Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé: The Correspondence

Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé: The Correspondence

by Rainer Maria Rilke

In this never-before-translated collection of letters spanning almost thirty years, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé, a writer and intellectual fourteen years his senior, pen a relationship that moves from that of lovers to that of mentor and protégé, to that of deepest personal and literary allies.

From the time of their first meeting and consequent affair to Rilke's death in 1926, Rilke and Salomé reeled through extremes of love, pain, annoyance, desire, and needyet guided each other in one of the most fruitful artistic exchanges in twentieth-century literature.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Poetry
  • Rating: 4.26
  • Pages: 448
  • Publish Date: June 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton Company
  • Isbn10: 0393049760
  • Isbn13: 9780393049763

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Then one day in 1922 he finally did get his brain in gear and wrote the Duino Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus in a no-kidding fortnight, because he really is that amazing and that was his process and he was in fact right, who could have guessed? 99% of the time people who are going to write something great one day when things are just right are kidding themselves.

Quien más y quien menos conoce a Rilke; sin embargo, mediante las cartas nos enamoraremos de Lou, una mujer libre, inteligente, de una gran vitalidad y optimismo, que contrasta con la personalidad melancólica del poeta. Lou Andreas-Salomé fue una mujer de una mentalidad muy avanzada para su época, no olvidemos que estamos hablando de principios del siglo XX, que mantuvo relaciones afectivas con Freud y Nietzsche, entre otros.

Read it and swoon as RMR and LAS both mature, while sharing breakdowns, secrets, critiques, observations, ego-strokes, ego-breaks, desires and frustrations in a most devoted manner that spans decades.

Here's the thing: these letters were clearly translated by devotees of Rilke and of course, that is logical and sensible, who else would do it? However - their high opinion of Rilke serves to diminish Lou Andreas-Salome, who happened to be the reason I wanted to read this correspondence.

...cada cual adquiría, por decirlo con la inocencia de un paisaje, una visibilidad pura, una presencia, y me enriquecía, formaba parte de mí mismo, tanto y de tal modo que por primera vez me parecía ser dueño de mi vida, no por una adquisición, por una explotación, por una comprensión interpretativa de cosas caducas, sin por esta misma nueva veracidad que se esparcía también a través de mis recuerdos. Todo su ser no es sino esa crispada distancia de la que cuanto más se apropia, más le extraña- ojo atento a ese mundo en el que está, pero sin ver, él mismo, mundo. Asumir las fuerzas que brotan desde los abismos del sí mismo y, luchando por expresarse, desgarran la piel delicada del poeta- someterse al daimon para llegar a ser lo que uno es.

Rilkes early letters are pretty ridiculous, so I was sucked into this correspondence with a lightened heartand by the time I got to the writing of the first Elegies, it was much too late for me to escape unscathed. No matter what awaits me: I still get up every day doubting whether I shall succeed in doing so; and these misgivings have grown to their present size through the actual experience of weeks, even months going by in which I produce only with the greatest exertions five lines of an utterly insipid letter, which, when they are finally there, leave an aftertaste of incompetence such as a cripple might feel who can't even shake hands anymore. If people happen to be present they offer me the relief of being able to be more or less the person they take me for, without being too particular about my actual existence. How often do I step out of my room as, so to speak, some chaos, and outside, perceived by someone else's mind, assume a composure that is actually his and in the next moment, to my astonishment, find myself expressing well-formed things, while just before everything in my entire consciousness was utterly amorphous. For not even her work is a genuine means of expression for her: this was, when I discovered it, quite early on, so immediately bizarre to methat someone should be working in art without having come to it through her own inner expansion; I often teased her about this enigmatic origin of her sculpting, which was there without anyone knowing where it had come from; was simply there and got better and better, but without being necessary to satisfy some inner urge or demand.

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.