February 13: Paul Celan’s Political, Spiritual and Poetical Anarchies


In his Meridian speech (1960) Paul Celan (1920–1970) pays homage to a dissident tradition, speaking of himself as one “who grew up with Peter Kropotkin’s and Gustav Landauers’ writings” (GW 3 190). In his biography John Felstiner briefly mentions Celan’s affiliation, noting that the poet soon relinquished his communist sympathies but stood loyal to the ethoi of socialism and anarchism (8). This holds true as a point of departure, but a detailed analysis of Celan’s anarchistic impulse is lacking and often downplayed as a youthful lapse with only very minor affinity to Celan’s mature poetics and philosophical reflections.

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