Duino Elegies

Overview

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelic
orders? and even if one of them pressed me
suddenly to his heart: I'd be consumed
in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we can just ...

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Duino Elegies: A Bilingual Edition

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Overview

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelic
orders? and even if one of them pressed me
suddenly to his heart: I'd be consumed
in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we can just barely endure,
and we stand in awe of it as it coolly disdains
to destroy us. Every angel is terrifying.
-from "The First Elegy"

Over the last fifteen years, in his two volumes of New Poems as well as in The Book of Images and Uncollected Poems, Edward Snow has emerged as one of Rainer Maria Rilke's most able English-language interpreters. In his translations, Snow adheres faithfully to the intent of Rilke's German while constructing nuanced, colloquial poems in English.

Written in a period of spiritual crisis between 1912 and 1922, the poems that compose the Duino Elegies are the ones most frequently identified with the Rilkean sensibility. With their symbolic landscapes, prophetic proclamations, and unsettling intensity, these complex and haunting poems rank among the outstanding visionary works of the century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I have been engrossed in English versions of the Duino Elegies for years, and Snow's is by far the most radiant and, as far as I can tell, the most faithful . . . Reading this rendition provided new revelations into Rilke's symbolic landscapes of art, death, love, and time."--Frederic Koeppel, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)

"This translation of the Elegies is the finest that I have ever read . . . Snow has gradually been building a reputation as Rilke's best contemporary translator in English. His version of the Elegies should cement that reputation, and elevate it."--Brian Phillips, The New Republic

Brian Phillips
For a decade and a half...snow has gradually been building a reputation as Rilke's best contemporary translator in English. His version of the Elegies should cement that reputation, and elevate it: Snow may be the best translator that Rilke has ever had.
The New Republic
Booknews
Waterfield who received a doctorate in classics and English literature at Christ Church, Oxford and has worked as a music instructor in the UK and Germany, offers what he considers a poetic, rather than literal, translation of Rainer Marie Rilke's "The Duino Elegies." A brief introduction to Rilke and this collection of poems, is followed by both the original German and English translation of the ten elegies, with additional introductions before each poem. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865476073
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 949,365
  • Product dimensions: 5.47 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward Snow has received the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for his many renderings of Rilke. The author of A Study of Vermeer and Inside Breughel, he teaches at Rice University.

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Read an Excerpt

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelic

orders? And even if one of them pressed me

suddenly to his heart: I'd be consumed

in his stronger existence. For beauty is nothing

but the beginning of terror, which we can just barely endure,

and we stand in awe of it as it coolly disdains

to destroy us. Every angel is terrifying.

-from "The First Elegy"

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Translator's Note     7
Introduction     9
Die erste Elegie     14
The First Elegy     15
Die zweite Elegie     22
The Second Elegy     23
Die dritte Elegie     28
The Third Elegy     29
Die vierte Elegie     36
The Fourth Elegy     37
Die funfte Elegie     42
The Fifth Elegy     43
Die sechste Elegie     50
The Sixth Elegy     51
Die siebente Elegie     54
The Seventh Elegy     55
Die achte Elegie     62
The Eighth Elegy     63
Die neunte Elegie     68
The Ninth Elegy     69
Die zehnte Elegie     74
The Tenth Elegy     75
Commentary     83
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