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Being Here Is Glorious
On Rilke, Poetry, and Philosophy
James D. Reid
Northwestern University Press, 2015

With a new translation of the Duino Elegies

“Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels’/orders?” Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies opens with one of the most powerful poetic expressions of the search for meaning in the modern world. Published in 1923, the Elegies would influence important philosophers on the Continent, including Heidegger. But with a few exceptions, Rilke’s poetry has not had an impact on philosophy in the Anglo-American world. In Being Here Is Glorious, James D. Reid offers a fresh translation of the Elegies, which hews to the form of the original and provides his own meditation on the place of poetry in philosophy. Reid makes a convincing case that poetry and philosophy can address the problem of finding things significant and worth affirming in light of various reasons to doubt the value of the world in which we find ourselves cast.


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The Best of Rilke
72 Form-True Verse Translations with Facing Originals, Commentary, and Compact Biography
Rainer Maria Rilke
Dartmouth College Press, 1991
Rainer Maria Rilke’s best poems are finally available in translations so faithful yet free flowing that a reader forgets they were not originally written in English. Applying the same principle of “form-true” rendering that earned him the Bollingen Prize for his translation of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, poet-translator Walter Arndt boldly claims to reproduce in English for the first time the prosodic identity of Rilke’s finest rhymed poems.

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The Book of Hours
Prayers to a Lowly God
Rainer Maria Rilke
Northwestern University Press, 2001
This is the first complete translation of Rainer Maria Rilke's The Book of Hours (Das Stunden-Buch) in more than forty years. This bilingual edition provides English-speaking readers with access to a critical work in the development of the most significant figure in twentieth-century German poetry. Kidder's delicately nuanced translation preserves Rilke's uncomplicated and melodic flow, his rhythm, and, where possible, his rhyme while remaining true to content.

Rilke penned The Book of Hours between 1899 and 1903 in three parts. Readers and experts alike consider the collection among Rilke's most important and enduring works.

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Dear Friend
Rainer Maria Rilke and Paula Modersohn-Becker
Eric Torgersen
Northwestern University Press, 2000
In 1908, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote "Requiem for a Friend" in memory of Paula Modersohn-Becker, the German painter who had profoundly affected him and who had died a year earlier. Although a great modern painter, Modersohn-Becker is remembered primarily as she is portrayed in Rilke's poem. Dear Friend looks at the relationship of two great artists whose often-strained friendship was extraordinary for both.

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Duino Elegies
A Bilingual Edition
Rainer Maria Rilke
Northwestern University Press, 1998
The Duino Elegies are the culmination of the development of Rilke's poetry. A summary of his spiritual troubles, perhaps no volume of poems in a European language has made so dramatic and sustained an impact on English-speaking readers in this century.

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Five Portraits
Modernity and the Imagination in Twentieth-Century German Writing
Michael Bernstein
Northwestern University Press, 2000
In Five Portraits, one of the most acute critical thinkers of our time presents essays on five of the most important writers of the past hundred years: Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Celan, Robert Musil, Martin Heidegger, and Walter Benjamin. The result is a remarkable examination of a moment when these writers, caught between the dream of creating an abiding masterpiece and the reality of a brutal culture fascinated by apocalyptic catastrophe, deliberately put themselves and their work at the center of the storm. Written in elegant and jargon-free prose, Michael Andre Bernstein's essays create a vivid image of an epoch whose aspirations and torments continues to shape the world we inhabit today.

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Letters around a Garden
Rainer Maria Rilke
Seagull Books, 2024
An intimate glimpse into the life and letters of Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the most important poets of the twentieth century.
In July 1921, displaced European poet Rainer Maria Rilke sequestered himself in the chateau of Muzot, a thirteenth-century medieval tower perched in the vineyards above the town of Sierre in the Canton Valais, Switzerland. In this sun-flooded landscape of the Rhone Valley, he found beguiling echoes of Spain and his beloved Provence. Here, the Duino Elegies were famously completed and the Sonnets to Orpheus followed.
During this time, Rilke’s correspondence also bloomed, and Letters around a Garden collects some of those letters together into English for the first time. One intriguing exchange from 1924 to 1926 was with a young aristocratic Swiss woman Antoinette de Bonstetten, a passionate horticulturist who had been recommended as a potential advisor for the redesign and upkeep of the Muzot rose garden. In twenty-two precious letters originally written in French, Rilke relishes the prospect of their elusive meeting, keenly discusses the plans for his garden, and wittily laments the trials of his plants. Beyond the encomium for Paul Valéry and poignant memory of place are passages of exquisite writing, in which Rilke evokes with trademark sensitivity the delicate relationship between the changing seasons and the natural world of his adopted region. We also witness the loving relationship evolve between these sometime-fugitive correspondents and how questions of solitariness and companionship impinge on one who faces unaccustomed challenges as his health tragically declines.

