You can hear one of the great German poems of the last century, “Todesfuge” (bilingual text here), read by the author himself here and (in RealAudio, along with his recordings of other poems) here (thanks, Baloney!). It’s quite an experience. Link via Cinderella Bloggerfeller, who also has an amusing riff on the alleged difference between Romanian and its Soviet offshoot Moldavian (Thursday, June 12, 2003, ROMANIAN AND MOLDAVIAN AGAIN; permalinks are, of course, bloggered).


  1. Plenty more here (in downloadable (!) realaudio)

  2. Wow, thanks — I’ll add that link to the post.

  3. Wheew – like you say, an experience! Thanks for the bilingualink for the language-challenged. Such power in that voice.

  4. I first heard that recording at a lecture/reading in San Francisco, when John Felstiner, Celan’s passionate biographer, presented it to a small group of people who came to hear him talk about his then new book, “Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew ” (1995).
    The first publication of “Todesfuge,” according to Felstiner, was in Romanian, in May 1947 … and it was translated by Petre Solomon, as someone already mentioned, I believe.
    Felstiner draws attention to the Hebrew translation of this poem, especially in the pairing of “dusk” and “daybreak” in the opening line. Here is the quote from Felstiner’s book:
    “The antagonism to life embedded in Celan’s opening comes through with extra force in Hebrew translations. For ‘Black milk of daybreak’ they have Chalav shachor shel shachar, using the root shared by shachor (“black”) and shachar (“dawn”) — words spelled the same, [here the Hebrew word inserted by Felstiner in Hebrew characters] with only a vowel sign distinguishing them. In the twinkling of an eye (the Hebrew version implies), dawn can go dark.”

  5. Thanks so very much for this link. It was a supreme pleasure to hear Celan read this poem.

  6. This site certainly deserves to be much more widely known

  7. Thanks for the comment @ caterina.net directing me to this – I must’ve looked right through it when you 1st poted it.

  8. Posted it, even.

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