Darkness Spoken gathers together Bachmann’s two celebrated books of poetry, as well as the early and late poems not collected in book form. This new, expanded edition contains 129 poems recently released from Bachmann’s archives and which have never before been translated. Twenty-five of these also appear in German in this bilingual edition for the first time anywhere. The addition of these new poems will help expand awareness of Bachmann’s development as a writer, as well as the fact that she continued to write poetry throughout her career, even while developing the ideas for her groundbreaking novels. Just as Bachmann’s Malina sought to expand the possibilities of the novel, Darkness Spoken contains the bedrock of a vision as far reaching as it is indelible, and as uncompromising as it is bound to hope. Through translation of the poems, scholarly notes, and a critical introduction, this volume will supply the foundation necessary to draw attention to Bachmann’s achievement on the part of readers and critics alike.
Ingeborg Bachmann was born in 1926 in Klagenfurt, Austria. She studied philosophy at the universities of Innsbruck, Graz, and Vienna, where she wrote her dissertation on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. In 1953 she received the poetry prize from Gruppe 47 for her first volume, Borrowed Time (Die gestundete Zeit), after which there followed her second collection, Invocation of the Great Bear (Anrufung des großen Bären), in 1956. Bachmann also went on to write short stories, essays, opera libretti, and novels, including The Thirtieth Year, Malina, and The Book of Franza. At the time of her death in a fire in Rome in 1973, Bachmann was at work on a cycle of novels titled Todesarten (Ways of Dying), of which Malina was the first published volume.
Along with her close friend Paul Celan, Bachmann was considered the premiere German language poet of her generation. Her various awards include the Georg Büchner Prize, the Berlin Critics Prize, the Bremen Award, and the Austrian State Prize for literature. Her work remains highly influential to this day, and she is now regarded as a pioneer of European feminism and postwar literature. Influencing numerous writers from Thomas Bernhard to Christa Wolf, Bachmann’s poetic investigation into the nature and limits of language in the face of history remains unmatched in its ability to combine philosophical insight with haunting lyricism.
Peter Filkins has published two volumes of poetry, What She Knew (1998) and After Homer (2002), and has translated Bachmann’s The Book of Franza and Requiem for Fanny Goldmann. He is the recipient of an Outstanding Translation Award from the American Literary Translators Association, and the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. He teaches at Simon’s Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Darkness Spoken, by Ingeborg Bachmann
Darkness Spoken: Collected Poems of Ingeborg Bachmann
from German by Peter Filkins
ISBN 0-939010-84-4 (paper)
5½ x 8¼
688 pages [bilingual German/English]