First published in Paris in 1910, Rilke's Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge is one the first great modernist novels, the account of poet-aspirant Brigge in his exploration of poetic individuality and his reflections on the experience of time as death approaches. This new translation by Burton Pike is a reaction to overly stylized previous translations, and aims to capture not only the beauty but also the strangeness, the spirit, of Rilke's German.
"There have been books that have struck me like lightning and left me riven, permanently scarred, perhaps burned-out but picturesque; and there have been those that created complete countries with their citizens, their cows, their climate, where I could choose to live for long periods while enduring, defying, enjoying their scenery and seasons; but there have been one or two I came to love with a profounder and more enduring passion, not just because, somehow, they seemed to speak to the most intimate 'me' I knew but also because they embodied what I held to be humanly highest, and were therefore made of words which revealed a powerful desire moving with the rhythmic grace of Blake's Tyger; an awareness that was pitilessly unsentimental, yet receptive as a sponge; feelings that were free and undeformed and unashamed; thought that looked at all its conclusions and didn't blink; as well as an imagination that could dance on the heads of all those angels dancing on that pin. I thought that [Rilke's] Notebooks were full of writing that met that tall order." -William H. Gass, A Temple of Texts
First published in 1910, this is Rilke's only novel--a unique and distilled narrative in diary form. Malte Laurids Brigge is a Danish poet living in Paris in the early 20th century, whose obsessions with death and strivings after a reality stripped down to its essentials prefigure much in Rilke's own poetry as well as in the modernist movement in general.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres
- Psychology, Philosophy, Settings, Human Qualities + Behavior, Literary, Conflicts + Dualities, Literary Genres + Types of Novels
- October 20, 2008
- October 20, 2008
- Rainer Maria Rilke