Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World)

Paul Celan’s literary reputation rests exclusively on his poetry. His only piece of prose fiction, if indeed it can be so described, is “Gespräch im Gebirg” (1959), a very short autobiographical story with a religious theme. Celan also wrote an introductory essay for a book containing works by the painter Edgar Jené; this essay, entitled Edgar Jené und der Traum vom Traume, (1948; Edgar Jené and the Dream About the Dream, 1986), is an important early statement of Celan’s aesthetic theory. Another, more oblique, statement of Celan’s poetic theory is contained in his famous speech, “Der Meridian” (1960), given on his acceptance of the prestigious Georg Büchner Prize. (An English translation of this speech, “The Meridian,” is available in the Winter, 1978, issue of Chicago Review.)