Re: [Cz-L] Todesfuge dreams

From: Sylvia de Swaan <>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:26:38 -0400
To: David Glynn <>
Reply-To: Sylvia de Swaan <>

whole books have been written about this poem [Sylvia de Swaan]

On Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 10:43 AM, 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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