Although he is best known in the United States as a novelist, Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard has been hailed in Europe as one of the most significant and controversial of contemporary playwrights. George Steiner has predicted that the current era in German-language literature will be recognized as the Bernhard period; John Updike compares Bernhard with Kafka, Grass, Handke, and Weiss. His dark, absurdist plays can be likened to those of Beckett and Pinter, but their cultural and political concerns are distinctly Bernhard's. While Austria's recent political history lends particular credibility to Bernhard's satire, his criticisms are directed at the modern world generally; his plays grapple with questions of totalitarianism and the subjection of the individual and with notions of reality and appearance.
Thomas Bernhard (1931â "1989) was an Austrian novelist, playwright and poet. He is widely considered to be one of the most important German-speaking authors of the postwar era and won awards including the Georg BÃ1/4chner Prize (1970) and the Grimme Prize (1972). His complete works are published by Suhrkamp Verlag in twenty-two volumes.
Translator, scholar, and stage actor Kenneth J. Northcott (1922-2019) was professor emeritus of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago and the translator of numerous German-language books for the University of Chicago Press. He is especially known for his inspired translations of works by the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard, all of which remain in print: The Voice Imitator, Walking, Three Novellas, and Histrionics: Three Plays.