Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew
Paul Celan, Europe's most compelling postwar poet, was a German-speaking, East European Jew. His writing exposes and illumines the wounds that Nazi destructiveness left on language. John Felstiner's sensitive and accessible book is the first critical biography of Celan in any language. It offers new translations of well-known and little-known poems--including a chapter on Celan's famous "Deathfugue"--plus his speeches, prose fiction, and letters. The book also presents hitherto unpublished photos of the poet and his circle.
Drawing on interviews with Celan's family and friends and his personal library in Normandy and Paris, as well as voluminous German commentary, Felstiner tells the poet's gripping story: his birth in 1920 in Romania, the overnight loss of his parents in a Nazi deportation, his experience of forced labor and Soviet occupation during the war, and then his difficult exile in Paris. The life's work of Paul Celan emerges through readings of his poems within their personal and historical matrix. At the same time, Felstiner finds fresh insights by opening up the very process of translating Celan's poems.
To present this poetry and the strain of Jewishness it displays, Felstiner uncovers Celan's sources in the Bible and Judaic mysticism, his affinities with Kafka, Heine, H lderlin, Rilke, and Nelly Sachs, his fascination with Heidegger and Buber, his piercing translations of Shakespeare, Dickinson, Mandelshtam, Apollinaire. First and last, Felstiner explores the achievement of a poet surviving in his mother tongue, the German language that had passed, Celan said, "through the thousand darknesses of deathbringing speech."
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - kieren_valente - LibraryThing
To my great regret I came to the poetry (and the life story behind so much of it) of Paul Celan somewhat late in life, unpardonably late, even. But from the moment I did I knew that this was not just ... Read full review
Paul Celan: poet, survivor, JewUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Celan (1920-70) is one of the great poets of this century. His world reputation rests on two aspects: he is a major German poet, and he is the preeminent poet of the destruction of European Jewish ... Read full review
Loss and the Mother Tongue 192043
A Fugue after Auschwitz 194445
Song in the Wilderness 194548
German Author in Exile 194853
Saying No To Say Yes 195354
Words That Will Not Heal 195457
Only Language through Memory 1958
Translation Counterpoint 196163
Etching and Alchemy 196365
Crossing into Hebrew 196567
Prophecy out of Exile 1967
An Embabeled Tongue 196869
To Name Jerusalem 1969
A Question of Last Things 1970