Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly's Reviews > The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke
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Feb 01, 11

Read in February, 2011

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(a Danish nobleman) living in Paris and a poet. Written in a journal form, Brigge here muses about almost everything: his family, its history, God, women, love, life, death, art, poetry, reading and what have you (but not food, or chess, I did notice that). He recalls, narrates, makes one-way conversations (several times with God), goes into seemingly endless soliloquies, babbles like a drunk (I'm sure not really, but that was how he sounded--at times--to me). There are streams of consciousness, rivers of unconsciousness and oceans of hallucinations here. What a headache! Here, for example, is Brigge/Rilke writing about fate, life, God, man, woman and love (I picked a short one; only the novel should give the reader a headache, not a mere review of it):

"Fate loves to invent designs and patterns. Its difficulty lies in complexity. But life itself is difficult because of its simplicity. It has just a few elements, of a grandeur that we can never fathom. The saint, rejecting fate, chooses these and comes face to face with God. But the fact that woman, in accordance with her nature, must make the same choice in relation to man--this is what calls forth the doomed quality of all love relationships: resolute and fateless, like an eternal being, she stands beside the one who is transformed. The woman who loves always surpasses the man she loves, because life is larger than fate. Her self-surrender wants to be infinite: this is her happiness. But the nameless suffering of her love has always been that she is required to limit this self-surrender."

Imagine 260 pages of such nice-sounding, but practically incomprehensible, prose! Well, most probably I was just not up to the task of properly reading this novel which some consider to be "one of the most influential and enduring works of fiction of our century." Let me just say, then, that this book has a grandeur I can never fathom. So instead of one, I'll give it two stars. It was OK. I have to play it safe, ha, ha
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Kwesi 章英狮 Playing safe is dangerous to your health, like inhaling every gaseous particles of smoke that kills you every second destroying your brain from rating a book.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm reading now "Duino Elegies" .. One book a little bit different,you know??


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly that's poetry? I wait for your review.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes,That's poetry...I'd finished today..


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