Georg Trakl: Eine Biographie by Hans Weichselbaum

By Hans Weichselbaum

Früh endet das Leben des berühmtesten Salzburger Dichters: Georg Trakl stirbt mit 27 Jahren am three. November 1914 in Galizien an einer Überdosis Kokain. Die vorliegende Biographie enthält neue Entdeckungen, die bisherige biographische Darstellungen korrigieren. Hans Weichselbaum erzählt die schwierige Lebensgeschichte eines begabten jungen Mannes, beginnend mit der Übersiedlung der Familie nach Salzburg, wo den Trakls der gesellschaftliche Aufstieg gelingt. Kurz nach der Jahrhundertwende beginnt Georg Trakl mit frühen literarischen Versuchen, es sind – ganz ungewöhnlich für den späteren Lyriker – Theaterstücke. Etwa in die gleiche Zeit fallen auch erste Experimente mit verschiedenen Drogen, von denen Trakl Zeit seines Lebens nicht mehr loskommen wird. Nach Ausbruch des Ersten Weltkriegs 1914 meldet er sich freiwillig als Sanitäter. Die erlebten Gräuel der Schlacht bei Grodek stürzen ihn in Verzweiflung, ein Nervenzusammenbruch und Suizidversuch lassen ihn selbst zum Opfer werden. Hans Weichselbaum führt die Lebensgeschichte des Salzburger Expressionisten Trakl mit neuen Forschungserkenntnissen zusammen. Die Biographie wurde aus Anlass von Trakls a hundred. Todestag neu überarbeitet.

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Much o f this work proved helpful in revising and fine-tuning the translations— something I keep doing today and will no doubt keep doing in the future. 36 The detailed narrative o f the various stages o f this project is not meant to propose the count o f years and the accumulation o f versions as proof o f quality; to the contrary: it is meant to relativize the very notion o f a definitive, final translation. Any given stage was as definite a translation as I could make at that time, and next years version would no doubt be different from this one.

Reality for Celan, maybe more so than for any other poet this century, was the word, was language. Radically dispossessed o f any other real­ ity he set about to create his own language— a language as absolutely exiled as he himself. e. to find a similarly current English or Am eri­ can “ Umgangssprache”— would be to miss an essential aspect o f the poetry, the linguistic under-mining and displacement that creates a multi-perspectivity m irror­ ing and reticulating the polysemous meanings o f the work.

Von un getrau m tem 4 geatzt, wirft das schlaflos durchwanderte Brotiand den Lebensberg auf. Aus seiner Krume knetest du neu unsre Namen, die ich, ein deinem gleichendes Aug an jedem der Finger, abtaste nach einer Stelle, durch die ich mich zu dir heranwachen kann, die helle Hungerkerze im Mund. By t h e u n d r e a m t etched, the sleeplessly wandered-through breadland casts up the life mountain. From its crumb you knead anew our names, which I, an eye similar to yours on each finger, probe for a place, through which I can wake myself toward you, the bright hungercandle in mouth.

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