to have friends.
As Nestroy said, “You’re best off if you’re healthy and have got a lot of money, ’cause what good does the poor man’s sickness do him?”1
With sincerest regards,
Siegfried Unseld
This card has not survived in the firm’s files or in the Thomas Bernhard Archive, but Unseld kept a folder containing all the letters sent to him on the subject of his accident, and Bernhard’s letter (No. 197 above) is in this folder, so he must have been sent the card. 
Letter No. 208
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
September 7, 1972
Berlin performance completed with great success1
sincere regards siegfried unseld
On September 6, 1972 the German premiere of The Ignoramus and the Madman took place at the Schloßpark Theater.  The director was Dieter Dorn and the set designer was Bernd Kister.  Stefan Wigger played the doctor and Lieselotte Rau played the queen of the night.  The emergency lights over the exits remained switched on throughout the performance.
Letter No. 209
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
October 9, 1972
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
The book fair is now behind me, and I am leaving for eight days’ swimming in a southerly body of water.1 
You wish to come to Frankfurt at the beginning of November to give me the manuscript of Correction.  I shall be in Frankfurt on November 1 and 2, then again on the 4th and 5th, hence not November 3, 6, or 8.  And now one more request: we agreed that in September 1973 we were going to announce the publication of a volume entitled Remembering in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.  Now admittedly you did not wish to give me the manuscript until the spring, but I must have a few explanatory lines for our announcement.  I know that writing such lines is a pain for you, but we still need some point of reference.  Perhaps you could write me a letter in which you give some thought to this entire undertaking, to Remembering 1, 2, and 3.  Then we will make a text out of it.  I hope you are doing well.
Yours sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld
Typed from dictation by Renate Stensiek after Dr. Unseld’s departure.

Unseld was in Capri between September 8 and 17.
Letter No. 210
Ohlsdorf
10.18.721
Dear Dr. Unseld,
If I were asked to quantify the degree of neglect to which my authorial labor has been exposed for quite some time at Suhrkamp Publications, I would have to describe it as phenomenally large; in the most understated terms, it amounts to an all too conspicuous disregard (I refuse to call it disrespect, for the concept of respect is a taboo one in my mind), a disregard that I find very painful, given that regard is the very least that I can expect.
I would now like to highlight a couple of points to which your reply, or at least your reaction, is essential.
The first one, which at the moment appears to me to be the most important one, is this: that Correction, a manuscript in which I have managed to combine the greatest effort with the greatest of all possible windfalls that is a state of uninterrupted nervous tension, is a text that I wish to see published not in the spring, but rather in the fall of 1973.  There are various reasons for this, all of them serious, but the main reason is that this book, which strikes me |as| the most important thing ever to come out of my head, is one that I simply have no intention of simply lovelessly allowing as per usual to among other things expire (such has been the conclusive fate of my writings at Suhrkamp) within a normal spring schedule.  I wish to see this book prepared for the press with great forethought, and as it is a book that is of paramount importance to me in many respects, I wish to see it “appear” in the fall schedule, at the very top of the list.  And just for once I would like to see all of the custodial energies and all of the characteristic weight of the firm concentrated on my book, a concentration I have yet to witness, for the application of any truly outstandingly weighty exertions to the launching of any of my “more important” books into the abhorrent outside world that is forever yapping at my brain-- a world that is forever getting on my nerves, but never getting into them--is indeed something I have hitherto not witnessed.  In point of fact, as of today not a single one of my so-called novels has been graced by a single advertisement on its behalf in any of the principal newspapers, for example; I find it distasteful to talk about it, but it is essential that I should say something.  You must not forget that however far away I may be I am still extremely knowledgeable about the firm, about its business affairs and its history of successes and failures; that I no longer think of myself as a helpless victim of the purely loveable cavalierness of the routine operations of an apparatus like that of the firm in Frankfurt.  Either my book will receive the greatest possible degree of concentrated attention next fall, or it quite simply will not see the light of day.  I am at a loss for gentler words.
This resolution necessitates the postponement of Remembering to the spring of 1974.2
Just now it occurs to me that last spring during one of our walks you came up with your own (loveable) idea of compiling a volume in which a broad swathe through my entire literary corpus would be cut.  The idea received my interest, my resounding approval.  Since then I have heard nothing about it.  The book was projected for the spring of 1973.
At the same time it occurs to me that about three months ago I proposed the publication of a documentary record of the incidents in Salzburg--my proposal was formulated clearly and in detail, albeit somewhat tersely--for it cannot be disputed that what happened in Salzburg was a genuine outrage.  But if you don’t wish to issue a book like that, then say no explicitly; but don’t just ignore what I have proposed to you.  Being ignored is something I cannot help reviling, no matter whom I being ignored by.  I can well imagine that when you think about issuing a book like that the concept of the undiplomatic immediately pops into your head.  Fine, but after that you must actually say, “That is (would be) undiplomatic.”  Silence about things like this really wears away at me, at my thoughts.  Gratuitously.
The subject of Salzburg has not yet run its course: how can the firm issue a new edition of the Ignoramus that contains all the first one’s typographical errors, errors that are decidedly repellent and distortive of the text’s meaning and that call the very worthwhileness of the book’s existence into question?  Somebody really should have had the time to remind me, perhaps via an express letter or a riskily brusque telegraphic threat, that I needed to send in my corrections.  I find the whole business as hair-raising as I find the edition repellent.  No part of any of this is excusable.
This brings me to a further point: it is impossible, absolutely impossible, for me to rest content with the reprinting of one of my plays in Spectaculum, regardless of the fact that it is an in-house publication, a reprinting that was undertaken entirely behind my back, which is not given to bowing unquestioningly to everything, a reprinting that was  conceived without so much as a by your leave by a big and brawny and therefore rather powerful organizational apparatus.  And this new Boris in Spectaculum is teeming with fresh typographical errors and is once again simply repellent.3
But I most certainly must mention that Rach has disappointed me in a way that defies formulation.  A complete absence of news is something I cannot allow myself to put up with, especially when it comes to news about the theater.  From Rach’s office I have received nothing, apart from a couple of vacuous press releases, moronic cuttings from newspaper reviews.  For example: some moronic bilge about the Berlin performance from some of the minor newspapers, but nothing from the FAZ etcetera.  The coffeehouse is my salvation.  If I had nothing to go on but what the firm tells me, I would think that I must be one of its most unsuccessful authors, who was only very grudgingly being kept on; that is an absurdly distorted view of things.
What is the point of the existence of an office like Rach’s if I never learn about anything having to do with me; nothing about rehearsals, about the casts in Zurich, Vienna, Berlin, Munich?  In cases like this, the apparatuses of big organizations are pointless  apparatuses.  And yet it would be the most natural thing in the world to keep me up to date about everything having to do with my works for the stage.   I am learning a hundred times more, and more important things, on my own than from the firm, from which I learn as good as nothing.  As far as my plays go I am receiving zero support from the firm.  The fact that the theaters are putting on my plays is actually nothing more than my “just desert,” as I unfortunately must say in so many words.  For this much has become clear to me: at Suhrkamp Publications I have no power acting on my behalf, nobody sticking up for me; the word collaboration is a joke.  Anonymous secretaries mail out moronic press releases.  For me, Rach is uninterestedness personified, nothing more.
From Hilde Spiel I heard that you had been urging me to accept the so-called Csokor Prize.4  But I have never received the most passing mention of this prize from you.  And you have never received any mention it from me.  So what is going on?
As far as my new play, or, rather, drama, goes, I shall obviously have to see to everything all on my lonesome once again.  I have no intention of delivering myself up to contingency and indifference any longer.
These reflections could be continued, but I see no necessity of continuing them today.  If we could talk things over in person, that would be much better.  I don’t know of anybody who is more bearish on the so-called literary market than you are.  But the firm really should be required to do its bit.
In conclusion I must ask you to send me a completely precise, detailed statement of my financial transactions with the firm, of all the particulars of all movements of money involving me, apart from the loan and the “usual” ones, beginning with the Salzburg Festival and the videotaping of the Ignoramus, and to do so within the next week, in other words, with pressing speed.  I basically need these documents immediately.5
Yours with sincere regards,
Thomas Bernhard
Bernhard’s letter is inaccurately dated “11.18.72”; on the original in the firm’s archive the “11” has been corrected to a “10.”
As a consequence of this postponement the first volume of Bernhard’s autobiographical narratives, Die Ursache.  Eine Andeutung  [The Cause.  An Indication] was published in 1975 by the Salzburg-based Residenz Publications.  For the history of this text’s origins and publication, see the commentary in Vol. 10, pp. 516ff. of Bernhard’s Works.
A Party for Boris was published in Spectaculum 17 (pp. 7-64).
The Csokor prize, founded by Richard Weininger, is awarded by the Austrian PEN club and named after the Austrian writer Franz Theodor Csokor, who served as the club’s president between 1947 and 1969.  Bernhard received the prize, which came with a sum of 15,000 schillings, for The Ignoramus and the Madman.  The prize was awarded by Piero Rismondo during a meeting of the PEN club at 8 Bankgasse in Vienna.  Bernhard donated the prize money to the inmates’ welfare fund at Stein prison (see Bernhard’s account of the awarding of the prize in pp. 93-101 of Meine Preise [pp. 91-99 in My Prizes]).
Bernhard’s papers contain an earlier version of this letter.  It is also inaccurately dated “11.18.72” and reads:
“Dear Dr. Unseld,
I must ask you to answer the questions posed in this letter as soon as possible, to take a stand as quickly as possible on the assertions made in it.  In the first place I must ask you to send me a completely precise, detailed statement of my financial transactions since the Salzburg Festival and the videotaping of my play, and to do so within the next week, in other words, with pressing speed.  This means a comprehensive statement of the particulars of all movements of money involving me, apart from the loan and the “usual” ones.
And to stick to the subject of the theater: I am experiencing the reckless reprinting of the Ignoramus with all those determinative, meaning-distorting, distressing typographical errors as a none-too-seemly personal snub.  How can what has happened happen?  How can one prepare a new edition that simply transfers all the horrible typographical errors from the first edition?  I must ask you to comment on this yourself.  But on the theatrical front, as near as I can tell from here, I have received zero support from the firm, and everything is taking a highly questionable course with no input from me.  For example, from the firm I pretty much never learn anything about the various preparations underway on the stages of Zurich, Munich, or Vienna, and it would be the most natural and in fact the most desirable thing in the world for me to be kept up to date about the various goings on in every case, about the casting decisions, etcetera.  I cannot refrain from drawing Mr. Rach’s attention to his uninterestedness in my work and in me as a person.  I am learning a hundred times more, and more important things, on my own than from the firm, from which I learn as good as nothing.  Whenever I receive a piece of news it is something insignificant and ridiculous that I have known about for ages and that it is incredibly tatty.  Of reviews I am sent only the most moronic press releases (see Berlin performances) and not a single one from a major paper, for example the FAZ, which I can find in any coffeehouse.  If I had nothing to go on but what the firm sends me in the way of reviews, news items, etcetera, I would think myself an extremely unsuccessful writer.  With the best will in the world I cannot in good faith say that anything is actually being done on my behalf, for the fact that a handful of theaters--exceptional ones, to be sure--are putting on my plays is actually nothing more than my pure and just desert, as you unfortunately compel me to say in so many words, and not the desert of the firm.  For this much has become clear to me: at Suhrkamp Publications I have no power who is there for me and can or will ever stick up for me and that I will also have to make my next play on my lonesome.  What is the point of my having a publishing firm in the “background”?  part from anonymous secretaries, who mail me ridiculous newspaper cuttings that I could easily do without, I hear and see nothing.
Rach’s uninterestedness in what I write is easy to discern even without consulting his letters, which contain not a single clear, spirited, or even factually accurate word.
And you yourself let me go for months without hearing anything from you and have yet to answer my crucial questions, which I posed to you nearly three months ago: my questions about the possibility of putting together a documentary record of the incidents in Salzburg.  I you don’t want there to be such a book, then write to me telling me so, but don’t ignore my question.
From Hilde Spiel I heard yesterday that you had told her you had persuaded me to accept the so-called Csokor Prize, but the truth is that we have not let slip a single word about this prize I have certainly not written to you about the prize either.  I don’t know if you read something about it somewhere, but I assume you did.  So did you say anything to Hilde Spiel?  And what was it?
For example, my Boris has been reprinted in Spectaculum with a ton of new typographical errors; I knew nothing about this.  I don’t think any of this will do; in any case it won’t do if I have any say in it.  And there is a whole lot more to be said about the brainlessness of the firm’s organizational apparatus.
I would like to say that on the evidence of its slovenliness and its brainlessness and its indifference I am disinclined to carry on with the firm.  My business is not the business of flightiness and absolute imprecision and brainlessness.
It would be natural to talk about these not exactly very cheerfully submitted findings someday, but I am not about to name a date myself, and it is entirely up to you whether we ever meet again.”

Letter No. 211
Frankfurt am Main
October 20, 1972
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram memorandum]
Dear Mr. Bernhard--Didn’t you want to come to Frankfurt at the beginning of November?  I have made arrangements for this.  Could you give me a ring between 10 and 12 Monday morning?
Yours
sincerely Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 212
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
October 25, 1972
requesting news by telegram whether visit on saturday in ohlsdorf is possible
regards rach and unseld suhrkamp
Letter No. 213
[Telegram]
Steyermühl
10.25.72
saturday yes
bernhard
Letter No. 214
Frankfurt am Main
October 27, 1972
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I couldn’t come to Ohlsdorf on that date, because I have an urgent conference to attend in Zurich.  Nevertheless, I shall be available by phone there (Hotel Atlantis, Zurich: 35.00.00).
I shall try hard to give you an objective account of the events mentioned in your letter of 10.18.1972.
There can be no serious talk about any sort of “conspicuous disregard.”  We have turned your manuscripts into books and have stuck up for your books.  I personally have done so from the very beginning, and so have the firm’s employees, who value you as a significant author.  We have worked especially hard at championing your most recent works, and your most recent play, for which, as you know, we manufactured a special poster.
It is deplorable that the second edition contained so many misprints; nevertheless, the first time round I asked you to send me a corrected copy of the printed edition; you have yet to do this.  Please do it now, so that we can rectify the misprints in a third edition.
My first official business trip after my hospital stay took me to you and to Salzburg.  There we discussed the establishment of clear deadlines for your prospective works.  We talked in particular about how you were planning to spend part of October in Brussels and to come to Frankfurt to give me the manuscript in November.  Clear deadlines were likewise established for the delivery of Remembering 1 and, at the end of the year, for the new play.  For these works I have granted you an options advance1 of DM 20,000, as is stated in my letter of August 2, 1972.  You have acknowledged both the receipt of my letter and the fact that our conversation and our time together in Salzburg was very enjoyable.
After my rather lengthy period as an invalid, I found mountains of acutely important responsibilities waiting for me.  Then came the book fair.  I knew that you were unreachable; I had no Brussels address; I simply awaited your arrival and wrote to you at Ohlsdorf about it once again on October 9.
But instead of you came your letter, which is full of untenable accusations.
Some time ago in Salzburg and Ohlsdorf, we had some genuinely thoughtful arguments that led to a resolution that Correction would be published in the spring and Remembering 1 in September.  For 1973 we envisaged the publication of the new play and, once again in September, Remembering 2.  Then, in the first or second half of 1974, we were supposed to compile a selection of your work, edited by me.  If you could take a look at my calendar of planned projects you would see that this Bernhard Reader is a firm entry in it.  I regard these plans as reasonable, proper, and, above all, optimal from the point of view of efficiency.  With your new decision not to allow Correction to be published in the spring of 1973, you are not only throwing all these well thought-out plans into chaos but also diminishing the impact of your work.
My experience has taught me that it is better for a new Bernhard novel, a work whose significance I take for granted as a matter of course, to appear in the spring rather than in the fall.  In the fall all the book-dealers, and unfortunately all the critics as well, are too strongly oriented to the purely commercial objectives of the book market.  An important literary book will be noticed much more intensely by both the book-dealers and the critics in the first half of the year than in the second, when the glut of newly published titles basically precludes such attention.  For important and fast-selling titles we have in place a full-fledged strategy of releasing them in the spring and then in the fall allowing them to claim their due as books that are already well-known and much-talked about.  Let me remind you of the examples of Bachmann’s Malina, and, in  the present year, Max Frisch’s Diary, Handke’s Short Letter / Long Farewell and Martin Walser’s Gallistial Illness.  All of these books appeared in the spring and for that very reason enjoyed their greatest sales in the fall, and if you study the firm’s advertisements, you will see that in, for example, the current number of Die Zeit we are promoting the books from the first half rather than the fall of 1972.  For me it is quite clear: your book will achieve a greater impact if we issue it in the spring.  If you decide differently, that is your affair.  I must say this to you quite bluntly.
I need comment only briefly on your other points.  I would not care to publish a documentary record of the incidents at the Salzburg regional theater; the subjective characteristics of this incident do not lend themselves to clearly objective treatment.
You wished to speak with Dr. Rach and me about the new play during your visit to Frankfurt at the beginning of November. I assume that this conversation can now take place with Dr. Rach.
I spoke briefly with Hilde Spiel at the award ceremony for Canetti at the book fair.  She communicated to me the idea of your receiving the Austrian prize, and I told her I would speak with you about it when I next saw you, at the beginning of November.
I am sorry that we did not inform you of the inclusion of Boris in Spectaculum; that was an error, although I had to assume you could only be highly pleased at such an inclusion (obviously with an accurate text).  And so we will incorporate the Ignoramus into the issue after next of Spectaculum, that is to say in No. 19, the fall 1973 issue.
I have already written to you about the compilation volume.  I would propose our issuing it either in the first or the second half of 1974, as we agreed we would way back when.  I would be happy to give you an overview of the state of your accounts, especially as from it you will be able to get a sense of the firm’s commitment to the author Thomas Bernhard.  The statement corresponds point by point with my letter of August 2, 1972.
I would be pleased if we could stick to the deadlines we agreed upon for the delivery of your manuscripts.  Once again: for Correction spring is the best deadline.  But in order to make this possible, Dr. Rach must bring the manuscript back with him.  If he does not do this, then it will no longer be possible or permissible to to prepare the manuscript for publication in the first half of 1973, because we must now finalize the announcement and establish the main points of the schedule.  If you hand the manuscript of Correction over to Dr. Rach, you may be certain that we will champion this book both passionately and vehemently.  What is more, I am obsessed with the idea of introducing this book to a larger circle of buyers and readers.  But I need the optimal conditions for doing this, which means a launch in the spring and the manuscript now and directly.
I am counting on your personal good sense and remain with sincere regards
your old friend,
Siegfried Unseld                               
Enclosure: statement of accounts from 10.24.72
THOMAS BERNHARD
Remittances Credits Total
OLD WORKS Account
Amras, Frost, Verstörung,
Boris, Watten, Prose,
Ungenach, Lime Works,
Midland
Balance after credit
note from 11,000 copies
of st edition of Frost 195.44
Loan 9.2.1971 15,000.00____________                               
Balance 14,804.56 14,804.56
II. IGNORAMUS account
a) Salzburg
our remittances
on account 20,000.00
Royalty billing 6/72 7,500.00
Royalty billing 9/72 15,000.00
Balance 2,500.00 remitted on
                                                                                                                       10.23.72
b) TV and theater
Loan 1.9.1971 20,000.00
Royalty billing 9/72 3,936.26
ORF & TV
Balance 16,063.74 16,063.74
III. ADVANCES AND OPTIONS
REMITTANCES FOR FUTURE
PUBLICATIONS
Remittance 8.16.1972 for
BS Ignoramus, BS Remem-
bering, the novel Correction,
es Atzbach, New Play ______________20,000.00 20,000.00
IV. NEW WORKS account
Walking
Balance 15,919.67
(plus ongoing monthly
remittances through
8.31.73/11 x 1,000.00) (11,000.00)________________15,919.67
     DM 66,787.97
10.24.1972
dr. u. / ze.--
Bernhard underlined “an options advance” and wrote a question mark in the margin of the letter.
Letter No. 215
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
November 3, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
You have not replied to my letter of October 27, which I sent to you via Dr. Rach.  I must therefore assume that the written account of his encounter with you given to me by Dr. Rach is to serve as this reply.1  The two of us would have had much to discuss, but in this letter I am going to restrict myself to presenting you with a summary of the financial situation.  There is one issue that I must deal with at the outset: you declared to Dr. Rach that you while you had indeed read my letter of August 2, you had not completely understood it.  Despite this, I am going to refresh your memory:
During my most recent visit to Salzburg on July 29-30, you requested an additional remittance of DM 20,000.00.  I assured you that I would think about it and give you my answer promptly.  This I did in my letter of August 2; in that letter I gave you a summary of your financial situation and tendered you a proposal on whose acceptance I made contingent the issuing of the
DM 20,000.00.
You explicitly acknowledged the receipt of my letter of August 2, conceived of my visit as a pleasant event, and regarding the treatment of the DM 20,0000 as advances and options for future publications, you wrote that you “naturally would accept the whole thing.”  On the basis of this acceptance I then remitted to you the sum of DM 20,000.   
I have done this by way of clarifying the current course of events.
You just now argued to Dr. Rach that the proceeds from your play The Ignoramus and the Madman had not changed your financial situation.  And indeed the basic situation could not have changed in so short a time, because we had already issued you two payments of DM 20,000 each, in other words DM 40,000, at your urgent desire, with a view to proceeds from this play.  I am convinced that this play will bring in more than DM 40,000, but that will take time.  But so far the situation cannot have changed, owing to those two advances.
If Dr. Rach understood you correctly, you were interested in having all remittances apart from the monthly ones offset by your television account for The Ignoramus and the Madman.  In concrete terms what that means is that you are interested in having
DM 50,000 offset by the television proceeds of that one play.  This is not a possibility for the firm.
I have given some thought to your situation; as you of course know I am hardly indifferent to it.  Accordingly I am going to tender you two proposals that I have come up with myself, and I must ask you to consider them coolly.
1st Proposal:  Please read through the financial overview of October 24 once  again.  I am  enclosing it again now.  My first proposal amounts to a proposal to consolidate Accounts I and II, i.e., I am prepared to transfer the 2.9.1971 loan of DM 15,000.00 to the Ignoramus and the Madman account.  We would then pay off the loan exclusively by means of this play.  Should the revenues not attain DM 55,000.00 we would be liable for the shortfall.  Should the revenues exceed DM 55,000.00, they would again be applicable as credits, and specifically to Account IV.
This solution entails no changes to Accounts III or IV.
2nd Proposal: I know your predilection for generous, quote-secured, long-term  solutions.  Whence this proposal: that we should set up a five-year contract effective beginning on January 1, 1973 and consisting of the following terms:
As stated in the 10.24 overview, your account is now encumbered with a debt of ca. DM 66,000.00.
Beginning on January 1, 1973, we shall remit to you DM 1,400.00 (fourteen-hundred) per month.  By 12.31.1977 these remittances will amount to DM 84,000.00.  By then the firm will have remitted DM 150,000.00 to you. 
At some point in 1973 or ’74 that is convenient for you you will augment our hitherto established publication and performance rights by giving us three new manuscripts:
The novel Correction.
Your new stage play.
The volume Remembering 2 [sic (DR)1a] for the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.
You will be transferring to us all rights pertaining to these manuscripts, meaning not only publication but also performance, radio, film, and television rights.
The sum of DM 150,000.00 is to be offset by all revenues we receive  from your previously published works and from the three new manuscripts.
4) During the five-year contractual period we will not be billing each other; the billing statements will be compiled only internally by the firm’s accounting department in conformity with the paragraphs pertaining to honoraria in the contracts.  On December 31, 1977 we will draw a line under this collection of accounts and begin anew on January 1, 1978, regardless of what the internally generated statements look like.
5) You are to pledge to request no additional remittances from the firm during this period, with the following exceptions: during this five-year period you will--as I hope, and as this is the point of this agreement--write additional works.  You are to offer the manuscripts and rights that emerge during this period to Suhrkamp Publications.  We will then jointly agree upon sensible advances for these works (advances that will also subsequently be applied to the monthly remittances).  If you fail to fulfill your pledge, this will constitute an abrogation of the contract on your part.  Then the monthly remittances will immediately cease.  You will subsequently receive honoraria only once the total balance has been paid off with the proceeds from honoraria or royalties.
I sincerely would like you to think through this offer precisely.  The offer notably releases you from the fear of any further accumulation of debt.  The remittances that we will issue you will not be advances but guarantees.  It will now be our affair whether by means of the works that already belong to us we manage to amortize the DM 150,000.00 in honoraria by 12.31.1977; in any case we must (and will) make an especially strenuous effort to do so.  On the other hand, you now know your total income in advance, so you can ponder the adequacy of this guarantee to your needs.  My proposal is centered on the five years’ proceeds from your already-extant works, a class within which I have judiciously included the novel, the new play, and Remembering 1 on the understanding that you have effectively already finished them.  The point of this agreement is to provide you with a material basis for your continuing activity as a writer by means of  augmented (and I am sure you noticed the augmentation) monthly remittances, to disburden us of these decidedly disagreeable questions, and to safeguard the productivity of our conversation.
This is a one-time offer that I am tendering you.  You will understand this.  You will also understand the motives of this offer: the considerable regard that the firm owes you as its significant author, and my personal esteem for you.
I am ready to make this commitment.  Are you?  I await your reply.2
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld           

In his Travel Journal Ohlsdorf, October 28 and 29, 1972, which is an account of his meeting with Bernhard in Ohlsdorf, Rudlf Rach wrote: “Thomas Bernhard’s reception of me was thoroughly cordial.  He made tea, and we began our discussion.
The first thing I did was deliver Mr. [sic (DR)] Unseld’s letter (Letter No. 214) to him.  He indignantly declared that the letter was not a reply to his own letter.  He reacted completely emotionally, and was some time before it was possible to address the individual points of the letter directly.  Even then we did not manage to have a discussion along rational lines.  His huffiness overshadowed everything and made it possible to address only two of the points really concretely.
Correction will not be able to be published next spring.  He believes that either next fall or the spring of the following year is the best place for the manuscript.  But all this was something of a side issue for him.  He devoted especially emphatic attention to the finance report.  He was genuinely flustered by the figures.  Only with great difficulty was it possible to explain the individual items to him.  But even this did not ultimately prevent him from concluding that the figures were inaccurate; they could not add up, he said, because before Salzburg [the contract for the premiere of The Ignoramus and the Madman] his debt level was approximately the same as now.  So something fishy was going on.  He had, he said, unequivocally declared to Dr. Unseld and Ms. Ritzerfeld that the videotaping of the Salzburg production was to take place only on condition that the debt from all advances to date, with the exception of the monthly remittances, would be paid off by the revenues from the recording.  I tried to make it unequivocally clear to him what an impossible scheme that would have been.  It was not only, I said, that the recording would have been left hanging by a silken thread.  The ORF, I said, would have found the approximately DM 50,000.00 completely unacceptable, and they certainly would have dropped the project had Bernhard or the firm pressured them to accept it.  To this argument Bernhard had nothing to say but that it would have made no difference to him if they had dropped it; he said he was not in the habit of selling himself short, and in any case he could have always embarked on some other money-making project.  In saying this he forgot that in such a case the debt from advances would rise to to an even higher sum.
But every attempt at a sensible discussion ended in evasive shuffling on his side.  Even my report on the plans for performances of his plays was met with anything but joy, although he had every reason to be pleased with it.  In the upcoming season no fewer than nine theaters would be putting on his two plays.  That was of no interest to him, he said, because the only thing he cared about was getting a single good performance.  Of what interest were Essen and Krefeld to him; he said that this was all basically superfluous.  I asked him if he really only wrote for himself.  And astonishingly enough he answered yes.  Coolly, but in apparent oblivion of the inconsistencies in his conduct.  Residenz Publications also came into play.  Why, he wanted to know, was it possible to sell 5,000 copies of The Italian [see Note 1 to Letter No. 157] there, while our sales figures lagged far behind that?  He said that the firm looked to him like a kind of co-op, and that he had no interest in joining its membership rolls.  In plain terms: he is expecting special treatment.
Eventually we broke off the discussion and spent the evening with friends.
We had another appointment for the next morning.  There were three points that he brought up once again.  Correction will not under any circumstances be published next spring.  Secondly, he is asking us to pay off the debt from all advances paid to him to date--apart from the monthly remittances--with income from videotaping of The Ignoramus and the Madman for television.  If we do not grant him this request, Suhrkamp will cease to receive manuscripts from him.
In the third place we agreed that he would undertake nothing on his own on behalf of the new play.  It is firmly settled that he will send us the manuscript as soon as he is finished with it.  He thinks that will be around the beginning of January.  He has already made the initial approaches towards securing Peymann for another production.  Karl-Ernst Herrmann and Moidele Bickel are also evidently willing to work for him again.
Before my departure I once again asked him about the manuscript for Atzbach. He does not believe it can be brought to completion.  We must therefore now accept the abortiveness of this text as a permanent certainty.
At around midday we parted.  As he had observed that his requests had not been ineffectual, he tried to lighten the atmosphere.  So something like optimism made an appearance.
We must make him an offer.”

1a. The 2 should be a 1, as it is when Unseld mentions the memoir-volume later, after the conclusion of the proposals.  (DR)
2. Evidently as part of the preparations for a reply, Bernhard made a number of notes on the first two pages of this three-page letter:
At the top of Page 1:
“Documentary record --
                                             --Touch on and cap off
TV screw-up--
I must say I would have kept out of it more (this has to be left open to me; hence no 5-year obligation)
now I was banking on a balanced account
Theater negotiations only with me.  Ancillary rights too skimpy, dissipation that I cannot accept
Man traps lurking in blather about options in letters
There must be no haggling!
VOLTAIRE!!!”
At the bottom of Page 1:
“Account covered, therefore new debt justifiable.”
On Page 2:
All accounts together in 1. Old works--from now on
new: Correction / Play / Remembering & encumbered with 40,000,00
but to me to a high degree
Old works account covered, as you yourself say!  So new works open.
Film Frost free then with 20,000.00
the 1,000.00 (I could make do with it.
don’t obligate for so long a time, which hamstrings, so only 2 years.
within which
Correction--
Play--
Remembering 1 --
--for these 40,000 in compensation
obviously Suhrkamp is to provide everything!



Unseld's November 3, 1972 letter to Bernhard with Bernhard's handwritten comments
Letter No. 216
       Ohlsdorf
11.6.72
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I acknowledge receipt of your letter of November 3.
As I have already told Dr. Rach, I need a “fully detailed” account statement of honoraria for the year 1971; I cannot accept those communicated to me first by Rach and then by you.
