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From the Publisher
"This innovative study of the works of Baudelaire and Celan opens a new window on the history of modern identity in western culture."—Germanic Notes and Reviews
The two poets share a feature that seems to block their placement in such an easy chronological or historical scheme: each accounts for an experience that will not fully enter memory, but dissipates in the mind in the form of trauma, fragments, and shock. While Baudelaire, as Paul Valéry ...
The two poets share a feature that seems to block their placement in such an easy chronological or historical scheme: each accounts for an experience that will not fully enter memory, but dissipates in the mind in the form of trauma, fragments, and shock. While Baudelaire, as Paul Valéry was the first to show, explores the trauma of the minute personal shocks of everyday existence in modern life, Celan engages with the catastrophic magnitude of the Holocaust and how it has altered our understanding of history. Can we relate the shocks registered in Baudelaire's poems to the historical horror addressed in Celan's work without denying either the singularity of suffering and loss or the uniqueness of the historical event of the Shoah?
Drawing on trauma studies and Holocaust research, Remnants of Song challenges existing interpretations of Baudelaire and Celan by constantly holding in view both the aesthetic dimension of their works and their historical import. The author demonstrates that the act of engaging with a poem on its own terms may serve as an important model for an ethical response to the radical experiences of trauma. Answering Adorno's famous dictum that there can be no poetry after Auschwitz, he shows that Celan's poetry continues to posit its own truth by drawing on Baudelaire as a precedent—yet it does so in ways that have little to do with conventional understandings of history.
|List of Illustrations|
|Note on Editors and Translations|
|Introduction: On the Margins of Modernity||1|
|Pt. I||The First Modern Poet: Charles Baudelaire|
|1||The Experience of Freedom||27|
|2||The Setting of Experience||67|
|3||Blindness and the Sky||108|
|Straitening: Poetry of Imposition / Poetics of Exposition||156|
|Pt. 2||The Last Modern Poet: Paul Celan|
|4||Laying Language Bare||169|
|5||Landscape and Memory||211|
|6||Frames of Experience||256|
Posted June 11, 2001
This is one remarkable book, just the kind of thorough study of Baudelaire and Celan that we need at the present time when so much around us is bleak and terrible, frightening and sinful. If ever there was a time for closing the gap between literary criticism and new age spirituality, then the time is now, and Baer's book is a vital step in that direction. But don't get me wrong - this is a book that can be enjoyed by people of all faiths. Bless you Mr. Baer!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.