ReadySteadyBlog

Apropos the publication of his play Conversation in the Mountains (which Pierre Joris described here on RSB as "absolute awful drivel"), TEV asks John Banville "What first inspired you to write about the meeting between Celan and Heidegger?"


Well, I’ve always been fascinated by the thought of these two extraordinary figures encountering each other—the philosopher who had been a Nazi, the poet whose parents had been destroyed in a Nazi work camp—at the famous “hut” in the Black Forest. The meeting took place on July 25th, 1967, the day after a reading by Celan in Freiburg which Heidegger had attended. The conversation in the hut was not recorded, and neither man gave an account of it. Hans-Georg Gadamer, the philosopher, later reported that Heidegger had told him that “in the Black Forest, Celan was better informed on plants and animals than he himself was.” Besides the flora and fauna, did they talk about the war, about Nazism and Heidegger’s refusal publicly to account for, much less apologise for, his membership of the Party? I could not resist speculating (more...)

Readers Comments

  1. Hi Mark,
    imagined meetings between historical figures are always fun - often much more satisfying than when it happens in real life. I just read an amazing one (imagined meeting) in Artificial Respiration by Ricardo Piglia: Kafka meets Hitler in an Austrian café before the First World War:
    (my translated précis from memory so wildly inaccurate)

    'Kafka listened to this failed artists' ideas in horror, he knew that if it was possible to imagine such things, it was inevitable that they would one day come to pass'

  2. Those meetings seem to tend to amount to something like Joyce met Proust and asked him to pass the salt, which Proust did & Joyce thanked him.
    Though then again there's Gauguin & Van Gogh holed up in the Yellow House. Dostoevsky & Turgenev in Baden-Baden.

  3. Hello Mark,

    Maybe they chopped wood together whilst talking about Holderlin?

    Lee.

Leave a Comment

If you have not posted a comment on RSB before, it will need to be approved by the Managing Editor. Once you have an approved comment, you are safe to post further comments. We have also introduced a captcha code to prevent spam.

 

 

 

Enter the code shown here:   [captcha]

Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above image, reload the page to generate a new one.