Details

ISBN-10: 0872868087
ISBN-13: 9780872868083
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 11/03/2020
Dimensions: 8.10" L, 5.50" W, 0.70" H

Published by City Lights

Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan

Translator: Rosmarie Waldrop
Introduction by: Robert Kaufman
Introduction by: Philip Gerard

Paperback

Price: $15.95 $11.17

Overview

An arresting memoir of the final years and tragic suicide of one of twentieth-century Europe’s greatest poets, published on the centenary of his birth.

“Daive’s memoir sensitively conjures a portrait of a man tormented by both his mind and his medical treatment but who nonetheless remained a generous friend and a poet for whom writing was a matter of life and death.”–The New Yorker

“Jean Daive’s memoir of his brief but intense spell as confidant and poetic confrère of Paul Celan offers us unique access to the mind and personality of one of the great poets of the dark twentieth century.”–J.M. Coetzee

Paul Celan (1920-1970) is considered one of Europe’s greatest post-World-War II poets, known for his astonishing experiments in poetic form, expression, and address. Under the Dome is French poet Jean Daive’s haunting memoir of his friendship with Celan, a precise yet elliptical account of their daily meetings, discussions, and walks through Paris, a routine that ended suddenly when Celan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Seine. Daive’s grief at the loss of his friend finds expression in Under the Dome, where we are given an intimate insight into Celan’s last years, at the height of his poetic powers, and as he approached the moment when he would succumb to the debilitating emotional pain of a Holocaust survivor.

In Under the Dome, Jean Daive illuminates Celan’s process of thinking about poetry, grappling with questions of where it comes from and what it does: invaluable insights about poetry’s relation to history and ethics, and how poems offer pathways into a deeper grasp of our past and present. This new edition of Rosmarie Waldrop’s masterful translation includes an introduction by scholars Robert Kaufman and Philip Gerard, which provides critical, historical, and cultural context for Daive’s enigmatic, timeless text.

“Under the Dome breathes with Celan while walking with Celan, walking in the dark and the light with Celan, invoking the stillness, the silence, of the breathturn while speaking for the deeply human necessity of poetry.”–Michael Palmer, author of The Laughter of the Sphinx

“The fragments textured together in this more-than-magnificent rendering of Jean Daive’s prose poem by this master of the word, Rosmarie Waldrop, grab on and leave us haunted and speechless.”–Mary Ann Caws, author of Creative Gatherings: Meeting Places of Modernism and editor of the Yale Anthology of Twentieth Century French Poetry

“Rosmarie Waldrop’s brilliant translation resonates with her profound knowledge of both Celan’s and Daive’s poetry and the passion for language that she shares with them. The text brings these three major poets together in a highly unusual and wholly successful collaboration.”–Cole Swensen, author of On Walking On

“Rosmarie Waldrop takes up Celan’s question to Jean Daive as her own. I cannot unread her inimitable ease in these pages. This is a book that contends with time.”–Fady Joudah, author of Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance

“Daive’s writing is a highly punctuated recollection, a memoir, perhaps a testimony, but also surely a way of attending to the time of the writing, the conditions and coordinates of Celan’s various enunciations, his linguistic humility. … Celan’s death, what Daive calls ‘really unforeseeable, ‘ remains as an ‘undercurrent’ in the conversations recollected here, gathered up again, with an insistence and clarity of true mourning and acknowledgement.”–Judith Butler, author of The Force of Nonviolence

Author

Read More
Reviews

Praise for Under the Dome:

"Daive's memoir sensitively conjures a portrait of a man tormented by both his mind and his medical treatment but who nonetheless remained a generous friend and a poet for whom writing was a matter of life and death. 'He loves words, ' Daive writes, recalling the two of them working together on translations in Celan's apartment. 'He erases them as if they should bleed.' ... The best way to approach Celan's poetry may be, in Daive's words, as a 'vibration of sense used as energy'–a phenomenon that surpasses mere comprehension."–Ruth Franklin, The New Yorker

"[Under the Dome] is as valuable for its insights into Celan the man as for the light it sheds on his later ars poetica."–Times Literary Supplement

"The dome of Daive's title is the foliage of Paris, especially of the area around the École Normale, where Celan taught. The book, which appeared in French in 1996, records conversations that are literary and philosophical rather than confessional, and Daive writes of the 'charm' of Celan's distance. But we get quite a few glimpses of the agitations of Celan's later life: a 'failed suicide, ' an arrest leading to a period in a psychiatric hospital, the last days of his marriage to Gisèle Lestrange, his death in the Seine."–Michael Wood, London Review of Books

"[Under the Dome's] form aptly mirrors Celan's own: it is composed in short fragments, its style is hallucinatory and obsessive. ... And though it is steeped in melancholy, the memoir also shows Celan absorbed in the quiet happiness of his work. Daive watches from a distance and leaves him undisturbed."–Boston Review

"[E]vocative portrait of the relationship between two significant figures in [France] ... In this narrative on poetry and philosophy, on Kafka and God, on the challenge and futility of using words to express what words cannot express: 'The matter of words. Words as matter. Distance within logic.' ... it's a book that will appeal most to fans of either poet's work and one that could find a home in courses on modern French literature."–Kirkus Reviews

"Rosmarie Waldrop's translation of Daive into English succeeds unequivocally. She manages at once to echo Daive's French and find the resonance of Daive's own echo of Celan's singular German. This is no easy task. ... If we conceive of Daive's original Sous la coupole as a collaboration between two authors, then Waldrop's quiet presence in Under the Dome expands that collaboration to a work of three. ... In this respect, Under the Dome is instructive not only for poets or translators, but for readers, for those of us who also seek connections between words and the world around us."–Reading in Translation

