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The Sonnets to Orpheus (Skoob Seriph) Paperback – 21 Jun 1991

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Paperback, 21 Jun 1991
£56.48 £0.94
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Product details

  • Paperback: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Skoob Seriph; New Ed edition (21 Jun. 1991)
  • ISBN-10: 1871438608
  • ISBN-13: 978-1871438604
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 0.7 x 13.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,734,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"An undisputed masterpiece by one of the greatest modern poets translated here by a master of translation"--Voice Literary Supplement

Voice Literary Supplement"

An undisputed masterpiece by one of the greatest modern poets translated here by a master of translation "Voice Literary Supplement"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

In February 1922, Rainer Maria Rilke recovered his creative energies as a poet with a suddenness and abundance virtually unparalleled in the history of poetic composition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
"There rose a tree, O pure transcendency!
O Orpheus singing! O tall tree in the ear!
And all was silent. Yet even in the silence
new beginning, beckoning, change went on."

If you understand the above then you'll probably love these sonnets. I'd like to think I'm not a complete idiot though I admit I'm probably too lazy to do the work necessary for understanding difficult poetry. I love Pushkin and adored Virgil's Georgics but I just couldn't make sense of Rilke.

That was my first try at a review but before pressing Publish Review I opened the book again, took another look and something happened. It's somewhat embarrassing to admit that I thought just then I understood something new. So I sat down and re-read all of the sonnets. Now I started to see that this wasn't just a random conflation of pretty sentences. No, this was a wistful worship of all that nature gives and is, all that we tend to ignore or trample upon - space and time, sounds and silence, the songs of birds, the beauty of flowers, the grace of beasts, the scent of a rose, music. Against this is set the impermanence of man, ambition and machine.

My German is not good enough (the sonnets are also given in German) or else I would have read the original as I found the English translation taxing. Nonetheless I'm upgrading these sonnets in my estimation.
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Format: Paperback
'Dance the orange. Who can forget the Orange,
how it drowns in itself, as it struggles
against it's own sweetness. You owned the Orange.
It's changed itself deliciously into girls.'

I don'tknow much about Rilke other than he dressed as a woman as young man, and that these sonnets were composed in the space of three weeks shortly before his death. Penned at the end of 1922, the best way to describe 'The Sonnets to Orpheus' is as a masterpiece. I may be a bit bias but I thought this was an outstanding collection of mystical prose, revolving around Orpheus, his lives, his re-incarnations, his loves, his beauty, his Orange.

I am told that Rilke himself did not fully understand what he had written when he had finished these works. What he wrote was a topagraphical overview of the life and times of Orpheus Bacchus. Rilke composed the works sometime after the death of a woman he loved in the early 1920's. What he writes about is the key to understanding modern theosophy. Madame Blavatsky was the Bannana, Edward Crowley was the Apple, Wynn Westcott was the Plum, and Orpheus was an Orange. They were all occultists of the Victorian era, and Rilke pens a modern mythos through spiritual awakening. And Rilke himself writes as a guide to the master of mystery in these works.

Like all great works that display an intricate spiritual understanding, Rilke does not write within the confines of a linear frame-structure. Rilke recounts to Orpheus the lessons he takes from him, himsself; 'the shades of ghosts are all we can see, earthsmoke and rue are for him harmony, combined for him as clear, logical things', for me, this conjures images of shamanic understanding and insight.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote the Sonnets to Orpheus in three weeks, in a sudden burst of inspiration. They are based around the Greek legend of Orpheus, a musician whose harp music was so tranquil, it even caused the wild beasts to calm down and listen to its beguiling melodies. Orpheus is the archetypal musician, poet and artist. In a way, he is Rilke's Muse, and Rilke sees him as an inspiration and praises him. He talks of nature and its beauty, and the endless cycle between life and death. This is an excellent sequence of poems, certainly some of the best Rilke ever wrote. The tranlators have succeeded admirably in conveying the spirit of the original, while adhering to the 14-line sonnet form. Highly recommended to anyone who likes poetry.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The letters written by Rilke are a treasure to any poet, but even more to the mature ones, as they will deeply understand the poet's advices.
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