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Edited by Barbara Wiedemann
Translated by Christopher Clark
ISBN: 978 1 878818 37 9
Categories: 20th Century, German
Imprint: Sheep Meadow Press
Published: May 2011
241 x 165 x 15 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
'Divide yourself night
both your irradiated wings
tremble with horror
for I will go
and bring you back the bloody evening'
from Nelly Sachs's last letter to Paul Celan
Here are the letters between Nelly Sachs (1891–1970), recipient of the 1966 Nobel Prize for Literature, and the great German-speaking poet Paul Celan (1920–1970). Their correspondence lasted from 1954 until Celan's death by suicide. Sachs died the day Celan was buried.
What Paul Celan once said of his mother tongue holds as well for Nelly Sachs: 'Reachable, near and not lost, there remained amid the losses this one thing: language. It, the language, remained, not lost, yes in spite of everything. But it had to pass through its own answerlessness, pass through frightful muting, pass through the thousand darknesses of death bringing speech.' Sachs put it this way: 'The frightful experiences that brought me to the edge of death and darkness are my tutors. If I couldn't have written, I wouldn't have survived...my metaphors are my wounds.'
Editor's Notes to the Letters
Annotated Index of Names
Awards won by Paul Celan Winner, 1990 European Poetry Translation Prize (Poems of 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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