Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus: Philosophical and Critical Perspectives

ISBN : 9780190685416

Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge; Luke Fischer
312 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Aug 2019
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Written in three weeks of creative inspiration, Rainer Maria Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus (1923) is well known for its enigmatic power and lyrical intensity. The essays in this volume forge a new path in illuminating the philosophical significance of this late masterpiece. Contributions illustrate the unique character and importance of the Sonnets, their philosophical import, as well as their significant connections to the Duino Elegies (completed in the same period). The volume features eight essays by philosophers, literary critics, and Rilke scholars, which approach a number of the central themes and motifs of the Sonnets as well as the significance of their formal and technical qualities. An introductory essay (co-authored by the editors) situates the book in the context of philosophical poetics, the reception of Rilke as a philosophical poet, and the place of the Sonnets in Rilke's oeuvre. Above all, this volume's premise is that an interdisciplinary approach to poetry and, more specifically, to Rilke's Sonnets, can facilitate crucial insights with the potential to expand the horizons of philosophy and criticism. Essays elucidate the relevance of the Sonnets to such wide-ranging topics as phenomenology and existentialism, hermeneutics and philosophy of language, philosophy of mythology, metaphysics, Modernist aesthetics, feminism, ecocriticism, animal ethics, and the philosophy of technology.


Chapter 1. Introduction
Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge and Luke Fischer
Part I: Interiority, World-Disclosure, and Constructivism
Chapter 2. On Inwardness and Place in Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus
James D. Reid
Chapter 3. Rilke on Formally Disclosing the Meaning of Things
Rick Anthony Furtak
Chapter 4. The Modernism of The Sonnets to Orpheus: Abstraction and Figurality
Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge
Part II: Death, Love, and the Beyond
Chapter 5. Beyond Existentialism: The Orphic Unity of Life and Death
Luke Fischer
Chapter 6. Love in Paramyth: On Rilke's Figuration of the Orpheus-Myth
Christoph Jamme
Chapter 7. The Feminine in Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus: A Philosophy of Productive Deprivation
Kathleen L. Komar
Part III: Ecocriticism and Animal Ethics
Chapter 8. The Imaginative Ecology of Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus
Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei
Chapter 9. The Pozzo Sonnet: Rilke and the Killing of the Doves
David Brooks

About the author: 

Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge is Associate Professor of German at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Her research focus is literature of the 18th to 20th century, with particular interest in lyric poetry, metrical theory, literature and philosophy, and the relationship between sound and text. Her first monograph, Lyric Orientations: Holderlin, Rilke, and the Poetics of Community appeared with Cornell University Press in 2015; she has also published on Wittgenstein, Klopstock, Nietzsche, and the contemporary poet Durs Grunbein.; Luke Fischer is a philosopher, poet, and scholar of poetry. His books include The Poet as Phenomenologist: Rilke and the New Poems (Bloomsbury, 2015) and the poetry collections A Personal History of Vision (UWAP, 2017) and Paths of Flight (Black Pepper, 2013). He has authored and co-edited works on poetry, philosophy, art, and the environment, including the special section Goethe and Environmentalism in the Goethe Yearbook (2015). He is an honorary associate of the University of Sydney.

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