Duineser Elegien. Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, Tall quarto, publisher's full green crushed morocco gilt, raised bands, top edge gilt, uncut; housed in a custom clamshell box. Deluxe limited large-paper first edition of one of the greatest volumes of poetry of the 20th century, number 83 of only copies, this copy one of the first copies specially bound in full green gilt-decorated morocco at the Wiener Werkstadt. This beautiful copy of Rilke's magnificent Elegies , the work he regarded as his finest and fullest expression, is one of only copies of the first edition, and one of only about of which were bound in full green morocco-gilt.
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The editors show us one example of such an advanced query: "What is the meaning of life? Maybe the meaning of life is philosophy. Cut to Rilke: Rainer Maria Rilke reached beyond that. Certainly, life is all change as Heraclitus or the I Ching claimed. Transformation approached as development, however, means ego, and this hides true existence from ourselves. Existence in itself is of course valid because it's there.
And validity is enough maybe meaning is unnecessary. How appropriate then to get a call, a revelation: a pre-Christian, pre-Mosaic, pre-Everything angel to dictate a few lines about this truly terrifying subject, giving the lost poet both license and direction. Such an event took place around the 20th or 21st of January , when Rilke visited the princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis-Hohenlohe at the castle Duino just outside Trieste.
He was in a crisis and even considered psychoanalytical treatment. He took notes of the words, and during the rest of his stay at Duino, Rilke wrote the beginnings of most of his ten elegies.
In a letter dated January 23rd to author Annette Kolb, Rilke wrote: That which speaks to me about the humane, the overwhelming, and with an authorative calm that gets my full attention, are the figures of the young dead, and even more necessary, clean, inexhaustible: the loving.
Through both those figures, the humaneness is blended into my heart, whether I want it or not. They appear within me, both with the clarity of a marionette which is a cover assigned for the mission of conviction and as completed types, so impossible to go beyond, that one could have written the natural history of their souls.
The elegies were not finished, however, until long after the war. Rilke suffered from depression and could hardly write anything at all, the exception being the fourth elegy, which he wrote in Here he also wrote many of the sonnets of the cycle "Die Sonette an Orpheus. He once said that poetry is not emotion, it is experience.
Wittgenstein's "Tractatus Logico-Filosoficus". And when I come to think of it: There is a similarity between the closing lines of the tenth Rilke elegy and the closing of Tractatus, where one is supposed to throw away the ladder after having climbed it. In this light the famous words, to keep quiet about that which we cannot speak of, are not really cynical or tragic, but suggesting the ecstasy of gravity and grace.
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Though Rilke had, in the eyes of most scholars, already achieved full poetic mastery with his Neue Gedichte of , in this cycle he probes more deeply into many of the mysteries touched on in his earlier work. During his visit to Duino, the castle of his royal patron Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis overlooking the Gulf of Trieste, he began writing the cycle and completed the first and second elegies by the end of February of that year. But this burst of inspiration was not to last. He did complete the …. Citation: Kovach, Thomas A.. The Literary Encyclopedia.
Rilke, who is "widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets",  began writing the elegies in while a guest of Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis — at Duino Castle , near Trieste on the Adriatic Sea. The poems, lines long in total,  were dedicated to the Princess upon their publication in During this ten-year period, the elegies languished incomplete for long stretches of time as Rilke suffered frequently from severe depression —some of which was caused by the events of World War I and being conscripted into military service. Aside from brief episodes of writing in and , Rilke did not return to the work until a few years after the war ended. After their publication in and Rilke's death in , the Duino Elegies were quickly recognized by critics and scholars as his most important work. The Duino Elegies are intensely religious, mystical poems that weigh beauty and existential suffering. Rilke begins the first elegy in an invocation of philosophical despair, asking: "Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the hierarchies of angels?