We Exchange Dark Words is a gripping and authoritative introduction to these two outstanding poets as well as to the historical circumstances of their influential oeuvres.
Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan met in Vienna in the spring of 1948, when they were both still young and unknown poets. They embarked upon a passionate love affair which, despite its brevity, shaped their lives and writing until the early 1960s, during which time they became two of Europe’s most important literary figures. Böttiger’s book follows this pair of fragile souls in their personal lives, including their failed attempts to live together, as well as in their literary journeys. He offers an insightful portrayal of the poets’ personalities, of their literary entourage and, more generally, of the reshaping of the intellectual milieu after the end of the Second World War.
This fascinating book has a guaranteed international readership, as both poets are widely read in English translation. Böttiger’s knack for combining biographical information with literary analysis, together with the vivid picture he paints of post-war Europe, cements this title’s appeal.