30 September 2014

Cimetière parisien de Thiais, Val-de-Marne (94), Île-de-France #1: Paul Celan


The large number of stones laid here in tribute are an indication of Paul Celan's fame. Celan (born Paul Pessach Antschel (or Ancel – an anagram of Celan)) was a Romanian poet who wrote in German.

Celan's parents died in an internment camp during World War II, which deeply affected him throughout his life. He was sent to a work camp in Moldavia and freed by the Russians in 1944, changed his name and began earning his living as a translator in Romania. Moving to France, he became reader and translator of German at the ENS.

In 1970 he threw himself into the Seine.

Two important series of letters – the first to his wife Gisèle de Lestrange, the second to Ingeborg Bachmann – were published in 2001 and 2008 respectively.

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