Queen of Hearts on Judgment Day

Conversation with Heiner Müller about Patriotism

9 Oct 1995
Ten to Eleven
Heiner Müller
Heiner Müller


The horizon of this conversation is marked by Müller's personal memories, reflections about ongoing themes in his work, thoughts about his current production and the nearness to death that has been brought by his illness. Müller's thoughts circle around the alliance between "blindness" and power, which shows itself in different ways in the Greek heroic figures, but which is also present in his own literary production. The concept of realism that Kluge brings into the discussion is inflected accordingly by Müller. He claims that reality can only be seen when it is dismantled into individual parts; "submissiveness" to so-called reality is a false position. The unconventional, bold ideas that follow about how the opera can be used to sabotage representational realism are linked to Müller's experiences as the Wagner director in Bayreuth in the same year. ­ Kluge asks Müller about the theme "patriotism," taking a Spiegel article which the poem "Queen of Hearts on Judgment Day" refers to as a point of departure. However, Müller does not take up the references to metaphors from his own texts ­the French revolution as a stranded ship­ but rather he closes the interview with a joke, whose punch line connects alcoholism and patriotism. Of all of the conversations, this one is the most associative. It jumps from one theme to another and circles around the above-named subjects rather than treating them one after another. The division into sections distorts this.