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Letters on God and Letters to a Young Woman
Rainer Maria Rilke, Translated from the German by Annemarie S. Kidder
Northwestern University Press, 2012

For Rainer Maria Rilke, letter writing was a discipline and art unto itself. Some seven thousand of his letters have survived, among them works of profound beauty and insight to rival his poems and fiction. For the first time, this volume makes available to an English-speaking audience two of the earliest collections of Rilke letters published after his death, each with a nuanced introduction and notes by Annemarie S. Kidder.

The thematic collection Letters on God contains two letters by Rilke, the first an actual letter written during World War I, in 1915 in Munich, the second a fictional one composed after the war, in 1922 at Muzot in Switzerland. In these letters, Rilke builds on the mystical view of God conceived in The Book of Hours, but he moves beyond it, demonstrating a unique vision of God and Christ, the church and religious experience, friendship and death.

Like his famous Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke’s Letters to a Young Woman presents an intimate series of letters written to a young admirer. The nine letters collected here were written to Lisa Heise over the course of five years, from 1919 to 1924. Though Rilke and Heise never met, the poet emerges in these letters as a compassionate listener and patient teacher who with levelheaded sensitivity affirms and guides the movements of another person’s soul.


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Letters to a Young Poet
Rainer Maria Rilke
Harvard University Press, 2011

In 1902, a nineteen-year-old aspiring poet named Franz Kappus wrote to Rainer Maria Rilke, then twenty-six, seeking advice on his poetry. Kappus, a student at a military academy in Vienna similar to the one Rilke had attended, was about to embark on a career as an officer, for which he had little inclination. Touched by the innocence and forthrightness of the student, Rilke responded to Kappus’ letter and began an intermittent correspondence that would last until 1908.

Letters to a Young Poet collects the ten letters that Rilke wrote to Kappus. A book often encountered in adolescence, it speaks directly to the young. Rilke offers unguarded thoughts on such diverse subjects as creativity, solitude, self-reliance, living with uncertainty, the shallowness of irony, the uselessness of criticism, career choices, sex, love, God, and art. Letters to a Young Poet is, finally, a life manual. Art, Rilke tells the young poet in his final letter to him, is only another way of living.

With the same artistry that marks his widely acclaimed translations of Kafka’s The Castle and Amerika: The Missing Person, Mark Harman captures the lyrical and spiritual dimensions of Rilke’s prose. In his introduction, he provides biographical contexts for the reader and discusses the challenges of translating Rilke. This lovely hardcover edition makes a perfect gift for any young person starting out in life or for those interested in finding a clear articulation of Rilke’s thoughts on life and art.


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Life of a Poet
Rainer Maria Rilke
Ralph Freedman
Northwestern University Press, 1998
In this highly praised and extraordinary biography, Ralph Freedman traces Rilke's luminous career by weaving together detailed accounts of pivotal and formative episodes from the poet's restless life with a close, intimate reading of the verse and prose that refract them. This lively and engrossing biography offers much of interest to Rilke's growing body of followers.

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New Poems
A Bilingual Edition
Rainer Maria Rilke
Northwestern University Press, 1998
New Poems (1907–1908) represented a departure for Rilke from the traditional German lyric poetry of which he was then considered a master. Apparent in the poems is the influence of Rodin--for whom Rilke had worked—as well as other visual artists, including Hokusai, Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Picasso. Rilke forced language to extremes of subtlety and refinement that only now, in Stephen Cohn's translations, is being captured properly in English.

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On Creaturely Life
Rilke, Benjamin, Sebald
Eric L. Santner
University of Chicago Press, 2006
In his Duino Elegies, Rainer Maria Rilke suggests that animals enjoy direct access to a realm of being—the open—concealed from humans by the workings of consciousness and self-consciousness. In his own reading of Rilke, Martin Heidegger reclaims the open as the proper domain of human existence but suggests that human life remains haunted by vestiges of an animal-like relation to its surroundings. Walter Benjamin, in turn, was to show that such vestiges—what Eric Santner calls the creaturely—have a biopolitical aspect: they are linked to the processes that inscribe life in the realm of power and authority. 

Santner traces this theme of creaturely life from its poetic and philosophical beginnings in the first half of the twentieth century to the writings of the enigmatic German novelist W. G. Sebald. Sebald’s entire oeuvre, Santner argues, can be seen as an archive of creaturely life. For Sebald, the work on such an archive was inseparable from his understanding of what it means to engage ethically with another person’s history and pain, an engagement that transforms us from indifferent individuals into neighbors. 

