Schwarzmaut, translated by Mark Goldstein as Blacktoll, was inscribed by Paul Celan sometime after January 30, 1967, the date on which he first tried to kill himself “with a knife (or a letter-opener) that missed his heart by an inch.” The suspected cause, among many forces, was a “chance encounter at a literary event at the Paris Goethe Institute on January 25 with Claire Goll, the widow of the poet Yvan Goll, who some years earlier had wrongly accused him of plagiarizing her husband’s poetry, causing Celan’s first psychic collapse.” At the time of his suicide attempt Celan was “saved by his wife in extremis, and transported to Hôpital Coucicaut where he was operated on immediately” as his left lung was severely damaged. From mid-February until mid-October he was interned at the Sainte-Anne psychiatric hospital, where Schwarzmaut was written. Subsequently, it was first published by Brunidor, along with engravings by Gisèle Celan-Lestrange, in a limited edition of 85 copies under the title “Schwarzmaut” in March 1969. In 1970, published by Suhrkamp Verlag, it became the opening cycle of Lichtzwang just three months after Celan’s death. This edition, published by Beautiful Outlaw, matches the first edition print-run and is limited to 85 copies.
Blacktoll: 5.125 X 7 inches, 36 pages, hand sewn into felt weave wraps, with flaps
Beautiful Outlaw, 2013