The woodcutter’s life
The forestry settlements were started during and shortly after the First World War as relief schemes for the urban unemployed and the rural casualties of drought. They constituted the bulk of the woodcutting population and were largely dependant on the indigenous forests for their livelihood. However, the work the woodcutters performed and the conditions under which they toiled were most arduous. After his spell in the forest, the woodcutter came home to little more than a corrugated iron or wooden shack, consisting of two rooms with a clay floor and a kitchen.
Old Favourites: Woodcutters (1985) by Thomas Bernhard, translated by David McLintock
His often large family meant overcrowded living conditions, lack of hygiene and often insufficient food. The woodcutters were self-employed, willing and able to work, but often lacked the necessary capital, training and most important, the opportunity to benefit from their labours. By far the most prominent amongst the timber merchants was the firm of Thesen and Company.
Akerberg, who informed them about the shortage of ships along the South African coast. Akerberg put Arnt Thesen in touch with some Cape merchants who wanted cargoes delivered along the coast, including the port of Knysna. Knysna, reminiscent of Norway, at the time a small town of approximately whites, appealed to the Thesens.
But more importantly, the economic potential of the large forests close by attracted them and in April the family decided to settle in Knysna. When Arnt Thesen died in , the leadership of the company passed to the fourth son, Charles Wilhelm who vigorously expanded and diversified the business; a whaling venture was established, additional ships were purchased, large tracts of land suitable for farming and tree-planting were acquired, and a short railway line into the Knysna forests for the transportation of timber was built.
Charles Thesen also extended his influence in other directions and under his direction and through his combination of extensive interests with an array of public positions, the company became a powerful and dominating force in the region.
Tsitsikamma Woodcutters Journey
The established timber merchants had a virtual monopoly over the timber trade, and went to great lengths to protect their dominance. There were considerable profits to be made in the timber trade and the accumulation of great wealth was held by the timber merchants, but this was not achieved without its casualties.
Much of this wealth was at the expense of the woodcutter population as very little of this money found its way into their pockets — the timber merchants and other middle-men were by far the main beneficiaries. Despite the debilitating effect of merchant capital on the woodcutter population, the woodcutters still preferred to continue work in their beloved forests with a very small income — but as independent operators.
Woodcutters Grillhouse And Bar - Tourism KZN
Werth stated in Throughout the four decades under review the Department of Forestry which was responsible for the conservation of the area, exerted considerable pressure to displace the woodcutters, claiming that the forests were incapable of supporting the number of woodcutters and that their uneconomical methods rapidly depleted the indigenous forests. The scene develops and the "artistic dinner" unravels in all its hypocritical farce, whilst the narrator relives the last two decades, his connections and affective ties with the various guests, his relationship with the woman Joana who united in friendship all of them and finally committed suicide.
He then becomes sad and reflective and allows, in a maudlin and romanticized scene, that he often believes he would have been better off to have lived a rural life and to have been a woodcutter.
The marvellous play on the word which allows both the romanticism of this world of the native savage, and yet refers to the super sophisticated and bitter criticism of the social cynic is a stroke of Bernhardian genius. When the elderly actor is so openly wounded by Billroth, the narrator turns from derogatory to sympathetic, and virtually shifts his view of the Burgtheater actor and even the Burgtheater into praising.
The most revealing lines of the novel are about Bernhard and are the last two sentences of the text, which tell us just what he does when his inner sensibilities so overwhelm him that he cannot stand it any longer: "And as I went on running I thought: I'll write something at once, no matter what -- I'll write about this artistic dinner in the Gentzgasse at once, now.
- THE NIGHT LIFE OF THE GODS.
- End of the woodcutters’ era.
- Hooky Gear.
- The woodcutters;
Now, I thought -- at once, I told myself over and over again as I ran through the Inner City -- at once, I told myself, now -- at once, at once, before it's too late. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
'Woodcutters' by Thomas Bernhard
Woodcutters German edition. Dewey Decimal. Novels by Thomas Bernhard.
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