To be and to become ...

Caroline de Gündorode (1)

en nostalgique je vagabondais par l'infini.
- C. de G.

a Enrique Molina

La mano de la enamorada del viento
acaricia la cara del ausente.
La alucinada con su «maleta de piel de pájaro»
huye de sí misma con un cuchillo en la memoria.
La que fue devorada por el espejo
entra en un cofre de cenizas
y apacigua a las bestias del olvido.

Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1072)

Caroline de Gündorode

I wandered through the infinite as one who remember

- C. de G.

to Enrique Molina

The hand of the wind's own lover
caresses the face of the absent one.
With "bird skin bag" she who was deceived
flies from herself with a knife in her memory.
And the one devoured by the mirror
enters a casket of ashes
and soothes the beasts of oblivion.

Translated from spanish by Natalie Kenvin, in Penelope Rosemont, Surrealist Women: An International Anthology, (Austin, University of Texas Press, 1998), p.343

Caroline de Gündorode

"En nostalgique je vagabondais par l’infin"
- C. de G.

A Enrique Molina

La main de l’éprise du vent
caresse le visage de l’absent
L’hallucinée à la « valise en peau d’oiseau »
se fuit, la lame d’un couteau dans la mémoire.
Celle qu’un miroir dévora
entre dans un coffre de cendres
calmant les bêtes de l’oubli.

Rebecca Behar, in Alexandra Pizarnik et Paul Celan ou l'hospitalité impossible...

(1)Karoline (Friederike Louise Maximiliane) von Günderrode (Günderode)(1775/80? - 1806) German romantic poet/writer

Günderrode, Karoline von (also Günderode) (Karlsruhe, 1780-1806, Windel, Rhineland), was only six when her father died leaving the family in modest circumstances. At the age of seventeen she was admitted to the evangelical Cronstetten-Hynspergische Damenstift in Frankfurt, where, however, she enjoyed sufficient freedom to entertain social contacts. Her circle of friends included Bettina von Arnim, who in later life reconstructed their close relationship in her epistolary novel Die Günderode (1840), in which she also recalls Karoline's poetic ambitions. They resulted in the volumes Gedichte und Phantasien (1804), Poetische Fragmente (1805), and Melete von Ion (1806, posth.), and appeared under the pseudonym Tian. Some of her poems belong to the best of poetry reflecting inner experience, which she perceived as the basic requirement of the genre when referring to it as the mirror of the soul (Spiegel der Seele). She impresses by her flexible use of form and rhythm, and especially by the controlled and unembellished language with which she relates dreams of passion nurtured in loneliness and bitter frustration, as in the poem ‘Vorzeit und neue Zeit’ (Des Glaubens Höhen sind nun demolieret, / Und auf der flachen Erde schreitet der Verstand / Und misset alles aus, nach Klafter und nach Schuhen. Last stanza).

Deeply in love with Friedrich Creuzer, she took her own life when Creuzer decided against dissolving his marriage. It was, after Brentano and Savigny, the third time that her dream of a lasting attachment had been shattered. Ill at ease in society, she had emancipated herself from stifling conventions and rejected sexual discrimination obstructing women's self-realization. Christa Wolf has promoted renewed interest in her, both in her fiction and as editor of the volume Karoline von Günderode: ‘Der Schatten eines Traumes’ (1979), a selection of poetry, prose, correspondence, and profiles by those who knew her; she has also edited Bettina's novel Die Günderode (1981).

I quote the wise words of Elisabeth Krimmer about Bettina Von Armin and Karoline Günderode correspodence:

[...] Brentano-von Arnim had already given expression to these desires in her epistolary novel Die Günderode(1840), based on her correspondence from 1804 to 1806 with her friend and fellow writer Karoline von Günderrode. In this novel the protagonist’s melancholy springs from a thirst for life which cannot find expression.8 The life of an adolescent girl is compared to a river made of bricks (“ein backsteinerner Fluß”), where the oarsmen attempt in vain to stir up waves. In the Frühlingskranz as well, the young Bettine’s frustration is caused by the fact that the world which surrounds her cannot provide an outlet for her energy, her strength and her courage: To be and to become are two different things, I know it very well, and to become is to feel strength for the real life and to apply it and not just dream of becoming a hero. And this is what often makes me afraid of myself, that I have chosen for myself such a splendid role in the land of fantasy, which I play without danger, but which does not touch reality.—What can I do to be delivered from this exile from reality? (…) For already in Die Günderode the wish to lead a different life was entangled with the wish for a different body. Only an existence as a man or boy could provide Bettine with the means to escape from her unheroic world: “If I should make out your character,” Günderode writes to Bettine, “I would prophesy that, if you were a boy, you would become a hero.”10 In Die Günderode Brentano- von Arnim designs male roles for herself and her friend again and again. She describes Günderode as dominant master and herself as goblin (Arnim 1994: 70). She is the student, her friend the preceptor. Due to a “male” mind, Günderode thinks masculine thoughts: And flames will soar, inspired by the law of your breath, from your soul and ignite in the hearts of youthful generations, who, thinking themselves boyish manly, will never guess that the youth’s breath which lights their breast never came from the mind of man.11

Elisabeth Krimmer, Bettina and Louise: Gender Constructions in Bettina Brentano-von Arnim’s Clemens Brentanos

[Gunderode] hastily opened her gown, and pointed to the spot beneath her beautiful breast. Her eyes sparkled with delight. I could no longer control myself: I broke into loud crying, I fell on her neck, I dragged her down to a seat and sat upon her knee, and wept and kissed her on her mouth, and tore
open her dress, and kissed her on the spot where she had learned to reach the heart.

Bettina von Arnin

· Alejandra read Karoline Günderode poems from a french translation by Armel Guerne: Les Romantiques allemands, (Desclée de Brouwer, 1956 ) .
On September 1972 she committed suicide.
(2) Enrique Molina, surrealist poet, (Buenos Aires, November 2, 1910 - Buenos Aires, November 13, 1997, ). Alejandra Pizarnik's compatriot and friend, he is the author of the poem: "La maleta de piel de pájaro" (bird skin bag). As surrealists poets, they produced disquietlingly, anti-rational poetic images that disrupt positivist and other restrictive ways of thinking and being, thereby provoking all behold them to came to grips with their own inner world and its relation to the external reality.

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