1887

n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Iconicity as the key to the poetry of Nelly Sachs (1891-1970)

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Abstract

In her poetry Nelly Sachs tried to overcome all obstacles in order to speak about the unspeakable. Words that could adequately embody the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps were lacking. Nevertheless, it was necessary to speak about the experience for the sake of both herself and other victims of the camps. Through her poetry Sachs tests the validity and strength of both traditional images and biblical stories about suffering and grace. Words and images enable her to touch the experiences of people. However, she questions the generally accepted meaning of words in German. Her use of language strives to be different and to draw the attention to both the difficulties and risks of writing authentic words with the necessary symbolic strength. Sachs' mental fragility made her very vulnerable and caused her to walk on the edge of total silence. As a consequence of her vulnerability, she tried with her whole heart to gain Paul Celan's sympathy for her way of writing and efforts to turn the events in the concentration camps into dignified and true poetry. The relationship between Celan and Sachs reveals that the true meaning of poetry in her life was a manner of survival. The differences between the two poets provide insight into the specific poetic laws at work in the poetry of Nelly Sachs.


In haar poësie poog Nelly Sachs om die struikelblokke in haar pad te oorkom en oor die onuitspreeklike te praat. Woorde wat na behore die gruwels van die Nazi-konsentrasiekampe kon beskryf, het nie bestaan nie. Nietemin was dit noodsaaklik om namens haarself en ander slagoffers van die kampe oor die ervaring te praat. In haar gedigte beproef Sachs die geldigheid en kragdadigheid van tradisionele beelde en bybelse verhale oor lyding en genade. Woorde en beelde stel haar in staat om mense se ervarings weer te gee. Sachs bevraagteken egter die algemeen-aanvaarde betekenis van woorde in die Duitse taal. Haar taalgebruik poog om anders te wees en die leser se aandag te vestig op die probleme en die risiko's verbonde aan die skryf van opregte, pretensielose woorde met die nodige simboliese krag. Sachs se psigiese kwesbaarheid het haar besonder broos gemaak en veroorsaak dat sy byna in totale swye verval het. Haar kwesbaarheid het ook tot gevolg gehad dat sy met haar hele hart probeer het om Paul Celan se simpatie te wen vir haar manier van skrywe en haar pogings om die gebeure in die kampe te verwoord in suiwer en waardige poësie. Die verhouding tussen Celan en Sachs toon dat poësie vir haar wesenlik 'n manier was om te oorleef. Die verskille tussen hierdie twee digters verskaf insig in die spesifieke poëtikale opvattings van Nelly Sachs se digkuns.

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/content/literat/32/2/EJC119281
2011-08-01
2016-12-09
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