Duino Elegies: A Bilingual Edition

ISBN: 0865475466
ISBN 13: 9780865475465
By: Rainer Maria Rilke Edward Snow

Check Price Now


Classics Currently Reading Favorites Favourites German German Literature Literature Poems Poetry To Read

Reader's Thoughts


This is a lyrical and beautiful set of 10 elegies...it is bittersweet, brings forth feelings of longing, of desire, nostalgia--but the longing is at once for the past, for the future, for what is inevitable: death, and the nostalgia for the same, with the knowledge that death must come and a feeling of longing to know the god/spirit/creature that is all-knowing. The poems evoke the journey of life by feeling, by relationships, to family (mother, father), lover, and god.It is, in brief, 10 poems that encapsulate the collapse between life and death--that life means death, and both can be beautiful, because of the spaces of longing and unknowing. this is captured in such lines as:Throw the emptiness out of your armsto add to the spaces we breathe; maybe the birdswill feel the expansion of air, in more intimate flight.(First elegy)from the 7th elegy:Nowhere, beloved, will world be, but within. Ourlife passes in change. And ever-shrinkingthe outer diminishes. the 8th elegy, in my opinion, is the most poignant. An excerpt: And how dismayed anything is that has to fly,and leave the womb. As if it wereterrified of itself, zig-zagging through the air, as a crackruns through a cup. As the trackof a bat rends the porcelain of evening.And we: onlookers, always, everywhere,always looking into, never out of, everything.It fills us. We arrange it. It collapses.We arrange it again, and collapse ourselves.Who has turned us round like this, so that,whatever we do, we always have the aspectof one who leaves?

Peter Schmidt

Rilke's Duino Elegies are a contender for the greatest lyric sequence of the 20th century (in a century that featured some really great ones, by Yeats, H.D. (Trilogy), Eliot, Stevens (Auroras of Autumn in particular!), Pound, Hughes, and many others could be named. Lots of the translations of Rilke's Elegies in English are really mediocre: turgid Rilke is a complete contradiction in terms. David Young's is by far the best in print for English-speaking readers. Young uses Williams' triadic or 3-step line to give Rilke's Germanic syntax in English light and grace and power, balancing rapidity of thought with poise and depth. HIghly recommended! It's a poem I try to read about once a year, sort of like taking a spirit quest.


But still prefer Mitchell's


E l'abbraccio, per voi [amanti], è una promessaquasi d'eternità. Eppure, dopo lo sgomentodei primi sguardi, e lo struggersi alla finestrae la prima passeggiata fianco a fianco, una volta per il giardino,amanti, siete amanti ancora? quando vi sollevateper porvi alla bocca l'un l'altro -: bevanda a bevanda:o come stranamente bevendo sfuggite a quel bere.[II elegia](Rilke è talmente immenso che segue un filo tutto suo.)Ma se i morti infinitamente dovessero mai destare un simbolo in noi,vedi che forse indicherebbero i penduli amentidei nocciòli spogli, oppurela pioggia che cade su terra scura a primavera.E noi che pensiamo la felicitàcome un'ascesa, ne avremmo l'emozionequasi sconcertantedi quando cosa ch'è felice, cade.[X elegia](E comunque esistono talmente tante traduzioni, che al solito l'unica versione che meriterebbe di esser letta è l'originale.)


I can't write it better than this editorial review. Read on."We have a marvelous, almost legendary, image of the circumstances in which the composition of this great poem began. Rilke was staying at a castle (Duino) on the sea near Trieste. One morning he walked out on the battlements and climbed down to where the rocks dropped sharply to the sea. From out of the wind, which was blowing with great force, Rilke seemed to hear a voice: Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel Ordnungen? (If I cried out, who would hear me up there, among the angelic orders?). He wrote these words, the opening of the first Duino Elegy, in his notebook, then went inside to continue what was to be his major work and one of the literary masterpieces of the century."


Encontré algunas ideas interesantes y muy originales en las elegías de Duino. Las enlisto:1. El ángel como ser terrible. Un ser demasiado perfecto para ser soportado por un hombre. Los ángeles de los que habla Rilke no son los ángeles buenos a los que hace referencia la doctrina católica y a quienes podemos acudir como guías, consejeros y protectores. Todo lo contrario, Rilke teme a los ángeles, los ve como seres que pueden destruir al hombre en un abrazo.2. El hombre como ser pasajero.Dice en su segunda elegía que el hombre se va disolviendo a sí mismo cada vez que actúa, mientras que los ángeles crecen con sus acciones pues se iluminan con su propia luz y su perfección regresa a ellos haciéndolos más perfectos.3. La falta de apoyos seguros en esta vida.Rilke habla de que no puede gritar a los ángeles porque son demasiado perfectos; no puede gritar a los animales pues ellos saben que el hombre no se siente a gusto en este mundo interpretado. Sólo puede confiar en el árbol al que ve todas las mañanas y a su casa que perdurará cuando él muera.4. El amor de los amantes como una posesión y no como una entrega.En la tercera elegía habla de las caricias de los amantes, pero sólo como una forma de cerciorarnos de nuestra existencia y de adquirir un placer doloroso. Las compara con tocarnos una mano con la otra o meter el rostro entre nuestras manos. Habla de desaparecer al amante una vez que lo abrazamos. No son caricias de amor, sino de posesión egoísta.5. La figura protectora de la madre.Para Rilke, la madre es la seguridad ficticia; es quien esconde los terrores con símbolos que dan tranquilidad y paz. pero lo terrible no desaparece, sino que es sólo encubierto con los detalles de cuidado maternal. Sin embrago, la madre es incapaz de protegerlo de él mismo, de lo que sucede en su interior.6. El mundo visible e invisible como una sola cosa. Habla de los ángeles y de los muertos como si pudiéramos verlos, como seres con los que convivimos todos los días.Me gustaría leerlo en su idioma original, pues creo que la traducción hace perder mucho de la riqueza y del sentido de los versos.