Please send me such a statement in all its detail, a statement that includes everything, the complete collection of “items,” such as theatrical performance options, reprintings, radio broadcasts, the translation rights for Gallimard, Sweden, etcetera.  Your “statement” contains none of these details.
Without such a meticulous account statement I cannot make any decision whatsoever regarding our further collaboration.  Only after receiving such a meticulous breakdown of everything, even down to the most insignificant points, can I accept your proposals.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 217
Ohlsdorf
11.7.72
Dear Dr. Unseld,
In yesterday’s letter I was obviously asking for a meticulous statement of my accounts not only for 1971, but also for the entirety of 19711, all the way through to the present.
In addition I am requesting the precise contractual conditions under which you finalized your agreement with ORF Television regarding The Ignoramus and the Madman, as well as copies of the complete correspondence between the firm and ORF on this point.
Sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
Bernhard doubtlessly means 1972.
Letter No. 218
Frankfurt am Main
November 16, 1972
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
I acknowledge receipt of your letter of 11.7.  Ms. Roser will give you the account statements; the terms of the contract with ORF were defined by Universal Edition; you of course know in what a hurry the latter had to happen.  Incidentally, next year we will end our partnership with Universal Edition and thenceforth look after our rights in Austria ourselves. 
It is too bad that I couldn’t meet with you in Salzburg on Tuesday.  That of course would have been a great opportunity for discussing a few things.
Yours
with warm regards
(Typed from dictation by Renate Steinsiek after Dr. Unseld’s departure for the PEN conference.)
Letter No. 219
Ohlsdorf
11.22.72
FIRST LETTER
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Last Tuesday it was impossible for me to go to Salzburg and to meet with you; such an encounter is long overdue for all sorts of reasons, and I desire nothing more at the moment than to pace to and fro with you and to clarify unclear thoughts, to disentangle entanglements, and frankly, honestly, and thoughtfully to reestablish for the long term the self-evidence and necessity of our collaborative joint future.
Unease and doubt and the startlingly sudden apparent deterioration of a relationship can do no harm, provided that they facilitate the germination of more seasonable thoughts and the laying of new tracks.  And I do indeed think that we have reached a point at which a radical cut must be made between the past and the present.  It is time for a multitude of trifling details that blur the integrity of the basic concept to be cleared away; pettiness, ridiculousness, deserves no respect from anyone.
The basic route is as plain as day, consisting as it must in my ceasing to allow past vexations, and perhaps also past disappointments (on both sides),  to irritate me, and I think you think the same and I believe that the stops at the minor and minuscule stations should be stricken from the timetable, so that our train, even if it doesn’t chug along towards its destination at a mindlessly breakneck speed, still reaches it with the appropriate and greatest possible degree of safety.  I write this in full consciousness of the fact that there is absolutely no such thing as a reachable destination.
In this letter I am not going to go into the single noteworthy problem that exists between us, the financial problem; the financial problem is the contents of the second letter, which is attached to this first letter; these lines must, I insist, have no connection to the financial problem.  And yet it is necessary for the subject of finances to be decisively settled for another two-year term, and I hope this can be done before the end of this year.
Vis-à-vis all the issues, we must not forget that they are in the final analysis absolutely no cause for any fundamental shake-ups.
In the second letter, after what I believe to be mature deliberation, and no longer under the burdensome auspices of the legalistic formula “to the best of my knowledge and belief,” I tender to you my Proposal No. 3, which should be acceptable to both of us; this after having failed to reconcile myself to the your first and second proposals of November 3, for these proposals have in point of fact been tendered if not out of malicious motives--as they obviously have not been--then out of a lack of knowledge of my person.  It should be clear that I am a staunch opponent of rentierism and serfdom.  You know me all too well as a pugnacious individualist.  My personal freedom must remain sacrosanct, and any agreement I am subject to can only be one that furthers my existence and hence my work and not one that constrains my existence and indeed hamstrings it.  This is clear.
I am reading a lot of Voltaire these days.
Allow me--because the event, unlike most others, meaning ninety-nine percent of them, is too significant to ignore--to congratulate you on the results of this past weekend’s election in Germany.  It feels to me as though this country that is so important for all of us--but that, as we know, is in the end unfortunately catastrophically pernicious to the entire European order centered on it--has been reborn over the weekend.  The nativity of this new country of yours cheers me up; it makes me happy!1
Please now direct the whole of your attention to the second letter and comment on my proposal as soon as you possibly can.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
The November 19, 1972 parliamentary election ended with a victory for the Social Democratic Party under Chancellor Willy Brandt; this was the first time the SDP became the largest faction in the Bundestag.

Letter No. 220
Ohlsdorf
11.22.72
SECOND LETTER
My dear esteemed Dr. Unseld,
As is attested by the excerpts from your accounting ledger that I received yesterday from Ms. Roser, there can be absolutely no doubt that I have been a far better advocate for my works vis-à-vis the so-called cultural concerns, meaning above all the broadcasting institutions and the theater, than the firm, which, in virtue of its great size is less capable of showing consideration for individual authors in its dealings with these colossal cultural organizations, and, as instanced by my case, as must be frankly expressed, has been doing these authors more harm than good--at least since a certain moment in time.  I personally cannot tolerate such a state of affairs, and I also quite fail to see why out of mere self-neglect, given that I naturally cannot be indifferent to such transactions, I should blithely renounce the considerable sums of money due to me from them.  You yourself can understand this better than anyone else.  The excerpts from the ledger prove that the considerable sums of money received are an expression of my personal initiative; this proof is established by two pieces of evidence: the first centers on my play Boris, for which without the slightest difficulty I determined and attained the honorarium that the ORF was obliged to pay and that the firm then regarded as a utopian sum; the second on The Ignoramus and the Madman (a title not unpregnant with meaning in the context of this letter), for which in Salzburg I single-handedly conducted the negotiations and brokered my honorarium.  I must say I did so without the slightest resistance and attained a sum that the firm had again regarded as doubly utopian.  Quite apart from the great success and the high quality of the performance, which were in the final analysis largely attributable to my judicious casting recommendations, if I had been dealing with the ORF in person, I would certainly have received at least an additional thirty thousand marks--indeed, probably, as I know for a fact, forty-thousand for the videotaping rights, had I been apprised by the firm of the difficulties it was having with the ORF negotiators.  I would have had an entirely different set of them, the top-ranking ones (or one).  And so I would have managed to receive a forfeiture fee of at least thirty thousand.  This fact is all the more dolorous for me in that, as I expressly told the firm, as you will recall, I was working with that very sum in the calculation of my personal finances.  And thanks to this lapse of attention on the firm’s part I have been brought as of this moment--after having been and continued to be marooned amid a series of financial hassles here--to a desperate pass.  Among other things my neighbor has been blackmailing me with the threat of building (on legally defensible grounds) a pig-fattening plant on my doorstep; the costs associated with resisting this threat amount to as much as 200,000 schillings; the ever-so-hypocritical environmental protection laws afford me no protection against it; repayment on a bond I took out long ago has fallen due, etcetera...I will spare you the details.  But all these things, unpleasant though they are, would have been cleared out of the way long ago if my conception of everything, which would have taken no skin off anybody’s nose, had been the governing one. 
Your yourself know full well that via my corpus of prose works, which now as ever I regard as the most important of my works, and with which I have been busying myself year-in, year-out, I have never once attained a level of income as high as that of my neighbor, who works as a laborer in the gravel pit, a circumstance that I have resigned myself to; but the fact that vis-à-vis these colossal enterprises, these governmental institutions for stultification, which in their very structure are nothing but monumental exploitative enterprises of imbecility, gigantic bulwarks of tastelessness that throw billions out the window every year for the sole purpose of hoodwinking the people of Europe and of the rest of the world, the fact that in relation to these mendacious cultural breast tumor-like enterprises, in other words the broadcasters and the theaters, I am immured in a kind of deplorable, perverse authorial impotence that cannot by any means be either justified or excused, is a fact that I cannot tolerate any longer; I find this unbearable and I am naturally not about to resign myself to it.  Before I give so much as a single schilling to a single theater or to a single broadcasting network, to any of these mondiale and monumental cultural lawbreakers between Stavanger and Brindisi, I will give a hundred free readings as the most abominable sort of face-pulling clown, in other words as a so-called freelance writer, in every possible house of correction, insane asylum, nursing home, and kindergarten, and find my bliss that way.  That would reset the whole thing onto an even footing.  I am revolted by the fact that the Hamburg playhouse reportedly has netted a total of DM 1,341.01 (note the point-zero one) from the premiere of my Boris; this fact is a piece of baseness behind which perfidy lurks with dagger drawn.  This list of perfidy and of the abhorrence called forth by it may be extended at will: the Zurich playhouse, Boris DM 605.97, the Graz playhouse DM 570.34 etcetera.  Not to mention the ancillary rights in prose, which seamlessly fit into this character sketch of the cultural world.  Not that I have anything to do with this cultural world.  I couldn’t care less that at a hundred theaters my work is being made a hash of for a song and my ideas are being trivialized, travestied, and dragged through every last actorial and general-managerial square inch of mud in the German-speaking world; all of this simply makes me lose my temper; I am concentrating all my energies on a few outstanding ensembles, with whom I can achieve something roughly conforming to my conception, and this only when I can expect to receive an appropriate amount of money.  So much for my plays.  As for my prose works, the only thing I care about is that they should appear in accurate, typographical error-free Suhrkamp Publications editions that make me happy; it makes no difference to me if some unbearable squawking is squeezed out of them and the broadcasters for DM 22.87 or if the newspapers reprint them for their asinine readers for DM 13.74.  As far as I am concerned, my name cannot appear in the newspapers or on radio and television seldom enough.  When I hear my name emanating from a radio, I picture myself lying in a pile of mud; when I read my name in a newspaper, I feel as though I am in a cesspit.
Back to the extracts from the accounting ledger, for which I am sincerely grateful to Ms. Roser.  They have been correctly adduced, to my great admiration.  But I would never dare to show these accounting figures to any of the people in my neighborhood, who are all completely “normal,” all endowed with so-called natural sensibilities and with commendable competencies in their vocations; all these people would think I was insane.  And I myself am burying my face in my hands and with this this manual face burial I am rounding out this preface to Proposal No. 3, which I am about to submit to you here and which I shall attempt to indite with the greatest possible brevity, without digressing; this proposal regarding all past and future collaboration reads as follows:
That all the various hitherto-existing accounts should be consolidated into a single account named OLD WORKS, so that it will be clear that I, for whatever reasons (and from now on these reasons will never be spoken of again) have accumulated an effective debt level of DM 66, 787.97 to the firm.  This debt level will be reduced via payments from the newly established self-contained OLD WORKS account.  This provision would be secured above all by all future revenues from The Ignoramus and the Madman.
That all existing contracts associated with all works hitherto published by the firm, including The Ignoramus and the Madman, should be in full effect until the cutoff date of 1.1.1973.
That effective 1.1.1973 a new account named NEW WORKS should be established.  The first three texts to be included in this account, and to be included in it by the end of the first half of 1973, are the following ones, which I will have already completed:
Correction (a novel)
Remembering, Vol. 1
The third play
Regarding the two prose works, the firm is to have the right to issue them in unlimited print runs.  All ancillary rights are to remain in my possession.  Notwithstanding this, in the event that any revenue is generated by these ancillary rights, the firm is to receive a 25-percent share of it.
Regarding the play, I intend, in concert with the firm, to choose the site of the first performance and to fix my honorarium at whatever figure I deem adequate.  Here, too, all ancillary rights are to remain in my possession; and notwithstanding this, in the event that any revenue is generated by these ancillary rights, the firm is to receive a 25-percent share of it.  The prospective venues of all performances of my play subsequent to its premiere are to be selected by me in concert with the firm.  The firm is to be allowed to issue the play as a book in unlimited print runs.
4. That from 1.1.73 onwards the payments of DM 1,000 remitted to me each month by the firm should be restricted to a period of two years and offset by sums drawn from the NEW WORKS account.
5. That by January 15, 1973 the firm should issue a one-time advance payment of DM 40,000, to be posted to the debit column of the NEW WORKS account.
6. That the honorarium of DM 20,000 that I have negotiated with ORF for the film adaptation of Frost should be remitted to me in consequence of my signing a contract directly with the ORF.  (I gave my consent to the adaptation yesterday.)
I very much hope you accept my proposal; it is both fairer and more quantitatively lucrative to both parties than any arrangement we have worked with so far.
Yours
with every confidence in you
Thomas Bernhard
Letter No. 221
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
December 5, 1972
reply to 11.22 letter being posted today
regards siegfried unseld
Letter No. 222
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
December 5, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I thank you for your two letters dated November 22.  As was fitting, I let them sit for a few days so as to allow myself time to think through my reply exhaustively.  We both know what is now at stake.
I shan’t now dwell any further on the background of our deliberations; as you write, we should not devote any great amount of attention to “pettiness and ridiculousness.”  Let us quickly come to the financial problem.
But I have two remarks to make before that:
It has never been my design to subject you to a condition of “rentierism and serfdom.”  If you consider my proposal precisely, you will see that it frees you of all concrete bookkeeping calculations; the firm would bear the greater share of the risk, but on the whole this proposal apportions that risk on a scale of sympathy and fairness.  I am of the opinion that it is still the best of all possible proposals, and you yourself may come to see that it is someday.
You execute your work; you do so this to the extent that you have the means to do so.  Nothing else that comes from the firm matters; nothing that comes from my own personal work or from the work of my associates.  In an extreme case, an Austrian media institution may concede more to an Austrian author than to a publishing firm.  In the long run it is the effectiveness of the publishing firm’s work that makes the overall difference.  But we must be free to showcase you; that is our very raison d’être.  There are thus certain “essentials” that we cannot forgo,  regardless of the consequences.
But now to my response to your proposals.  To the sum of 66,787.97 you wish to add three monthly (October / November / December) remittances; in that case we are dealing with a sum of ca. DM 70,000.00.  We should use this figure as our starting point.
I am content with the idea of our consolidating Accounts I, II, and III into an “Old Works” account.  This account would retain a sum of DM 50,000.00, which would be the sum of DM 70,000.00 minus the option advance of DM 70,000.00, which we listed under Point III.
The amortization will take place in the usual way; i.e., all revenues from all works up to and including The Ignoramus and the Madman and Walking will be subtracted from this sum.
On the cutoff date of 1.1.1973 we will set up a new account called “New Works.”  The options payment of DM 20,000.00 will be drawn from this account.
We will continue to issue you monthly remittances of DM 1,000 for a period of approximately two years.
After the delivery of the novel the firm will issue you a one-time advance of
DM 20,000, which will be posted to the “New Works” account.
On 12.31.1974 this “New Works” account will (if we initially disregard the honoraria revenues for concision’s sake) be encumbered with the following sums:
Options payment DM 20,000.00                                 20,000.00
Payment upon delivery of Correction
DM 20,000.00                                                 20,000.00
c.  Running remittances for 2 years
DM 24,000.00                                                 24,000.00
Total DM         64,000.00
This still has yet to be augmented by the payment that we have promised you  according to Point 6 (on the Salzburg model that would mean that you would have to be paid 75% of DM 30,000.00, hence DM 20,0000.00.  In this case the account balance would rise to a total of DM 86,500.00)
My dear Thomas Bernhard, this is a rather incomparable total.  But you will understand that on account of it the firm must have the revenues from the ancillary rights so that the figure can be reduced in reality, even if the sums in question are quite small.
item
item
item
items
 Immediately after receipt of the ORF honorarium for the filming of Frost we will remit you your share in the amount of DM 20,000.00.
