Thomas's Bernhard

Nicolaas Thomas's Bernhard (* 9. February 1931 in Heerlen, the Netherlands; † 12. February 1989 in Gmunden, Austria) was a Austrian writer. It ranks 20 among the most important German-speaking writers of the second half. Century.

Table of contents


Thomas Bernhard was born 1931 as an illegitimate child in Heerlen (the Netherlands), where its nut/mother worked as Dienstbotin.Coining/shaping for its development as writers were on the one hand since earliest childhood, which it z. T. in National Socialist and catholic educating homes spent, felt feeling, alone, unloved, to be unwanted; on the other hand a heavy lung suffering (a consequence-fraught Tuberkolose), with which it sincethe war days to live and it the proximity of death before eyes had always held.

Starting from July 1932 Thomas's Bernhard lives with his grandparents in Vienna. It describes the time with its grandparents afterwards as luckiest itsLife.

He spent its childhood in sea-churches at the Wallersee and in the Upper Bavarian trusting stone. Starting from 1941 Bernhard was sent after conflicts with the again-married nut/mother into a National Socialist educating home in the Thuringian hall field, where he had to collect allegedly trauma tables experiences. Starting from 1943it was accommodated in the LV boarding school Johanneum in Salzburg, where it its grandfather gave Violinunterricht for the first time. After heavy bomb attacks Bernhard spent some time with the grandfather in trusting stone, still 1945 returned it to the now catholic Johanneum. 1946 settle the wholeFamily from trusting stone to Salzburg over, the grandfather exerts itself despite ärmlicher living conditions lastingly for the artistic training of Bernhard.

In January 1949 a heavy Lungentuberkolose develops from a not healed completely pleurisy, because of which Bernhard spends much time in sanatoriums.In the February of the same yearly the loved grandfather Johannes Freumbichler deceases. As a homeland writer it received the Austrian state price for its novel Philomena Ellenhub, although it otherwise little success had granted. Its physical father, who committed suicide in the year 1940,Bernhard never became acquainted with; the nut/mother died briefly after the grandfather. Already 1950 published Bernhard under an alias several Kurzgeschichten - with it a long literary career began. The death and relating of all other values in view of the constant threat throughhim became in the works Thomas Bernhard one of the most important motives. Its works carry pretty often as little pleasing titles as in hora mortis, for frost, cold weather, disturbance or extinction.

1951 he learns his lifelongCompanion Hedwig Stavianicek know, with which up to their death 1984 a deep friendship connects it. During the 50's he works as a journalist (among other things since 1952 as free coworkers with the social-democratic newspaper a salt citizen day sheet), and is asfree writer actively. In the salt citizen Mozarteum it takes music and play instruction. After initial excursions into the world of the poetry he finds his style in the Prosa, first writes he devotedly over suffering, patient, Psychopathen and dying.

Bernhard, in itsYouth the High School had broken off, in order to complete “opposite” a theory in a colonial goods shop in the salt citizens arm settlement, dedicated soon its whole life to the letter. In its often interlocked sentences one feels the Atemlosigkeit, under the Bernhard due to its lung illnessTime of its life to suffer had. Its excitations, its internal rage, which is expression again and again suffered injuries and disappointments young Bernhard, often show up into the monolied of its theatre figures and the thought of its I storytellers into the Prosatexten.

There were existence-crucial” humans in its life two for it “, without their appearance Bernhard would possibly have killed itself (this remains speculation): Its grandfather, Johannes Freumbichler, the homeland writer, the Thomas's Bernhard the sense for philosophy, for the “highest, all-highest” givenand to it Montaigne, Schopenhauer or Blaise Pascal nähergebracht. To second its “life human being”, which 35 years older Hedwig Stavianicek, with which an intimate relationship connected it. Their loss hurt it very much, how it describes masters” into “old persons.Bernhard always stressed, as much he learned from the older woman.

