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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - The trace of Jewish suffering in Johannes Bobrowski's poetry

Volume 30, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
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Abstract

Johannes Bobrowski (1917-1965) is a significant German modernist poet and novelist whose work directly engages the problematic question of German "Schuld" (guilt) in respect of the Holocaust. Although Bobrowski's poetry not only deals with the German-Jewish question, but with universal themes of history, memory and trauma, he is largely unknown in the Anglophone world, partly because of his isolation in communist East Germany at the time. This article seeks to trace Bobrowski's nuanced and complex engagement with German history and his own personal implication in the genocide through a detailed analysis of his most significant "Jewish" poems. A key idea for Bobrowski was the need for memory and direct engagement with the traumatic past, as this offered the only hope for redemption. The article presents a number of original English translations of these symbolist and hermetic poems, and thereby makes Bobrowski's writing available to a wider range of readers.


Johannes Bobrowski (1917-1965) is 'n belangrike modernistiese Duitse digter en romanskrywer wie se werk direk handel oor die problematiek van Duitse "Schuld" (skuld) oor die Jode-vervolging. Hoewel Bobrowski se poësie nie beperk is tot die Duits-Joodse vraagstuk nie, maar oor universele temas rondom geskiedenis, herinnering en trauma handel, is hy grootliks onbekend in die Engelstalige wêreld, deels weens sy na-oorlogse isolasie in Oos-Duitsland. Hierdie artikel ondersoek Bobrowski se genuanseerde en komplekse omgang met die Duitse geskiedenis en sy persoonlike medepligtigheid aan die menseslagting deur middel van 'n indringende analise van sy belangrikste "Joodse" gedigte. 'n Kerngedagte by Bobrowski was die noodsaaklikheid van herinnering en direkte betrokkenheid by die traumatiese verlede, omdat dit die enigste hoop op bevryding daarvan bied. 'n Aantal oorspronklike Engelse vertalings van hierdie simbolistiese en hermetiese gedigte word ingesluit om die skrywer se werk vir 'n wyer leserspubliek toeganklik te maak.

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/content/literat/30/3/EJC62112
2009-12-01
2016-12-10

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