11. 19. 2012. 10:23

Imre Kertész announced his retirement

Imre Kertész  has completed his literary oeuvre, and does not wish to write any more. The Hungarian winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, who has been living in Berlin for years, announced this on the occasion of the opening of his archives in Berlin.

About 35 thousand pages worth of Kertész’s oeuvre have been collected to make up Kertész’s archives, entrusted by the writer to the Berlin Academy of Arts. The archives opened on 15 November to academic researchers.

The 83-year-old writer told the German weekly Der Spiegel that the completion of the archives was a pleasure and a relief for him, because he felt that his oeuvre was now in the right hands. He added that he felt he was better understood in Germany than in Hungary, his native country. It is the irony of fate that having survived Auschwitz, his oeuvre was now ‘saved’ in Germany, Kertész said.

When asked if Parkinson’s disease kept him from writing, he answered that his illness indeed made writing harder but that was not the problem. ‘I don’t want to write any more. I consider my oeuvre, so closely related to the Holocaust, as closed, whether I succeeded or not’, Kertész said.

The archives include the manuscripts of Fatelessness, Fiasco, Kaddish for an Unborn Child and Dossier K, those of numerous essays and speeches, as well as Kertész’s diaries that he has been keeping since 1961, and his correspondence starting from the year 1988. (German publisher Rowohlt is planning to publish a volume of Kertész’s diaries in the near future.) Part of the material had been given to the Berlin Academy of Arts in 2001 where it was digitalized. The major part, however, was donated to the Academy in 2011.

The Academy is planning to open an exhibition of Kertész’s manuscripts and other documents, in the presence of the writer. Kertész said he hoped to attend the opening event, but it all depended on his health. ‘My whole life is and adventure’, the writer said.

The Berlin Academy of Arts, whose approximately four hundred members include writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers, elected Imre Kertész as their member in 2003. Hungarian members include György Kurtág, Péter Eötvös, Péter Esterházy and Péter Nádas. Between 1997 and 2003, the Academy was headed by a Hungarian writer, György Konrád.

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