Temporarily Out of Stock Online
Influenced by Hegel and Nietzsche, and inspired by stays in Italy and France, as well as travels to Russia, Spain, and North Africa, Rainer Maria Rilke nevertheless sought desperately to be original. He rejected all «idées reçues,» whether they were of God, reality, or literature, instead creating his own absolute. He searched for the «real,» re-formed German poetry, and revolutionized Western narrative prose with Malte Laurids Brigge. While Rilke’s work is marked by two cesuras, after which it displays important advances in diction and the figuration of verbal icons, it becomes ever more esoteric. However, there are also constants throughout his oeuvre in thematics, topoi, and diction – for example, the preoccupation with death, figures such as the angel, key nouns, alliterations, and noun sequences. His fear of death drove him to adopt «the open,» an idea conceived by the dubious mystagogue Alfred Schuler that surfaces throughout Rilke’s poetry and triumphs in Sonnets to Orpheus and Duino Elegies.
About the Author
The Author: Volker Durr is Professor of German and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, where he was Chair of the Department of German and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Comparative Literature. He earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature at Princeton University. He has published widely on literature from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, focusing on the interaction of literature, art, history, and philosophy. Durr is the author of Flaubert’s Salammbô: The Ancient Orient as a Political Allegory of Nineteenth-Century France (2003), the editor of Versuche zu Goethe (1976) and Imperial Germany (1985), Nietzsche: Literature and Values (1988), and coeditor of Coping with the Past (1990).