Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Ride Across Lake Constance and Other Plays

The Ride Across Lake Constance and Other Plays

Peter Handke

Farrar, Straus and Giroux




This volume of Handke's plays includes two full-length and four shorter plays by the young Austrian playwright. The first of the full-length plays, 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, Handke's most recent full-length play, which is also 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 between 1966 and 1969, before The Ride Across Lake Constance (1971), 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 Becket; they 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."


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...


Praise for The Ride Across Lake Constance and Other Plays

"The translation of the six plays in this volume--written between 1966, the beginning of Handke's theatrical career, and 1972--completes the publication of his work for the stage in English….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

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About the author

Peter Handke

PETER HANDKE was born in Griffen, Austria, in 1942. His many works include The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, My Year in No-Man's Bay, On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House, and Crossing the Sierra de Gredos, all published by FSG.

Peter Handke

Lillian Birnbaum

Peter Handke

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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