Poésies. Dichtungen [– II].

[Frankfurt,] S. Fischer, 1959–68.

2 vols., large 8vo, pp. 387, [1]; 196, [2]; text in French with German translation on facing pages; a very good copy in the original publisher’s cloth, with dust-jackets and original card slipcases.


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First edition of Celan’s translations of poems by René Char, with a preface by Albert Camus. Celan’s translations, Hypnos. Aufzeichnungen aus dem Maquis (‘Feuillets d’Hypnos’) and Einer harschen Heiterkeit (‘A une sérénité crispée’), appear in the first volume. Other translators who worked on the project include Johannes Hübner, Lothar Klünner, Jean-Pierre Wilhelm (who also edited volume I), and Gerd Henniger.

Celan had befriended Char in 1954, working with him on his Maquis notebooks. ‘When these tranlations came out, the Frenchman gave his translator an offprint, inscribing it “À Paul Celan, à qui je pensais” (To Paul Celan, of whom I was thinking) – the perfect tribute, as though a Resistance testament was looking ahead to its (German-speaking!) translator’ (Felstiner, p. 137).

Wilpert/Gühring 23.

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