On Radio 4, this Friday, the 20th January (at 14:15-15:00) John Banville's play Todtnauberg:

A fictional drama inspired by the meeting between the poet and holocaust survivor, Paul Celan, with the Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger, at Heidegger's mountain retreat in 1967. No record was kept of this momentous meeting in the mountains, and the only mention is an obscure poem by Celan, Todtnauberg, which is the name of Heidegger's place.

It troubled Celan that the man he saw as one of the greatest of modern thinkers, so close to his own work, was a Nazi. One cannot even say 'had been a Nazi' because he never said anything that amounted to a renunciation. Late in life, Heidegger became interested in Celan's work. He attended public readings given by the poet, and in 1967 invited him to his famous Black Forest retreat at Todtnauberg.

Hardly an "obscure poem by Celan", Todtnauberg is a key poem in the Celan canon, but I'm intrigued as to what Banville will make of this.

Readers Comments

  1. I guess they mean 'arcane' rather than obscure.

    Lots of pix of the hutte at Todtnauberg here:

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