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The Poetry of Rilke (German Edition) (German) Hardcover – October 13, 2009

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Snow, a professor at Rice, has devoted a good deal of his life to bringing into fluid, lyrical English more of Rilke's books than anyone else. He is Rilke's best contemporary ambassador to the English-speaking world. Rilke, of course, is one of the major poets of the 20th century, author of such famous poems as Archaic Torso of Apollo, The Panther and The Duino Elegies. Snow's translations of the complete texts of Rilke's original collections—including both volumes of New Poems, The Book of Images, Duino Elegies and the revelatory Uncollected Poems—are beautiful works in their own right and bring across all of Rilke's intensity and focus. This mammoth book brings together generous selections from all of Snow's volumes of Rilke in their recently revised editions; it's certain to be the definitive collection of Rilke for some time to come. Readers will be helpless, after passing through this book, against the command that closes Archaic Torso: You must change your life. (Oct.)
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Praise for Rainer Maria Rilke and Edward Snow

“Edward Snow is doing important work. Robert Lowell once wrote that it was hard to imagine Rilke first written in English, that the poems were sealed in German. Snow is unsealing them.”—Robert Phillips, Houston Chronicle

Praise for the Duino Elegies

“[This] translation of the Elegies is the finest that I have ever read . . . Snow has gradually been building a reputation as Rilke’s best contemporary translator in English. His version of the Elegies should cement that reputation, and elevate it: Snow may be the best translator that Rilke has ever had.”—Brian Phillips, The New Republic

Praise for The Book of Images

“Snow has rendered with great skill and accuracy a work both familiar and unknown, more complicated and more immediate than many have suspected, at once grave, mysterious, and beautiful.”—Edward Hirsch

“With these sorrowing and luminous poems . . . it is possible to gain, for the first time in English, a consistent perspective of Rilke’s difficult canon, here restored and disclosed to stunning effect.”—Richard Howard

Praise for Uncollected Poems

“Something of the non-vatic Rilke, poet of perception and sensation, is best conveyed in English by Snow’s mediations.”—Harold Bloom

“The Snow translation of these little-known Rilke poems is brilliant.”—Mark Strand

Praise for New Poems

“Rilke’s first great work . . . [Snow’s translation] is clear, accurate, and fluent.”—Stephen Mitchell


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; Bilingual edition edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: German
  • ISBN-10: 0374235317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374235314
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,782,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gregor von Kallahann on December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to think of any 20th century poet more worthy of intense study and close reading than Rainer Maria Rilke, whose demanding, and often hermetic work requires (and has not always received) sensitive and skilled translations. Rilke's ideal translator needs to inhabit his works--and to have more than a "touch of the poet" him/herself.

Edward Snow might feel more comfortable--as I've read--being described as an academic than a poet, but his deft, lyrical translations of Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry have won him almost universal acclaim in recent years. He is justly revered as one of Rilke's best English language translators ever. Thus it's a real joy to have an extensive collected works edition of these skillfully rendered translations, featuring many previously uncollected poems and new versions of several he has included in previous individual volumes.

I note that several customers have been less than thrilled with the physical item, and I too have been distressed in recent years with various publishing short cuts and downright shoddy product. I feel compelled to rate this work of literature as a work of literature, however. I might advise those who have concerns about the quality of the physical item to examine it in an actual brick and mortar (and if satisfied, then consider ordering it online if that's your preference). Sometimes that's the only way of alleviating online anxiety about an actual purchase.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Onomacritos on October 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I agree with Mr. Horne's review of the quality of this book. The boards are cheap and thin, with no cloth. The paper is thin and cheap enough to yellow as quickly as a paperback. The cut of paper on the top of my book is uneven (though this is, most likely, a flaw peculiar to my copy).

Snow's translations of Rilke are some of the best. It's a shame that North Point Press brought them out in such a shoddy edition. Users that don't own Snow's previous translations might find this a great single volume for Rilke. However, they would be advised to wait for the paperback, due to the poor quality of this pressing. Or, if interested in hardbacks, they might want to purchase the individual originals, second hand. Though the translations of the Elegies are nearly recomposed in this volume, I can hardly think that Snow would discredit his earlier versions of the Elegies (or any of his other complete translations of Rilke's books of poetry).
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Craig Allen on November 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have found Edward Snow's translations to be by far the best with respect to poetic translations, certainly a much more difficult endeavor than merely producing a linguistic translation. Having been able to read Rilke alongside a native German, we both agree that Snow captures the essence of the poetry with his translations. I am very pleased with this new collection and once through it will compare it to Snow's earlier translations since it is mentioned in the forward that he has redone some of his earlier work, notably on the Elegies.

As for the quality of the book, two things I would suggest to those who denigrate this volume. First, the publishing industry isn't what it once was, and with the advent of electronic media it is becoming increasingly more expensive to produce quality books, even in paperback format. I recall a time when a hardback book of this size would have cost only $10 or $20. Therefore caveat emptor, you pays your nickle, you takes your chances. Second, to use the oft quoted adage, one should not judge a book by its cover. I personally buy books for their content, not the binding. Lovers of good poetry will want to add this volume to their collections whether in hard or paperback editions.
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33 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Allen Horne on October 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review addresses the actual book. Given the competition from electronic books, the internet, free downloads, paperbacks, you'd think publishers of VERY EXPENSIVE hardcover editions would go all out to produce a beautiful edition. Instead, they give you cheap cardboard covers that will dim in a year, paper that turns brown in two, and bindings that begin to crack in three. Oh, and they charge you $50 for one book. I am very disappointed that Northpoint Press could not have produced a beautiful volume that I would treasure rather than a cheap edition, cheaper than the old book club editions of yesteryear, that will deteriorate. Where is their pride? And how can they compete? My volume from another publisher of Ginsberg's collected poems is already filled with brown pages.

I have both Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies from the same publisher and the binding is at one-third cloth.

All I can say to publishers is--if you want me to spend fifty bucks, then I expect a quality edition or I will eschew buying further volumes. I am sure I'm not the only reader who feels this way. Remember, ONE VOICE SPEAKS FOR TEN THOUSAND!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susanna on February 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
True, the paper isn't the best quality . . . but the content is beautiful and so is the cover art. I asked for this book for my birthday last year and I really love it. I'm glad that was before these other reviews were here or they would have scared me off! I guess it depends what you are looking for, but for me this book has been wonderful. I'm happy I have a hard-cover copy as it looks great with the cover art. The content, bi-lingual text, and quality of translation are all terrific. Beauty beauty beauty.
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