Perhaps no cycle of poems in any European language has made so profound and lasting an impact on an English-speaking readership as Rilke’s Duino Elegies. These luminous new translations by Martyn Crucefix make it marvellously clear how the poem is committed to the real world observed with acute and visionary intensity. Completed in 1922, the same year as the publication of Eliot’s The Waste Land, the Elegies constitute a magnificent godless poem in their rejection of the transcendent and their passionate celebration of the here and now. Troubled by our insecure place in this world and our fractured relationship with death, the Elegies are nevertheless populated by a throng of vivid and affecting figures: acrobats, lovers, angels, mothers, fathers, statues, salesmen, actors and children. This bilingual edition offers twenty-first century readers a new opportunity to experience the power of Rilke’s enduring masterpiece.
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