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Now recognized as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century – Harold Bloom including him in his list of one hundred literary geniuses – Paul Celan left a literary legacy of highest rank. His creative originality was called in question when the “Goll affair” came to public knowledge with all its intricacies and ramifications. Did Celan indeed plagiarize Yvan Goll, Moses Rosenkranz and Immanuel Weissglas? If so, certain critics argued, then he did a great job of it, for he thereby unburied masterpieces which otherwise would have remained forever unknown, anonymous. Be that as it may, the Romanian poet got lost in an endless labyrinth of accusations and rebuttals, which took their toll on his psychic life. The poet, being shattered by accusations of plagiarism coming from every direction and by feelings of guilt for not having done more to save his own parents from the Soviet labor camps, finally broke down mentally. The following paper is an invitation to witness Celan’s irresistible advance towards desperation and final decision to commit suicide by plunging into the Seine. pp. 138–148


Keywords: plagiarism, guilt, aloneness, oblivion

George Gutu
University of Bucharest, Romania

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