Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs: Correspondence

Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs: Correspondence

by Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs
     
 

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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.

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a beautiful book, from the dust cover painting of Rembrandt's Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, which held special significance for Sachs, to the sound translation, scrupulous notes, and dual chronology, revealing intriguing parallels . . . 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.”—Choice

“Even while they lived, Nelly Sachs and Paul Celan seemed to have receded into the remoteness of legends. Both poets lived and wrote outside the borders of the two countries that called themselves German, indeed they lived outside of German-speaking Europe. Both were in exile and tormented; they owed their torment to that 'Master from Germany' who condemned people of their kind to 'the dwellings of death' and 'a grave in the air.' And both had been saved, of course, but they experienced their salvation as guilt.”—The Times (London)

Library Journal
Celan, though he never lived in Germany, gave German poetry one of its distinctive voices following World War II. Sachs, a generation older than he, escaped from Germany to Sweden prior to the war, continued writing in German, and went on to win the Nobel Prize. Both were transformed by the grief caused by the Nazi experience, which led to the loss of close and dear relatives. Their correspondence, presented in this unique collection of 126 pieces extending over a 16-year period starting in 1954, reveals some sadness but a distinct sense of survivorhood. Sachs's "Chorus of the Orphans" was the trigger that moved Celan to write to her. The exchanges that followed were a testimony to their mutual reverence for, and knowledge of, each other's "things." This first English edition includes an extensive editorial notes section and a chronological table juxtaposing the events of their two lives. A valuable addition to comprehensive literature collections. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781878818713
Publisher:
Sheep Meadow Press, The
Publication date:
07/01/1998
Pages:
126
Sales rank:
1,184,382
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

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

Meet the Author

PAUL CELAN was born Paul Ancel of a Jewish family in Romania in 1920. In 1942 his parents were deported and died in an extermination camp. Celan escaped but was in a labour camp until 1944. In 1948 he settled in Paris, where he took up the study of German literature and became a lecturer at the École Normale Supérieur. Paris remained his home until his suicide by drowning in 1970.

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