Poetry As Individuality: The Discourse of Observation in Paul Celan

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1st Edition

240 x 160 mm. 184pp ... [In stock in Australia, for immediate delivery]

The most significant European poet of the second half of the 20th century, Paul Celan, viewed poetry as 'the language of an individual that has become form', an individual that is constructed through the act of observation in the poem.

In Poetry as Individuality: The Discourse of Observation in Paul Celan, Derek Hillard argues that individuality is the crux of poetry for Celan because the Holocaust effectively eviscerated the individual. Hillard investigates the core figures of individuality in Celan's poetry and prose: semblance, madness, and the wound. Celan's enigmatic poetry of a depopulated textual universe has perplexed critics.

This book argues that the poetry's figures have a common source - the discourse of observation from the fields of appearance, perception, and the mind.

This volume demonstrates how Celan's poetic figures of illusion eschew conventional surface versus depth relations in favour of clashing forms of repetition - the most prominent yet inscrutable feature of Celan's poetry. Hillard details how Celan's poems uncover in the principle of repetition the necessity to radically alter the word that is now estranged from its source and to project it as an individual. In the poems of illusion the concern is with the ways in which what will appear can do so only in relation to what has already been observed.

At stake in the early poems of madness are distinct images that can offer a defence of the self, while in the middle poems madness is a matter of the smallest units of speech. In the late wound poems the reality of the past is conceived as one that is unobservable, which requires the poem to construct its own cause and effect in its material present. Each figure provides a different way for the poem to observe.

Poetry as Individuality traces a shift in the premises of Celan's poems that has been ignored in the scholarship. In the early poems the individual is located in the animating form of its figures whereas in the later poems the individual entity installs itself in the smallest units of speech, units that secure themselves against destruction and the loss of all meaning.

Hillard offers innovative readings of oft-discussed poems including Celan's 'Holderlin' lyrics, 'Tubingen, January' and 'I drink wine', as well as the Freud-inspired poem ' ... and no kind of peace', along with detailed readings of early texts from the time of 'Deathfugue'. The discussions of poems engage with the philosophy and a range of scientific discourses in works of Binswanger, Heidegger, Freud, and Nietzsche.

This book will appeal to scholars, students, and readers of post-war European literary culture, Holocaust studies, violence and illness studies, and the relation of poetry to the sciences of the mind.

Derek Hillard is Associate Professor of German at Kansas State University.
^ Literary Criticism ^


SKU 9780838757468
Barcode # 9780838757468
Brand AUP
Artist / Author Derek HILLARD

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