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The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge: A Novel
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The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge: A Novel

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  3,268 ratings  ·  181 reviews
This is the definitive, widely acclaimed translation of the major prose work of one of our century's greatest poets -- "a masterpiece like no other" (Elizabeth Hardwick) -- Rilke's only novel, extraordinary for its structural uniqueness and purity of language. First published in 1910, it has proven to be one of the most influential and enduring works of fiction of our cent ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published April 6th 2011 by Vintage (first published 1910)
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Kalliope




We humans, with our mighty brain, like to use its powers to dwell on our own condition, which is precisely, but only partly, determined by the nature of this brain with which we have been equipped.

Themes like love, or an emphatic vulnerability to another being; our sense of time, with memories of our own lives and experiences from times when this brain was still young and absorbing the world and absorbing itself, or with anxiety about the life not yet lived; the material surroundings, with objec
...more
Eric
Rilke’s semiautobiographical surrogate Malte Laurids Brigge is a young Dane, a noble scion adrift in early twentieth century Paris, trying to become a poet. He corresponds rather well to Anthony Burgess’s description, in his charming study ReJoyce (1965), “of the type of student Stephen Daedelus represents, poor, treasuring old books with foxed leaves, independent, unwhining, deaf to political and social shibboleths, fanatically devoted to art and art only.” Malte and Stephen hang out at the Bib ...more
Adam Floridia
Sometimes choosing a star rating can be difficult. To avoid falling trap to such uncertainty, I try to stick as formally to the description as possible (ie: 1= “didn’t like,” 2= “it was ok,” 3=”liked it,” etc.). What gets really hairy, though, is when I have to reconcile “liked” with “appreciated,” which can be at odds and which happens occasionally with “literature.” This is made all the tougher when I already have it in my head that I should “like,” or at the very least “appreciate,” a book be ...more
Tamer

This novel is amazing.

I am sitting here, reading the responses left by others, and what the hell? Most of you are downgrading this book due to the lack of Rilke's message in this book. For those of you who do not know Rilke, Rilke is considered one of the worlds greatest poets, as this was his first and only novel. If you do not like, nor prefer poetry, this novel is not for you.

The book is a compilation of narrative, philosophical asides, sketches for future poems, and detailed descriptions o
...more
Nick Wellings
A bizarre book but not in the way we might now think of the word - a melange of the shocking or outré or the inconsistent or absurd - rather I mean bizarre because of the impressions we get page by page as Rilke's subject matter flits from three or four principal concerns, shown in three or four historical settings. (To say this is to impose a more solid structure than is revealed at a first read).

The subject matter: As the blurb says, there is death all around, or rather, people carry death wi
...more
Andrew
Dense, peculiar, at times impenetrable, at times utterly bursting with stunning imagery, this is an immensely difficult book to pin down. And it got under my skin. Proust crashing headlong into Dostoyevsky. This is what happens when a writer who is, at heart, a lyrical romantic faces the dawning industrial era with a combination of absolute trepidation and awe.

And if you live alone, in a foreign city, sure of not very much, your mind periodically drawn back to a childhood in a frigid Northern cl
...more
Justin Evans
A strange class of books: those that I conclude with the thought that I haven't understood even the first thing about them, and I can't wait to re-read. Usually this happens with books that have astonished me in the first few pages, which was not the case with Brigge. But by the end I was reeling. I can remember virtually nothing of this book, except for a scene in which Brigge dresses up in carnivale costume and mask, then runs in to a room full of adults. They think he's trying to entertain th ...more
M. Sarki
"Why, to the internally self- devouring rubbish heap of literature, which broadcasts its perfumic stench to every period of history: nothing could be less like him (Rimbaud) than the surrealities, the vitreosities of, for example, the late Rilke."___Thomas Bernhard

From the very beginning the focus of this book is on death and dying. Paris hospitals that cleanse and protect us today (and back then) from the awful deaths that are actually amazing to behold in their presence. The long and careful d
...more
Bruce
In the first sixteen pages or so the narrator, speaking in the first person, sets the stage. A young man aspiring to be a writer in Paris looks back at his first twenty-eight years and realizes that the attempts he has made, the things he has written thus far, are failures, that he has not lived enough life to have anything to say. And he asserts that it is the individual who matters, that it is out of individual experience that life is lived and just be communicated. His goal is a kind of unmed ...more
Jimmy
"What's the use of telling someone that I am changing? If I'm changing, I am no longer who I was; and if I am something else, it's obvious that I have no acquaintances. And I can't possibly write to strangers."

It is precisely because the form of this book is so hard to pin down that it is so effective. It challenges the reader to forget about the novel, and its easy explications and narrative arcs. (Though it feels much too organically arisen for me to use the term 'experimental'). Here we have
...more
Katherine
More like The LiveJournal of Rainer Maria Rilke. I loved this.

