/ Literature / Self-extinctions
SELVUDSLETTELSER / SELF-EXTERMINATIONS
- Beckwerk-Verzeichnis volume 1 -
by Claus Beck-Nielsen (1963-2001)
This may-be novel was the last literary work of Claus Beck-Nielsen, published in 2002, the year after his decease, by Samleren Publishers. As the subtitle tells it was meant to be the first volume in a major work, maybe the complete Beckwerk-Verzeichnis.
The book consists of 7 numbered Beck-works and a few short unnumbered texts:
BWV no. 1: Beck-Nielsen 1997
BWV no. 2: An die Natur
BWV no. 5: Der Tod und Bach Nielsen (Death & Bach Nielsen)
BWV no. 6: Bach Jessen & Søn (Bach Jessen & Son)
BWV no. 7: Uden navn (No Name)
BWV no. 9: Næsten (Almost / Thy neighbour)
BWV no. 13: Metamorfopsi (Metamorphopsia)
Together they tell the story of Beck-Nielsen and his companion the German Geist and photographer Herr Stelter travelling all over Denmark in the service of the major Danish daily newspaper "Dagbladet". During the progress of the (Hi)story Beck-Nielsen is undergoing a fundamental transformation, not only his name, also his body and gender and story-telling are mutating until at the end of the book there is almost nothing or nobody left but a telephone number and a poster showing the author as the complete human failure, the End of History
(see poster on the next page!)
An excerpt from BWV no. 5, Death and Bach Nielsen:
As I was hardly worth mentioning any longer, and in addition was on my way into deep darkness, I was watched over by the travel editor.
- Cant you write a story about that, she said.
- What, I said, and pretended I didnt know what I was all about.
The elevator door closed behind us.
- Its only eczema, I said.
- Its up to you, she said, - as long as it doesnt fill too much. The paper will pay for the ticket.
I raised my shoulders, and the elevator commenced. During the last years I have lost twelve kilo. It doesnt look that well. My neck hurts. There is a purulent discharge from my ears. And my wife is pregnant.
- I dont know, I said.
- Precisely, she said, and a deal it was. I had been standing outside the front of the house deep-frozen for three days now, wearing plateau shoes and a see-through shroud. It was snowing. My nipples shone like cats eyes in the mist. I took the chance and stepped out in front of a lorry.
Written about the book:
"Claus Beck-Nielsens Self-exterminations, can with ease be regarded as a peak in this centurys literature (-)
Self-exterminations becomes fairly accessible after first reading Claus Beck-Nielsen (1963-2001) - a biography. While the (auto-) biography is the retrospective and analytically arranged mapping of a posthumous landscape, Self-exterminations is the vertical twister, the pillar of fire or the eye of a hurricane that continuously shifts."
The Danish literary scholar Poul Behrendt in "Dobbeltkontrakten" ("the Double Contract"), Gyldendal Publishers, 2006
"The previous novel in Beck-Nielsens impressive and always interesting authorship was called Self-exterminations. It was (..) sterling, written in a euphoric hoopla and got a frightfully unqualified response including amongst other, lame moralities about a self-centred Beck-Nielsen. I know writers, some bigger than others, who hidden behind an obliging appearance are much more self-absorbed. Beck-Nielsen uses him self in a much more risk-taking manor (as a dramatist as well), much more naked and vulnerable than any other.
He draws his own profile in a landscape which best can be seen as the continuation of names like Kafka, Beckett and Svend Åge Madsen (anxiety + humour + pedantry), though in the light of the new media- and mass-society. Notions like "meaning" and "purpose" hover together in an atmosphere of amusement and despair."
Niels Barfoed, Weekendavisen, 31. October 2003