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50th Anniversary of the Death of Paul Celan on April 20, 2020

20.04.2020

Paul Celan was born on November 23, 1920 as Paul Antschel, the only son of German-speaking, Jewish parents in Czernowitz. In 1938, Celan began his medical training in France but returned to Romania one year later in order to study Romance philology. In 1942, Paul Celan’s parents were deported. His father died of typhus in a camp, his mother was shot. Celan himself was forced to do hard labour in various Romanian labour camps from 1942 to 1944. He met Ingeborg Bachmann in Vienna in 1948 and from the liaison of the two developed a correspondence (posthumously published in Herzzeit) that continued for many years. In July of that same year, he moved to Paris where the poet lived until his death. In Paris he also met the artist Gisèle de Lestrange in 1951 and married her one year later. Their son Eric was born in 1955. Paul Celan took his own life in 1970.

He is one of the most important, most interpreted German-language authors of the twentieth century, »arguably the greatest European poet in the postwar period« (Mark M. Anderson, The New York Times), for writing some of the most intriguing, paradoxical, pure and unique poems in the German language. He was also a prolific translator, having brought into German works by Shakespeare, Dickinson, Rimbaud, Valery, Char, Mandelstam and others.

Suhrkamp Verlag most recently published »an entirely personal matter«. Letters 1934-1970 and a new complete and annotated edition of Celan’s poems. His works have been translated into many languages.


»Celan's language – peculiar, idiosyncratic, transformational, at times almost incomprehensible – seems the only one capable of absorbing and expressing a world changed by the Holocaust. His language and poetry issue from the urgent need to communicate, to speak the truth that lies in deeply ambiguous metaphors.« Rika Lesser, The New York Times

Correspondence
Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs
Correspondence
Correspondence
Paul Celan, Gisèle Celan-Lestrange
Correspondence
Poems
Paul Celan
Poems
Herzzeit
Ingeborg Bachmann, Paul Celan
Herzzeit