Friday, June 20, 2008
Biography vs. Autobiography
Gitta Honegger's Thomas Bernhard: The Making of an Austrian is a decent competent interesting biography. Its atmosphere clashes radically with the desperation of Bernhard's own account of his childhood and teens in Gathering Evidence. In the biography, all is controlled and calm and reasonable, and one starts to impute these qualities to Bernhard; then one reads his autobiography and the atmosphere is one of suicidal despair brought on by shocking hardship and a mind strained to the snapping point--and the figure in the biography vanishes completely.