Thomas's Bernhard, who with poems began its literary career, finally found his unmistakable style in the Prosa (in novels and shorter Prosastücken) as well as in the drama.

Since 1965 lived Bernhard mainly in Ohlsdorf, municipality Gmunden (upper Austria), where he bought a square yard, which was arranged for him by the reality dealer Karl Ignaz Hennetmair and it still further real estate properties sent. Bernhard loved it, apart from the clerical work expanded walksto undertake, admits is its passion for Caféhäuser, which it between Vienna and Salzburg plentifully frequented and which became it soon the “second living room”. He took part also actively in the local life and supported some citizens' initiative.

At the end of November 1988 sufferedBernhard a cardiac infarct, whereupon his half brother Peter Fabjan, a local resident physician cared for it. To 12. February 1989 died Thomas's Bernhard in its Gmundner dwelling at heart failure. Still to 16. It is announced of daily papers as “gotten sick to February”. The generalConfusion came also in a teleprinter message of the Austrian press agency APA to the expression.

character picture

Bernhard writes particularly over loner, suicide, patient, allegedly crazy person, philosopher etc. The human existence is very close for it with suffering anddeath connected. It goes even so far that it sees the actual nature of the existence in death: “If we a goal have, then, is it seems to me death” (” disturbance “).

Bernhard's Charakter seems on the one hand dark and on the other handto be again merry but. It writes works from constant hoping for early death and all this its is from remarkably many suicide thoughts pulled through. On the other hand he enjoys apparently about the grotesque world and its inhabitants. Possibly erheitert itthe straight sight of the ridiculousness of humans and the thought of the ridiculousness of all existence. Certainly it was a difficult character with many mental breaks, which it processed masterfully in literary form. In the everyday life it worked rather modestly and reservedly, contemporariesdescribed it as thoughtful and umgänglich.

A quotation from “the Untergeher “can clarify this:

“I could say actual, he was unfortunate in its misfortune, but he would have been still more unfortunate, would have he over night his misfortunelost, it would have been taken away from it from one instant on the others, which again a proof for the fact would be that it was not at all unfortunate in the reason, but lucky and is it through and with its misfortune, thought I. Manyit is because they are deeply in the misfortune, in the reason lucky, I and I thought said myself that Wertheimer was probably actually lucky, because he was continual conscious its misfortune about its misfortune enjoy could. ThatThought did not appear to me at all at one time absurdly to think i.e. the fact that it had fear that it could lose its misfortune for any me not well-known reason and therefore to Chur and to Zizers drove and killed itself.Possibly we must assume that that there is not unfortunate humans in such a way specified at all, thought I, because we make most only unfortunate by the fact that we take their misfortune from them away. Wertheimer had fear to lose its misfortune andfor this and no other reason killed itself, I thought, by a refined trick have he the world extracted, as it were a promise redeemed, in which already none believed more, imagined I, exactly extracted from the world, himhow wanted to make its millions of other suffering comrades actually only lucky, what he knew to prevent however with the largest Rücksichtslosigkeit against itself and approximately everything else, because he like these different also, in the deadly way, on to beMisfortune as at had otherwise accustomed nothing. “

The literature science meets Bernhard usually with respect; it denies that text passages may be rated like the above as direct self statements of the author - straight Thomas's Bernhard fiktionale speaking of its figures has (bothin the Prosa and in the drama) virtuos uses, in order to lead and expose mostly as short-circuit direct conclusions on his person in a various play of refractions and wordings consciously ad absurdum. Around some its works developedScandals are not least on such mistakes to lead back (see. further down). Undisputed it is however that most of its works carry selbstreflexive courses.


the typical works of Bernhard consist to the majority or completely of the mono log oneLoner, in whom this states on the occasion of a concrete - depending upon Oeuvre varying - situation its view of the things to a mute or almost mute listener. Also in the dramas we find a similar constellation.