Trevor Pardon

two thoughts, related- 1. why do people quote the bible so much? 2. why isn't this the bible??????

Mara Shaw

This is absolutely gorgeous! Plumbing life to all its depths. Recognizing our solitariness, yet standing in wonderment at the physical world which is so often overlooked. Extolling the "here and now" as heaven on earth almost a century before Eckhard Tolle.Not all elegies resonated equally with me, but some phrases were so moving and affirming and thought-provoking that it was a joy to read. Definitely one to re-read again with equal attention.I loved the joy of the 7th!


Excerpt from the Eighth Elegy:And we, spectators always, everywhere,looking at, never out of, everything!It fills us. We arrange it. it decays.We re-arrange it, and decay ourselves.Who’s turned us round like this, so that we always,do what we may, retain the attitudeof someone who’s departing? Just as he,on the last hill, that shows him all this valleyfor the last time, will turn and stop and linger, we live our lives, for ever taking leave.

Ahmed Azimov

الشاعر الذي صب كلماته الموزونة في صميم وجوديّة هيدجار


[Ma perché essere qui è molto, e perché pareche il tutto qui ha bisogno di noi, questosvanire che strano ci accade. A noi,i più svanenti. Una volta,ciascuno, solo una volta. Una volta, e non più.E noi anche una volta. Mai più. Ma questoesser stato una volta, seppure solo una volta:esser stato terreno, non sembrava revocabile.]Dalla Nona elegia


The emperor has no clothes? I love modernist poetry so I thought I would like Rilke. Maybe it was just a bad translation, but it seemed as if I was attending a boring lecture that was vaguely philosophical but not at all evocative or meaningful.It was very difficult even to get through because there seemed to be no continuity in the imagery or the narrative. While T.S. Eliot was creating paintings of the world and using them to ask questions about life, Rilke was rambling; similar themes, very different effects.


Πουθενά, Αγαπημένη, δέν θα ύπάρχει Κόσμος, παρά έντός μας.Μέ μεταμόρφωση διαβαίνει ή ζωή μας, τό έξωτερικό μας πάντοτεφθίνει και λιγοστεύει.από τις πιο όμορφες ποιητικές συλλογές που διάβασα φέτος. Ενώ τα προηγούμενα έργα του Rilke, τα οποία διάβασα, δε μου άρεσαν ιδιαίτερα ή απλώς δε με ξετρέλαναν, οι ελεγείες του Ντουίνο με επηρέασαν ψυχικά.Η συλλογή αποτελείται από δέκα ελεγείες τις οποίες άρχισε να γράφει ο ποιητής όντας στον πύργο του Duino, κοντά στην Τεργέστη. Όταν συμπληρώθηκε, μέσα σε μία δεκαετία, η γραφή των Ελεγειών, ο ποιητής τις συγκέντρωσε κάτω απ' τον τίτλο Duineser, δηλαδή του Duino.Σίγουρα ένα έργο που αξίζει να διαβάσει ο καθένας.

Carly Milne

as always, i learn so many things from Rilke -- things i cannot imagine living without.Never in my life... have I called a book, or anything, "enchanting". This one truly is. I had to read the first page 600 times for some reason, but the rest of it was like going down a waterslide. Amazing. Just amazing. The characters. The dialogue. The pacing. The tension. The weirdness. The philosophical aspects/queries. The physical description. I'm just blown away.


Rilke himself wrote that he didn't know what these meant. I very much enjoy poetry--am addicted to the rhythm and sound and feeling of words, often to my detriment as a fiction reader--but I thought this was horrendous. Perhaps I would have enjoyed them more in the original.... In English, at least, the words and rhythms were wrong, and the ideas didn't resonate (perhaps because the poet wasn't sure what the ideas were). When I finished reading I was left only with a sense of pretentious emptiness. I've read some of Rilke's other work, and enjoyed that, but the Duino Elegies were incredibly unsuccessful from my point of view. Very famous, I realize, but... some of the worst poetry I've ever read.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *