O the Chimneys : Selected Poems, Including the Verse Play, Eli: A verse play by Nelly Sachs
Philadelphia : Farrar Straus Giroux, 1967. First Printing. Hardcover. 387 pages ; 21 cm. $7.50 dust jacket. Previous owner signature on flyleaf. No other markings elsewhere. Binding is firm.
NELLY SACHS O THE CHIMNEYS
Selected Poems and the Verse Play, Eli
With an Introduction by HANS MAGNUS ENZENSBERGER
Nelly Sachs was the co-winner, with S. Y. Agnon, of the 1966 Nobel Prize for Literature. This book, containing nearly half of her verse, is her first to be published in the English language. Its title comes from the opening line of the first poem:
0 the chimneys
On the ingeniously devised habitations of death When Israel's body drifted as smoke Through the air . . .
The book includes in its entirety one of her most important poem sequences, Glowing Enigmas, I, II, and III, written in the 1960s; poems from six other collections: In the Habitations of Death, Eclipse of the Stars, And No One Knows How to Go On, Elight and Metamorpho-HSj Journey into a Dustless Realm, and Death Still Celebrates Life; and the complete text of Eli, a mystery play of the sufferings ol Israel. The poetry has been translated by Michael Hamburger, Ruth and Matthew Mead, and Michael Roloff.
The play has been translated by Christopher Holme.
Nelly Sachs was born in Berlin in 1891, and her early work, rooted in the German romantic tradition, underwent a transformation as the Nazis rose to power. When she fled to Sweden in 1940, as she has attested, language was all she had left. She was able to come to terms with so momentous a theme as the murder of her people only because she had recourse to her Jewish tradition. It is this achievement that will guarantee Nelly Sachs a place among the major poets of our time.
As Hans Magnus Enzensberger, the German poet and critic, states in his introduction to O the Chimneys: 'In her Stockholm refuge, Nelly Sachs experienced the genocide of the Final Solution more closely than we who lived near the death camps, and her book remains- the only poetic testimony that can hold its own beside the dumfounding horror of the documentary reports."
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