RE: [Cz-L] Todesfuge dreams

From: Edgar Hauster <>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:36:14 +0200
To: David Glynn <>, "" <>
Reply-To: Edgar Hauster <>


Let us welcome David Aaronovitch among Paul Celan's fan base; it's never too late to join. Despite some inaccuracies, he referred to Anselm Kiefer's paintings available at

especially to "Dein goldenes Haar, Margarete"

and "Dein aschenes Haar, Sulamith"

and to the first pubication of the Romanian version of the "Deathfugue", i. e. "Tangoul Mortii":

Finally, the contrapuntal interpretation of Margarete - Sulamith is in line with established exegesis.

Edgar Hauster
Lent - The Netherlands

> From:
> To:
> Subject: [Cz-L] Todesfuge dreams
> Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:43:15 +0100
> There was an interesting piece in "The Times" last Monday 13th October, in
> David Aaronovitch's "Notebook" column.
> ********************
> “The paradox of Germany, in paint and poetry”
> Someone opens a door for you, hands you a thread like Ariadne’s and you
> follow it, having no idea where it leads. Last Thursday the British Museum
> let me in early to the “Germany: Memories of a Nation” exhibition, which
> opens this week. It is not a huge Tutankhamun of a display, but intimate
> with relatively few objects and pictures, each acting as a portal to a
> bigger thought beyond.
> The beginning of one thread is a small, beautiful picture by the artist
> Anselm Kiefer, who turns 70 next year. It is of yellow corn against a
> darkening sky and Kiefer has painted through the corn, in black, the words
> “dein goldenes haar, Margarethe” – your golden hair, Margarethe.
> Who was Margarethe? The caption told me that the line was from a poem and a
> poet I’d never heard of, “Todesfuge” (“Death Fugue”) by Paul Celan.
> When I got home I followed the thread. Celan was a Romanian Jew. As a
> young man he and his family had been sent to the camps and only he survived.
> In 1945, the year Kiefer was born, Celan wrote “Todesfuge”; it was published
> three years later and it has disrupted my autumn.
> Margarete (Celan spells it without the “h”) is, I imagine, a German beauty,
> with the same name as the woman whom the anti-hero of Goethe’s “Faust”
> loves. Shulamith is a Hebrew name. The final five lines read: “a man lives
> in the house your golden hair Margarete/ he sets his pack on to us he grants
> us a grave in the air/ he plays with the serpents and daydreams death is a
> master from Germany/ your golden hair Margarete/ your ashen hair Shulamith”.
> Since Thursday this is all I can think about; this being the paradox of 20th
> century Germany – “der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland” – and of the
> idealistic terrorist. It’s how desire and horror can coexist, how the
> killer can be a romantic, how we and everyone we love can become ash because
> of someone else’s dream. And now – if you’d never heard of Celan either –
> the thread is in your hand.
> ********************
> "Todesfuge" of course we know well. But I would be very interested to hear
> anyone's thoughts or reactions to this piece.
> Best wishes to all,
> David
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Received on 2014-10-20 18:52:27

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