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Sonnets to Orpheus: with Letters to a Young Poet (Fyfield Books) [Paperback]

By Rainer Maria Rilke (Author)
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Item description for Sonnets to Orpheus: with Letters to a Young Poet (Fyfield Books) by Rainer Maria Rilke...

First published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Routledge
Pages   215
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.86" Width: 5.92" Height: 0.65"
Weight:   0.61 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 12, 2002
Publisher   Routledge
ISBN  0415940788  
ISBN13  9780415940788  

Availability  0 units.

More About Rainer Maria Rilke

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague in 1875 and died in Valmont, Montreux, in 1926. Throughout his life he travelled restlessly around Europe, meeting Tolstoy in Russia (1900), working as secretary to Rodin in Paris (1905 6), enjoying some aristocratic hospitality (especially at Castle Duino, near Trieste, as guest of Marie von Thurn und Taxis, between 1910 and 1914), working as a clerk in Austria during the war, but finally settling at the Chateau de Muzot, Valais, after 1922.

The turning-points in his career are the "Neue Gedichte" ("New Poems") of 1907 8, together with the journal-novel of the same period, "Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge" (1910); and "Duineser Elegeien" and "Die Soneete an Orpheus" of 1922. His final interest was Paul Valery whose poems, "Charmes," he translated in 1925 and imitated in his own "Poemes francais."
Michael Hulse was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1955 and studied at the University of St Andrews. Since 1977 he has taught at the Universities of Erlangen, Eichstatt and Cologne in West Germany, and has spent periods working as a freelance writer. His most recent translations include "Prison Journal"by Luise Rinser (Penguin 1988) and "Paris Diaries"by Ernst Junger. He has also published several collections of poems: "Monochrome Blood," "Dole Queue," "Knowing and Forgetting," and "Propaganda"and has won numerous awards."

Rainer Maria Rilke lived in Prague. Rainer Maria Rilke was born in 1875 and died in 1926.

Rainer Maria Rilke has published or released items in the following series...

  1. European Poetry Classics (Paperback)
  2. Modern Library (Hardcover)
  3. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  4. Penguin Classics
  5. Vintage International

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > History & Criticism > Literary Theory

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Reviews - What do customers think about Sonnets to Orpheus: with Letters to a Young Poet (Fyfield Books)?

Excellent translation  Sep 20, 2009
Readers should note that the one star review for this translation gives one star to this site, not to David Young.

This is my favorite translation of the Sonnets to Orpheus -- and the only one I can read and be reminded of the original German. No translation is perfectly faithful, but Mitchell and Paterson (both beautiful translations, also) take more liberties than Young in interpreting some of Rilke's stranger lines. Look, for example, at the second stanza of sonnet II, 13:

The original reads:

Sei immer tot in Eurydike--, singender steige,
preisender steige zuruck in den reinen Bezug.
Hier, unter Schwindenden, sei, im Reiche der Neige,
sei ein klingendes Glas, das sich im Klang schon zerschlug.

Young translates:

Be dead in Eurydice, always --, climb with more song,
climb with more praise, back up into pure relation.
Here in the kingdom of decay, among what's wasting,
be a tingling glass that shatters itself with sound.


Be forever dead in Eurydice -- more gladly arise
into the seamless life proclaimed in your song.
Here, in the realm of decline, among momentary days,
be the crystal cup that shattered even as it rang.

And Paterson:

Die, die through Eurydice--that you might pass
into the pure accord, praising the more, singing
the more; amongst the wanting, be the glass
that shatters in the sound of its own ringing.

These are all excellent translations -- but excellent in different ways. Notice how Mitchell skirts over the ambiguities of words like Bezug, "relation," or concepts like rising "zuruck," rising backwards. Paterson attends to those subtleties, but his translation is too charged, passionate -- "Die, die." Rilke wrote these poems at the end of his life, at a time when he'd already departed from "that passionate music," as he writes in I, 3, and developed a song that sounded more like "Ein Wehn im Gott. Ein Wind," "a gust / ripple inside the god. A wind." That's the effect Young more consistently achieves. But not always. If you're new to Rilke I'd consider this translation in conjunction with Mitchell's selected poetry.

Oh -- I should also mention that both this and the Mitchell include the German. The Paterson does not.
Get it together, Amazon!  Jul 27, 2009
Why is it that the editorial reviews refer to different translations, such as Mitchell's? Other blurbs, it says, refer to paperback editions - BY OTHER AUTHORS, such as Norton and Young! As far as I can tell, none refer to the book pictured on this page. Then, try to use the "look inside" feature and you'll see the cover of a paperback edition - OF STILL ANOTHER TRANSLATION! - Cohn's. Using blurbs that don't refer to the book you're trying to sell is false advertising. Get it together, this site! One star performance.

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