“Language, You are Sacred”: Reflections on Language in German Poetry of Bukovyna Cover Image

„Sprache, du heilige“: Sprachreflexionen in der deutschen Dichtung der Bukowina
“Language, You are Sacred”: Reflections on Language in German Poetry of Bukovyna

Author(s): Petro Rychlo
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature, German Literature, Ukrainian Literature
Published by: Чернівецький національний університет імені Юрія Федьковича
Keywords: German language and origin of German literature in Bukovyna; Chernivtsi; regional literature; dissolution of the Habsburg monarchy; Romanization; reflections on language; Holocaust;

Summary/Abstract: The article examines the historical and cultural role of the German language in Bukovyna, where it was official and spoken between 1875 and 1918, and even after the dissolution of the Habsburg monarchy, it still functioned in this region at various levels for some time. In Bukovyna and especially in its capital, Chernivtsi, this led to the emergence of the German literature, which dates back to the middle of the 19th century. Originally perceived as “regional literature”, it soon developed, primarily in the field of lyrical poetry, into a respectable literary phenomenon that in the interwar period reached its peak in the work of such poets as Alfred Margul-Sperber, Rose Ausländer, David Goldfeld, Alfred Kittner, Moses Rosenkrantz, Immanuel Weissglas, Paul Celan, Alfred Gong, Selma Meerbaum-Eizinger and others. As a result of the progressive Romanization of the region and the threat of a complete loss of the mother-tongue, many German-Jewish poets in Chernivtsi turn to the linguistic perspective that they often themetize in their verses in the tragic key. After the Holocaust and emigration from Bukovyna, for the exiled poets the native language turns into a kind of a synonym for homeland (“motherland word”). The article analyzes linguistic reflections of the Chernivtsi German-speaking authors as a strategy of cultural and existential survival.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 96
  • Page Range: 25-39
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: German