The reputation of Rainer Maria Rilke has grown steadily since his death in 1926; today he is widely considered to be the greatest poet of the twentieth century. This Modern Library edition presents Stephen Mitchell's acclaimed translations of Rilke, which have won praise for their re-creation of the poet's rich formal music and depth of thought. "If Rilke had written in English," Denis Donoghue wrote in "The New York Times Book Review, ""he would have written in this English." "Ahead of All Parting "is an abundant selection of Rilke's lifework. It contains representative poems from his early collections "The Book of Hours "and "The Book of Pictures; "many selections from the revolutionary "New Poems, "which drew inspiration from Rodin and Cezanne; the hitherto little-known "Requiem for a Friend"; and a generous selection of the late uncollected poems, which constitute some of his finest work. Included too are passages from Rilke's influential novel, "The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, "and nine of his brilliant uncollected prose pieces. Finally, the book presents the poet's two greatest masterpieces in their entirety: the "Duino Elegies "and "The Sonnets to Orpheus." "Rilke's voice, with its extraordinary combination of formality, power, speed and lightness, can be heard in Mr. Mitchell's versions more clearly than in any others," said W. S. Merwin. "His work is masterful.
About the Author
Rainer Maria Rilke (also Rainer Maria von Rilke) (4 December 1875 - 29 December 1926) is considered one of the German language's greatest 20th century poets. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety - themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets. He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. His two most famous verse sequences are the Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. He also wrote more than 400 poems in French, dedicated to his homeland of choice, the canton of Valais in Switzerland.
Stephen Mitchell is Leverhulme Professor of Hellenistic Culture at the University of Exeter. Previous books include A History of the Later Roman Empire AD 284 641 (2007) and, more recently, The Imperial Temple at Ankara and the Res Gestae of the Emperor Augustus. A Historical Guide (2008).