Poems of Paul Celan

Poems of Paul Celan

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The first Anvil edition of this book was awarded the EC's inaugural European Translation Prize in 1990. Paul Celan is among the most important German-language poets of the century, and, in George Steiner's words, 'almost certainly the major European poet of the period after 1945.' He was born in 1920 into a Jewish family in Bukovina, a German enclave in Romania which was destroyed by the Nazis. His parents were taken to a concentration camp in 1942, and did not return; Celan managed to escape deportation and to survive. After settling in Paris in 1948, he soon gained widespread recognition as a poet with the publication of his first collection of poems in 1952. Language, Paul Celan said, was the only thing that remained intact for him after the war. His experiences of the war years and of the loss of his parents are the recurrent themes of his poetry. In the end they led as well to his suicide by drowning in 1970.
This third Anvil edition of Michael Hamburger's selected translations now includes the previously uncollected longer poem "Wolf's Bean", several additional short poems, and the essay "On Translating Celan" in which he discusses the challenges faced over many years in his engagement with Celan's poetry. The first Anvil edition of this book was awarded the EC's inaugural European Translation Prize in 1990.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 137.16 x 218.44 x 40.64mm | 1,111.3g
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • English, German
  • Revised ed.
  • 085646399X
  • 9780856463990
  • 325,759

Review quote

"How am I to proceed? The self-evident impulse is to say, 'Go and buy this book. Insist that your bookstore order it if it has not yet done so. Borrow it from a friend while you wait for your own copy. Steal it if you must. But, now that Celan is in some measure available in English, let him enter your life. At risk. Knowing that he will change it." - GEORGE STEINER, THE NEW YORKER "Michael Hamburger has been translating Celan for many years... his translations have acquired a legendary status as some of the best of the century." - PETER FORBES, THE INDEPENDENT "I'm reading the Anvil Press edition of the poems of Paul Celan, a very great poet whose work I didn't know. It sends shivers down my spine - it's terrible, moving, extraordinary, and changes your ideas about language." - A.S. BYATT, THE SUNDAY TIMES "Celan stands within the tradition of Holderlin and Rilke and it seems the common judgement of competent critics that his achievement is not less than theirs... Michael Hamburger's translation is a great achievement also... It is a memorable volume and will influence our moral outlook and the practise of poetry for a long time to come." - THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS "In poetry the event of the year for me was Poems of Paul Celan, translated by Michael Hamburger (Anvil Press): difficult but immensely rewarding work, superbly rendered into English." - JOHN BANVILLE, THE SUNDAY TIMES"
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About Paul Celan

Michael Hamburger is the foremost translator of German poetry into English. He knew Paul Celan personally. He received the Goethe Medal of the German Federal Republic, for services to German literature, and won the European Community's first ever European Translation Prize for this book.
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Rating details

3,679 ratings
4.39 out of 5 stars
5 60% (2,209)
4 25% (929)
3 11% (390)
2 3% (104)
1 1% (47)
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