In the event that you--or the firm--manage to negotiate a higher-than-average honorarium for the new play, the firm is prepared immediately to pay you your share directly and not to post the sum to the “New Works” account.
At some point in 1973 you will deliver to us the manuscripts of Correction, Remembering, and the third play.
We will assume central and  ancillary rights to the two prose works, but we are prepared to take heed of your directives regarding ancillary rights; i.e., we could e.g. block all pre-printings and re-printings, but we would have to come to a clear solution to this.  If for no other reason than that if we didn’t you would be deluged with letters of inquiry and the whole thing would take on ludicrous dimensions.
Regarding the new play, being mindful of your remonstrations, we shall accept the following conditions:
You--in concert with the firm--will determine the respective locations of premieres and first performances, casts, and honoraria, in the Federal Republic, Switzerland, and Austria.  The contract in each case will be finalized by us.  All further negotiations must be conducted by the theatrical publications division; the division’s overall work structure does not permit any alternative.
It is self-evident that deals for film and television can be concluded only with your consent.
Please think these proposals over on your end; their material implications are apparent enough.  My obligation to post the options advance of DM 20,000 to the “New Works” account accords with the gentlemen’s agreement to which we have unstintingly adhered so far; the same is true of this options payment’s conferral on us of de jure publication rights to the new novel, Remembering, and the third play, and I am of the opinion that this fact should also be noted in our internal accounting records.
And please also bear in mind that it is essential to the entirety of your work for there to be a place that is maintaining this oeuvre; anything else would ultimately prove detrimental to your work.  And I am also of the opinion that it is your business to write your works and to worry about their initial because essential placement, but that their subsequent maintenance as well as the maintenance of your security and reputation should be our business.  And please also bear in mind that beyond the material revenues it may be important if a reader, a person in Graz, Zurich, or Hamburg, is affected by a word written by you, and that out of such moments is formed the layer of humus from which the effect of Thomas Bernhard’s work will grow over the long run.
Yours
with warm regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]
Letter No. 223
Ohlsdorf
12.15.72
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Your letter of December 5 is a very good foundation for the path ahead that your firm and I intend to pursue together; this intention is something that I wish to emphasize with the utmost distinctness, and I really do think of this letter as a veritable compact that we have already sealed and that will be effective from 1.1.73 onwards; in all future matters of doubt, this letter will be called to mind, and once it has been I believe there will be no difficulties.  And so from now on all fine points are to be formulated in a way that gibes with the substance of this letter.  There is literally not a single line that needs to be stricken through on my end.
Now the only thing left for me to do is offload the goods, disburden myself of the manuscripts.  This is how that is looking to me as of now: in the middle of January you will be receiving the play; in mid-March the novel, as well as Remembering at some point in the spring.  As you know, I have always found it a good idea, a necessity, to hold on to a manuscript until I can relinquish it without feeling any unbearable pangs of anxiety or panic (you read aright!).  I have long since firmly settled on the title of the play; it is going to be called The Hunting Party; our (and not only our) age, our epoch, etcetera, is nothing but a single hunting party.  But you will learn all about its subject-matter in detail from the manuscript.  Right now I have yet another request: that the play should again be issued in the BS; you know I love this series of books, for all sorts of understandable, glorious reasons.  And as I imagine the play will be performed in the winter of ’73-’74 (exactly where is something I now intend to investigate), it should be issued at around that time.  This because you must of course keep your famous and ever up-to-date paperback schedule topped off in a sufficiently timely manner.  Please unfold your most important sheet of paper and in the most auspicious spot thereof write The Hunting Party, to which, not without a certain degree of revulsion (in the aftermath of that financial discourse), you may append my name.
The play features a writer who already, at the very outset, is destined to be played by Bruno Ganz; this idea is my starting point and all my future effort will be vectored from it.
I shall be meeting Ganz in Vienna in mid-January.
I really don’t want to write a letter of any great length because I really do believe we will be meeting and talking things over soon enough.  The question of when, which I have already posed, you have yet to answer.  Perhaps you could fly to Salzburg and back for a couple of hours at some point.
I am now becalmed and feeling not unfortunate to be yours
sincerely,
Thomas B.
Letter No. 224
Frankfurt am Main
December 21, 1972
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Your letter of 12.15 is a thing of enormous importance.  We agree in a way that reciprocally reinforces our positions.  Mrs. Ninon Hess once told me that in money matters friends should behave towards each other as if they were enemies.  We will abide by my letter of December 5 and by your reply of 12.15.  I am of the opinion that if we do this there will be no further misunderstandings, and if there are any we will argue them out like grown men.
I have taken note of your deadlines for the new manuscripts.  The Hunting Party (a splendid title!) will be issued in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp, and specifically on the date of its first performance.  Presumably we will learn this date in the first quarter of 1973, and then we can schedule the publication.  For Remembering, which is of course a Remembering 1, there is already a firm place in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.
I have a proposal to make to you when we see each other.  I, too, attach much importance to our speaking with each other soon.
For now I heartily wish successful completion to your works.  In addition please accept my best wishes to you!
Yours
with sincere
and season’s greetings,
Siegfried Unseld 
1973
Letter No. 225
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February1 19,  1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
My first letter of the New Year to you must be a heartfelt salutation!
I would like to express the hope that we will be able (after we have climbed through the financial mountain range) smoothly and successfully to implement the plans that we have taken in hand for this year.  In the last few days of the year and the first weeks of January, I was preoccupied with the problems occasioned by the death of Günter Eich.  I was also briefly in Großgmain, but I did not wish to notify you because my journey was too abrupt and you and I would not have been able to set a reasonable date for the meeting in advance.  And I also would much prefer not just to pay you a fly-by visit, but rather at some point to make a trip that is really dedicated to and centered on you.  We are going to hold a memorial ceremony for Eich here in Frankfurt.  The authors who are to join Ilse Aichinger in reading from Eich’s works have already been selected.  If the site of the readings had been “more southerly” we would have nagged you to participate, but Frankfurt seemed to us to be too far from you.2  Besides, I am hoping there is still a chance I can lure you to Frankfurt in connection with another event: our Brecht jubilee on February 10.3
But I can well imagine that you will want to see how the Vienna Boris is received first.  What are your impressions of the preparations?4
You were planning to meet Claus Peymann in Vienna to speak with him about The Hunting Party.  Please let us know if anything concrete emerged from the meeting.  I am very much looking forward to this play, which is destined to set the keynote of the 1973-1974 theater season.5
Yours
with warm regards,
Dr. Seigfried Unseld
(Typed from dictation by Renate Steinsiek during Dr. Unseld’s absence)
“February” is an error. [Presumably it was made by the typist, Renate Steinsiek  (DR).] Bernhard underlined “February” with a wavy line and also commented, “January!” On the firm’s copy “February” was later corrected by hand to “January.”
Günter Eich died on December 20, 1972 in a hospital in Salzburg.  Unseld met with Ilse Aichinger and her son Clemens Eich at Eich’s last residence, in Großgmain.  At the memorial function In Honor of Günter Eich that took place at the large broadcasting auditorium of Hessian Radio in Frankfurt  on  February 1, 1973--which would have been Eich’s 66th birthday--there were readings by, inter alia, Peter Bichsel, Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, Peter Handke, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Walter Höllerer, Peter Huchel, and Uwe Johnson.
On February 10, 1972, the 75th anniversary of Bertolt Brecht’s birth, Suhrkamp Publications in cooperation with the Schauspiel Frankfurt hosted a Brecht evening attended by, inter alia, Lotte Lenya, Hanne Hiob, Anja Silja, Peter Roggisch, Milva, Ernst Schröber, and Gisela May.  Bernhard was not in attendance.   
The Austrian premiere of A Party for Boris took place at the Academy Theater in Vienna; see n. 2 to Letter No. 182.
In the lower-left corner of the letter is handwritten the number “060611,” composed of the then-current telephone area codes for West Germany (06) and Frankfurt am Main (0611). 
Letter No. 226
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
January 23, 1973
coming to vienna for premiere, if i can meet you in vienna on saturday or sunday, please phone1
sincerely siegfried unseld
From a January 25, 1973 memo from Burgel Zeeh to Unseld, one learns that Bernhard got in touch with her by telephone:
“He had gotten my message from the post office asking him if the telegram had reached him.  He received the telegram; he also telephoned--unfortunately at 8:00 this morning when nobody was here in the office.
The premiere has been postponed to Friday, February 2.  He will be in Vienna and it would mean a lot to him if you could also come there.
He sent us the new play, The Hunting Party, by express mail yesterday.  In Vienna he spoke with Klingenberg and Bruno Ganz, whom he would like to play the principal role in the new play.
[...] We have [...] firmly agreed that we will be telephoning him at the post office on Tuesday, January 30; i.e., he would very much like to speak with you.
He was cheerful, in good spirits, inquired after our well-being, etc. [...]
On the 3rd he is flying to Brussels and will be staying there through the end of February.  He certainly had no plans to stop by Frankfurt either on the way there or on the way back; ‘We’ll see,’ he laughed.
He asked me to give you his sincerest regards.”
  
Letter No. 227
Ohlsdorf
1.25.73
Dear Doctor Unseld,
I very much hope you will have the manuscript of the The Hunting Party tomorrow.
I was away from Ohlsdorf for a couple of days; got your telegram on my return yesterday evening.  Meanwhile you will have learned that the Vienna premiere has been postponed to February 2.
I shall be in Vienna on that day and if there is any possible way of doing so inconspicuously, I shall attend the performance.
Before the performance, in the afternoon, it would be lovely and worthwhile to spend some time with you.1
Subsequently, for the remainder of February, I shall be in Brussels.
Sincerely
Thomas B.
Important!: Please have the manuscript copied and immediately send one copy apiece to Peymann in Berlin and Klingenberg in Vienna.  I have spoken to both of them.  And also to Bruno Ganz; my desire is for him to play the writer.  Everybody has given his word not to talk about the matter.
The planned meeting did not take place.
Letter No. 228
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram-memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
January 31, 1973
Fascinated by The Hunting Party.  Such thoughts could occur only to a Thomas Bernhard.
Yours sincerely--Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 229
Brussels
2.14.73
Dear Dr. Unseld,
I must head back to Austria tomorrow; it’s too bad we didn’t see each other here.
Meanwhile it has become clear that the Hunting Party will be performed first at the Burg and then at the Schiller Theater.1
Here, in the ideal sort of house, I have managed to keep myself steadily preoccupied with Correction.2  At my own place I shall transcribe the final version of the manuscript, so that you will have it at the end of March as promised.
Probably in April I shall come back to Brussels for a longish time.  It is a hub and its mechanism fascinates me.  Upon my return to Ohlsdorf I must solve a financial problem of which you are aware.3  I am requesting that, with our so-called “contractual letter” in view, you should issue me an advance of DM 30,000 for the new play and of DM 20,000 for the manuscript of Correction, hence a total of fifty-thousand marks, a sum that is already secured by prospective revenues.  Issue it to my account at the Bavarian Mortgage and Checking Bank in Freilassing.  In the light of the urgency of the matter, please send word to Ohlsdorf as to whether I can count on receiving a payment in the next few days.
Perhaps sometime soon you’ll make good on your promise to come to Ohlsdorf so that we can chat over some Erlauer.4
Yours sincerely,
Thomas B.   
On February 10, Bernhard wrote to Rudolf Rach, “Dear Rudolf Rach, a telegram from Wendt and Dorn came; in it they say they want to be the first to stage The Hunting Party in Germany.  Please give them our consent immediately.  These gentlemen are aware that the play must be staged at the Schiller Theater, hence at the largest of the Berlin houses.  But this stipulation and the phrase ‘after the premiere in Vienna’ unconditionally must be included in the contract.  A guaranteed honorarium of at least ten thousand must also be included.  This construction, Burgtheater/Schiller Theater, makes me happy.  From Ganz (he has since read the play and can perform it) I have heard that he may be available as early as December. [...]  During our breakfast together Ganz suggested we should get Paula Wessely to play the general’s wife.  The most important thing for me is for us to put on two good performances, meaning one in Vienna and one in Berlin, the best possible performances, naturally the most important ones.  [...]  I have no interest in any additional performance!!”  The letter bears a handwritten remark: “Copy to Unseld.”  The premiere of The Hunting Party took place on May 4, 1974 at the Burgtheater in Vienna; Claus Peymann was the director, the writer was played by Joachim Bißmeier, the general’s wife by Judith Holzmeister, and the general by Werner Hinz.  The German premiere followed on May 15, 1974 at the Schiller Theater in Berlin; the director was Dieter Dorn, the writer was played by Rolf Boysen, the general’s wife by Marianne Hoppe, and the general by Bernhard Minetti. 
Bernhard was once again a guest of the Uexküll family in the Rue de la Croix.
See n. 1 to Letter No. 220.
“Erlauer Bull’s Blood” is a Hungarian red wine.
Letter No. 230
[Telegram]
Brussels
2.14.73
will be back in ohlsdorf starting tomorrow
sincerely
bernhard
Letter No. 231 
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
February 23, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I am very happy about the possibilities on offer at the theaters.  Dr. Rach will submit to you a proposal that I regard as optimal.  It will be significantly beneficial to your interests if we seal the deal with the Burgtheater immediately.  At bottom our goal should be:
1. Premiere at the Burg with an optimal cast.
2.  Second performance in Berlin; third performance preferably in Hamburg with Peymann and Ganz.
If you are satisfied with this sequence, you will achieve more in an artistic, critical, and material sense with The Hunting Party than with your earlier plays.
It has been a long time since the manuscript of Remembering last cropped up in our correspondence.  On my end the publication date is firmly set at October 1973.  That would mean we would have to have the manuscript by June 1.  Is that possible?
You write of a visit to Brussels in April.  Couldn’t you make it there as early as March 24 or 25?  I could conveniently visit you then, and Brussels would be a good conversational platform for our Bernhard compilation volume, which we will of course plan together and try to have ready by 1974.  But in the event that the late March date is not possible, a meeting in the second half of April also could be arranged.
Yours
with sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 232
Frankfurt am Main
February 23, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Rudolf Rach will see you in Munich and will also be able to speak with you about this letter.  I have our “contractual letter” before my very eyes.  You saw in it a “good foundation for the path ahead,” and I am of the opinion that we should stick to it.
This contract stipulates that in the event of the negotiation of a special honorarium we should “immediately pay” you your share (i.e., 75%) “in accordance with the provision.” I promise you that we will remit you the sum of DM 22,500 as soon as the contract with the Burg has been signed.
With Berlin we are carving out a deal that will generate DM 10,000.00.  That would mean another DM 7,500.00; I am prepared to pay you these DM 7,500.00 as soon as the contract with Berlin is letter-perfect.  Please bear in mind that this payment will very much be an out-of-pocket cost for us.  We will not receive the money from the theaters until much later.  Any earlier remittance on the part of the theaters is infeasible, but as I said, we will bear the cost out of pocket, and you will receive these sums as soon as the contracts are letter-perfect.
Regarding the DM 20,000.00 for Correction, we agreed that you would receive this sum upon our receipt of the manuscript.  We intend to stick to that arrangement.  I assure you that you will receive the DM 20,000.00 five days after our receipt of the manuscript. 
Moreover, this letter will give you sufficient security and collateral in the eyes of any bank.  I am firmly convinced that any bank would lend you DM 50,000.00 on the basis of this letter.
With friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 233
Frankfurt am Main
February 27, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I must now settle the schedule for the Bibliothek Suhrkamp from October ’73 through March ’74.  I have kept open a free space in October for Remembering.  We of course know that it should be called Remembering 1, but I think it would be appropriate to keep this to ourselves for now.  The repetition is something we prefer to make public only with the appearance of the second volume.  I ought to have a couple of lines about this text so that I can make up the announcement for it.  Would it be possible for you to give me these lines?  These can of course be paraphrases; you aren’t really committed to anything here.
The Hunting Party is being designated as Volume 376 for February 1974.  But now that this book has a volume number, we can move it forward in the schedule at any time and bring it out on the date of the premiere; of course I would not require any further documentation to do this.  You know that on the back cover of a Bibliothek Suhrkamp volume we always put a quote from the book.  In the event that you have a proposal or a preference here, please let me know of it.
Yours
with warm regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]     
Letter No. 234
Frankfurt am Main
March 16, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
On the telephone today Rudolf Rach told you that we are going to remit you the sum of DM 42,500.00 now, i.e. today.  The signature at the foot of this letter will also count as a signature to the remittance order.  The sum of DM 42,500.00 is composed of your share of the sum due to us for the Vienna premiere, which comes to DM 30,000.00 (of which your share is DM 22,000.00), and the agreed-upon advance for the novel Correction.  You know that by making these remittances we are incurring advance costs.  The Burg will be remitting us a third of the sum due to us in advance, the second third at the start of the rehearsals, and the third third on the day of the performance.  According to the strict terms of our agreement, the DM 20,000.00 for Correction is not to be remitted until the day you deliver the manuscript, but I have your word that this delivery will not be delayed and that we will receive the manuscript on schedule by the end of this month.  These remittances, my dear Thomas Bernhard, will serve to put your mind at ease and to provide you with a secure existential foundation on which you will be able to work with that heightened intensity that is peculiar to you.
Through our running monthly remittances and through these two remittances we are once again endorsing the terms of our contracts and those specifically defined modifications that we made for the sake of The Hunting Party and Correction in my letter of December 5, 1972.  In your letter of December 12 you assented to these terms and declined to strike through a single one of them.
Let me reaffirm my promise that The Hunting Party will be published in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.  We have firmly designated it Volume 376.  The publication date can be changed to match the date of the premiere.
I would be very grateful to you if you gave some attention to both of my letters in your possession and wrote back to me.
I hope that we have now clarified these objective matters satisfactorily and that it will now be possible for us to have a hassle-free, open, productive conversation oriented towards the future.
Yours
with warm regards,
[Siegfried Unseld] 
Letter No. 235
Ohlsdorf
3.21.73
Dear Dr. Unseld,
You yourself are a lover of brevity, a loather of long explanations, and so I shan’t say anything about why I waited a fairly long time to answer your letter; the fact of the delay as such is always the only explanation for everything.
The important points:
The Hunting Party will first be performed in Vienna; its first performance in Germany will be at the Schiller Theater.  After that I can only think of Hamburg, where the directorship is addlebrained, and of Munich, where it is guaranteed to be feebleminded.  Regarding any inclination to stage the play on the part of other theaters of lesser stature, which simply means actors of lesser stature, please talk to me first.  You yourself know that there is no point in having one’s children boarded in any old house, where they will pick up all sorts of bad habits. 
Regarding the financial side of the theater business, I have neither the relish nor the stupidity required for dealing with it, for “leaving on a Hamburg playhouse an imprint that will last for years (Boris)” for twelve-hundred marks, or “putting paid to years of theatrical misery” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, regarding Munich) for 500 marks.  I shall spare myself the slap in the face that is a Swiss premiere for 600 marks or a performance at the Styrian Fall Festival for 550.1  I am not the money-grubber in this situation.  The real criminals are unquestionably the (governmentally affiliated) theaters.  The level of blame ascribable to the publishers, the extent of their share in this crime, you may best ascertain yourself.
2. I have finished the novel, but at the beginning of April I am travelling to Yugoslavia for three or four weeks in continuation of what you know is a twenty-year-old tradition, and I am taking the manuscript with me.  So at the window facing a white wall with the sea at my back, I shall then still have leisure to strike through a couple of commas or to amputate an unsightly sixth finger from a philosophical proposition.  One must absolutely never sell one’s mind short. 
3. I shall also have Remembering with me then, and at the moment I am busy trying to think up a couple of sentences about them for your prospectus.  (I am thinking outwards towards all points of the compass from a point that is also the point of convergence.)  It is worth mentioning that I am quite smitten with the idea of your having Remembering published in your Bibliothek, and the same goes for the Hunting Party.  Full stop and end of point.
4. This is a much sorer point: so many books that I open prove to me how many writers have read my prose works.  I am constantly coming across my godawful grandchildren and their kinspeople, the grandchildren of my characters.  The net effect is ultimately rather horrifying.  At the moment things haven’t come to such a pass that my characters (or at any rate other characters togged out in my rags or regal crockery) lunge out at me whenever a curtain goes up.  In any case I obviously don’t ever go to the theater, so no need to worry!  I plow the furrows; other people harvest the potatoes!  But please don’t think that in these remarks on inimicality I am remarking nothing.  Full stop and end of point.
5. This is a side-point.  Beckermann sent me a copy of The Lime Works for me to proofread in preparation for the paperback edition.  This is something I simply have no time for or interest in doing, because I have no time.  I cannot undertake such a redoubtable task.  It must be carried out by an “impartial party,” somebody who is fastidious, punctilious.  (Please!)  Please give my sincerest regards to Beckermann!  Full stop and end of point.
6. This would be a ton of things to be delighted about.  But I shan’t write about them.
7. I am glad that now Correction won’t be coming out in the spring, because of course a bunch of new novels will be coming out then.  That really would be the most pointless thing imaginable.  To this point I am “pinning” the question of whether Correction will be [issued] in the following fall or in the spring of ’74.  The manuscript can weather any postponement, even a ten-year one.
8. Remember how ironic it is that we get along so well together and I get along so well on my own.
9.  I am asking you when we will next see each other, as in April I shall of course be on the Adriatic coast instead of in Brussels.  I have transformed my “longing” into its antithesis.  Point No.
10.  concerns my beloved austerity and solitude.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas B.
A Party for Boris received its Austrian premiere at the Graz Playhouse on October 15, 1971, as part of the Styrian Fall Festival.  Axel Corti was the director; the cast included Heidemarie Theobold as the good woman, Elmar Schulte as Boris, and Maria Christina Müller as Johanna.
    
Letter No. 236
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Frankfurt am Main
April 3, 1973
I am very glad that I have once again received  from you a detailed letter, one that now also addresses my questions.  So with this in mind, I thank you warmly for your letter of March 21.
Once again we are in very substantial agreement on a few points.  On the other hand we are clearly in very stark disagreement on one of the other points.  You conceive of the effect of your plays solely in terms of the size of the royalties they yield you.  That is simply wrong.  I have written to you once before that the most important thing for me is to introduce your works to individual readers and spectators.  A man or a woman who is touched by a word written by you and performed on a small stage and has his or her existence transformed by your utterance means more in the history of your work’s influence than any honorarium, which can never amount even to a few thousand marks.   But we have of course arrived at a clear agreement about this.  Vis-à-vis premieres we have of course already taken into account your remonstrations, and in connection with additional performances we must proceed as we see fit.  Moreover on one point I am in complete agreement with you: it is rather scandalous that such performances yield such wretched royalties, but the situation at the theaters is getting more and more difficult, at least in the Federal Republic; even the larger stages like the one here in Frankfurt are facing a serious reduction of their state subsidy, if not an outright abolition of it.  The only thing one can do here is to fight things out case by case; each time one must try anew to obtain the best possible dramatic realization and the largest possible honorarium.  It naturally saddens me that over the telephone the other day  you asserted to Dr. Rach that you had no intention of abiding by the agreement we made regarding the submission of Correction.  I also don’t think it says much for the equitability of our relationship that you insisted on receiving in advance the DM 20,000 sum associated with the submission of the manuscript only to assert, as you after all did the other day, that you did not plan to meet the deadline for the submission. To me this bespeaks a difficult disposition.  You will have learned from my past letters and also from my requests for an announcement-text for Remembering that we must wrap up the editorial work on our schedule. I had assumed I would have the manuscript at the end of March and then be able to write the announcement-text myself.  Now this is altogether impossible, and what is more you are hinting that you wish to postpone the submission deadline to an even later date.  I very much regret this; the commercial possibilities are much richer in the fall.  On the other hand, in the spring the critics will have more numerous and intensive opportunities to delve into the text.
I will talk with Mr. Beckermann and then The Lime Works will be perused one more time by one of our proofreaders.
I had counted on our seeing and speaking to each other in April.  That is not now going to be possible.  In May I shall again be on the road a great deal, but shouldn’t we settle on meeting in June at your lake?  In June of course the tide of vacationers hasn’t yet reached its height, and yet it is already late enough in the year for swimming.  Or would you prefer to travel to some urban setting?
Yours
with warm regards,
and above all best wishes for the Adriatic.
[Siegfried Unseld]   
  
Letter No. 237
Ohlsdorf
April 12, ’73
Dear Dr. Unseld,
On Monday at the Munich Kammerspiele I was obliged to witness the currish butchering of one of my plays, to witness the downright brutal, imbecilic murder of the work that is entitled The Ignoramus and the Madman and that figures among the most demanding plays ever written for the stage; and the firm has completely thoughtlessly allowed this very play to be produced and performed by a theatrical company that will never have the qualifications to put on an even barely acceptable performance of any of my plays, to a team of dramaturges made up of idiots, of actual provincial village idiots and an ensemble of actors who may be fit to ham up a Lehár operetta in Sankt Pölten or in Kurstadt Baden near Vienna, but who on no account should ever have been let loose on one of my plays.1  The firm “entrusted” my play to a director who has never directed a proper dramatic production in his life, even though some of the very best directors, that handful of first-class ones, have already had a very hard row to hoe in my plays and will probably think twice before tackling my work again.  The curtain went up and I instantly knew what kind of catastrophe would ensue.  This must have been, could possibly have been, how Beethoven felt when he unexpectedly found himself blundering into the premiere of his ninth or seventh symphony at the Vienna Musikverein, when the performing orchestra was an understaffed police band.  At no point whatsoever did the performance at Munich attain a professional level, and had it not been directed against that bamboozled, canine rabble of an audience I would have gone on to the stage and murdered those verminous lemurs, those megalomaniacal actors, not without first dealing a fatal slap in the face to that so-called director.  This German theater, my dear Dr. Unseld, talks as big as a colossus, and yet it hasn’t even got the brain of a gnat.  For me this performance, after which I traveled back home feeling as if I had suffered a mind-deadening stroke, had but one decisive benefit: as justifiably as is imaginable, I am insisting on an immediate cessation of the firm’s present method of dealing with my works for the theater.  And this logically entails the following: effective immediately the firm is no longer permitted to confer performance rights for any play of mine to any stage anywhere.  From this exact moment onwards there are to be no [further] negotiations whatsoever with any theater or theater people regarding my plays.  Until--if this is even still at all possible--we have established a new footing that I find tolerable, my corpus of works for the theater at Suhrkamp Publications will sit in storage.   And I would like this demand on my part to be heeded verbatim; I am making it in complete seriousness and I am peremptorily repudiating any interpretation of this demand in any other sense but the verbatim one.  My reason for making it is that I must assume on financial grounds alone that the firm has been utterly unscrupulously surrendering my work to the cannibalistic mercies of all interested theatrical concerns.  This Munich performance is a case in point.  Here the firm has relinquished my play to a beginner-cum-utter dilettante, to a wretched excuse for a theater, and to a provincial production team that is incapable of comprehending a single one of my sentences.  The firm has not troubled itself the slightest bit about my play and is entirely responsible for this catastrophe.  For me this Munich performance is a signal to put an end to this chapter that you are allowing to be written by Dr. Rach, a man who is not even slightly sympathetic to my work, who indeed cannot be sympathetic to it because he does not understand it and has no wish to understand it.  And I am not going to relinquish my works for another instant to a man like that, a man who is indifferent to my work and who has his wits about him but happens not to have the slightest intellectual or artistic affinity with my way of writing for the theater.  I could cite you literally hundreds of examples of the uninterestedness and incompetence of Dr. Rach, if to do so wouldn’t be to stretch the point and ultimately to stretch it to no purpose.  But to be brief, my work is too important a part of my entire life for me to send it, upon its completion, to some factory in which it is mimeographed and scattered to all four winds.  There will be no more of that.  This is not the first unsavory catastrophe involving my plays; I have only to think back to Zurich, to Krefeld, to the Boris in Munich.2  And this brings me to a remark, one that basically constitutes a slur as far as I am concerned, from your last letter, in which you write that vis-à-vis my plays I have been thinking of nothing but the thousands of marks and not at all about whether a person could be “affected by a word written by me.”  This is an error that can have been occasioned only by your having either not read the relevant passage in my letter carefully enough or deliberately misread it.  I wrote that theaters of lesser stature meant actors of lesser stature, and I conceive of the theater as a morass of hopeless dilettantism; this is why I bridle against allowing my plays to be performed just anywhere.  First of all I must say that I really could not care less about and am in fact disgusted at the thought of Mr. Maier or Mrs. Huber the housewife in Flensburg or in Ingolstadt or in Düsseldorf or Munich (piffling provincial towns, Dr. Unseld) being affected by one of my words, because that would of course mean that not merely nothing but even absolutely nothing about my work had been properly understood.  The intent of my works is not to affect some random person; rather, their intent is to be appreciated beyond all common measure as works of art.  And this is only possible on a first-class stage with absolutely first-class people.  To dispute this would be like trying to make butter out of potatoes.  But unfortunately the Germans have become all too avid specialists in this potatoes-into-butter business.  This is something that has to be said.
But back to the central point of the letter: Dr. Rach is not my man and the firm, as it represents itself with respect to me, is not my publisher.  But in order to be able to say this as distinctly as possible, we would have to discuss all this tête-à-tête and obviously without any smoke and mirrors.  The way things look now, my relationship with the firm is a total wreck.  This is a wreck that you have personally brought about with your constant mistrust of me, which is downright lunacy in view of the glaringly evident facts (I am talking about the financial ones), and with your resulting…what?: pettiness, of which you also have your share.  Acknowledge the truth of these words for me, for otherwise we will never get together again.  Of this pettiness I shall give only one example: even though you were certain of receiving your money from Vienna (and even though I [compute] that there will be thirty additional performances of The Hunting Party at the Schiller Theater in Berlin alone)3 you left me begging in the most literal sense at the doorstep of your house in Frankfurt for four months, even though I made no secret to you of the direness of my exposure to various coercive pressures here.4  And then when I finally was remitted this sum amid much wailing and gnashing of teeth (at bottom it is after all my money, my dear Dr. Unseld), you mixed it together yet again with the publication rights to Correction, even though my outstanding debts to you are to be covered exclusively by the dramatic works.  You are constantly setting mantraps in the undergrowth, traps that you assume I am simply blindly walking into.  But that is not the case.  My mind is sound and my sense-perceptions are the natural ones to have.  Since you cannot under any circumstances partake of any financial injury sustained by me, I must once again make a summary of my demands: absolutely no negotiations with any theater whatsoever regarding any part of my corpus of works for the theater.  The only theaters to be exempted from this policy are the Burgtheater in Vienna, with which a contract already exists and with which I deal best myself, and the Schiller Theater in Berlin, with which an agreement has already been concluded and where relations are of exactly the same character as in Vienna, because I myself am also the person best suited to negotiate with the Schiller Theater.  All the rest are now off-limits.  And I must ask you to comply strictly with the letter of my demands.  As regards my prose works: in ’73 I am not going to publish anything, not even Remembering.
