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Das Briefgeheimnis: Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan's Poetics of Correspondence

JAMES, ALICE,LOUISE (2015) Das Briefgeheimnis: Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan's Poetics of Correspondence. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan are two of the foremost German-language poets of the post-1945 era. Celan, a Jewish poet whose parents were murdered in the Holocaust, and Bachmann, the Austrian daughter of a National Socialist, both sought a way to write after atrocity. Both writers struggled to use German as a poetic medium in their poetry and prose, as language appeared to have been poisoned through its association with National Socialism. Wider cultural concerns such as Theodor Adorno's dictum that to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric influenced the post-catastrophic literary landscape. In 1958, Celan famously compared writing poetry after 1945 to sending out a message in a bottle. This metaphor characterizes his dialogic approach to writing poetry. Famously, Bachmann and Celan carried out a poetic dialogue in their published work as they shared motifs and themes which they reinterpreted in their own works. From the time that Bachmann and Celan first met in Vienna in 1948, they began exchanging letters and poetry until Celan's death in 1970. In 2008, the letters that Bachmann and Celan exchanged between 1948 and 1967 were published for the first time in the volume Herzzeit. These letters provide new insights into the authors' struggle to find a viable mode of expression after 1945, and how they sought to overcome these problems through constructing a dialogue. This thesis will argue that Bachmann and Celan continued their poetic dialogue in some of the letters and that these letters serve as a poetic form in their own right.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 May 2015 09:40

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