Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew (Yale Nota Bene)

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9780300089226: Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew (Yale Nota Bene)

"This volume has been long and justly awaited. It is the finest approach to the Celanworld so far available." George Steiner, Times Literary Supplement "John Felstiner... has done a great service to Celan and to his readers... I cannot imagine a better treatment of the subject." John Banville, The Observer "Felstiner is clear, intelligent and quietly erudite... His translations are sensitive to the infinite nuances of Celan's formidably introspective verse. This will surely remain the definitive work on him." Daniel Johnson, The Times "Felstiner is a most sensitive translator of Celan's work, and a perfect guide to its influences." Carole Angier, New Statesman and Society "John Felstiner's book is of inestimable value to anyone wanting to read Celan with understanding." Michael Hofmann, London Review of Books "This long-overdue study illuminates the rich biographical meaning behind much of Celan's spare, enigmatic verse." New Yorker "The book is at once a biography of Celan, a study of his poems, and an account of the author's struggle with translation." Robert Hass, Washington Post Book World"

Vom Verlag:

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 The book also presents hitherto unpublished photos of the poet and his circle.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, Hölderlin, 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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