Paul Celan’s Collection of Poetry “Poppy and Destiny”: the Story of a Literary Breakthrough




Paul Celan, “Poppy and Destiny”, poetic debut, composition and structure of a poetic collection, cyclization, leitmotifs, intertextual links, literary breakthrough


The article under studies traces the poetic and publishing genesis of Paul Celan’s collection of poetry “Poppy and Destiny”. The latter collection has made its way under extremely hard circumstances; however, it has eventually become a real literary breakthrough and the young author’s greatest poetic success. On the other hand, at first the poet published large collections of his texts in renowned German-language press (“Plan”, “Die Tat”). Later, he tried many times to carry out his literary debut in the form of a book. The early stages of “Poppy and Destiny” include several handwritten text collections (“Typoscript”, 1944; “Manuscript”, 1945), in which the young author prepared and gradually implemented the concept of his collection. The culmination of this hard work was the Viennese collection “The Sand from the Urns” (1948), which Celan soon destroyed due to numerous typographical errors. Nevertheless, he never rejected it, yet he conscientiously revised the poems, including a good half of them into the manuscript of the new collection “Poppy and Memory”. At a meeting of the literary “Group 47” in Niedorf (1952), he finally managed to get in touch with the Stuttgart publishing house “Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt”, which regarded his collection as an innovation in post-war German poetry, as well as promptly published it on Christmas Eve of 1952. The publication of the collection soon became a literary sensation and laid the cornerstone of the poet’s later fame in the German and European cultural space.

Author Biography

Петро Рихло, Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University

Department of World Literature and Theory of Literature

Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University

2 Kotsiubynsky str., 58002, Chernivtsi, Ukraine


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How to Cite

Рихло, П. “Paul Celan’s Collection of Poetry ‘Poppy and Destiny’: The Story of a Literary Breakthrough”. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 107, June 2023, pp. 115-27, doi:10.31861/pytlit2023.107.115.



Literature: Markers of Success