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Duino Elegies: A Bilingual Edition

4.44 of 5 stars 4.44  ·  rating details  ·  4,678 ratings  ·  147 reviews
Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelic
orders? and even if one of them pressed me
suddenly to his heart: I'd be consumed
in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we can just barely endure,
and we stand in awe of it as it coolly disdains
to destroy us. Every angel is terrifying.
-from "The First Elegy"

Over the last fift
ebook, 96 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by North Point Press (first published 1923)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Carmo Santos
Provavelmente merece 5 *, mas de tão metafórico que é, senti-me afundar num abismo de sombras e emergir bêbada de ignorância.
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

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

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
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
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
I was trying to understand beauty.
How silly of me. One elegy after another,I realized you submit to beauty and its
consequences( which hopefully last in you, or so you wish).

And complete surrender is a journey on a bridge of understanding with cables of faith dangling and holding them. Once over, you light up the bridge to see what new travails unfold before you in the newly surrendered land.

Praise be to beauty. Praise be to eyes that look for it.

Now back to the elegies.
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

Elegías de Duino de Rainer Maria Rilke. Lo sublime poético

En el epílogo de Alberto Vital del Seminario de Hermenéutica de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México encontramos una de esas reflexiones que, en mi opinión, resumen a la perfección lo que es, o debería ser, la poesía:
“Sólo la poesía que escribimos o que leemos (y entonces en cierta medida la hacemos nuestra) es capaz de desnudar el alma humana. La poesía (o, si se quiere, la poies
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
"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..."
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.
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.
Nouhé Fradi
ونحن الذين نفكر بسعادة متصاعدة نحس بالشعور الذي يكاد يجتاحنا عندما شيئ سعيد يسقط ..
ولا مرثية واحدة من عشر مراثي لمستني !!!
This is a lyrical and beautiful set of 10 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
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.
Murat G.
Valla çevirinin kötü olmasından mıdır, bu tarz şiirlerde çevirinin imkansız olmasından mıdır, benim okurken konsantre olamamamdan mıdır bilmem ama, ben zevk alamadım ağıtlardan, daha da kötüsü anlamadım bişi. Havada uçuşan kavramlar, sözcükler. Garip. 2 points from Turkey.
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
Luis Branco
Uma revelação pessoal de Rilke sobre sua vida, filosofia e fé através das suas dez elegia.
McKenzie Lynn Tozan
I have a confession: I struggle with Rilke.

Perhaps it is because of his duality; his ability to walk the line between the traditional and the modern---if such a line can be scripted. Reading Rilke often takes me back to the Romantics, particularly Keats, due to the fixation on mortality and natural symbolism. These connections may be heightened even more so within Duino Elegies and its occupations with mortality and the existential, not to mention the sharp drifts between the fatalistic and hop
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.
جابر طاحون

هذا العالم نشيده فينهار
نشيده ثانية
فننهار نحن

غريبٌ ألا نسكن الأرض بعد ،
ألا نمارس عادات بالكاد تعلمناها
ألا نُعطي الورود و أشياء أخري واعدة
معني مستقبل بشري
و ألا نظل كما كنا ، في يدين خائفتين بلا نهاية
و أن نرمي بأسماءنا جانبًا كلعبة محطمة
غريب ألا نستمر برغباتنا
غريب أن نري العلائق كلها
في الفضاء محلولة تتبعثر
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.
[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
Edição Assírio e Alvim, incluindo introdução e enquadramento da poesia escrita em Duíno, costa adriática.
Rainer maria Rilke demonstra uma fluidez e poder lírico nestas 10 elegias que não se perdem com a tradução, criando imagens literárias de beleza ímpar e com uma escrita que deixa a anos-luz de distância grande parte da poesia dos últimos 100 anos.
Uma verdadeira influência para o comum dos poetas contemporâneos (espero-o), a originalidade e espiritualidade de Rilke ultrapassa a necessidade de
Nick Jirsa

Lil' Rainer Maria
Juan Jiménez García
Rainer Maria Rilke. De lo visible y lo invisible

A estas alturas poco podemos añadir a las Elegías de Duino, más allá de una historia personal de la poesía. Se ha escrito mucho sobre ellas, ha escrito incluso el propio Rilke (aunque como decía José María Valverde, tal vez el autor sea el que menos entiende su obra, dado que es el único que no tiene la condición de lector), las elegías son una de las obras más importantes de la poesía universal. En una obra tan abierta a interpretaciones, fuera de
Incredibly beautiful and illuminating. I already have some passages memorized and hope to learn more.
Big problem with reviewing The Duino Elegies
Translation is hugely important unless one can read the original. Someone like me would have to read three translations almost concurrently to get hold of the poem. For good or ill, there is not this issue with poets who are available in practically only one translation.

These relatively short, dense mystical poems must be read over and over, not twice or thrice as I have done, and with more attention than I have given. I really like some of Rilke's p
Ahmed Azimov
الشاعر الذي صب كلماته الموزونة في صميم وجوديّة هيدجار
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  • Harmonium
  • Selected Poems
  • Poems of Paul Celan
  • The Selected Poems
  • Collected Poems
  • Elegy
  • Selected Poems and Fragments
  • Trilogy: The Walls Do Not Fall / Tribute to the Angels / The Flowering of the Rod
  • The Bridge
  • Calligrammes: Poems of Peace and War (1913-1916)
  • The Dream Songs
  • Residence on Earth
  • If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho
  • The Maximus Poems
  • The Collected Poems, 1957-1987
  • Hymns to the Night (English and German Edition)
  • Praise
  • Selected Poems
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 about Rainer Maria Rilke...
Letters to a Young Poet The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God Sonnets to Orpheus

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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.”
“Every angel is terrifying.” 243 likes
More quotes…