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The Ride Across Lake Constance and Other Plays

Peter Handke; Translated from the German by Michael Roloff in collaboration with Karl Weber


The Ride Across Lake Constance and Other Plays Download image

ISBN10: 1250767334
ISBN13: 9781250767332

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272 Pages



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The first full-length play The Ride Across Lake Constance, is one of Handke's best-known works. It deals directly with one of Handke's favorite themes: the realities of theater itself, independent of the offstage world, and the way language (dialogue) and objects (props) operate in the skewed world of the stage.

Therein it anticipates They Are Dying Out, the second full-length play in this volume. In some ways more conventional than many of Handke's plays, They Are Dying Out presents one of his most fascinating protagonists, Quitt, a businessman who first induces a group of colleagues to set up a monopoly and then torpedoes the scheme.

The four short plays that round out the book—Prophecy, Calling for Help, Quodlibet, and My Foot My Tutor—were written before The Ride Across Lake Constance and show Handke moving from the experimental mode of his early work toward the richness and complexity that have marked him as the most important dramatist since Beckett.

Together, Handke's plays bear witness to the truth of Richard Gilman's observation that "in Handke's theater, language, exposed, assaulted, wrestled with, driven to limits, and pursued still further, begins to take on, like the color returning to the cheeks of a nearly hanged man, the signs of a strange and unexpected resurrection."


Praise for The Ride Across Lake Constance and Other Plays

"Lake Constance describes the dream state, with interpersonal signals gone askew: the characters, famous actresses and actors, dance, exclaim over trivial objects, bicker, scratch their heads, and tell improbable anecdotes in an endeavor to identify some literal reality."Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt

The Ride Across Lake Constance


Where to begin? Everything is out of joint and totters. The air quivers with comparisons. No word is better than the other, the earth booms...

About the author

Peter Handke; Translated from the German by Michael Roloff in collaboration with Karl Weber

Peter Handke was born in Griffen, Austria, in 1942. A novelist, playwright, and translator, he is the author of such acclaimed works as The Moravian Night, A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, and Repetition. The recipient of multiple literary awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and the International Ibsen Award, Handke is also a filmmaker. He wrote and directed adaptations of his novels The Left-Handed Woman and Absence, and co-wrote the screenplays for Wim Wenders’ Wrong Movie and Wings of Desire. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2019.

© Lillian Birnbaum

Peter Handke

Official Links

Read Author Bio at Britannica