This session, sponsored by the International Brecht Society at the MLA Convention in Boston (3-6 Jan 2013), aims to uncover the profound affinities between the two poets by challenging certain myths about them: Celan‘s poetry is inaccessible, far removed from concrete material and political space, residing instead in some realm of pure language; Brecht’s poetry is derivative of his dramas, overtly political and deliberately anti-aesthetical in language. Yet there is a common ground. Celan was a careful reader of Brecht’s poetry and much less hermetic and interested in constructs of pure language than one might assume, while there is in Brecht’s poetry a layer of subtle, poetic language. In addition to a linguistic and aesthetic kinship between Brecht and Celan, there are also significant thematic overlaps, such as the concept of kindness, the invocation of a non-metaphysical yet sacred presence of an “other,” etc.
Presenters must become members of the Modern Language Association by April 1, 2012 to participate in the 2013 convention session (www.mla.org)
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