The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge is an experimental, surrealistic novel in episodes, and reading it is like finding a lost artifact. Our narrator is a young Danish nobleman, estranged from his family, disillusioned with the romance of being a starving artist in Paris, and searching for a symbolic story that fits his experience. Malte's journeys are lush and visual and delightfully weird, and we get to follow him through the down-
...more
Kilburn Adam
I've read a few German books already this year. So I thought I'd give Rilke a go. I first found out about this writer in Walter Kaufmann's book Existentialism From Dostoevsky to Sartre. And looking at Kaufmann's book right now, I see that Kaufmann has essentially just published a few short extracts from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. And a brief biography.

This is Rilke's only novel. It's semi-autobiographical. And he addresses existential themes - such as individuality and death. You can
...more
Farren
Much was made of Rilke's compassion for/interest in women in this book. For myself, I felt that his determination of women as a higher, purer sex more given to expressing love--the profoundest emotion in the world--as opposed to receiving it, was sexism of a different brand than Nietzsche's bilious and hateful characterization of women as creeping, conniving vermin. In both cases, it is a reduction and confinement of a person based on gender status and it makes me feel weird.

Felt MLB's neurotic
...more
Barbara
Rilke's extraordinary semi-autobiographical novel deals with masking our true selves and others in order to fit into the bewildering chaos of the world around us. The writer (Rilke or Brigge, take your pick) takes us through visions, memories, and impressions, and starkly contrasts these with the world as he now experiences it. The work is beautifully amorphous, and surprisingly funny:

"There is a being that is completely harmless if it passes before your eyes, you hardly notice it and immediate
...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Rainer Maria Rilke is considered to be the greatest German lyric poet--an assertion to which I could not personally agree or disagree with because I haven't read any of his poetry. For a while he lived in Paris, sometime during the beginning of the 20th century, and it was here that he began to send his former lover letters from which this novel (the only one he wrote) actually originated.


Like Rilke at that time, the sole protagonist in this novel , Malte Laurids Brigge, is likewise a foreigner(
...more
James
Rilke was a poet and his only novel demonstrates that on every page. It is a dreamlike novel that is evocative of Paris and poetry. The focus on themes of death and darkness in contrast with the power of god and belief were powerful, joining with his beautiful writing to keep me enthralled. Through Rilke's fascination with faces and appearances the importance of constructing an authentic life is emphasized. This becomes a prerequisite for the prospect of a unique personal death. Death itself is ...more
Jeremy
This is a complicated work that operates on a number of levels. It's a vaguely autobiographical take on Rilke's brief time living in Pre-WWI Paris, it's also a contemplation on the sudden rise of urban life, of the anxiety of being one anonymous person living in a sea of anonymous people. Rilke juxtaposes the dreariness of modern city life with intense, haunted recollections about Laurids childhood in the Austro-Hungarian countryside, in a world where the effects of modernity have yet to really ...more
Boryana  Ilieva
Единственият роман на поета Райнер Мария Рилке ми напомня на сграда, сътворена не от архитект, а от художник. Произведението му е каца с мед и горчиви истини, в която бърка и Гастон Башлар за своята „Поетика на пространството” и Юхани Палласмаа за „Архитектура на образа”. И защо не, когато в крайна сметка всички изкуства черпят вдъхновение от едни и същи истини: например Рилке пише за руините на сградите, Тарковски пък ги рисува, Сартър твърди, че поезията се въздига от руините на прозата.

В дъно
...more
Mana H
1
این کتاب از مهمترین کتاب‌های ریلکه است، شاید برای من مهمتر از شعرهاش. شاید اگر کتاب «نامه‌هایی به شاعر جوان» نبود، با این کتاب آشنا نمی‌شدم. در مقدمه ناتل خانلری بر کتاب «نامه‌هایی...» یک تکه از این کتاب ترجمه شده، در باب اینکه شاعری اگر بخواهد شعری بنویسد که شعر باشد، و نه حسب‌الحال فردی، باید چه روزهایی را از سر گذرانده باشد. چه شبهای عشق و چه شبهای بیدار بر سر بالین مردگان و چه سفرها و چه تجربه‌ها. و تجربه تنها کافی نیست، باید تجربه از جنس خون شود در تو.‏

