"Solomon wanted to contribute what he could to understanding the enigma that is Paul Celan—where he came from, how he survived the immediate post-war years, what were his interests, who were his friends, what were the issues that animated and haunted him—he has much to say on this account and he says it with remarkable clarity and humanity. . . . Anyone with an interest in Paul Celan would benefit from the approach taken by Solomon."—Adrian Del Caro, author of The Early Poetry of Paul Celan: In the Beginning Was the Word
"For those already interested in Celan who don't know Romanian, this book offers a perspective that is thoughtful and even intimate at times."—Maria Bucur, author of Heroes and Victims: Remembering War in Twentieth-Century Romania
"Now accessible to an English-speaking readership thanks to Emanuela Tegla's polished translation, Petre Solomon's important and thought-provoking study, with its exploration in particular of the hitherto little researched Romanian dimension post-1945, places challenging emphasis on the significance of historical and autobiographical context as key to a proper understanding of Celan's work even where it may seem bafflingly hermetic."—Ian Wallace, professor emeritus of German, University of Bath
"Solomon's aspiration, so fully and richly achieved here, is to widen and sharpen the lens through which we see Paul Celan's enduring masterpiece."—Jewish Journal
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Paul Celan moved to Bucharest, where he spent more than two years working as a translator at Carta Rusa publishing house. During that time he was introduced to poet and translator Petre Solomon and began a close friendship that would endure many years, despite the distances that separated them and the turbulent times in which they lived. In this poignant memoir, Solomon recalls the experiences he shared with Celan and captures the ways in which Bucharest profoundly influenced Celan’s evolution as a poet. He recounts the publication of the famous “Todesfuge” for the first time in the Romanian magazine Agora and his fertile connection with the Romanian surrealist movement. Through Solomon’s vivid recollection and various letters Celan sent to friends, readers also get an intimate glimpse of Celan’s personality, one characterized by a joyful appreciation of friendship and a subtle sense of humor. Translated from the original, Tegla’s edition makes this remarkable memoir available to a much-deserved wider audience for the first time.
Petre Solomon (1923–1991) was a Jewish Romanian poet and translator. He wrote several volumes of poetry and translated major works by Shakespeare, Byron, Balzac, Melville, and many others. In 1981, he was awarded the Writers' Union Prize for Translation.
Emanuela Tegla is an author and translator. She is the author of The Burden of the Self: Tim Parks, Salman Rushdie and Postmodernism and J. M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Power.
6 x 9, 240 pages