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Duino Elegies

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  6,718 ratings  ·  271 reviews
We have a marvelous, almost legendary image of the circumstances in which the composition of this great poem began. Rainer Maria Rilke was staying at Duino Castle, on a rocky headland of the Adriatic Sea near Trieste. One morning he walked out onto the battlements and climbed down to where the cliffs dropped sharply to the sea. From out of the fierce wind, Rilke seemed to ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1923)
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Lorenzo A. Perchè nonostante ci siano elegie di notevole bellezza lirica che riesco a capire, ce ne sono altre che invece non comprendo, è un limite mio, non del…morePerchè nonostante ci siano elegie di notevole bellezza lirica che riesco a capire, ce ne sono altre che invece non comprendo, è un limite mio, non del libro :)(less)

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Luís C.
"The Duino Elegies" is undoubtedly his masterpiece.
This collection highlights the confusion of the human creature who feels foreign in a world abandoned by the beauty and the sacred.
Haunted by the passage of time and death, it is powerless to fully participate in the universal life.
In these conditions, the role of the poet is imperative: he must endeavor to account for this outpouring of existence whose seizure alone is capable of reducing anxiety.
Rilke extends this reflection in the "Sonnets to
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
David Lentz
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poesy

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
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Peter Schmidt
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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, Hayden, Merrill, 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. These versions by ...more
Rilke'nin dimağından farklı olacağını düşündüğüm bir kitaptı.
-olacağı-nı dememdeki sebep ise şiirler ( ağıtlar ) hissiyatıma çok yakın başlayarak, her ağıtta bir adım daha uzaklaşarak maalesef kayboldu.
Özellikle birilerine ithaf edilmiş çok ağıt var. Kişileri de bilmemekten kaynaklı uzaktan bakan kişi oldum.
Sorun bende mi acaba diye öğrencilerime de derslerde bir kaç ağıtı okudum, genel yapısından başka çok da fazla his uyandırmadı.
Yine de aralardan seçtiğim parça cümleler ve tamlamaları
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poesia, checos, bib-p
Provavelmente merece 5 *, mas de tão metafórico que é, senti-me afundar num abismo de sombras e emergir bêbada de ignorância.
Steven Godin
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, germany, austria
From one of the fathers of modern literature, Duino Elegies is simply one of his greatest achievements. It's monumental in every way, and almost impossible to describe. I wouldn't even know where to start. To simply say 'stunningly beautiful' would be a vast understatement. After Reading for the second time, I have upped my score to a five. Which it rightly deserves.

Extract from the The Third Elegy -

One thing to sing the beloved, another, alas!
that hidden guilty river-god of the blood.
He whom
Shinji Moon
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Khashayar Mohammadi
"Jeder Engel ist Schrecklich"

If you're somewhat acquainted with the German language (Like yours truly) I strongly suggest reading the bilingual edition. Reading the German parallel to the English is a great way to get under Rilke's skin and absorb his incredible poetry.
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who ever looked for God.
Absolutely soul-searching fantastic. I loved the translation, and furthermore the poems themselves reflect this search for God that is all at once suprising and familiar. I have a new crush and his name is Rilke.
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ποιος, αν κραύγαζα, θα μ’ άκουγε τάχα απ’ των Αγγέλων τα Τάγματα;
κι αν ένας μ’ έσφιγγεν ακόμα, ξαφνικά πάνω στην καρδιά του,
θα διαλυόμουν κάτω από την δυνατότερη ύπαρξη του.
Γιατί, η Ομορφιά, δεν είναι παρά η αρχή του Τρομερού, που μόλις
μπορούμε να υποφέρουμε και τη θαυμάζουμε μόνο γιατί
δεν στέργει να μας καταστρέψει. (η αρχή της 1ης ελεγείας)
Gerry LaFemina
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a beauty to this book beyond the words and the pacing and the images and the ecstatic frenzy. Rilke's angels seem all around after re-reading it (for the first time in years). What a joy. What delight.
Carlin Nicholson
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Rilke is the poet's poet's poet.

Keeping in mind that "a translation is a subtraction" (James Karl Lyon)
Rilke in better translations is mystifying.

In the German original, Rilke is mind blowing.

