Rainer Maria Rilke's The Book of Hours: A New Translation with Commentary (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture) (Paperback) by Rilke Rainer Hutchinson Ben Ranson Susan
Rainer Maria Rilke is arguably the most important modern German-language poet. His New Poems Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus are pillars of 20th-century poetry. Yet his earlier verse is less known. The Book of Hours written in three bursts between 1899 and 1903 is Rilke's most formative work covering a crucial period in his rapid ascent from fin-de-siecle epigone to distinctive modern voice. The poems document Rilke's tour of Russia with Lou Andreas-Salome his hasty marriage and fathering of a child in Worpswede and his turn toward the urban modernity of Paris. He assumes the persona of an artist-monk undertaking the Romantics' journey into the self speaking to God as part transcendent deity part needy neighbor. The poems can be read simply for their luminous lyricism captured in Susan Ranson's superb new translation which reproduces the music of the original German with impressive fluidity. An in-depth introduction explains the context of the work and elucidates its major themes while the poem-by-poem commentary is helpful to the student and the general reader. A translator's note treating the technical problems of rhythm meter and rhyme that the translator of Rilke faces completes the volume. ~~~~~~~ SUSAN RANSON is the co-translator with Marielle Sutherland of Rainer Maria Rilke Selected Poems (Oxford World's Classics 2011). ~~~~~~~ BEN HUTCHINSON is Reader in Modern German at the University of Kent UK.