Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Thomas Bernhard's Over All the Mountain Tops


What gave you the idea for the tetralogy

and when did the idea of the tetralogy first appear


The idea of the tetralogy

indubitably my magnum opus

so far at least

had always been there in my head

The figure of Stieglitz first of all of course

I can't say at this or that particular point

that exciting idea was suddenly there

and from that moment on I pursued it passionately obsessively

The idea is there demanding to be pursued

it towers up before one higher and higher

as if one had an immense mountain range to climb

if one loses heart it will be impossible

to lose heart would bring everything to naught

before one had even started


Such a large-scale work

a work of two thousand pages

encompassing the whole of cultural history

how is that possible


It is impossible to say

absolutely impossible to say

A philosopher cannot say he is philosophizing

a writer cannot say he is writing

a creator cannot say he is creating

my Professor Stieglitz says in the tetralogy

The endless pains

which one must take with every line

Stieglitz says

It is something one simply cannot imagine

Failure is there in every work of art

but with the grace of God we can succeed

we work our way in as into a mine

dig deeper and deeper bring our finds to the surface

Stieglitz says