To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God Paperback – Deckle Edge, November 1, 2005
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Library Journal
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Original Language: German --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the AuthorsDiscover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.
Top Customer Reviews
This volume is quite possibly the sloppiest, most disrespectful, and least reliable "translation" of Rilke I have ever seen. The term "translation" can only be used in the most casual sense for in their notes on translation Barrows and Macy describe a kind of vague new-age method of translation consisting of a kind of collaboration between them and the original, full of interpretation and subjectivity (pg. 35). At one point they even confess to doing away entirely with the accurate translation of one of the poems in favour of a "metaphorical" translation (pg. 40). They admit to omitting lines, entire sections of poems, and even collapsing two consecutive poems into one (pg. 41). Any legitimate and reputable translator would be horrified by these hackneyed techniques.
For example, in the very first poem, one which sets the tone for the whole book, Barrows and Macy, in their foot notes, admit to cutting out the entire last stanza, fully one-third of the first poem because, "it is not as strong as the first two stanzas, especially for the opening poem of The Book of Hours." Rilke, his editor, and his publisher obviously thought it was strong enough. The fact of the matter is that Rilke's work is what it is and it is not the translator's place, as any reputable translator knows full well, to make those determinations. On page 42 of their notes on translation, commenting further on Rilke's supposedly weak writing, they smugly comment, "Since we could not bring him the chicken soup he needed on those long nights [of writing], we have done him the favour of culling." One wishes they had done him the favour of a reliable and reputable translation instead of rewriting his beautiful and thoughtful original.
All that said, I refrain from dunning this entirely...the kernel of Rilke's meaning pokes through, but I firmly recommend reading this instead in German, ability provided. As far as suitable English translations of Rilke, the best ones available to my mind are those done by Edward Snow.
I particularly love this book because Rilke, in keeping with the tradition of love mysticism, wants to suggest that there's no fundamental difference between the intense yearning for another person and the intense yearning for God. As the poet/narrator tells a young monk struggling with passions of the flesh, "now, like a whispering in dark streets/rumors of God run through your dark blood." Love of God and love of humans are both erotic inasmuch as they involve the entire person, mind, soul, and body. To long for the beloved is necessarily a sensual experience. Moreover, reminiscent of the great medieval mystic Meister Eckhart, Rilke holds that God erotically yearns for us as much as we yearn for God. One of my favorite poems in the book, "Was wirst du tun, Gott, wenn ich sterbe?", hauntingly worries about the devastatinig effect the poet/narrator's death will have upon God the Lover:
What will you do, God, when I die?
I am your pitcher (when I shatter?)
I am your drink (when I go bitter?)
I, your garment; I, your craft.
Without me what reason have you?
...What will you do, God? I am afraid.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent commentary. The actual Rilke text buried in an awkward layout.Published 10 days ago by Stephen Kliewer
Beautiful writing...I only wish I could also speak/read German so I could fully appreciate the translation work. This is beautiful poetry.Published 13 days ago by M
The whole thing sounds treacly. The title, the decision to cast Rilke in an almost shapeless free verse. But the book was life changing for me. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Donald Zirilli
In spite of the many complaints that this book is not a literal, rhyming translation of Rilke, I found this a beautiful volume of poetry in its own right. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer