Bringing Home The Holocaust: Paul Celan's 'Heimkehr' in German and English

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This article considers what it means to read Paul Celan's poem ‘Heimkehr’ with a view to translating it. Reading for translation is understood as a particular type of reading that constructs a poetics of the text as an expression of a particular way of thinking. The importance of etymology, the exploitation of polysemy and homonymy, the use of ambiguity and other stylistic features, are discussed with reference to the historical context of the original and possible counterparts in the translation. Such stylistic features of the poem are shown to be crucial both to a poetic representation of the post-Holocaust situation itself and to the problem of what Holocaust representation can and should do.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222–34
Number of pages12
JournalTranslation and Literature
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Holocaust poetry Paul Celan translation

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