Wallstein Verlag

Christine Lavant

Poems from the Literary Estate

Edited by Fabjan Hafner and Doris Moser, in cooperation with Brigitte Strasser. With an epilogue by Doris Moser

654 pages, 12 x 19
ISBN: 978-3-8353-1393-4 (2017)


German Version

Almost 500 poems by Christine Lavant, most of them hitherto unknown. A unique discovery.

»He who holds back things he needs to write is perhaps like a woman who buries her children for fear that they might not please the good neighbours«, stated Christine Lavant. The poetess from Carinthia wrote around 1800 poems during the course of her life. She published only around a third of them, initially holding back those that had bolder contents or were riskier in a formal sense. After the publication of her third large volume of poetry, »Der Pfauenschrei« (The Cry of the Peacock, 1962), at a time when her poetic voice had almost fallen silent, she no longer wished to have anything to do with publishing. Many of her unpublished poems, unprotected and accessible, point towards the beginnings of Lavant’s writing, with its stunning imagery. It is poetry that Monika Rinck describes as »the amazing transformation of pain and suffering into a great, powerful and sometimes immensely funny body of work.« The third volume of the four-volume edition contains a selection of unpublished poems from all of her creative periods, including the first work »Die Nacht an den Tag« (Day following Night), which was recently rediscovered after having disappeared for a long period of time; although it was typeset in 1948, it was never actually printed. Three quarters of this collection of poems are published here for the first time; the remaining works have featured in various earlier publications of her literary estate.

Christine Lavant (1915 –1973), born in St. Stefan in Lavanttal (Carinthia) as the ninth child of a miner, was a lyricist and narrator. She finished her school education early due to bad health. For decades, she supported the family by knitting. She was awarded the Georg-Trakl Prize (1954 and 1964) and the Grand Austrian State Prize (1970). Since 2014, Wallstein has published an edition of Christine Lavant’s work.
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