Paul Celan

»an entirely personal matter« - Letters 1934-1970

Edited and commented by Barbara Wiedemann
Paul Celan
Foto: Paul Celan
© Wolfgang Oschatz

Paul Celan was born in Czernowitz in 1920 and passed away in Paris in April 1970. He is internationally recognized as one of the most important authors of the twentieth century.

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Celan Year 2020 – 100th birthday and 50th anniversary of his death

»Actually, there is nothing I would rather do than write letters.«


Paul Celan’s exceptional oeuvre of letters – half of them unpublished so far: An oeuvre, on par with the poetic works, of immense stylistic range. Biographically insightful and poetologically fruitful.

Paul Celan, the most-interpreted German-speaking poet after 1945, is also the author of an eminent opus of letters. In this edition, it becomes visible as its own oeuvre for the first time: in 691 letters, 330 of them unpublished so far, to 252 addressees. Who are these addressees? They are members of Celan’s family, women he loved, authors he was friends with, young and enthusiastic readers, fellow translators, French philosophers as well as German scholars and the employees of numerous publishing houses. All of these letters create a life in letters in chronological order spanning across four decades.

They show Celan as an exceptional correspondent with an immense stylistic range, distinguished by his ability to defer to strangers. The letters reveal a multitude of thus far unknown biographic facts, allow for the specification of his poetology while showing him as a person in his ordinary everyday life at the same time.

Other publications

Die Gedichte/Poems (2018)

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Herzzeit/Herzzeit (2008)

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English world rights (Seagull), Spanish world rights (Fondo Cultura), Portuguese rights (Antígona), Chinese simplex rights (China Renmin UP), Russia (Ad marginem), France (Seuil), Italy (Nottetempo), Netherlands (Meulenhoff), Denmark (Vandkunsten), Sweden (Ellerströms), Japan (Seidosha), Poland (A5), Czech Republic (Pulchra), Romania (Art), Croatia (OceanMore), Turkey (Kirmizi Kedi), Ukraine (Knihy XXI), Georgia (Ibis), Israel (Hakibbutz Hameuchad)

Briefwechsel/Correspondence (1993)

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English world rights (Sheap Meadow Press), Spanish world rights (Trotta), France (Belin), Italy (Giuntina), Japan (Seiji Biblos), Sweden (Ellerströms), Israel (Keshev)


Sold to:

English world rights (Seagull), Spanish world rights (Siruela), Netherlands (Arbeiderspers)