Elfriede Jelinek the Piano Teacher

April 21, 2016
The Piano Teacher - Elfriede

The Piano Teacher (German: Die Klavierspielerin) is a novel by Austrian Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, initially published in 1983 by Rowohlt Verlag. Translated by Joachim Neugroschel, it was 1st of Jelinek's books to be translated into English.

The book uses protagonist Erika Kohut, a sexually and emotionally repressed piano teacher, as she gets in into a sadomasochistic relationship along with her student, Walter Klemmer, the results which tend to be devastating. Like a lot of Jelinek's work, the chronology of events in the book are interwoven with photos of history while the internal ideas of figures.

Even though the English work had been called The Piano Teacher, the subject in German indicates the piano player; it is also clear that the player is female due to the noun's feminine ending.

In 2001, the novel ended up being adapted in to the film, directed by Michael Haneke.

Plot synopsis

The book follows Erika Kohut, a piano teacher inside her late thirties which shows during the Vienna Conservatory whilst still being lives in a flat together with her extremely controlling mother, with who Erika stocks the woman moms and dads' marriage-bed. The very tense commitment between Erika along with her mommy is created obvious in opening scene, for which Erika rips aside a few of her mother's tresses whenever her mama tries to remove a unique dress that Erika has bought for herself. Erika's mommy wants the cash to be utilized toward a, future apartment with her, and resents Erika's investing of her cash on belongings distinctly for herself; her mom cannot use Erika's clothing. Erika herself does not put it on, but simply strokes it admiringly at night.

Erika conveys this latent physical violence besides and significance of control in lots of other views for the guide. Erika takes huge tools on trains to ensure she can strike people who have all of them and call it a major accident, or kicks or tips regarding the feet of other individuals to ensure she can view them blame someone else. She actually is a voyeur who frequents peep programs, as well as on one event grabs two having sex in a park, being so affected that she urinates. Childhood thoughts are retold throughout the book and their particular impacts on current suggested—for example, the memory of a childhood go to from the woman cousin, an appealing and athletic young man, whom Erika's mom praised while she tends to make the woman child rehearse piano, leads to Erika's self-mutilation.

Walter Klemmer, an engineering pupil, is introduced very early. He comes early to class and watches Erika perform. He ultimately becomes Erika's student and develops a desire for their teacher. Erika views love as a way of rebellion or getting away from her mom and therefore seeks complete control within the commitment, constantly telling Klemmer very carefully exactly what he must do to the girl, although she's a sexual masochist. The tensions build in the relationship as Klemmer finds himself progressively uncomfortable by the control, and finally Klemmer beats and rapes Erika in her very own apartment, her mommy within the next area. Whenever Erika visits Klemmer following the rape and finds him laughing and happy, she stabs by herself when you look at the neck and returns house.


A lot of the criticism was directed at the mother-daughter relationship; less attention was paid toward element of songs into the book. In accordance with Larson Powell and Brenda Bethman, musicality is a critical facet of the guide: they believe Jelinek (by herself a former student of the Vienna Conservatory) utilizes musicality to underscore the perversity associated with the main character, just who participates in a musical custom that teaches women to try out the piano to be able to attract a husband. Erika's failure as a pianist is an indication of the woman perversion: both the pervert as well as the artist attain enjoyment, but where the musician achieves enjoyment as a sublimity, hence getting a desiring topic, the pervert doesn't achieve subjectivity and continues to be bound to object condition. Thus, Erika continues to be the item of her mother's need, not able to achieve subjectivity that your principles of her music knowledge had rejected the girl originally.

Various other critique has-been directed toward the possible lack of a dad figure in the novel. Equally as much as Erika's mom is suffocatingly current, so is the woman parent significantly absent. This provides her mother with only mental discernment on Erika's upbringing. Well worth noting is that:

"mom's power and influence boost because of the lack of the father, who is admitted to an asylum and spatially exiled. Aside from the undeniable fact that the exclusive bond between mama and daughter continues to be continuous and maternal domination obstructed, their displacement shows the cause for Erika's failed separation from mother along with her excessive masochistic drive."

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Source: en.wikipedia.org
The Piano Teacher - Directing 2 Exercise
The Piano Teacher - Directing 2 Exercise
The Piano Teacher (Wien)
The Piano Teacher (Wien)
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