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The Duino Elegies
 
by
Rainer Maria Rilke
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The Duino Elegies

4.44 of 5 stars 4.44  ·  rating details  ·  4,019 ratings  ·  127 reviews
Named for the Castle of Duino, on a rocky headland of the Adriatic, the Duino Elegies speaks in a voice that is both intimate and majestic on the mysteries of human life and our attempt, in the words of the translator, 'to use our self-consciousness to some advantage: to transcend, through art and the imagination, our self-deception and our fear.'
Published (first published 1923)
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David Lentz
In "Duino Elegies" it seems as if Rilke is explaining the meaning of his life indirectly to God through divine messengers the presence of whom we can scarcely sense.

The 10 elegies succeed in finding the world in a word, as William H. Gass advised was the objective of the most earnest poets. Rilke's greatness emanates from his fearlessness in taking on an epic macro-perspective. He is, after all, peering out into the universe and hearing the whispers of angels to inspire him:

"Who, if I cried out...more
Taka
Good!

Having read two translations of Duino Elegies by Stephen Mitchell and Edward Snow, I definitely think that Snow has the first half right while Mitchell the second half. I still have a hard time understanding some of the elegies (3, 5, 6, 10), but the ones I think I understand really ring true and strike the right chord, so to speak, in delineating the transience of human desire. My absolute favorites are the First, Second, and Ninth Elegy. It just can't get better than that.

There's not much...more
matt


I thought Stephen Mitchell's translation was the best that could ever possibly exist. I was, happily, totally wrong. I picked this up at a friend's house by chance and was completely absorbed.

The Chrichtons bring out a sort of conversational quality in the writing which I hadn't been aware even existed. Rilke's meditations are spectral, evanescent, secular and luminous. I didn't know there were other ways to appraoch the Elegies and now I see that there's a whole new world inside this text I wa...more
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-s...more
Jesse
These poems blew my mind, kicked my ass and sent chills down my back. Never have poems so resonated with that dark secret place I keep hidden from view. But these poems threw back the curtain and shined with angelic vengeance upon my internal cowardice. And this, really, is what I want poems to do: let me know I am not alone and that others have felt as despondant and helpless (in a very mental and spiritual way) as I have. I almost didn't finish reading the poems because I felt my heart being s...more
Denis
I find writing about poetry extremely difficult because we enter the realm of pure emotions, of the perfect magic that words can possess, and what each reader thinks, and feels, when reading a poem, is not only very personal but also, quite often, impossible to define and to reduce into a few sentences. Therefore I rarely review the poetry books that I own, on this site. But Rilke could well be my favorite poet, for reasons that I can't explain, except that the scope of his visions, both extraor...more
Alison
I read these I think around the age of 23, when I had my first true existential crisis. I was reading anything and everything I could find that mentioned death, mortality, the pain of existence, etc. I moved from the world of art to the world of psychology, in a sense, and Rilke has always exemplified to me one who is at once artist, philosopher, psychologist, spiritualist. His work vibrates with both the ethereal beauty and searing pain of life. I should read this again.
Μαρία
"Μακάρι κι εμείς ένα κομμάτι γης να βρίσκαμε ανθρώπινο,
ένα μικρό,καθαρό,διατηρημένο,μια δική μας σπιθαμή
χώμα καρποφόρο ανάμεσα στον ποταμό και στον βράχο.
Γιατί η καρδιά μας η ίδια,όπως κι εκείνους,μας ξεπερνά.
Και πια δε μπορούμε να τη ζητούμε σε απεικονίσεις που
την απαλύνουν,ούτε σε σώματα θεϊκά,όπου το μέγεθος
τη μετριάζει."
"Δε θα υπάρξει αγάπη μου κόσμος,μόνο εντός μας.Φεύγει η ζωή μας με μεταμορφώσεις.Κι όλο μικραίνει το έξω και χάνεται..."
Stringbean
The question is what I have learned from this book, and my response is difficult to give. Rilke offers so much to us; it is kind of him. Everybody should read this, not out of courtesy for the genius but for self-benefit. The poems here are often overwhelming and will touch your mind in places you have never before been touched in. It is beautiful, intrusive, and works better than a mirror.
Sarah
And so we press on and try to achieve it,
try to contain it in our simple hands,
in our brimming eyes, our voiceless heart.


