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RilkeThe Life of the Work$
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Charlie Louth

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198813231

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198813231.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Beginnings

Beginnings

Chapter:
(p.21) 2 Beginnings
Source:
Rilke
Author(s):

Charlie Louth

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198813231.003.0002

This chapter focuses on the early work up to Mir zur Feier (1899). Rilke’s beginnings were virtuosic but with a few exceptions fairly empty. This is the common view, and fundamentally it reflects the truth, but the picture has been distorted by the fact that Rilke did not collect or publish some of his most distinctive early work, especially the love poems written to Lou Andreas-Salomé (Dir zur Feier) and the so-called Christus-Visionen. By looking at these works more closely than is usually the case, this chapter also sheds a different light on some of the better known, but lesser works such as Mir zur Feier. Rilke’s poetics as they are expressed in his lecture Moderne Lyrik (1898) are also important here, together with his relationship to symbolism and decadence and the self-conscious attempt to make the difficulty and fragility of beginning into a poetically productive preoccupation.

Keywords:   early work, beginnings, symbolism, decadence Nietzsche, George, virtuosity

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