With all his contradictions, Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) is one of the fathers of modern literature and the Duino Elegies one of its great monuments. Begun in 1912 but not completed until 1922, they are 'modern' in almost every sense the word has acquired; yet Rilke was by temperament anti-modern, a snob and a romantic. He was devoted to the three A's: Architecture, Agriculture, Aristocracy. The Duino Elegies aroused real excitement among English readers when the now-dated Leishman/Spender versions first appeared in the 1930s. Stephen Cohn, the distinguished artist and teacher, has worked for over three years to complete this outstanding new translation. Peter Porter writes: 'Your translation must have grandeur, essential size in its component parts, and speed to catch the marvellous twists of Rilke's imagination.' He adds, 'Cohn has met all these requirements.' These versions show a rare empathy with the originals and an instinct for the right diction and cadence. They are, says Porter, 'the most flowing and organic I have read.'
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