Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I began this project in 1996, soon after my arrival in Baltimore. I was able to conceive the framework for the study in 2000 and 2001 thanks to a generous grant from the American Association for University Women. I cannot begin to thank my colleagues and graduate students at Johns Hopkins for all their support. I could not have wished for a livelier or more intelligent set of inter- ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-13

For all the philosophical intensity of Celan’s poetry, the vocabulary in his work remains astonishingly concrete. References to botany, alchemy, cartography, and biology abound in his work. This study traces the presence of three scientific discourses in Celan’s texts: geology, astrology, and anatomy—what could also be called the sciences of the earth, the heavens, and the human be- ...

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1. Earth Science

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pp. 14-41

“Du bist, / wo dein Aug ist” (GW, 1:219) (You are / where your eye is)—these lines from the poem “Zu beiden Händen” (On either hand) represent a rare moment in Celan’s work, one in which he names the place of the other as well as identifies the other with the organ of vision. However sparing these lines may be, they nonetheless announce a relation between the other and the eye ...

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2. Stargazing

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pp. 42-78

In his seminal study Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism Gershom Scholem recounts a tale originally from the Talmud but taken up again in the fifth century by a group of Gnostics known as the Merkaba mystics because of their emphasis on the throne of God (merkaba) in the first chapter of Ezekiel. Four rabbis enter paradise and are warned by one not to mistake the marble there ...

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3. The Dismembered Body

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pp. 79-117

Beginning with the collection Atemwende, Celan’s poetry turns increasingly to the human body as a network of nerves, cells, and fibers, which together constitute the nervous system. Phrases such as nerve cells, aortic arches, and stimuli bundles turn up with astonishing frequency in the poems Celan wrote in the mid- and late 1960s, when he was hospitalized numerous times for severe ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 118-122

In the third section of the Origin of German Tragic Drama Walter Benjamin remarks that the symbol was originally a theological concept, although both the classicists and the romantics succeeded in appropriating it for an aesthetic theory based on the autonomy of the subject.1 In so doing they robbed the symbol of what Benjamin calls its “masculine contour.”2 They transformed it from ...

Notes

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pp. 123-140

Bibliography

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pp. 141-148

Index

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pp. 149-154