contains four fictions "around" the composers Chopin, Bruckner,
Schubert, and the trio of Brahms, Clara and Robert Schumann. All presided
by Beethoven whose "Heiligenstadt Testament" is evoked by
the title (literally:
"Saints' Asylum": a reference to Robert Schumann's years
of insanity). Mayrocker
has worked from biographical material, but has above all, "looked
into the eye of
Friederike Mayrocker is one of the most original (and prominent) Austrian
today, famous for the baroque, "hallucinatory" quality of
her poetry and prose. She
was born in 1924 in Vienna, where she continues to live. In the 1960s
associated with the experimental "Vienna Group." She has
received many prestigious
literary prizes in both Austria and Germany, and, in 1997, the International
The America Awards.
"The prose dances like fingerwork on keys.... Each of the four
writings sprung from
composers' lives finds its own form of telling yet all share an elegiac
with 'the last time' and the time before that."
--Dennis Barone, Review of Contemporary Fiction
"It is a joy to have this important avant-garde
work available in translation. Mayrocker
was associated with the experimental 'Vienna Group' where she first
for the 'hallucinatory' nature of her poetry and prose.... Of special
note is a series of
letters whose function is to mediate the place between the mind's
imaginings and the
exterior world. The works also emphasize the performative quality
of all writing, whether
it be in a public or private sphere."
--Susan Smith Nash, Tap Root Reviews
"HEILIGENANSTALT is a testament to the
imagination's ability to resuscitate those
who have preserved their spirit through art."
"An ambitions project, often lyrical and
intense, and altogether a tour de force."
--Jeremy Adler, The Times Literary Supplement