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Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke (Modern Library) (English & German Edition) (English and German Edition) Hardcover – August 1, 1995
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About the Author
Stephen Mitchell was born in Brooklyn in 1943 and studied at Amherst, the University of Paris, and Yale. Considered one of the preeminent translators of his generation, he has translated many classic texts including Gilgamesh, The Bhagavad Gita, Tao Te Ching, and The Book of Job.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ich lebe mein Leben in wachsenden Ringen,
die sich ueber die Dinge ziehn.
This roughly translates to: "I live my life in widening circles/rings, which pull themselves over things." Mitchell translates "die Dinge" to "earth and sky." "Dinge" means things, not "earth and sky." "Dinge" is much less specific, more ambiguous.
This next mistranslation is a little more annoying. It's the third poem in the volume:
Ich finde dich in allen diesen Dingen,
denen ich gut und wie ein Bruder bin;
This translates to "I find you in all these things, to which I am good and like a brother." Mitchell translates this to "I find you, Lord, in all Things and in all / my fellow creatures, pulsing with your life;" That's completely different!
Mitchell's translation is very pretty, but he's often either adding or taking out important words or images and inserting ideas where Rilke would be more vague, ambiguous, and subtle. I agree with one of the other reviewers who implies that, in this volume, non-German speakers are getting more of Mitchell's verse and less of Rilke's. One can always find fault with someone's translation, especially when translating poetry. In my opinion, though, Mitchell's translation borders on the Oedipal.
Rilke is a quiet light. I believe, he realizes, in some measure, his oneness with God. His table of quietness absorbed me. Although, i may not know what Rilke was actually experiencing when he wrote, but what I feel is the vastness and inclusiveness of God, the patience of God, the love of God, the "closer than breathing and nearer than hands and feet" of God.
One day, someone, who was familiar with Rilke, saw me reading this book, and mentioned that some of Rilke's books were read at funerals. I laughed; i hadn't heard that before. Yet, i can understand why this would be so. There is a sadness in his writings. But the death of which he speaks is not the kind of death that needs an undertaker; but the kind that says to "die daily" to our claims, suggestions, fixations, and opinions of "this world." It is when we die to universal beliefs that we become the quiet light of which Rilke speaks.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure..."
I could say the same of Rilke's poetry.. Read more
I'm really not a fan of this translation, which is disappointing. Any translation loses something and is filtered through the creativity and abilities of the translator, which... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alex
I fail to see how so many people have lauded Mitchell's translations. While his renderings of Rilke contain some very fine passages, he takes astonishing liberties that too often... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Terza Rima
Rilke is great poetry. And I am glad to have this
and other translations of his poetry on my desk.
These are poems & can't be described in the same terms one applies to fiction. If there is an underlying narrative here it is the one that makes all poems happen -- the passage... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ann McGarrell