In the Prosawerken Bernhard obtains oneDissociation from the Tiraden of the Monologisierenden, by letting it show the quiet listener as it were second-hand. “He” said engagements as, “in such a way active” etc. are characteristic for the style of Bernhard.

The Monologisierenden is pretty often scientists, throughout - overTo use Bernhard's own terminology - “spirit people”, who refer decomposing understanding of everything in long Schimpftiraden against the “stump-intimate mass” position and attack with their sharp, almost (self), which the Austrian is holy: the state, which Bernhard calls gladly “catholic-National Socialist”;, all-side artist etc. admired recognized Austrian institutions like Viennese the castle theatre.

Bernhard's Stärke are not the internmediate tones, the nuancierten differentiations, but - on the contrary - categorical statements, the Absolutsetzen of each statement by its main figures. Characteristic for the Monologe of its Protagonisten are not expressions like “all”, “anything”, “only”, “continual” etc. From the beginning they do not switch with sentences as “over it give it nevertheless nothing at all to discuss”, “there can one say, what one wants” and. A. each possible objection out.

A specialstylistic characteristic of Bernhard Prosa is a technology of the increase, which exaggeration, itself the Hineinsteigerns and/or itself presuming in fixed ideas, which is orchestriert very in each case artful by a repetition technology, in on the one hand determined topics, pieces of disalignment and adverseDesignations with high frequency repeated (however always also easily varied) will and - straight if the reader to think likes, which is not any longer possible - are besides again increased. This technology of Bernhard reminds at composition methods of the baroque music and that serial music; appropriate passages are often amusing high points of the newer German-language literature.

Bernhard's Texte should not however only be read as gallige or amusing Ergüsse against everything and everyone. Besides one may do non even if this every now and then enticingappears - succumb to the same temptation as a majority of the meanwhile extremely extensive Bernhard research and the Bernhard work all too biographically read: There are numerous parallels between the Protagonisten and Bernhard, but always concern it Rollenprosa. It goesin the novels always also around the Tragik, the Vereinsamung, the Selbstzersetzung of humans, who strive for perfection. A recurring topic is the perfection of the art as well as its impossibility, since perfection means death.

That for it the bentReader despite some conditions for it the impression of a cheap self increase of a size-mad by means of the degradation of all different does not develop, is on the one hand Bernhard of linguistic Virtuosität to owe on the other hand to his humor. For its writings it developed a language, those skillfully elegantlywith the repetition of words and/or Wortgruppen, as well as with long, often complicated interlocked sentences operates. Bernhard's Werke it has a large melodische effect why they are suitable also particularly well for the Rezitation.

Besides its works are usually, more avant-garde compared to otherLiterature, well understandably, there Bernhard philosophical Ergüssen always everyday, often almost banal views confronts, whereby it them - and at the same time the speakers, who bring it out - their all too large Ernst takes.

In his works Bernhard leaves himself again and again“society” of Vienna and Salzburg improves out, which it often covers with corrosive and defameful criticism. It described Austria gladly as country of the Spiesser, whereby it described conditions in dark tones. It carries its criticism in always recurringMonolied forwards, which affects many particularly verächtlich. Many persons of the public life, in addition, numerous acquaintance of Bernhard, felt parodiert or revile. All this caused that many of its publications and theatre premieres released scandals and tumults.


Bernhard provoked particularly in his Austrian homeland violent criticism, many of its performances by public-effective scandals is again and again overshadowed, which held politics, boulevard press and art enterprise equally in breath. By its often dark and klischeetriefenden texts Bernhard solved in more beautifulRegularity kontroversielle debates out, crown newspaper and populist acting politicians demanded loud neck of performance prohibitions and deprivation of citizenship of Bernhard - the overall reproach of the “native country traitor” and “Nestbeschmutzers” was fast to the hand. All this happens in a time, in that the cometful ascent of the oriented towards the rightFPÖ the political language radicalized and the public discussion polarizes. Bernhard and its director Peymann were much-go-RK-scolded enemy pictures of the FPÖ around Jörg Haider and with them sympathizing media and journalists. Chauvinist sneezing tables, smallcivil spirit heat up at the little conflict-shy andeasily narcissus tables personality of Bernhard, not at it back-shrinks from its literarily fitted out overall reproaches publicly to repeat. Often Bernhard in the role of the martyr, unverstandenen humans, which must probably be explained from its partly painful biography, pleases himself. Artists demandeverywhere “liberty for the art” and strengthen Bernhard demonstratively the back. Not least the public Entrüstung increased the book paragraph of Bernhard completely substantially, those daily headlines announces it fast.

