Death Fugue


"Todesfuge" (translated into English as Death Fugue and Fugue of Death) is a German language poem written by the Romanian-born poet Paul Celan probably around 1945 and first published in 1948. It is "among [Celan's] most well-known and often-anthologized poems". Despite critics claiming that the lyrical finesse and aesthetic of the poem did not do justice to the cruelty of the Holocaust, others regard the poem as one that "combines mysteriously compelling imagery with rhythmic variations and structural patterns that are both elusive and pronounced". At the same time it has been regarded as a "masterful description of horror and death in a concentration camp". Celan was born to a Jewish family in Cernauti, Romania (now Chernivtsy, Ukraine); his parents died in a camp during the Second World War, and Celan himself was a prisoner for a time in a work camp. The poem has reached international relevance by being considered to be one of the most important poems of the post-war period and the most relevant example of Trümmerliteratur.
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