"Daive offers a curbside view of Celan's behaviors. Written two decades after Celan's suicide, Daive's lyrical fragments drift among the cafés and streets of Paris, and are oriented through his engrossed attention to Celan's complex mind ... The two stroll down Boulevard Saint-Michel, cross Boulevard Saint-Germain, and then move onto Place de la Contrescarpe, a square in the city's Fifth Arrondissement where Celan lived and where chestnut and paulownia trees lined the street. 'These trees and their leaves generate–and in turn offer the poet-translators a generative–dome' which inspires the book's title. Yet such walks could be painful for Celan ... But there are also moments of levity and wonder."–On the Seawall

"The book is much more than a recounting or memoire. Rather, it is an evocation of a significant period in both poets' lives, rich in subtle detail and sentiment. ... Daive builds his book from this shared history. Doing so, he tracks in Celan a kind of revelatory attentiveness that Celan's poems embody, the former feeding the latter and vice versa. ... For readers of Paul Celan in English, Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan is a touchstone. For readers unfamiliar with Celan, I suggest they read this book after encountering Celan's poetry, especially in the English translations by Pierre Joris. And then, of course, the pleasure is yours."–Allan Graubard, Leonardo Reviews

"As we follow along with Daive and Celan wandering about Paris like two walking enigmas struck by mutual recognition of the value each of them has to offer the other, the streets, parks, and squares the two meet in and stroll through come to life, with the city playing a central role throughout. Not only providing the physical setting for the scenes of the poets' meetings, but also serving metaphorically for the shelter, literal 'dome', under which their exchanges occurred; permanently stamping Celan's haunting presence upon Daive's imagination. ... Daive and Celan clearly shared a peculiar closeness, one that refuses the professional, yet also resists being entirely personal. Yet it was decidedly poetic–endlessly and compellingly exploring as it does, in poet Robert Duncan's words, 'the sounds and silences of language' where 'creativity in language works.'"–Parick James Dunagan, Caesura

"Jean Daive's memoir of his brief but intense spell as confidant and poetic confrère of Paul Celan offers us unique access to the mind and personality of one of the great poets of the dark twentieth century."–J.M. Coetzee

"An intimate portrait in fragments? An utterly singular memoir? An essay in poetics? A poem in prose? All these and more. This fluid and indefinable work by Jean Daive has never been far from my thoughts since I first read it decades ago. It breathes with Celan while walking with Celan, walking in the dark and the light with Celan, invoking the stillness, the silence, of the breathturn while speaking for the deeply human necessity of poetry. Now, we are fortunate once again to have available Rosmarie Waldrop's pitch-perfect translation in this most welcome new edition."–Michael Palmer, author of The Laughter of the Sphinx

"'The world always remembers poetry, ' says Celan in this staggering epic of talking and silence and walking and translating at tables. It is his poetry that is indeed remembered, however we in the world come to it. The fragments textured together in this more-than-magnificent rendering of Jean Daive's prose poem by this master of the word, Rosmarie Waldrop, grab on and leave us haunted and speechless."–Mary Ann Caws, author of Creative Gatherings: Meeting Places of Modernism and editor of the Yale Anthology of Twentieth Century French Poetry

"Written in the rhythm of walking, and in the very particular rhythm of walking beside Paul Celan, this stunning book-length prose-poem honors not only the great Romanian-born poet but also the life-long love affair with the word that poetry requires. One of the most important poets of post-WWII France, Daive alone has the consummate sensitivity and mastery of nuance needed to make Celan present again and to evoke the rich background of time and place that allows the story to attain its proper historic proportions. Rosmarie Waldrop's brilliant translation resonates with her profound knowledge of both Celan's and Daive's poetry and the passion for language that she shares with them. The text brings these three major poets together in a highly unusual and wholly successful collaboration."–Cole Swensen, author of On Walking On

"'We never talk about Paul Celan, ' certainly not as is done in Under the Dome. In this gem of a poetic memoir, we are as close to breathing and metabolizing the stubborn silences of Paul Celan as it is possible to do so while honoring his life and art. 'Would you translate me?' becomes the code and kernel from which the infinity of Paul Celan's tragic genius unfolds. How else to talk, sing, or communicate with Paul Celan–who died trying to unpave the road on which the ineffable treads–if not through unraveling language? If Paul Celan's life force is genomic, or elemental, it replicates and transfers itself through us like a Spinozan miracle. Rosmarie Waldrop takes up Celan's question to Jean Daive as her own. I cannot unread her inimitable ease in these pages. This is a book that contends with time."–Fady Joudah, author of Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance

"The republication of this arresting translation of Jean Daive's writing about his conversations and encounters with Paul Celan lets us imagine the space and time of Celan's words as they were uttered on the streets of Paris, in its cafes, under the trees, and by the river. Daive's writing is a highly punctuated recollection, a memoir, perhaps a testimony, but also surely a way of attending to the time of the writing, the conditions and coordinates of Celan's various enunciations, his linguistic humility. Yet the words sometimes break free of any context, lingering in a separate space on the page; they follow lived memory, the well-worn interruptions whose repetition finds no resolution. Daive offers small stories, but mainly fragments that follow one another in the wake of the destruction of narrative flow; the tenses change suddenly, putting into a shifting modality of writing a complex memory that refuses to leave a friend. Celan's death, what Daive calls 'really unforeseeable, ' remains as an 'undercurrent' in the conversations recollected here, gathered up again, with an insistence and clarity of true mourning and acknowledgement."–Judith Butler, author of The Force of Nonviolence

More Reviews

Details

ISBN-10: 0872868087
ISBN-13: 9780872868083
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 11/03/2020
Dimensions: 8.10" L, 5.50" W, 0.70" H
Skip to content