An indispensable book for students of Sebald, On Creaturely Life is also a significant contribution to critical theory.

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The Royal Remains
The People's Two Bodies and the Endgames of Sovereignty
Eric L. Santner
University of Chicago Press, 2011

"The king is dead. Long live the king!" In early modern Europe, the king's body was literally sovereign—and the right to rule was immediately transferrable to the next monarch in line upon the king's death. In The Royal Remains, Eric L. Santner argues that the "carnal" dimension of the structures and dynamics of sovereignty hasn't disappeared from politics. Instead, it migrated to a new location—the life of the people—where something royal continues to linger in the way we obsessively track and measure the vicissitudes of our flesh.
Santner demonstrates the ways in which democratic societies have continued many of the rituals and practices associated with kingship in displaced, distorted, and usually, unrecognizable forms. He proposes that those strange mental activities Freud first lumped under the category of the unconscious—which often manifest themselves in peculiar physical ways—are really the uncanny second life of these "royal remains," now animated in the body politic of modern neurotic subjects. Pairing Freud with Kafka, Carl Schmitt with Hugo von Hofmannsthal,and Ernst Kantorowicz with Rainer Maria Rilke, Santner generates brilliant readings of multiple texts and traditions of thought en route to reconsidering the sovereign imaginary. Ultimately, The Royal Remains locates much of modernity—from biopolitical controversies to modernist literary experiments—in this transition from subjecthood to secular citizenship.
This major new work will make a bold and original contribution to discussions of politics, psychoanalysis, and modern art and literature.


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The Sonnets of Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke
St. Augustine's Press, 2021
Romano Guardini described Rainer Maria Rilke as the “poet who had things of such importance to say about the end of our own age [and] was also a prophet of things to come.” The complexity of Rilke is, then, “highly relevant to modern Man.” Decades after Guardini’s assessment, the reader who rediscovers Rilke will find a depth of mind and soul that display a profundity the post-modern reader only thinks he possesses. 

In an expanded collection of Rilke’s sonnets, Rick Anthony Furtak not only makes this lyrical masterpiece accessible to the English reader, but he proves himself a master of sorts as well. His introduction that elaborates on Rilke’s marriage of vision and voice, intention and enigma, haunted companionship and abandonment is a stand-alone marvel for the reader. Furtak’s praised translation of Sonnets to Orpheus (University of Chicago Press, 2008) is surpassed in this much broader collection of verse that also includes the original German text. It is Furtak’s great achievement that Rilke resonates with the contemporary reader, who uncertain and searching wants to believe that the vision of existence can mirror much more than his own consciousness. In his feat of rendering Rilke in English, contextualizing the philosophical meanings of verse, and presenting literary romanticism, Furtak provides a formidable contribution to the vindication of true poetic voice.

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Sonnets to Orpheus
Rainer Maria Rilke
University of Scranton Press, 2007
Rainer Maria Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus, first published in German in 1923, has been hailed by critics as some of the finest lyrical verse of the twentieth century. Rick Anthony Furtak’s translation of this legendary collection is the first edition for an English-speaking audience to situate the poems in a philosophical context, lending unexpected depth and a fresh perspective to Rilke’s magnum opus.
Furtak’s rich translations skillfully evoke the haunting, enigmatic nature of these poems that bridge the gap between the romantic and the modern, as his introduction guides the reader through the abundant mystical and spiritual insights to be found in Rilke’s sonnets. This new edition of a literary masterpiece will be essential reading for anyone interested in the philosophical implications of verse.

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Two Stories of Prague
King Bohush The Siblings
Rainer Maria Rilke
Brandeis University Press, 1996
Two Stories of Prague signifies the maturation of a poet and of a people. Although most readers know Rilke as a mature, cosmopolitan poet, here we can discern a young writer self-consciously exploring his development as a man and his emergence as an artist. Angela Esterhammer writes that in symbolic, stylistic, and biographical terms these stories "record the process by which Rilke fashions himself into an independent, empowered individual."

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The Unknown Rilke
Selected Poems
Rainer Maria Rilke
Oberlin College Press, 1990
Rilke's importance to the history of literature in the twentieth century is based on the power and memorability of his lyrics, and on his successful struggle to articulate a new vision of the human relation to the rest of creation. Wright’s brilliant translations of some of Rilke’s neglected poems are now widely admired. They are here enhanced by an additional selection and a new introduction by the translator.

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