My dear Dr. Unseld, if I am to pursue my work continuously and consistently I cannot have anything weighing on my shoulders and as long as I cannot be sure that what is happening with my works is what I want to happen and everything is perpetually being handled in a way that contravenes my intentions, I shall have to keep our publisher-author relationship on ice.  The work that the firm has been doing for quite some time now, and, so it seems to me, ever since Dr. Rach got involved in it, is in opposition to me and detrimental to me.  But I refuse to allow this to continue, because it depresses me and engenders in my mind a feeling of unease in which I refuse to indulge myself.
All this, if we provisionally keep everything on ice as specified, is unaffected by finances.  Because financially speaking you are completely covered.
I could write a great deal more, though it would of course swell to the dimensions of a comprehensive accusation.  But I shall deny myself that pleasure.  And it is pointless.  It would be fine by me if we could get together for a conversation at the end of June.  At a neutral spot not far from here.  Perhaps we still enjoy the possibility of starting anew.  The old way is dead and I refuse to have anything further to do with it.
Naturally this letter has not come easily to me, but it had to be written.  It designates an endpoint.  The starting point is for you to come up with.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bernhard
P. S. “We will abide by my letter of December 5 and by your reply of 12.15.  I am of the opinion that if we do this there will be no further misunderstandings, and if there are any we will argue them out like grown men.”  Siegfried Unseld on 12.21.72.5
Bernhard attended the first performance of The Ignoramus and the Madman at the Werkraum Theater of the Munich Kammerspiele.  The director was Jens Pesel; the doctor was played by Wolfgang Gasser (who would take on the role of Professor Josef Schuster in the premiere of Heldenplatz in 1988; see n. 2 to Letter No. 522), the father by Wolfgang Büttner, the soprano by Krista Keller, Mrs. Vargo by Maria Singer, and the waiter by Jörg Schleicher.  Already on April 4, Bernhard was writing in a postscript to a letter to Rudolf Rach, “I hear that at the Munich Kammerspiele we are in for a belated April Fool’s joke in the form of total chaos.  You will soon agree with me that caution is almost everything.”  A striking contrast to Bernhard’s letter to Unseld is afforded by an April 13, 1973 communication to Rach from the chief dramaturg of the Bavarian State Theater, Peter Mertz, in which Merz reports that at the Munich performance of the Ignoramus Bernhard “gave his unreserved approval” to the theater’s plans to stage The Hunting Party the following season.

On the performance of A Party for Boris at the Schauspielhaus Zürich see Letter No. 178; the play had its first performance in Munich at the Couvillié Theater on February 18, 1973.  Jürgen Flimm was the director of this performance, which featured Lola Müthel as the good woman, Dieter Kirchlechner as Boris, and Gertrud Kückelmann as Johanna.
The editors note that a verb, possibly rechnen (meaning compute)  is missing from this parenthesis. (DR)
See n. 1 to Letter No. 220.
See Letter No. 224.
Letter No. 238
[Address: (Ohlsdorf); telegram-memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
April 17, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Can I speak with you on April 28 or 29 at a place near Salzburg that you are partial to?
Sincerely S. U.
Letter No. 239
[Telegram]
Gmunden
4.20.73
is saturday the 28th twelve noon cafe tomaselli salzburg possible for you
bernhard
Letter No. 240
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
April 25, 1973
dear thomas bernhard flight arrival 11:50 in salzburg stop meeting tomaselli 12:30 possibly will propose meeting at airport due to uncertainty of arrival time 
regards unseld
Letter No. 241
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram-memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
April 25 1973
Due to cancellation of the morning flight am proposing new date: Sunday, 4.29
12 noon Tomaselli.
Regards Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 242
[Telegram]
Ohlsdorf
4.27.73
sunday tomaselli
bernhard
Letter No. 243
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram-memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
May 2, 1973
Of course your trip home took you through a storm; mine took me through clear skies stop Berlin date for Hunting Party still not firmly set no later than 5.31.  Telegram to Ganz was sent stop letter and cash transfer on their way.
Yours sincerely
Siegfried Unseld 
Letter No. 244
Frankfurt am Main
May 2, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
At the prompting of your letter of April 12 we had a conversation on April 29 in Salzburg, a conversation the objective, concrete points of which I would very much like to put in writing for our guidance and the assistance of our memories.1  I believe that this conversation resulted in the establishment of some standards, standards for a pleasant, amicable, and above all productive future partnership.  I don’t care to dwell on any further on any of the individual points in your “accusation.”  We have spoken about them.  Your fictional reflections on Beethoven’s shock on hearing a premiere of his ninth symphony by a police orchestra will never again be repeated.  On the other points I should communicate to you the firm’s point of view as well as my own personal judgment.   The fact that we have found a new consensus on the work to be done by the firm on behalf of your plays will have significant implications both in the present and in the future.  I could confide to you my “conversion,” in other words my newfound deep-seated willingness to second your notion of allowing only a few, and therefore first-rate, performances of your plays.  We will put this notion into practice in our treatment of The Hunting Party.  At the end of the line in my notepad that reads, “Thomas Bernhard is prepared to accept any consequence” there are three exclamation points added by you, along with the initials Th. B.
In concrete terms this will mean: the performances of The Hunting Party in Vienna and in Berlin have already been firmly guaranteed.  All additional negotiations will be conducted by you.  In Munich negotiations are at a standstill; you will be the one who resumes them.  Regarding Basel, we will acquaint you with the protocols and ask Mr. Nils Peter Rudolf to get in touch with you.  So perhaps when you get a letter from Basel you should open it and not toss it straight into the wastebasket.  It is said that it is up to Bruno Ganz whether there will be a fifth performance.  I have sent him a telegram. I expect to communicate with him at some point this week.2  I will keep you in the loop.  Once again my urgent request: I would not dedicate this play to Bruno Granz; such a dedication would be a kind of imposition on every other actor; as you know actors are of course terribly sensitive souls, indeed, the most sensitive souls of all.  You can of course dedicate a copy to Bruno Ganz by hand, and even tell him afterwards that you wrote the play for him or to him.  That will render him an adequate tribute and at the same time won’t cause the play any problems.   
DM 20,000.00.00 have been remitted.  We offset DM 15,000 with royalties from The Hunting Party, and DM 5,000.00 with the honoraria for Correction.
Regarding publications, we have agreed on the following deadlines for the delivery of manuscripts and release of books:
Correction: Manuscript no later than 10.31.’73.  Release date April 3 (the 2nd is a Sunday), 1974.
Remembering: Manuscript no later than 3.15.1974.  Release date September of ’74.
Hunting Party.  Release date to coincide with first performance, presumably in February of ’74.
Thomas Bernhard Reader.  Release date September 1974.  We will compile the manuscript collaboratively at the beginning of ’74.
We are going to set up a different system of organization within the firm; you will receive all mailings from one place; perhaps you will be getting less than before, but hopefully it will be more concentrated as well.
I will be giving you news about the Star journey in the course of the next week.
In a further essential, indeed the most essential point, I am affirming in writing the thing we discussed.  As of this moment Mr. K. is essentially sworn to the deepest silence.3
Such is what was said to the best of my conscientious recollection; to describe what was contained in the intertices of our words exceeds my verbal resources, but perhaps you will put it in writing.
Yours
very sincerely
and expectantly,
[Siegfried Unseld]
|P.S. Your new play-plan--by which I am fascinated--is known of only by you, K., and me.  I am certain you will pull it off!
In October you will deliver the manuscript to K.  Bibliothek Suhrkamp on the performance date in July 1975.  You will negotiate; we will conclude the contract with K. (if possible DM 10,000.00 extra!)
I am continuing to develop my idea of a Suhrkamp touring theater with your play as its centerpiece.  The important thing is that we have a clear, manageable perspective on the future.
The future is the important thing.
Yours
sincerely,
Siegfried Unseld|
Unseld recorded his impressions of the April 29 meeting in Salzburg in his Salzburg Travel Journal, Sunday, April 29, 1973:
“The basis and motive of this encounter in Salzburg was Thomas Bernhard’s April 12 letter to me.  As a result of having witnessed the “currish butchering of one of my plays” at the Munich Kammerspiel, Bernhard wished to break off his connection to the firm with an ‘endpoint.’  This several hour-long conversation clarified our positions.  I was obliged to accept some of the points of his ‘accusation’; I rejected just as many of them decisively and, as it happened, quite sternly as well.  I believe that this conversation can serve as the starting point for an altered continuation of our relationship, although I am well aware that Bernhard’s sensitivity, touchiness, and neurotic anxiety have reached a peak that will not be easy to deal with over the long haul.  Shortly before our meeting, I read Joachim Kaiser’s article in the weekend edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, in which he asserts that Bernhard has ‘discovered for literature’ the conception of mental illness as a symbol of modern consciousness [Joachim Kaiser: Der Einzelne--und das »Haus mit Telephonen«.  Zwischen billigem Heroenkult und wohlfeilen Gerede von der Personalisierung (“The Individual--and the ‘House with Telephones.’  Between Cut-Rate Hero-Worship and Clichéd Chit-Chat about Personalization”) in Süddeutsche Zeitung, April 28/29, 1973]. I for my part discovered, and not without a certain amount of admiration, that Bernhard is managing to neutralize his neurotic anxiety through writing and through material commitment to his work; the price for this is high; and we, too, must pay a share of it--and pay in the literal sense of the word. 
I shall record the outcomes of the meeting under topical headings:
Work having to do with his plays.  Here a radical change was instituted. In conformity with Bernhard’s wishes, there will be only first-rate performances of The Hunting Party.  We will also make this public after the state of ongoing negotiations has been made clear.  The performances in Vienna and Berlin are certainties.  Bernhard will be continuing the negotiations with both theaters.  Bernhard knows nothing of any negotiations with Basel.  I would propose Mr. Nils Peter Rudolf’s getting in touch with Bernhard immediately.  After Basel, Bernhard would like to negotiate on his own behalf with the Residenz Theater; under certain conditions he will still assent to a performance there.  So then we will have four performances in all; there may still be a single  fifth performance in which Bruno Ganz will play the principal role.  Bernhard asked me to mediate in the Ganz-Peymann-Bernhard quarrel.  Ganz must decide within a certain timeframe whether he wishes to perform the role; if he decides he does, Bernhard will agree to any terms for the sake of this performance.  Then the performance with Ganz would also have to be selected as the one to be videotaped; here, too, Bernhard would agree to any negotiated terms.  After clarifying matters with Ganz we would have to prepare a press notice whose wording would have to be fine-tuned in collaboration with Bernhard.
Bernhard was extremely annoyed at the fact that the theatrical publications division sent to the theaters a version of The Hunting Party into which numerous corruptions had been introduced during duplication; among other things, an entire line was missing: “The firm sent off my play in a mutilated state!”  Bernhard looked through the play once again and gave me a corrected copy to take with me.  I have inspected this text; Bernhard may have been upset by the fact that the last page had been photocopied in such a way that the last lines ended up being not very easy to read.  Bernhard is certain that he will make no further changes to this version.  I therefore would propose our immediately typesetting the text for the Bibliothek Suhrkamp and then making a couple of provisional printed copies available to the two theaters.  Dr. Rach would like to get in touch with Mr Staudt in connection with this.  Typography should match that of The Ignoramus and the Madman.
It is evident to me that the stance that the Suhrkamp theatrical publications Division is about to take with regard to this play will cause a huge sensation; but we must act in conformity with the author’s wishes; at my request Dr. Sieger has researched the specific question of whether we will be in any danger of incurring any new legal obligations to the theaters, and he has concluded that we will not.  Thomas Bernhard is prepared to accept any consequence of his behavior.
2. On account of his present situation he is asking for yet another DM 20,000.00.  This sum is on its way to him.  DM 15,000.00 to be debited from The Hunting Party; DM 5,000.00 to be debited from the novel Correction.  The remittance is to be immediately posted to his account in Freilassing.
3. Publications: Hunting Party in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.  Prospective publication date on the date of the first performance, probably in February of ’74.
Correction--Prospective publication date April 3, 1974.  We will receive the manuscript on October 31.
Remembering--prospective publication in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp September 1974; we will receive the manuscript on March 15, 1974.  A Thomas Bernhard Reader, edited by me, is slated to appear in September of ’74.  I will have a lengthy closed meeting with Bernhard about this.
4. Bernhard is always getting riled up about the firm sending him things that shouldn’t go to him.  So now the theatrical publications division has sent him the reviews of Sylvanus’s book.  I am of the opinion that we can resolve this problem only if we stop sending Bernhard things from the individual divisions of the firm, from not only the press office but also from the advertising, sales, and theatrical publications divisions.  All mailings intended for  Bernhard are to be handed to Ms. Zeeh; Ms. Zeeh will examine their contents; this goes even for the complimentary copies he receives.  We cannot send him any packages.  Packages as well as small parcels have recently become subject to customs duties in Austria; he refuses to pay these duties.  So when we send him books we should send them only singly as printed matter, which is still possible; Ms. Zeeh should also take this in hand.  Conversation on the subject of our forthcoming revision of The Lime Works for the paperback edition of the book was difficult.  I had asked Mr. Beckermann to peruse the revision Mr. Ballert had undertaken in punctilious conformity with the rules of orthodox orthography and to draw my attention only to passages in which something was genuinely unclear.   Fortunately I read the pages one more time before the encounter with Bernhard and managed to clarify half the passages on my own.  I don’t understand why this couldn’t have been taken care of earlier, but the other passages were also perused by Bernhard only reluctantly and under gentle coercion from me.  There was one single passage that we could not clarify.  He intended to do so by letter.
In summary: Thomas Bernhard is quite happy to maintain his relationship with the firm.  But he would prefer to stop having with the firm an experience like the one Beethoven could have had if he had been forced to hear a performance of his ninth symphony by a police orchestra.  Bernhard values the firm, its employees, its leader.  He acknowledges that there are other authors besides him; indeed, he sees that the firm needs a broad basis of diversification if it is to survive.  But he also expects us to acknowledge his work, its peculiar conditions.  I believe our effort signifies such an acknowledgment.”
2. According to a telegram-memorandum, on May 2, 1973, Unseld sent a telegram to Bruno Ganz at the Schaubühne am Halleschen Ufer: “After my visit to Thomas Bernhard I would like to speak with you stop Could this happen on Friday, May 4 at 5 p.m. in Berlin; if so, choose the place stop If not, would you be so kind as to phone me Monday May 7 during the day at the firm 74 02 31 or in the evening at home 55 28 67 stop  Warm regards Siegfried Unseld.” 
3. The “most important point” and the “Star” journey were addressed by Unseld in the Salzburg Travel Journal, Sunday, April 29, 1973 that he prepared for his Chronicle.
