Edited and Translated by David Dollenmayer
Winner of the 2008 Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for Translation.
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"A colorful depiction of Rosenkranz’s quest for identity...an exquisite translation."
"Rosenkranz was born in the Austro-Hungarian province of Bucovina in 1904, and his first volume of poetry was published in 1930. During World War II he was interned in a Romanian labor camp; he escaped in 1944 and was arrested by the Russians in Bucharest in 1947, spending 10 years in the Gulag. He died in 2003. The childhood he describes ended in 1919, and in the decade that followed, Rosenkranz eked out a living as a porter, apprentice printer, tutor, factory worker, graphologist, and translator. He writes of his family, his parents’ home, the horrors of World War I, and his rural life among Jews, Ukrainians, Romanians, Poles, and Germans in Bucovina. He describes what it was like to be an Austrian Jew growing up the son of a nearly illiterate innkeeper. This book, written in 1958, was first published in German in 2003. It is part of Syracuse’s University’s Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music, and Art series and is a moving recollection of his early life."
A celebrated poet’s early years.
Translated from the original Kindheit, written in 1958 and published in German in 2003, David Dollenmayer’s edition makes this remarkable work available to a much-deserved wider audience. Moses Rosenkranz came from impoverished roots in rural Bucovina and gained acclaim for his poetry only late in his life. He survived the same Rumanian fascist work camp as his fellow poet Paul Celan, only to be arrested by the Russians in 1947 and interned in the Gulag for ten years.
With his richly detailed recollections of rural life among Jews, Ukrainians, Rumanians, Poles, and Germans in Bucovina, a colorful parade of characters, and a remarkable eloquence, Rosenkranz recaptures a vanished moment of cultural history. The author’s unvarnished portraits of love, jealousy, and passion in his extensive family bring a fresh resonance to his poetry.
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David Dollenmayer is professor of German at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts and author of The Berlin Novels of Alfred Döblin.
5 1/2 x 8 1/2, 232 pages, notes, bibliography