Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew

Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew

by John Felstiner
     
 

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This book is the first critical biography of Paul Celan, a German-speaking East European Jew who was Europe's most compelling postwar poet. It tells the story of Celan's life, offers new translations of his poems, and illuminates the connection between Celan's lived experience and his poetry.

Overview

This book is the first critical biography of Paul Celan, a German-speaking East European Jew who was Europe's most compelling postwar poet. It tells the story of Celan's life, offers new translations of his poems, and illuminates the connection between Celan's lived experience and his poetry.

Editorial Reviews

O. Magazine
John Felstiner's excellent biography is full...of the poems themselve, both in German and in Felstiner's own excellent English translations.
New Yorker
This long-overdue study illuminates the rich biographical meaning behind much of Celan’s spare, enigmatic verse.
Robert Hass
At once a biography of Celan, a study of his poems, and an account of the author’s struggle with translation.
George Steiner
This volume has been long and justly awaited. It is the finest approach to the Celan-world so far available.
Library Journal
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 life. Felstiner's (English and Jewish studies, Stanford Univ.) literary biography is an engagement with Celan as a man and as a poet. His descriptions of the allusions and the translation problems of the great poems "Death Fugue," "The Vintagers," "Tenebrae," and "Stretto" are models of sympathetic reading. Celan's work as a translator (especially of Osip Mandelstam) and his friendship with Nelly Sachs are given the importance they are due. The difficult and hermetic late poems are worked through carefully. Celan was a successor to Hlderlin as a German poet, and as a Jewish poet he was influenced by Buber's ideas of redemption through history and language. Celan killed himself in 1970. Highly recommended for literature collections.-Gene Shaw, NYPL
New York
This long-overdue study illuminates the rich biographical meaning behind much of Celan's spare, enigmatic verse.
John Bayley
[An] admirably detailed and understanding study…sensible and straight forward…John Felstiner's observations and his excellent rendering of reverse…are an immense help to the reader who is trying to get to know the poet.
New York Review of Books
Richard Eder
Celan's splendor has been brought to life, and his silence brought to speech, by a book that is a labor not just of love but of passion.
Los Angeles Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300063875
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
02/27/1997
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
364
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.97(d)

What People are saying about this

Elie Wiesel
Felstiner's book is, on every level, superb: It is essential to anyone interested in the work of one of the greatest and most moving Jewish poets of our turbulent time.
—(Ellie Wiesel)
Denise Levertov
Felstiner is that increasingly rare thing, a critic who loves his subjects and enables readers to show that love by guiding them into a deeper understanding of their residences. This is especially valuable in the case of Celan whose work is at once so inward and such a quintessential artifact of history.
—(Denise Levertov)

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