“It is ridiculous everything, if one thinks, said of death”it 1968 on the occasion of the award of the small Austrian state price and released with it one of the many scandals, which constitute also a part of its fame. 1972 came it during the premiere of its piece of the ignorant and the mad one in the framework that Salt citizen of festivals to the break with the festival line, because Bernhard for the performance required absolute darkness and even required the deletion of the emergency light. The fire-police regulations did not permit this however, which was not to be placed Bernhard. In September 1985 hadit on the occasion of the premiere of the play of the Theatermacher (to its main motives the deletion emergency light counts) with the salt citizen festivals of the Minister of Finance at that time Franz Vranitzky in allusion on the culture subsidization to accuse leave itself, “under coating good tax Schillings the ownBlocking over this country from the body to to write ". The scandals with the largest public effectiveness were that one around its novel wood fellings, which was not allowed to appear to Gerhard lamp PUCB suppl. because of an honour offense complaint by the former friend and composer against Bernhard longer time,as well as those around the drama hero place, against whose performance on the one hand conservative circles ranted, because it soils allegedly the reputation of Austria. On the other hand also social-democratic politicians, for instance the former Austrian Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky spoke themselves - via “new crowns newspaper” -against the piece out. In hero place professor Schuster, one speaks the Protagonisten, hectar-mixes from a chancellor, who meant, who visions has, need a physician. This utterance was brought with chancellor Franz Vranitzky officiating at that time in connection. However becamethe same utterance attributed in the Federal Republic of Germany to ex chancellor Helmut Schmidt and also later gladly quotes. During the first performances in the castle theatre it came repeated to disturbances, about transparencies against the piece at ranks was attached. With thatPremiere occurred also protest actions before the castle theatre, whereby and. A. a charge liquid manure before the building was distributed. Further performances took place under police protection.

A last mark still ensured Bernhard after its death in February 1989 with its willfor excitement, in which it had ordered general performance and publication prohibition of a any of its works within the borders of Austria. However permitted the inheritance exceptions, so that starting from 1999 new productions of Bernhard's Dramen became possible. Before already was the further performancealready permitted in the play plan of Bernhard productions present, what above all the Viennese castle theatre under his director and friend at that time Claus Peymann, which had four pieces of Bernhard in the repertoire at the time of Bernhard's Tod (1989), benefitted. Peymann has mostPieces of Thomas's Bernhard uraufgeführt; between the theatre man and the author time life a tensionful friendship existed. When it became foreseeable that Bernhard's Universalerbe, his half brother Dr. Peter Fabjan, was ready, itself over the establishment of a donation to a loosening of the testamentaryOrders to understand, also Claus Peymann supported to permit performances of Bernhard's Stücken in Austria again.

Bernhard became as desired on own desire in the grave of its “life human being” Hedwig Stavianicek on the Grinzinger cemetery (grave number 21-6-1) in the quarter Döbling inCircle of the closest members buried. The public experienced only after the funeral of its death. He had become acquainted with Stavianicek as a young man in a lung welfare place. The “aunt” became for it the nut/mother replacement, inserted him into the Viennese society andundertook with it first journeys. It in the volume old person master processed their death as the death of the woman of the Protagonisten.

Under the influence of the work of Bernhard and stood many German-speaking man of letters and artist stand. One of the few admitting Bernhard fansif the Kabarettist Hanns Dieter Hüsch was, that end of the 1970er years its age Ego - figure “Hagenbuch” completely openly on Bernhard's Kunst to let Figuren in interlocked thought jumps tell justified.


