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Sonnets to Orpheus (Wesleyan Poetry in Translation) [Paperback]

Our Price $ 15.26  
Retail Value $ 17.95  
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Item Number 93648  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   134
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 31, 1987
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819561657  
EAN  9780819561657  

Availability  129 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 08:08.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
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Item Description...
Sonnets to Orpheus is Rainer Maria Rilke's first and only sonnet sequence. It is an undisputed masterpiece by one of the greatest modern poets, translated here by a master of translation, David Young.

Rilke revived and transformed the traditional sonnet sequence in the Sonnets. Instead of centering on love for a particular person, as has many other sonneteers, he wrote an extended love poem to the world, celebrating such diverse things as mirrors, dogs, fruit, breathing, and childhood. Many of the sonnets are addressed to two recurrent figures: the god Orpheus (prototype of the poet) and a young dancer, whose death is treated elegiacally.

These ecstatic and meditative lyric poems are a kind of manual on how to approach the world - how to understand and love it. David Young's is the first most sensitive of the translations of this work, superior to other translations in sound and sense. He captures Rilke's simple, concrete, and colloquial language, writing with a precision close to the original.

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More About Rainer Maria Rilke

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague in 1875 and died in Valmont, Montreux, in 1926. Throughout his life he travelled restlessly around Europe, meeting Tolstoy in Russia (1900), working as secretary to Rodin in Paris (1905 6), enjoying some aristocratic hospitality (especially at Castle Duino, near Trieste, as guest of Marie von Thurn und Taxis, between 1910 and 1914), working as a clerk in Austria during the war, but finally settling at the Chateau de Muzot, Valais, after 1922.

The turning-points in his career are the "Neue Gedichte" ("New Poems") of 1907 8, together with the journal-novel of the same period, "Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge" (1910); and "Duineser Elegeien" and "Die Soneete an Orpheus" of 1922. His final interest was Paul Valery whose poems, "Charmes," he translated in 1925 and imitated in his own "Poemes francais."
Michael Hulse was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1955 and studied at the University of St Andrews. Since 1977 he has taught at the Universities of Erlangen, Eichstatt and Cologne in West Germany, and has spent periods working as a freelance writer. His most recent translations include "Prison Journal"by Luise Rinser (Penguin 1988) and "Paris Diaries"by Ernst Junger. He has also published several collections of poems: "Monochrome Blood," "Dole Queue," "Knowing and Forgetting," and "Propaganda"and has won numerous awards."

Rainer Maria Rilke lived in Prague. Rainer Maria Rilke was born in 1875 and died in 1926.

Rainer Maria Rilke has published or released items in the following series...

  1. European Poetry Classics (Paperback)
  2. Modern Library (Hardcover)
  3. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  4. Penguin Classics
  5. Vintage International

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( R ) > Rilke, Rainer Maria   [14  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General   [19247  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > Continental European   [852  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Mythology > General   [3570  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Excellent translation  Sep 20, 2009
Readers should note that the one star review for this translation gives one star to this site, not to David Young.

This is my favorite translation of the Sonnets to Orpheus -- and the only one I can read and be reminded of the original German. No translation is perfectly faithful, but Mitchell and Paterson (both beautiful translations, also) take more liberties than Young in interpreting some of Rilke's stranger lines. Look, for example, at the second stanza of sonnet II, 13:

The original reads:

Sei immer tot in Eurydike--, singender steige,
preisender steige zuruck in den reinen Bezug.
Hier, unter Schwindenden, sei, im Reiche der Neige,
sei ein klingendes Glas, das sich im Klang schon zerschlug.

Young translates:

Be dead in Eurydice, always --, climb with more song,
climb with more praise, back up into pure relation.
Here in the kingdom of decay, among what's wasting,
be a tingling glass that shatters itself with sound.


Be forever dead in Eurydice -- more gladly arise
into the seamless life proclaimed in your song.
Here, in the realm of decline, among momentary days,
be the crystal cup that shattered even as it rang.

And Paterson:

Die, die through Eurydice--that you might pass
into the pure accord, praising the more, singing
the more; amongst the wanting, be the glass
that shatters in the sound of its own ringing.

These are all excellent translations -- but excellent in different ways. Notice how Mitchell skirts over the ambiguities of words like Bezug, "relation," or concepts like rising "zuruck," rising backwards. Paterson attends to those subtleties, but his translation is too charged, passionate -- "Die, die." Rilke wrote these poems at the end of his life, at a time when he'd already departed from "that passionate music," as he writes in I, 3, and developed a song that sounded more like "Ein Wehn im Gott. Ein Wind," "a gust / ripple inside the god. A wind." That's the effect Young more consistently achieves. But not always. If you're new to Rilke I'd consider this translation in conjunction with Mitchell's selected poetry.

Oh -- I should also mention that both this and the Mitchell include the German. The Paterson does not.
Get it together, Amazon!  Jul 27, 2009
Why is it that the editorial reviews refer to different translations, such as Mitchell's? Other blurbs, it says, refer to paperback editions - BY OTHER AUTHORS, such as Norton and Young! As far as I can tell, none refer to the book pictured on this page. Then, try to use the "look inside" feature and you'll see the cover of a paperback edition - OF STILL ANOTHER TRANSLATION! - Cohn's. Using blurbs that don't refer to the book you're trying to sell is false advertising. Get it together, this site! One star performance.

Write your own review about Sonnets to Orpheus (Wesleyan Poetry in Translation)

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