“Comedy in the minor mode--tragedy in the major--thus could one describe the conversation I had with Thomas Bernhard in Salzburg.  He wanted to know how and when I was going to come here.  I managed to avoid having to say that I had been in Ilse Aichinger’s company during the afternoon and evening of the preceding day.  That would have offended him because he had figured out that in the morning I had flown from Frankfurt to Munich and from Munich to Salzburg. [...] From 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. during a meal consisting of a number of small courses, we dealt with our problem.  We discussed his ‘accusation,’ what he saw as our gross acts of negligence, for example the ‘butchering’ of his play in Munich.   I explained to him that no publishing firm can prevent anything of that kind; that he had of course been referred expressly to the director and actors by Rach; he would not have contradicted him.  But he said that that was none of his affair; the firm had been obligated to prevent the catastrophe.  The whole time his firm motto was “prevent” and “forbid.”  I for my part succeeded in preventing what I most dreaded and he very much hoped to obtain, namely the discontinuation of his collaboration with Dr. Rach. We intend to wrap another layer of cotton wool around this collaboration; he was also not displeased that I had not shown Rach the letter in all its naked truth.  Next we talked about the dramatic works, money, and publications.  It was good that I explained to him that I had undergone a change of thought that redounded to his benefit, inasmuch as I have come to see that we should license his plays for only a few first-rate performances.  On the subject of money I caused him no small amount of embarrassment because I kept pointing out to him that we had a clear agreement that he had not abided by.  I told him he always spoke the absolute truth, but when he heard my truth he didn’t want to hear it.  At one point he turned red with anger when I told him that in money matters I valued concrete arrangements and strict adherence to them and that I was not going to deviate from them.  I formally compelled him to accept that in this matter he had done me wrong.  So then the wrongs balanced each other out, and after I became privy to his secret, I fulfilled his wish for another DM 20,000.00  The question of publications was resolved relatively quickly.  Consensus prevailed.  I frankly denied his request to have Suhrkamp Publications release only Correction and no other novels next year.
His big secret: during preparations for the trial involving the Salzburg Festival and Peymann and his actors [i.e., the trial occasioned by Claus Peymann’s refusal to allow The Ignoramus and the Madman to be performed more than once if all the lights in the hall were not extinguished at the end; the board of directors of the festival sued Peymann and the actors; see n. 1 to Letter No. 201], while Peymann’s lawyer, Dr. Stern, “driving big cars purchased with royalties,” is agitating for a trial, while all the world [knows] of the big falling out between Bernhard and the president of the festival, Kaut (Bernhard had more or less described him as mentally incompetent in a published telegraph [see n. 1 to Letter No. 201 again]), Kaut and Thomas Bernhard are and were quite calmly joining hands in planning for the 1975 festival.  Thomas Bernhard is going to write a new play for the 1975 Salzburg Festival.  He is hellbent on this at the moment.  He is thinking of a fairy tale with long comedic interludes.  He is fascinated by Stravinsky and Ramuz’s Histoire du soldat.  He would like to give greater emphasis to the poetic element again.  His play will quite simply have to be a chamber play with few characters.  The new play is to be published in July 1975 in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.  He said Kaut had already agreed to the play because 1974 would see the performance of a new play by Zuckmayer that was likewise certain to be a catastrophe, and for that reason Kaut was very keen on having something innovative again for 1975.  And now came the volte-face: whereas Kaut told him he would like to conclude the contract directly and collect the money entirely for himself, Bernhard attached great importance to our concluding this contract on the same terms, perhaps DM 10,000.00 more, which would bring it to 40,000.00.   As I said, Bernhard is quite hellbent on and obsessed with this plan, and then came my counter-idea: I proposed that we should conclude with Kaut a contract according to the terms of which the Salzburg cast would be required to go on tour, and specifically on the first tour of a new Suhrkamp touring agency.  This struck him as a very sensible idea, first because it was in line with his notions of quality and exceptionality and also because it naturally may generate some money. [...]
Then he told me he wanted to travel to Vladivostok, in November.  He is hoping specifically, and in accordance with his agreement with Kaut, to have finished the manuscript by October 1973, and then he will travel in a completely new direction, to Vladivostok on the train, and then come back by ship via Japan and the Indian Ocean.  This over the two months of November and December 1973.  I promised him that I would try to find out whether this trip could possibly be taken as a Star-journey for authors.  I shall of course be meeting with Mr. Nannen on Friday evening or on Saturday in Düsseldorf and will speak with him about it.
Thus this discussion that began with disagreeable omens ended in a cheerful, relaxed, almost friendly atmosphere.  As we were taking leave of each other, a storm was brewing over the airport and rolling eastward.  Within a short period it grew dark.  Bernhard must have been accompanied by the storm during his drive home.  As I flew westward, I headed into a clear blue sky.”
Letter No. 245
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram-memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
May 8, 1973
The Ignoramus will be performed on Friday, Saturday, in Berlin.  Conversation with Bruno Ganz in our interest has taken place.
Sincerely Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 246
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
May 15, 1973
Here are a few pieces of news that presumably will interest you.  First of all, the ORF has informed us that the television production of Frost “will not come into being.”  A copy of the letter is enclosed.  Do you wish to fight on?1 
As I wired you, I had an illuminating telephone conversation with Bruno Ganz.  He knows nothing about any pre-trial negotiations in Vienna, and he also informed me that Peymann had gotten tired of the case.  That in any event he had no great desire to pursue the case, and I hinted to him that that was quite fine by you.  Incidentally, he is of one mind with me; within the next four weeks he will decide whether and in which theater he will perform the principal role in The Hunting Party; I have indicated to him that there may be a television broadcast.  I would also like to inform you that Dr. Rach has resigned his position at Suhrkamp Publications; he will be working as the dramaturg at the theater in Düsseldorf.  This probably will take effect on January 1.
I somehow have been getting the impression that you are writing and writing, and that is a good thing.
Yours
sincerely,
[Siegfried Unseld]
The enclosure has not survived.
Letter No. 247
Frankfurt am Main
May 22, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I shall be unable to sign this letter because I must set off on a trip abroad.1
Peymann rang me up and informed me of the events in Berlin.  I assume that you are going to write me something as well.  I shall be out of town for the next few weeks, but I will be back for one or other of the two days, but basically I shall be gone (USA!) through June 25.  After that, I think we should perhaps meet somewhere or other.  What do you propose?
As I have already informed you in writing, Dr. Rach has tendered his resignation.  He would like to bow out of here relatively quickly in order to do some “practical” work in the theater.  As I had to put everything in order at very short notice, Jürgen Becker and I came to an arrangement according to which he will assume leadership of the theatrical publications division for a two-year transition period.  He values your works to an extraordinary degree and as one of the few exceptions he is in the position to distinguish between his own intentions and the qualities of other people.
When we meet, perhaps a conversation with Mr. Kaut should also be possible.  The longer I think over our conversation, the clearer a possible combination of his and our new interests becomes to me.
I hope you are managing to work.2
Yours
with warm regards,
Dr. Siegfried Unseld
typed from dictation by Renate Steinsiek in Dr. Unseld’s absence
Unseld set off for London on May 21, 1973, flew from there to Zurich, spent May 28 and 29 in Berlin, and attended publishers’ conferences in the U.S.A. between June 9 and 26.
Bernhard wrote two telephone numbers on the letter: 07612/4185 in green ballpoint ink in the lower-left corner and 03584/2426 in the left margin.  The first is the number of the Café Brandl in Gmunden, the second of the Hotel Landsitz Pichlschloß in Mariahof, Styria, to and from which Bernhard conveyed Hedwig Stavianicek for each of her many multi-week summer sojourns there over the years.
Letter No. 248
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
June 4, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
This year the book fair will be taking place on October 11 -16.  In conformity with tradition the fair will begin for us with a reception for critics in the Klettenbergstraße at five in the afternoon on Thursday.  Here the most important people, authors, critics, will be in attendance.  On each occasion a writer reads from a work that is going to appear not in the current year but rather in the following year.  The idea is not so much to pay homage to sales as to afford a glimpse into the writer’s studio.
This year it would be especially nice if you could read from Correction.  It would be a good opportunity to draw attention to this novel, and here you would have the ideal intellectual audience.  Admittedly, the reading should last no longer than 15 or 20 minutes, and in the second place: you would have to make a firm pledge to come to Frankfurt on this date.  A change of schedule would be an incredible nuisance because we have to invite people to this reading and any substitute chosen at such short notice might be seen as a stopgap and not taken seriously.  So would you like to come?  It would please me very much.  Perhaps you could let me know by Friday, June 8; after that I will be away from Frankfurt on a 15-day trip to the U.S.A.
I am posing this question to you now because I do not know what your precise travel dates are, but perhaps in October you will be in Vladivostok or swimming in the Indian Ocean.
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Letter No. 249
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
June 9, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I am still very much hoping to hear from you before my departure for the U.S.A., but I interpret your silence as entirely friendly in intent.
I will be back here on June 26, but soon after that I must set off again on a trip to Switzerland; in July I shall be properly back in Frankfurt.  I surely will have heard from you by then.
I hope you are pleased with the news that we will be including your play The Ignoramus and the Madman in the next Spectaculum.  This will give this play renewed exposure.1
Yours
with warm regards,
Siegfried Unseld
The Ignoramus and the Madman was reprinted on pp. 7-82 of Spectaculum 19. 
Letter No. 250
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
July 12, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I am back from my various trips and again working at my desk in Frankfurt.  How are things with you?  How are your works developing?  How are your plans shaping up?  When shall we see each other?  Nothing but questions.
I have plenty of urgent business to attend to here through the end of July, but I should have a bit more free time in the first half of August.  Are you coming to northerly or westerly zones at some point so that we could meet halfway?  Flying is of course none too pleasant in German climes these days.1
Yours
with all good wishes for you and sincere regards,
Siegfried Unseld
On July 11, 1973, 123 people died in an airplane accident at Orly Airport in Paris.
Letter No. 251
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
July 23, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I hear nothing from you, so you are working!  Aren’t you?
I hope you got my last letter; it would be nice if we could see each other somewhere in the first half of August.  Please let me know what is possible for you.
In the Zeitwende I read an essay by Heinz Beckmann, “The World of Thomas Bernhard.”  I am sending you this text because I presume you are unfamiliar with the periodical.
Yours
with warm regards,
and see you soon,
Siegfried Unseld
Enclosure1
Heinz Beckmann, “Die Welt des Thomas Bernhard,” Zeitwende 1973, pp. 264-274.  The article is the text of a lecture given at the Akademie Rabanus Maurus in 1971.
Letter No. 252
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
July 27, 1973
would very much like to meet evening of tuesday the 7th or wednesday august 8 in ohlsdorf, salzburg, or elsewhere please give me your decision
yours sincerely
siegfried unseld
Letter No. 253
[Telegram]
[Ohlsdorf]
[between July 27 and 31, 1973]
expecting you tuesday ohlsdorf requesting news of when
sincerely bernhard   
Letter No. 254
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram]
Frankfurt am Main
July 31, 1975
arriving tuesday 8.9 at 7 p.m. ohlsdorf--return flight wednesday afternoon
sincerely unseld
Letter No. 255
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
August 1, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Our conversation permitting, I would like to present you with the following request: we are trying to put together a memorial book in honor of Günter Eich.  We have received impressive reminiscences from Jürgen Eggebrecht, Max Frisch, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Uwe Johnson, Joachim Kaiser, et al. as contributions to this book.  We would very much like this book to be available on the anniversary of Eich’s death; it therefore should be published on December 1.  The date the book is scheduled to go to press, and the very last date for the submission of a contribution, is September 1.  You, my dear Thomas Bernhard, really ought to make a contribution to this book of memories.  I would really very sincerely like to request one from you.  The form of the contribution is wide open: a meditation, a memoir, a portrait, reminiscences of an encounter, letters to or from Eich, a dramatic scene, a prose piece, a poem.  But please do write something for this essential occasion. 
Depending on whether it is possible we will also insert a photo of you and Günter Eich together.  Does such a photo exist, and could you relinquish it to us?1
Till soon!
With friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld
Bernhard did not contribute to In Memory of Günter Eich, which was edited by Unseld and published on December 6, 1973.
Letter No. 256
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram-memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
August 9, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
Couldn’t get through by telephone.  Urgently requesting call this afternoon.1
Regards Siegfried Unseld
Possibly this telephone conversation pertained to a recently scheduled meeting with Bernhard; such, at any rate, is suggested by the conclusion of Unseld’s Venice-Zurich-Großgmain Travel Journal, August 4-8, 1973:
“I am going to record the particulars of my encounter with Thomas Bernhard during this trip separately; it was unusual, or rather utterly typical of a meeting with Bernhard.  I cannot unveil the facts here, because absolute silence about them must prevail through the end of August.  But I will say this much: Bernhard has finished a new play that will also be performed in 1974.  So in this year we will have a special Thomas Bernhard Year; The Hunting Party at the Burg and three other theaters, then the new play.
Three separate titles will be appearing in the Bibliothek Suhrkamp in 1974 (this is not ideal, but the exception is justifiable), The Hunting Party, the new play--on whichever date it is performed--and Remembering in September of 1974.  We will receive the manuscript of the novel Correction in time to print the book by December and send out the reviewers’ copies by the end of that month.  The prospective publication date will then be March 15, 1974. 
On account of the surprising decisions regarding this new play I must take another trip to Salzburg/Ohlsdorf in the next few days.”
Unseld subsequently wrote the above-mentioned separate account, entitled Thomas Bernhard, Visit to Ohlsdorf, Tuesday, August 7, 1973, for his Chronicle:
“I arrived a half an hour earlier than expected because my rental car allowed me to cover the stretch between Großgmain [where Unseld visited Günter Eich’s widow, Ilse Aichinger] and Ohlsdorf faster than usual.  He didn’t hear the car pulling into the courtyard and was surprised when I knocked at his window.  He had just made my bed and was holding two coat-hangers.  The first two things he immediately said were that I had come came at a decisive moment, but that he was ill, that he had a 39-degree fever and was groggy and had only just gotten out of bed.
I immediately told him what I saw as the decisive factor: the Zuckmayer play would not be finished in time for the 1974 Salzburg Festival, and I assumed that it was now an open question whether his new play would be performed at the festival the following year.  [No play by Carl Zuckmayer was performed at the Salzburg Festival.  The Pied Piper.  A Fable, his last work for the stage, had its premiere at the Schauspielhaus Zürich in 1975.]  That was precisely how things stood.     
He read in the Salzburger Nachrichten that the Zuckmayer play had been postponed to 1975.  But that was of course his date.  He became, as he said, “furious.”  He had a reading at the Salzburg Festival scheduled for the day after my visit, a reading that he regarded as a kind of sop.  He intended to cancel this reading, and he did this through Mr. Schaffler of Residenz Publications.  The latter called on Mr. Kaut, the president of the Salzburg Festival, and the latter understandably came up with the idea of putting on Bernhard’s play as early as 1974.  Of course this idea could only be congenial to him, to Kaut.  Thus far had events unfolded when I arrived at Ohlsdorf.  Bernhard told me that the next day he was going to have lunch with Kaut, who would now have to make a decision.  We discussed the pros and cons of this performance quite extensively.  About the play itself Bernhard told me very little; he said that it was a comedy, a fairy tale along the lines of Stravinsky’s Soldat, with three male principal characters, along with a director who is performing in his own mise-en-scène; he said that the work had quite a number of musical elements, so that it should be directed by a director who had a feel for musical theater.  It already has a firm title: Headpiece.  I told him right away that I didn’t care for this title.  He was surprised by the spontaneousness of my reaction; his alternative title, Quintet, certainly did not strike me as much of an improvement.  We then discussed potential directors.  Apart from the handful of names one obviously always thinks of and who are out of the question for the play and also for Bernhard, I mentioned Everding, whom Bernhard found too old, then Jan Groszmann from Prague, who was too popular for Bernhard, and finally Hans Hollmann, who has after all directed some stunning performances of Horváth, Hofmannsthal, and Nestroy.  He reacted to Hollmann with spontaneous antipathy; he rejected him.  ‘He is too close to me; he comes from Gmunden.’  It is quite clear to all of us that the premature performance of the new play will cause problems for everyone involved in the performance of The Hunting Party.  The Burg will certainly not be happy to have The Hunting Party premiere at the end of April / beginning of May and then see the new play coming out as early as July, to say nothing of Peymann: we must certainly expect him to be angry at the mere fact that Bernhard has become buddy-buddy with Kaut again so soon after Bernhard declared his solidarity with Peymann and Ganz in opposing the festival’s juridical assault on them.  Eventually, after nightfall, we started wondering whether it might not still be possible to take the bull by the horns, i.e., induce the theater, including Peymann, to present The Hunting Party before the end of 1973. 
