Re: [Cz-L] Todesfuge dreams

From: Berti Glaubach <>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 22:53:06 +0300
To: David Glynn <>
Reply-To: Berti Glaubach <>

I have some sort of parallel situation here with your Mr.Aaronovitch. He
has not heard about Celan before and I don't know a thing about him,
Aaronovitch, although I suppose he must be well known in Britain. The
thread on the net is of course not perfectly accurate and so is the author
of the article.

To my surprise this thing about Celan's Todesfuge pops up a few hours after
I sent my grand child the Hebrew version of the poem after having read it
with him in German, a language he started to learn a year ago. Talk about
coincidences. I also was surprised that the word spielt in the line with
the serpents was interpreted in the Hebrew translation with mnagen
(performs music) instead (msahek) the translation I gave to my grand child
for playing with the serpents (as performing a game). The Hebrew version of
the poem is very beautiful and one central motive of Celan is the idea of
this mix up of music and death so I suppose there might be a case for this
interpretation. Indeed there is no end in interpreting Celan's poems
although this one is fairly straight compared to many of his later

I suppose the relation from Kiefer's picture to Todesfuge has also some
other connections then Margarethe's hair and the yellow corn. Any ideas?

[Berti Glaubach]

On Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 5:43 PM, David Glynn <> wrote:

> There was an interesting piece in "The Times" last Monday 13th October, i=
> David Aaronovitch's "Notebook" column.
> ********************
> =E2=80=9CThe paradox of Germany, in paint and poetry=E2=80=9D
> Someone opens a door for you, hands you a thread like Ariadne=E2=80=99s a=
nd you
> follow it, having no idea where it leads. Last Thursday the British Muse=
> let me in early to the =E2=80=9CGermany: Memories of a Nation=E2=80=9D ex=
hibition, 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 word=
> =E2=80=9Cdein goldenes haar, Margarethe=E2=80=9D =E2=80=93 your golden ha=
ir, Margarethe.
> Who was Margarethe? The caption told me that the line was from a poem an=
> a poet I=E2=80=99d never heard of, =E2=80=9CTodesfuge=E2=80=9D (=E2=80=9C=
Death Fugue=E2=80=9D) 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 =E2=80=9CTodesfu=
ge=E2=80=9D; it
> was published three years later and it has disrupted my autumn.
> Margarete (Celan spells it without the =E2=80=9Ch=E2=80=9D) is, I imagine=
, a German
> beauty, with the same name as the woman whom the anti-hero of Goethe=E2=
> =E2=80=9CFaust=E2=80=9D loves. Shulamith is a Hebrew name. The final fi=
ve lines read: =E2=80=9Ca
> 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/ you=
> ashen hair Shulamith=E2=80=9D.
> Since Thursday this is all I can think about; this being the paradox of
> 20th century Germany =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9Cder Tod ist ein Meister aus Deuts=
chland=E2=80=9D =E2=80=93 and of
> the idealistic terrorist. It=E2=80=99s 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=E2=80=99s dream. And now =E2=80=93 if you=E2=80=
=99d never heard of Celan
> either =E2=80=93 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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