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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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Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge

Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge

(p.167) 5 Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge

Charlie Louth

Oxford University Press

Baudelaire forms the link onto this chapter on Rilke’s ‘prose-book’, where his experience of Paris is given fullest expression and where the French literary tradition is everywhere present. Malte is read as in dialogue with decadence, especially with Huysmans’ À rebours. It is understood as a ‘poet’s novel’ in the sense that its techniques, preoccupations, and structures are not those of the novel as they are commonly understood, and make more sense when approached as a kind of prose poetry with connections to Baudelaire’s. There is also an extended comparison with Hamlet, as a way of elucidating the novel as a work of crisis, with its hero poised between ruin and revelation.

Keywords:   the novel, prose, Baudelaire, Huysmans, Hamlet, Paris, French literary tradition, decadence

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