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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: 25 January 2022

The Pozzo Sonnet

The Pozzo Sonnet

Rilke and the Killing of the Doves

(p.259) Chapter 9 The Pozzo Sonnet
Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus

David Brooks

Oxford University Press

Rilke is often cited as the first major modern poet to address and in some part orientate his poetry toward the animal. Reading II.11 of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus and concerned by the manner in which it condones the killing of doves, this essay suggests a wound within Rilke’s work occasioned by a radical tension between his allegiance to poetry per se and his concern for animals. Arguing that this sonnet is perhaps the most Orphic of the Sonnets, it locates Rilke’s use of the Orpheus myth within a broader necrologocentricity in twentieth-century thought. It asks whether this preoccupation with death may, as an excuse wound, serve to mask a deeper wound that may be occasioned by our suppression, relegation, and exploitation of animals. In order to free poetry to address this wound some ancient bonds within us may need to be broken or reconfigured, including our treasured bond with Orpheus.

Keywords:   animal, death, excuse wound, gaze, killing, necrologocentrism, Orpheus, the Open, translation, wound

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