Someone told me today that in “Correction” when Rothaimer “pursue[s] his project of constructing an extraordinary habitation, the Cone” (Wikipedia), that this is based on actual events in Bernhard’s life, that is, as I understood it, that he actually undertook some such construction for his sister. Is this true? I haven’t found anything that days this to be the case, nor whether he in fact had a sister.


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Thomas Bernhard had two half-siblings, Peter and Susanna (Susi). While Peter trained as a doctor, and became Bernhard's personal physician for the final decade of his life, I am not aware of a particularly close bond between Thomas and Susanna.

Instead it seems probable that your informant was actually referring to Wittgenstein, who was the model for Rothaimer, the central character of Correction. As David Sepanik noted in his essay Reconsidering Thomas Bernhard's Correction

Bernhard based certain bibliographical aspects of Roithamer on the life of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein was born into great wealth, went to Cambridge, lived austerely, worked obsessively, and spent years carefully designing and building a house for his sister (though it was not cone-shaped).

The house referred to is the Haus Wittgenstein in Vienna, which still stands, and currently houses the cultural department of the Bulgarian Embassy.

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