On the subject of publications, Bernhard once again had very settled opinions, as of course he always does about everything: he never thinks about anything but his work, day and night, and exclusively.  He knows exactly what he wants and tries to get it by hook or by crook.  And to impose his will on the world around him.
He naturally also wants the new play to be published as part of the Bibliothek Suhrkamp.  I pointed out to him that three titles in one year in the BS would simply be too many, and that he himself wanted the new play to be an exclusively “Austrian theatrical affair,” because it was after all his idea not to allow the play to be performed in the German theaters and to save it for a performance tour  that could begin at the Salzburg Festival.  But he implored me to have this play issued in the BS along with the other titles.         
So then in 1974 the first editions of the following three titles will be published in the BS:
in April: The Hunting Party
in July: The new play
in September: Remembering 1
Because I was now making him these promises, I did twist his arm a bit towards getting him to hand over the manuscript of Correction ahead of his schedule.  He plans to give us the manuscript early enough to allow us to typeset it immediately, print the sheets in December, and send advance copies to select book dealers and critics by the end of the year.  Publication will follow in mid-March of 1974.  He acceded to this request.
We then deliberated about his appearance at the book fair.  First he ruled it out, then he planned to think about perhaps appearing alongside Uwe Johnson [whose third volume of Anniversaries was published in October of 1973], but finally he said no.
I drove to Salzburg early the next morning in order to set up a meeting with Strehler, because I wanted to discuss the possibility of his directing the Bernhard play.  Then my meeting with Strehler was scheduled for 11:20 a.m.  I met Bernhard  punctually at 10:30 a.m. at the Café Tomaselli.  Yet another recapitulation of the pros and cons; eventually we agreed that there was really more to be said for the 1974 premiere date.  I was unable to offer him any hope of securing Strehler, because I of course knew that Strehler had and wanted to direct The Magic Flute in 1974.     
Bernhard briefed me on his conversation with Kaut over the telephone the next day.  Everything had gone according to plan; i.e., Kaut wanted to grant him his wishes.  After the meal he had had to lie down on account of a feeling of faintness; he had a fever, and in such an overwrought state he got the idea for the title of the play: Force of Habit [Macht der Gewohnheit].  Really quite an excellent title that is also immediately plausible; indeed, one is inclined to think it must have already existed, but there is only the Force of Darkness [Macht der Finsternis].1a  Then possible actors were discussed with Kaut.  Kaut frankly proposed three names that appealed very strongly to Bernhard: Leopold Rudolf, Otto Schenk, and Bruno Dallansky; as a director (to my obvious surprise) Hans Hollmann.
Bernhard will deliver the play at the end of December; but I know that he wants to finish it by the end of October.  Kaut will announce the performance of this play along with its title at the end of August.
Next Bernhard revealed to me that had had discussions with Kaut about
the amount of the honorarium (as against the DM 30,000 from 1972 he is asking for a sum of DM 40,000) and
the question of the tour must be settled.  What Bernhard really wants is this: no performances in Germany, but the greatest possible number of performances during the tour to take up the slack.
Over the phone Bernhard also gave me a rather confusing account of how an assault had just been committed against him; he said that somebody was out to kill him.
Such are the strains to which this Bernhardian existence is exposed; it is a constant all-or-nothing affair; it is ruthlessness incarnate when trying to get its way, and it is the acme of sensitivity and vulnerability when it fails to get something.  As he had a bit of a cold, he did not dare to step out into the open air; he sent me into the cellar to fetch some cider, but he did not go with me so as to make sure that I didn’t stay down there too long.  We went to bed early; I asked him to let me read part of Correction, but he wouldn’t even allow that; he wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep if he knew that I would be reading that as-yet-unfinished new manuscript.  To some extent he even divides the world into two parts according to the principle of ‘Whoever isn’t for me is against me,’ but even here he has very sound views; thus, regarding Peymann he said that if his anger were now suddenly to flare up it would just as suddenly cool down.  So the sooner the better.”   
1a. Unseld is evidently thinking of the Tolstoy play known in English as The Power of Darkness (DR).
Letter No. 257
[Ohlsdorf]
8.20.73
Dear Dr. Unseld,
Last Sunday I waited for you at the market square at Mondsee1 until eight o’clock, pacing up and down along with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, who all that time was pacing up and down alongside me, until she finally addressed me in words to this effect: this is what happens whenever it makes a difference to you--and at eight o’clock the person she had been waiting for, Paula Wessely, showed up, but the Doctor from Frankfurt did not.  Ditto at the “King’s Bath,” where I was told the Doctor is ill etcetera.  The drive home with all the melancholy of a convaleccentric.2
The Ohlsdorfian bacilli have wrought their damage in Frankfurt; I am sure such things were in the air.  I myself am once again healthy, knock on wood; in better shape than before, but after all it took two whole weeks.  Perhaps the skill of the Frankfurt physicians has succeeded in getting you back on your feet faster than me.  After I recovered, my brother, the internist, came and said to me, you don’t want to mess around with a summer flu!
But what am I supposed to say about the whole business?  Like most invalids, I get my best ideas when I am lying in bed.  And now I am thoroughly immersed in the Force of Habit, and I don’t intend to give it a rest until it’s finished.  A good subject, a proper comedy, perhaps even a farce.  We shall see.
I was in the forest for two days;3 when I got back here today, there was a note from Bruno Ganz on my doorstep: he wrote that he had stayed here overnight...Now [I] am melancholy again, as you may well imagine.  The man is gone, whither I do not know.
On Friday Kaut will be paying a visit to Ohlsdorf (he spent his childhood a couple of hundred meters up the road); we shall discuss all the necessary things then.
You yourself had promised to tell Peymann and Klingenberg the necessary things about my comedy in Salzburg; I hope this happens before Kaut “makes an announcement.”
I ought to be in the best of moods.
But just this one thing: when everything is perfect, please draw up the contract for Salzburg and do so personally.  The substance of it is the same as in ’71; the tour is the only thing that needs to be added.  I am asking you literally to rack your brain over this; the idea is “classic” (Nestroy) and must be intensively pursued as an actuality.4
On Friday I shall certainly learn from Kaut whether things are working out with Hollmann.
I couple of books arrived; I have to pay a large customs fee; the world is crazy, perverse, annihilating.
I really think you will still come to Salzburg and watch the pack of Shakespearean kings as they scuffle onstage like stupid dogs with their innocuous yapping.5
Think of what an enormous boon a brief, intensive illness is and don’t curse me.
I myself am back here, where I belong.  And by now you where you belong --probably.
Give me a sign of life.6
Yours sincerely
Thomas B.
The town of Mondsee is sited on the shore of the lake of the same name in Upper-Austrian Salzkammergut, about halfway between Salzburg and Obernathal.
Bernhard apparently received two communications from Burgel Zeeh--an August 11 telegram and an August 13 letter--only after leaving for Mondsee to meet Unseld.  The memorandum for the telegram, handwritten by Unseld, reads thus:
“Dr. Unseld has fallen ill presumably thanks to Ohlsdorfian bacilli stop His
doctor forbids travel stop conversation with Kaut therefore later [...]”
And the letter reads thus:
“Dear Mr. Bernhard,
The Ohlsdorfian bacilli sure are mighty strong!  In any event so strong that Dr. Unseld will not be coming to the office today or tomorrow either probably.  He himself is very sorry to have to cancel the trip, but in the end he must defer to the advice of his doctor.”
In November, Bernhard purchased a house in the woods in Ottnang am Hausruck.
A performance tour of The Force of Habit took place in 1975 (see n. 1 to Letter No. 283).
Bernhard alludes here to Giorgio Strehler’s Spiel der Mächtigen [Game of the Powerful] a reworking of Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays with a performance length of six hours.
In the upper-right corner of the letter there is a note in Unseld’s handwriting: “done by tel.[ephone].”
Letter No. 258
[Telegram]
Wolfsegg
8.29.73
nozkaut here yesterday salzburg perfect director dorn sets minks vertrakdogst herzlieaifo
bernhard
Letter No. 259
[Address: Ohlsdorf]
Frankfurt am Main
August 29, 1973
Dear Mr. Bernhard,
A rather garbled telegram originating from a place called “Wolfsegg” arrived  here.  It said that the agreement with Mr Kaut was perfect, that Dorn would be the director, that Minks would design the sets; but after that everything was completely garbled.
The most important question: did you speak with Kaut about a lump royalty sum?  Did you fail to get the sum of DM 40,000.00, or shall I try to get him to commit to an even higher one?  Please write to me, phone me, or send me a telegram.  I shall get in touch with him immediately afterwards.1
I am taking your refusal to give a reading in Frankfurt during the book fair as definitive, but on one point I would like to be insistently obdurate: it would be an optimal scenario if by Christmas we could get some advance copies of Correction to some choice book dealers and a very small circle of committed Bernhardians at the newspaper editorial desks.  In order to make this happen we need the text by September 15.  Is this possible?2
Yours
with warm regards,
[Siegfried Unseld]
On August 29 Josef Kaut wrote to Suhrkamp Publications, “Yesterday I had an extensive conversation with Mr. Thomas Bernhard regarding the premiere of his comedy The Force of Habit.  Mr. Bernhard explained that he had the Salzburg Regional Theater and the Salzburg Festival in mind for this play and that his chief desire is to have the performance of this new work hosted by us.”  In a letter dated August 31, Unseld replied, “I too am delighted that Thomas Bernhard would like to entrust the premiere of his comedy The Force of Habit to the Salzburg Festival.  You doubtlessly have read that in Theater heute [Theater Today]’s critics’ poll The Ignoramus and the Madman was rated “the most important play of the ’72-’73 season.” [...] We would be happy to conclude a contract for the premiere with you. [...] Now to the other questions pertaining to this play.  I am assuming that Thomas Bernhard has informed you of our scheme of having the festival production of the play go on tour with the same cast after the end of the run of Salzburg performances.  Will it not be necessary for us to have a detailed conversation about this soon, given that the hiring of actors will inevitably be affected by this plan?”
“Express Mail” is written above the address on the firm’s file copy of the letter.
Letter No. 260
[Address: (Ohlsdorf)]
Frankfurt am Main
August 31, 1973
Dear Thomas Bernhard,
I was asked to express my opinion on spelling reform; the West German minister of cultural affairs is considering a general introduction of non-capitalization into the German language.  How are you disposed to this change?  I myself resile against non-capitalization with every fiber of my being.  The ideological argument that it will make the acquisition of German easier for the underprivileged is one that I cannot take seriously.  Mere clarity demands that one exert a measure of care or even effort and put capital letters at the beginnings of things that are regarded as nouns.
I would be interested in learning your opinion on this question; for example, your answers to the following questions:
Do you see in a general non-capitalization policy a step forward in the democratization of social conditions?
Could you imagine reading our classic writers--Goethe and Marx, for instance-- in new editions with non-capitalized nouns?
Would you personally be persuaded not to use capital letters by the passage of a Cultural Affairs Conference resolution in favor of non-capitalization?
Could you envisage a compromise version of the reform, in conformity with which in addition to proper names all clearly identifiable nouns and nominalized verbs would be capitalized but all ambiguous cases would be uncapitalized?  As a further compromise one could envisage giving recommendations on spelling but not on capitalization and non-capitalization.1
I would be very grateful to you for a reply.

Yours
with friendly regards,
Siegfried Unseld

Unseld sent this letter to 60 of the firm’s authors, among them Uwe Johnson (see pp. 799f. of the Johnson-Unseld correspondence) and Wolfgang Koeppen (»Ich bitte um ein Wort...« [I Would Like a Word...], pp. 255f.), and received 45 replies to the questions posed in it.  The occasion was a request from the PEN Club of Germany for a statement on spelling reform.  On October 5, at a Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft [Education and Science Union]-organized conference entitled vernünftiger schreiben.  Reform der Rechtschreibung [writing more rationally.  Reform of Spelling.] Unseld gave a speech in which he quoted from the authors' responses.  For Bernhard’s reaction see n. 1 to Letter No. 280. 
Letter No. 261
Ohlsdorf
9.13.73
Dear Siegfried Unseld,
It is unavoidable for us to meet in the very near future; I am asking you to come to Salzburg if it is at all possible, but it must be at a time when Mr. Kaut is back from his vacation; I believe he has gone out of town.  But everything can be easily ascertained from Frankfurt.
The theaters, which are inhabited by the most useless riffraff I have ever met, have of late been incessantly sending me telegrams and think that I can constantly go running to the telephone like a monkey or even deliver decisions by wire.  I am absolutely incapable of reacting to all these formulas of convenience.  In the meantime several “cases” have accumulated, cases that must be addressed.  Unfortunately I cannot reconcile myself to the idea of everybody’s doing whatever he likes with my work under any number of possible conditions; that is unfeasible and at minimum these things must be talked over.  Whatever I don’t know the particulars of I have to reject.
The only thing that interests me is good work; not even people interest me at the moment and it may be a long time before that changes.
By the end of October I will have gotten far enough along in the comedy to start talking to directors.  I can envisage only Peymann as the best choice; if I am going to have to make a compromise, we would do well to consider that the decision is not in any case one to be made lightly.  What you should personally do everything to prevent is the hiring of any other man before it is quite clear that the Salzburgers will not accept Peymann.  Whoever this other director is, he will not, to my mind, be the best one.  But I don’t want to fall out permanently with Kaut on account of this verdict.  For me this is all about my settling a few more scores with this town; it is quite simply about standing this place I came from on its head and thereby making its head like mine.
Today I have asked the Burgtheater, the Schillertheater, and the Residenztheater to awaken from their summer slumber and consider the question of their respective casting lists.  Sleepy fellowships, the lot of them; dim-witted creatures in every last general-managerial office.  I quite dread them.
The most important thing is an optimal Hunting Party in Hamburg with Peymann and Ganz and the same thing as a baseline principle in Salzburg next year.
And an “exquisitely” appareled novel in the spring, but you won’t be receiving this novel until some time from now, because I am thoroughly immersed in the theater, and because I pay absolutely no heed to the critics, and I pay the least heed of all to the most famous ones.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas B.
P.S. Your administrative office has sent me only the less enjoyable of the two pages from Theater heute, and not the crucial one.  But no matter; I already know what’s on the other page.
Letter No. 262
[Address: Ohlsdorf; telegram-memorandum]
Frankfurt am Main
September 14, 1973
Kaut on vacation through beginning of next week.  News possible Wednesday at earliest.
Regards
Siegfried Unseld



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