Paul Celan  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Paul Celan November 23, 1920 – approximately April 20, 1970) was the most frequently used pseudonym of Paul Antschel, one of the major poets of the post-World War II era. Celan is an anagram of the Romanian spelling of his surname, Ancel.

Poetry after Auschwitz

poetry after Auschwitz

The death of his parents and the experience of the Shoah (The Holocaust) are defining forces in Celan's poetry and his use of language. In his Bremen Prize speech, Celan said of language after Auschwitz that:

Only one thing remained reachable, close and secure amid all losses: language. Yes, language. In spite of everything, it remained secure against loss. But it had to go through its own lack of answers, through terrifying silence, through the thousand darknesses of murderous speech. It went through. It gave me no words for what was happening, but went through it. Went through and could resurface, 'enriched' by it all.

It has been written, inaccurately perhaps, that German is the only language that allows (us?) to penetrate the horror of Auschwitz, to describe death from within.

His most famous poem, the early "Todesfuge", commemorating the death camps, is a work of great complexity and extraordinary power, and may have drawn some key motives from the poem "Er" by Immanuel Weissglas, another Czernovitz poet. The dual character of Margarete-Sulamith, with her golden-ashen hair, appears as a reflection of Celan's Jewish-German culture, while the blue-eyed "Master from Germany" embodies German Nazism.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Paul Celan" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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