His visions are simply transcendent.
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the best books ever written, however I like the Snow and Poulin translations a bit more!
Nov 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, beautiful poetry. Hard to read when disagreeing with the topics. But his words are unbelievable. I haven't stopped thinking of them, and haven't wanted to memorize poetry as much as this one in years.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book of poems. Dark, but beautiful.
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rilke is all of this rolled into one:

depressed funny photo: Funny thhilarious.gif

depressed funny photo: funny q.gif

depressed funny photo: Funny 4910fe4478cdaf70930ff1356440470b.gif

Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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
Whitney Maas
It was time for a re-read of this AMAZING author and his Elegies. There is hardly a word that he has scribbled that didn't take the breath straight from my lungs.
ex: "the beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure, and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us."
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I had a copy of this in German with English translations that was a very beautiful gift that I lent to someone and never got back. Was it you? Rilke makes heaven feasable to a heathen and was the first non-American poet I truly loved.
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Haunting, brilliant and apocalyptic they look to the future Quartets of TS Eliot, the angelic voice screaming in the wind, Rilke is masterful in the emotion & vision presented in these. Worth reading & re-reading. Wish I could read them in German!
H. P. Reed
Reading Rilke is like listening to Jussi Bjorling sing: graceful, ethereal, the embodiment of beauty.
Christine Cather
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Reading beauty.
To read this on a day or a weekend all by yourself is truly inspiring.This edition has the original German and is also very beautiful to read alongside the English translation.
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
Oct 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
There's nobody like Rilke. He's a gentler T.S. Eliot, just as beautiful if less intelligent, more heartfelt, more genuine.

His poetry embraces the world. Nobody is larger than Rilke. The burning hot fervent prayer that is his mind is one we all need to hear, and help transmit.

Get the Stephen Mitchell translation, and get goin'
Sam Manning
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“Weren’t you always
distracted by expectation, as if every event
announced a beloved? (Where can you find a place
to keep her, with all the huge strange thoughts inside you
going and coming and often staying all night.)”

Trevor Incogneato
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
two thoughts, related- 1. why do people quote the bible so much? 2. why isn't this the bible??????
Nov 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who lives for art, or arts to live
Recommended to Ruaidhri by: a guy in ithaca, new york. hadn't met him before, haven't seen h
Shelves: meops, les-meilleur
Sometimes things can scare the life out of us.

And that life rises out of us, sees beyond and into us.

Beauty is frightening, and fear is beautiful.
christopher leibow
This book is one of the reasons I write poetry. I have part of the first elegy stenciled on my living room wall.
John M.
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is there to say? Among the very greatest poems of the 20th century and in Snow's superb translation.
Adriana Scarpin
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poesia, tcheca
Edição bilingue imperdível da Biblioteca Azul com extensas notas interpretativas da tradutora.
B. Faye
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Μπορεί ποτέ κανείς πραγματικά να βαθμολογήσει την ποίηση;
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Şiir ve ağıt acının somut bir kavram olup kalbimizi sıkıştıran hali...

Ey taşkın suların kaynağı,
yiğit anaları, siz! Dar boğazlar, içinize
yürek yamaçlarından kızlar kendini atmış hep
kurban diye, gelecek oğul için, yakınarak."

"Çünkü bizler duydukça azalıyoruz; bizler
geçiyoruz verdiğimiz solukla; közden köze
hafifliyor kokumuz"

"Bizlerse: Seyirci, her zaman, her yerde,
bizler herşeye dönük, hiç dışına çıkmadan!
Ağzımıza dek doluyuz. Düzenliyoruz. Parçalanıyor.
Düzenliyoruz yine, biz parçalanıyoruz."

Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"ey melek, hem çalışsam da! gelmezsin. çünkü benim çağırışım hep direniş doludur; böyle güçlü akıntıya karşı yürüyemezsin."
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"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..."
Kübra  Yağmur Aslanhan
Kitapla ilgili -aslında şiir çevirilerinin tümünde- yaşadığım sorun ritmi, ahengi yakalayamıyor oluşum. Kelimeler hep havada, aktarılan duygularla aramda bir boşluk kalıyor ve o boşluktan bana hiçbir şey geçmiyor.

Keşke Almanca bilseydim diye kahırlandım, hali hazırda orijinali ile bir yayınlamışlardı ama anlamayınca elden ne gelir. :(
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed-books
Meu bom Rilke. Um tesouro que se leva pela vida fora.
Molly Major
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read this translation and the translation that introduced me to Rilke is not available in print. If you have a chance to find a used copy translated by Gary Miranda, it is excellent and worth the effort to find.
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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
“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.” 306 likes
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