  • the Kulterer. 1974 (filming with Helmut Qualtinger, Werner Schneyder among other things)
  • the shooting party. 1974 (premiere at the castle theatre, direction Peymann, scenery gentleman man; among other things with JudithWood master, Joachim bite Meier, Werner Hinz)
  • the power of the habit. 1974 (premiere with the salt citizen festivals, direction Dieter thorn, scenery Wilfried Minks; among other things with Bernhard Minetti, Anita Lochner)
  • the cause. A suggestion. 1975
  • Correction. 1975
  • the president. 1975
  • the weather mark. Narrations. 1976
  • the cellar. An extraction. 1976
  • the famous ones. 1976
  • Minetti. A Portrait of the artist as an old man. 1977 (premiere direction Peymann, scenery gentleman man; with Bernhard Minetti)
  • Charitably. 1978
  • the breath. A decision. 1978
  • the Stimmenimitator. 1978
  • . 1978
  • Immanuel Kant. 1978
  • that world-better. 1979 (premiere at the Schauspielhaus Bochum, direction Peymann, scenery gentleman man; with Bernhard Minetti, Edith army sword)
  • forwardsthe retirement. A comedy of German soul. 1979
  • the narrations. 1979
  • the Billigesser. 1980
  • cold weather. Isolation. 1981
  • Ave Vergil. 1981
  • over all summits are rest. 1981 (premiere Schauspielhaus Bochum, direction Alfred Kirchner; among other things with trusting God Buhre)
  • at the goal. 1981 (premiere with the salt citizen festivals, direction Peymann, scenery gentleman man; among other things with Marianne Hoppe)
  • a child. 1982
  • concrete. 1982
  • of joke gene stone nephew. 1982
  • the Untergeher. 1983
  • thatLight deceives. 1983 (premiere at the Schauspielhaus Bochum, direction Peymann, stage Erich Wonder; among other things with Bernhard Minettti)
  • wood fellings. An excitation. 1984
  • the Theatermacher. 1984 (premiere with the salt citizen festivals 1985, direction Peymann, scenery gentleman man; with trusting GodBuhre, Hugo Lindinger, Kirsten Dene, Martin Schwab, Josefin flat; later in the same production and occupation at the Schauspielhaus Bochum, castle theatre 1986; after Lindingers death with Sepp Bierbichler as a landlord)
  • knight, Dene, Voss. 1984 (premierethe salt citizen festivals 1986, direction Peymann, stage gentleman man; with Ilse knight, Kirsten Dene, Gert Voss; later in the same production and occupation academy theatre 1986, citizen of Berlin ensemble 2004)
  • old person master. 1985
  • extinction. A decay. 1986
  • Simply complicates. 1986 (premiere at the Schillertheater Berlin; with Bernhard Minetti; later in the same production at the academy theatre)
  • Elizabeth II. 1987 (premiere at the Schillertheater; among other things with briefly Meisel)
  • hero place. 1988 (premiere at the castle theatre, direction Peymann, scenery gentleman man; among other thingswith Wolfgang Gasser, Kirsten Dene, Elizabeth Rath, Marianne Hoppe)
  • the German midday table. Dramolette. 1988
  • in the height. Rescue attempt, nonsense. 1989 appeared; 1959 written (part of the unpublished novel blackoh pc. Veit)
  • Claus Peymann buys oneTrousers and go eating with me. Three Dramolette. 1990
  • events. 1991
  • Thomas's Bernhard - Karl Ignaz Hennetmair. An exchange of letters 1965-1974. 1994


the all-last document, which writes briefly of Thomas's Bernhard before its death, is dedicated the Gmundner was streetcar: In a very much engaged reader letter to the salt chamber property newspaper, he expressed himself vehement against the forthcoming attitude of the streetcar. (1989)


(1) 1968: Minister of education Theodor Piffl Percevic misunderstands the thank speech at the promotion price for literature1967 (to 4. March) as offense of Austria, whereupon the ceremony for the award of the Anton Wildgans price of the Austrian industry (to 21. March is called off). This event processes Bernhard in joke gene stone nephew.


