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Rilke's Sonnets to OrpheusPhilosophical and Critical Perspectives$
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Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge and Luke Fischer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190685416

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190685416.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2022

The Imaginative Ecology of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus

The Imaginative Ecology of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus

(p.227) Chapter 8 The Imaginative Ecology of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus
Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus

Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei

Oxford University Press

Rilke’s poetry issues a critique of modern alienation from the natural world and is held in philosophical and ecocritical interpretations to effect an alternative revealing of nature. This essay investigates nature in Rilke’s writings by tracing its relation to poetic imagination and considers in that light the prospects of a Rilkean vision of nature for literary ecocriticism. Nature in Rilke’s work, it is argued, does not appear primarily as a prelinguistic given to be salvaged, but must be both retrieved and constituted through a productive imaginative consciousness, a prospect lyrically thematized in The Sonnets to Orpheus. The play between revelation of nature and its imaginative generation underlies the ecological import of Rilke’s poetry, despite the risk it poses to the idea of privileged poetical access to nature itself and its celebration in both phenomenological accounts of poetic revealing and traditional literary ecocriticism.

Keywords:   Rilke, sonnet, poetry, imagination, ecology, nature, phenomenology, ecocriticism

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