Wednesday, April 03, 2024

A phrase about Paul Celan and the title of a book by Alfred Bodenheimer

I've been occasionally reading a couple pages in Bertrand Badiou's "Paul Celan. Eine Bildbiographie" (Suhrkamp, 2023). Today, on page 58, in the chapter about Celan's life in Bucharest from Spring 1945 to November 1947, I read a section about how Celan (1920-1970) changed his name in 1947 from Antschel to Celan: "Mit dem Namen des Vaters bruchlos brechen." He broke with his father's name by changing it, but he did so without a break by reversing the Romanian spelling "Ancel" to get "Celan". I was struck by Badiou's expression because a decade ago I translated a book by Alfred Bodenheimer, "Ungebrochen gebrochen. Über jüdische Narrative und Traditionsbildung" (2012), as "Unbrokenly Broken." (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 3 April 2024)

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