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Auguste Rodin Hardcover – February 24, 2004
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Brilliant and subtle but richly colored new photographs of Rodin's sculptures by Michael Eastman make this new translation of Rilke's classic meditation on Auguste Rodin a feast for the eye and mind. National Book Critics Circle Award winner Wiliam Gass examines the text and the setting to provide insight and context. Fine writing, beautiful images, and exciting ideas make this edition of Rilke's Auguste Rodin a real treat. —R.K. Dickson
Poets and the visual arts—it is a vast subject; and all through the twentieth century artists and writers collaborated almost constantly, sometimes with such intensity that it seemed as if they were passing back and forth a single flask labeled 'Inspiration.' Few poets have written more eloquently about the visual arts than Rilke, and one of the most beautiful books of the year is his Auguste Rodin (Archipelago Books, $30), translated by Daniel Slager, with photographs by Michael Eastman, which bring us close to the charged surfaces of Rodin's bronzes, and catch their storm-tossed intensity. Rodin was at times a disturbingly bombastic artist—while his Gates of Hell may be the work of a genius, it is also pure kitsch—but in the years just after 1900, when Rilke got to know him, the avant-garde was still inclined to embrace Rodin as a rough-hewn visionary, a man in whose studio, as Rilke wrote, 'everything was becoming, but nothing was in a hurry.' For Rilke, both Rodin and Cézanne suggested, through the very physicality of their labors, a route beyond fin-de-siècle preciosity. Rilke discovered in Rodin a man who was utterly committed to the materiality of the artistic vocation. Rodin taught Rilke to make his feelings concrete. —Ruth Franklin
From the Publisher
· Rodin shows the female nude form in its beauty and simplicity
· Wonderful collection of Rodins late work --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Allan Cox, author of "WHOA! Are They Glad You're In Their Lives?" to be published June 5, 2012
This Archipelago Books volume on Rodin was smartly conceived by its small press publisher. It is nearly square in size to accommodate long-lined text printed on quality paper. Sturdily bound in a partial cloth binding, overall it has the look and feel of a quality gift book, and one features sophisticated content. If the editor's plan was to see what happens when you assemble in one package the work of three powerful communicators -- a titanic sculptor who ushered in new forms, a poet striving to understand and explicate the invisible, and a living master essayist on literary matters -- that plan succeeds with sparkling insights.
The book opens with an Introduction by William Gass, a long-time Rilke maven and an unsparing arbiter of cultural subjects. Gass stylishly fulfills his setting-the-stage duty. Using multiple perspectives (historical, aesthetic, biographical, psychological) he helps the reader understand why the young poet developed an awed appreciation for Rodin (the man and his work). We learn how Rilke absorbed the sculptor's personal and aesthetic credo ("il faut travailler, rien de travailler") with lasting effect on his mature poetic output.
All that Rilke learned from Rodin he expressed to the world in two significant pieces which make up the bulk of this book: an essay written at the very start of his personal association with the elder artist in 1903; and a public lecture written at the end of their relationship in 1907.Read more ›
Rodin is a striking example of an artist who achieved recognition in his own lifetime. That included financial independence, which gave him the freedom to explore directions for which patronage would have been hard to find. In fact, the display of some images in this series is said to have cost the director of the Grand-Ducal Museum his job.
It's easy to think of Rodin's masterworks in statuary as complete command of form. Whatever Rodin thought of them, it wasn't enough. His later life produced "one-minute drawings" like these by the thousands. He was looking for something, possibly within himself, that he never found words to articulate wholly. One proposal holds that he wanted to capture the dimension of time, the frozen moment, that eluded stone and bronze.
Perhaps he succeeded. Beyond that, he also succeeded in collecting a wonderful catalog of female figure - not just figure, but dynamic and exciting figure. The excitement is more than just intellectual. It goes well towards the carnal but stops short of vulgarity, at least to a modern eye. These models presented not just their forms but their arousal, of themselves and of their same-sex partners. Rodin's genius captured their passion and his own, stripped of any critical sentiment.
This book will work well to complement a library that already represents Rodin's better-known works. These watercolor drawings tend toward a sameness of color, contrast, and style that might wear on some viewers' patience. I guess it's not for everyone. If you've already befriended Rodin's work, though, this is an enjoyable way to deepen your relationship.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Who translated this edition? And why are all the reviews for the Archipelago edition translated by Daniel Slager? V. confused.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Gorgeous AND informative. Not just pictures but the story with them.Published 22 months ago by curlysue
An artistic perspective on this great artist. Enjoyed the facts and the way they were written. The emphasis on the movements of human body totally makes sense.Published on May 7, 2014 by whj
Looked like a great book but it was sent to me really worn out & tattered; it was returned because it was going to be a gift. Terrible.Published on January 25, 2013 by Skye
[Indeed, it does appear that Amazon.com has linked three completely different books together as different "editions," when in reality these are three entirely different collections... Read morePublished on December 7, 2011 by Alice in Wondland
This book(really a long essay) is Rilke at his discriptive best.It is not just a biography, rather it is a personal account of the life and work of a man he knew (lived for a time... Read morePublished on February 18, 2011 by Richard Porricelli