Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan by Jean Daive
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.
Year first published: 2020