2
کتاب را نشر دشتستان با ترجمه غبرایی
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John David
Reading “The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge” is to have the feeling that you have never before read words used in exactly this way for exactly this purpose. Rilke, perhaps most known for being the greatest German-language poet of the twentieth century, has written what can only be called a prose poem – but even to use this phrase is to reduce a fullness that cannot be reduced. This novel is symphonic, lush, and poignant. In its evocation of memory, it is Proust avant la lettre. But there are ...more
Rodney
This is one of those books I’ve beaten my head against many times, started and stopped, bought then resold then re-bought in a rainbow of different editions. Now that Burton Pike’s taken it on—the same Burton Pike who brought Robert Musil to life in English—the gauzy bard of angels and towers gets helpfully pulled down to his home planet, a Paris where homelessness and loneliness turn the City of Lights into the crèche of Europe's disenchanted modernity. Wobbling epistemes never sounded so good. ...more
Anna
'The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge' isn't a very novelistic novel, as it is told as a sort of diary in the first person and is semi-autobiographical. Brigge is a twenty-eight year old Danish man, alone and adrift in Paris. He wishes to transmute his fear of death into some profound literary work and fills his notebooks with memories, historical anecdote, and sketches of the Parisian streets. I was very moved by Rilke's evocation of urban alienation, of listening to your neighbours through th ...more
Lucian
It would be a lie to say I didn't at least partially enjoy this book. Then again, it would also be a lie to say that I understood even half of it. It really is a poem in prose form, and I most definitely missed most of what Rilke was trying to say. Nevertheless, I did take some pleasure in reading it. I only give it two stars because, like I said, I have no idea what this book is about (Am I an ignoramus for saying I don't even care to find out what this book is about?). That, and his prose stru ...more
Alik
В статье Маргрет Айфлер "Existentielle Verwandlung in Rilkes Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge" (The German Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 1 (Jan., 1972), pp. 107-113) в качестве одной из фигур, на примере которой Рильке показывает возможность преобразования ограниченного ego в целях саморасширения (Verwandlungsmöglichkeit vom begrenzten Ich zur Selbsterweiterung, 111) упоминается Krischna Otropjow, самозванец ("lebte die Rolle eines falschen Zaren", ибид).

Я человек, историческим сознанием слабый
...more
anca dc
Rilke. Rilke preocupat de moarte, feţe, maini. Rilke singur, Rilke pe strazile Parisului, Rilke copil, Rilke scriind si neterminind, Rilke indragostit, Rilke iubitor de mama, Rilke ascultind linistea, Rilke cautator de Dumnezeu, dorind sa atinga “treapta”. Rainer Maria Rilke. Insemnarile lui Malte Laurids Brigge.

~~~

Pe atunci se stia (sau poate doar se banuia) ca moartea zace in om precum simburele in fruct. Copiii aveau in ei una mica, iar virstnicii una mare. Femeile o purtau in pintece, iar b
...more
D.S. Mattison
I read the version with an introduction written by William Gass and translation by Stephen Mitchell. Gass writes, "Rilke is not Malte, but Malte is Rilke." It is important to keep this in mind when wandering around the Paris streets with Malte, a young Danish nobleman who has left his family home in favor of the life of a romantic poet and who suffers from fits of remembrance. He also suffers from an acute anxiety caused in the search for the love that gives of itself. Although written without c ...more
Giorgi Komakhidze
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lorraine
I felt this got stronger as it went along. I think his insights about love are incredible, but the prose seems a little uneven to me. Poetic, yes, but I expected MUCH more from Rilke, undoubtedly one of the best poets of the 20th C. The moments of beauty are very beautiful, but everything seems more diffuse because it is spread out.
Sanjay Varma
Okay, I'll say it. Rilke is an asshole.

He's a pretentious preserved specimen of useless flouncing aristocracy, too spoiled and lazy to get a job, too weak to affect the world, too cowardly to write about real events like world war one.

Just as a wealthy capitalist today might keep a token black or gay friend, I suppose aristocrats back then must have found it useful to retain a toady like Rilke and show him off at an occasional dinner.

That being said, this book fits in with a genre of introspe
...more
Rose Gowen
I actually finished this days ago, but I didn't want to put it away, and I wasn't sure what else I could say about it but, Oh, oh, oh, how beautiful! how good!

So: oh, oh, oh, how beautiful! how good!
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7906
Rainer Maria Rilke is considered one of the German language's greatest 20th century poets.

His haunting images tend to focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety — themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets.

He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. His two mos
...more
More about Rainer Maria Rilke...
Letters to a Young Poet The Selected Poetry Duino Elegies Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God Sonnets to Orpheus

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“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.” 493 likes
“For the sake of a few lines one must see many cities, men and things. One must know the animals, one must feel how the birds fly and know the gesture with which the small flowers open in the morning. One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings and to partings which one had long seen coming; to days of childhood that are still unexplained, to parents that one had to hurt when they brought one some joy and one did not grasp it (it was joy for someone else); to childhood illness that so strangely began with a number of profound and grave transformations, to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars-and it is not enough if one may think all of this. One must have memories of many nights of love, none of which was like the others, of the screams of women in labor, and of light, white, sleeping women in childbed, closing again. But one must also have been beside the dying, one must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the fitful noises. And still it is not enough to have memories. One must be able to forget them when they are many, and one must have the great patience to wait until they come again. For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not until they have turned to blood within us, to glance, to gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves-not until then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them.” 157 likes
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