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Title: Memorialisation and metapoetics in Paul Celan's translations of French surrealist poetry
Author: Ryland, C. A.
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Contrary to assumptions within existing scholarship on Paul Celan's poetics, this thesis demonstrates that surrealist aesthetics were a significant discourse within Celan's poetics, in particular in die theories articulated in his Buchner Prize speech (1960). By mapping the points of convergence and divergence between specific surrealist ideas and particular elements of Celan's poetics, it demonstrates that the most significant point of contact between die two sets of aesthetics lies in the surrealist idea of a sustained tension between the unconscious and conscious realms, and between the past and die present, which elucidates Celan's well-known 'meridian' metaphor. The study thus develops new interpretations of Celan's theories, in particular in its assertion of the primacy of unconscious impulses in Celan's view of poetic language. Its conclusions thereby impact on an understanding not only of the specific status of the surrealist discourse in Celan's aesthetics, but also of the shifting relationship between poetic language and die poet's and readers' conscious and unconscious realities and of the intentional and unintentional cultural encounters that impact on linguistic and literary7 signification. The inquiry' focuses on verifiable and concrete points of contact between Celan's writings and surrealist texts, in the form of his translations of surrealist poems, his poetological notes and his correspondence. Recently published correspondence and theoretical writings by Celan reveal that he considered poetry to be composed in part as a result of unconscious impulses, which become visible during translation. Close readings of Celan's versions of surrealist poems demonstrate that these translations both illustrate and thematise this textual Unconscious, and so exhibit the metapoetic content of Celan's translations. By focusing in particular on the surrealist aspects of the original poems translated by Celan, and on Celan's transformation of these features into metapoetic figures, these readings therefore demonstrate the poetological significance of Celan's encounter with surrealism, and culminate in a new conceptualisation of his poetics of translation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available