Tuesday, August 01, 2017
In the NYRB, Christopher Benfey considers Trakl.
In a long essay translated as “Language in the Poem: A Discussion on Georg Trakl’s Poetic Work” (1953), Heidegger rejected biographical interpretation, claiming instead to be in search of what he called “the site,” the proper “placing,” of Trakl’s work. “To an age whose historical, biographical, psychoanalytical, and sociological interest is focused on bare expression, such a procedure must seem patently one-sided, if not wayward,” he wrote. Heidegger immediately made the sweeping claim that all Trakl’s poems are in fact fragments of one single poem. For his own elucidation, he chose lines from all over Trakl’s work, linked by such key words as “blue” or “sister” or (a big one) Untergang (descent).
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