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Translated by Rosmarie Waldrop
Categories: 20th Century, German
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (68 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2003)
He taught the Law of Gravity, furnished proof after proof, but people turned deaf ears. Then he took off into the air and, floating there, repeated the lesson. Now people believed. But nobody was surprised when he did not come down again.
Paul Celan (1920-1970) stands as one of the greatest post-war European poets, a writer whose painful struggle with the possibilities and limitations of German, his native language, has helped to define the response of poetry in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
Celan's prose is as thought-provoking as, and less familiar than, his poetry. The writings and aphorisms on poetry and art illuminate the sources of his language: he explores the condition of being a stranger in the world, the necessity - and limitation - of discourse, enlarging our understanding of the poet and his vocation. A spare and reluctant prose writer, Celan speaks with a quiet authority that insists on the centrality of poetry in the modern world.
Rosmarie Waldrop's translation remains true to the poetic rhythms of Celan's prose; her introduction sets the pieces in context.
Table of Contents
Introduction - Rosemarie Waldrop
Edgar Jené and the Dream about the Dream
[Reply to a Questionnaire from the Flinker Bookstore, Paris, 1958
Conversation in the Mountains
[Reply to a Questionnaire from the Flinker Bookstore, Paris, 1961
[Letter to Hans Bender
[Reply to a Poll by Der Spiegel
La poésie ne s'impose plus, elle s'expose
Speech on the Occasion of Receiving the Literature Prize of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
[Address to the Hebrew Writers'Association
Introductory Notes to the Translations of Blok and Mandelstam
Awards won by Paul Celan Winner, 1990 European Poetry Translation Prize (Poems of Paul Celan)
Praise for Paul Celan 'The correspondence includes lovely Sachs poems and interesting accounts of their meeting and of contact with other prominent writers of the time. The introduction and afterword are indispensable, as is the entire book.'
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