The Suhrkamp Verlag series of the great Romanian-born Jewish poet Paul Celan’s letters has received worldwide attention. Among the avid readers was an 81-year-old Austrian-born historian of anthropology, Britta Rupp-Eisenreich, long resident in France, where she publishes on ethnology and related subjects.
Eisenreich recently decided to speak up about her own secret nine-year love affair, starting around 1952, with Celan. Under the name Brigitta Eisenreich, she has just published with Suhrkamp “Celan’s Chalk-Star” (“Celans Kreidestern”), the title being an allusion to a Celan poem from the 1963 collection “Niemandsrose” (“No-One’s-Rose”).
In 1952 Eisenreich and Celan met in Paris through Eisenreich’s brother Herbert, an odd author obsessed with nationalism, soccer and model trains, and who wrote a book on the latter subject titled “Big World on Small Tracks.”