Rilke is both the reason I mistrust translations and the exception to my rule.
Elizabeth
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...more
أسيل
لا الطفولة ولا الآتي يصيران اقل
وجود لا حدود له
يفيض في القلب


مركز تحميل الصور

مركز تحميل الصور


مركز تحميل الصور

مركز تحميل الصور


مركز تحميل الصور


مركز تحميل الصور

مركز تحميل الصور
Xavier
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...more
Darice
Beautifully written on the topics most subtle and high of life, the myths all humans live, all the unsaid is revealed in these poems. The Duino Elegies changed my life, shattered the illusion of the material plane and reminded me that poetry is a conduit of truth and elation. These poems are melancholic and take many readings to truly experience the unfolding of its emotion and relevance. I cried in ecstasy the first time I read them, and they changed my life.
Shinji Moon
i read the most of this on my weekly commute from manhattan to brooklyn and i would read it aloud softly to myself and everything would become so real, so meaningful, so much more. there is an astute clarity to his writing, a truth in his poetry that is so stoic and so human. his words vibrate. read him. it's worth it.
Alessandro
[Ma perché essere qui è molto, e perché pare
che il tutto qui ha bisogno di noi, questo
svanire 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 questo
esser stato una volta, seppure solo una volta:
esser stato terreno, non sembrava revocabile.]
Dalla Nona elegia
Laura Stone
Poetry has generally been a difficult medium for me to appreciate, but I was thoroughly engrossed in Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies. I would love to be able to read it in it's native form (German, alas, I do not understand you nearly well enough!)

What did I like? Rilke seems to take on themes of death, human consciousness, connection, and "the realm beyond" with both skepticism and grace. By weaving different motifs into and out of each poem, I thought the author used each succeeding poem to...more
Hadrian
Incredibly beautiful and illuminating. I already have some passages memorized and hope to learn more.
Ahmed Azimov
الشاعر الذي صب كلماته الموزونة في صميم وجوديّة هيدجار
Julia
Gorgeous.
Lucrecia
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 s...more
Gabriele
E l'abbraccio, per voi [amanti], è una promessa
quasi d'eternità. Eppure, dopo lo sgomento
dei primi sguardi, e lo struggersi alla finestra
e la prima passeggiata fianco a fianco, una volta per il giardino,
amanti, siete amanti ancora? quando vi sollevate
per 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 for...more
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.
Amy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sophie
Πουθενά, Αγαπημένη, δέν θα ύπάρχει Κόσμος, παρά έντός μας.
Μέ μεταμόρφωση διαβαίνει ή ζωή μας, τό έξωτερικό μας πάντοτε
φθίνει 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 μ...more
Amanda
I started this back in the summer and read the first elegy, under depressing circumstances. I ended up setting it aside until this week, when I decided to finish it. Rilke is something you really have to be in the mood for, but when you are, his verses are absolutely lovely and utterly haunting.

I read two translations (Snow and Young), and referenced a third (Leishman). I found that seemed to help me recapture more of the original ideas than just reading one alone, as I unfortunately do not rea...more
Milly
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 emptine...more
Trevor Pardon
two thoughts, related- 1. why do people quote the bible so much? 2. why isn't this the bible??????
Garrett Peace
Actual score: 3.5.

I'll place some blame on the translation for now, as I just grabbed whatever the library had, but I wasn't as in love with these as I thought I would be. The Eighth and Ninth Elegies are the most striking on first read and made reading all ten worth it (this is not to disparage the other eight elegies: they're quite good), but as a whole it lacked an emotional resonance that I'm looking for with poetry like this. Disappointing but definitely worth a read. I will be researching...more
tyler
A beautiful series of elegies— impassioned, haunting... Though I've read through them all a couple times, like Ginsberg's "Howl", I've swam through the first, say, fourth-to-a-third countless times. Both works, for me, cannot be beat for calling yourself to attention and taking stock of, with eyes clear, where you are and what you are doing in the void. Once you know the Duino Elegies, you know when you need them. One of those works you reach for automatically when you're having a day that tells...more
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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
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“For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror
which we are barely able to endure, and it amazes us so,
because it serenely disdains to destroy us.
Every angel is terrible.”
562 likes
“Every angel is terrifying.” 221 likes
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