  • Thomas Bernhard - a meeting. Discussionswith Krista meat man, Vienna 1991. ISBN 3-7046-0184-5
this is the instruction book to the two video cassettes:
  • Thomas's Bernhard - a challenge. Monologe on Mallorca 1981 video cassette. ISBN 3-7046-0188-8
  • Thomas's Bernhard - a contradiction. “The cause am I” (Madrid 1986) Video cassette. ISBN 3-7046-0223-X
  • Ria Endres: At the end arrived - represented at the illusionful darkness the man haven advice Thomas's Bernhard, Frankfurt/Main (S.Fi) 1980. ISBN 3-596-22311-3
  • Thomas's Bernhard: A reader. Hrsg. v. Raimund Fellinger. Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 1993. ISBN 3-518-38658-1
  • Jens Dittmar (Hrsg.): ThomasBernhard. Work history. 2. A., Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 1990. ISBN 3-518-38502-X
  • Sepp Dreissinger (Hrsg.): Thomas's Bernhard. Portraits. Pictures & texts. Weitra (library of the province) 1991. ISBN 3-900878-63-3
  • Hans Höller: Thomas's Bernhard, Reinbek with Hamburg 1993. ISBN 4-499-50504-5
  • Hans Höller and IreneHeidelberger Leonard (Hrsg.):Antiautobiografie - to Thomas's Bernhard's “extinction”, Frankfurt/Main (Suhrkamp) 1995. ISBN 3-518-38988-2
  • Michael grave ago, the Protagonist in the telling work Thomas Bernhard. Hamburg (Kovac) 2004. ISBN 3-8300-1408-2
  • Karl Ignaz Hennetmair: One year with Thomas's Bernhard. The sealed diary 1972.Munich (Goldmann) 2003.ISBN 3-442-72989-0
  • briefly Hofmann: From discussions with Thomas's Bernhard, with photographs by Sepp Dreissinger and Emil Fabjan and preface of the publishing house, Vienna 1988. ISBN 3-85409-119-2
  • Martin Huber/Manfred Mittermayer/Peter Karlhuber (Hrsg.): Thomas's Bernhardand its life human being (Johannes Freumbichler and Hedwig Stavianicek). The deduction, which appeared book as special volume in the row “literature in the founder house” on the occasion of the title-giving exhibition, Vienna Linz 2001. ISBN 3-900424-25-X
  • Johann max forest: Thomas's Bernhard. My peculiar neighbour, Münster2005, ISBN 3-00-015623-2
  • Manfred Mittermayer (Hrsg.): Thomas's Bernhard - Johannes Freumbichler - Hedwig Stavianicek. Pictures, documents, essay, the ramp extra Linz o.J. ISBN 3-85320-995-5
  • Manfred Mittermayer: Thomas's Bernhard. Life work effect, Frankfurt A. Main 2006, ISBN 3-518-18211-0
  • Alfred Pfabigan: Thomas's Bernhard. A Austrian world experiment. Vienna (Zsolnay) 1999. ISBN 3-552-04921-5
  • how/as country forge/Erika forge: Thomas's Bernhard's Häuser. Salzburg and Vienna (residence) 1995. ISBN 3-7017-0952-1
  • Rainer Hepler: A daily break through we the outermost border - the God question inProsawerk of Thomas's Bernhard. Munich (ARW) 1997. ISBN 3-927890-42-1
  • Louis Huguet: Chronology. Johannes Freumbichler - Thomas's Bernhard, Genealogie Thomas's Bernhard, and draws up from Renate long one, Weitra (library of the province) translates o.J. ISBN 3-85252-066-5

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