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Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelic
He would become one of the most important poets of the twentieth century; she a muse of Europe's fin-de-siecle thinkers and artists. In this collection of letters, a finalist for the PEN USA translation award, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salome, a writer and intellectual fourteen years his senior, pen a relationship that spans thirty years and shifting boundaries: as lovers, as mentor and protege, and as deep personal and literary allies."
"In the diaries [Rilke] kept from 1898 to 1900, now translated for the first time . . . the overall impression is that of a genius just coming into his own powers."—Boston Phoenix
He would become one of the most important poets of the twentieth century; she was the uber-muse of Europe's turn-of-the-century thinkers and artists. In this never-before-translated collection of letters spanning almost thirty years, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salome, a writer and intellectual fourteen years his senior, pen a relationship that moves from that of lovers to that of mentor and protege, 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 Salome reeled through extremes of love, pain, annoyance, desire, and need yet guided each other in one of the most fruitful artistic exchanges in twentieth-century literature. Despite illness, distance, and emotional and psychological pain, they managed to cultivate, through strikingly honest prose, an enduring and indispensable friendship, a decades-long heartfelt dialogue that encompassed love, art, and the imagination."
We respond so intensely to Vermeer, suggests Edward Snow in this landmark study of the artist, because his paintings reach so deeply into our lives. Our desire for images, the distances that separate us, the validations we seek from the still world, the traces of ghostliness in our own human presence - these are Vermeer's themes. Whether his paintings depict a remote view of the everyday life of a city, an intimate exchange between a man and a woman, or a solitary figure absorbed in some familiar activity, their quiet realism is in dialogue with the uncanny, and has the power both to estrange and reassure. Scenes like A View of Delft can make us feel, in Snow's words, "either that we are in the hands of God or that all passes into oblivion, either that we are weighted down or weightlessly suspended, either that the world is there beneath our feet or that nothing exists beyond the moment of perception". As the author traces the elaborately counterpoised sensations that make up Vermeer's equanimity, he opens our eyes to a depicted world where nuances proliferate and details continually surprise. A Study of Vermeer, first published in 1979 and here presented in a revised and intricately enlarged version, is passionate and visual in its commitments. Snow works from the conviction that viewing pictures is a reciprocal act - symbiotic, consequential, real. His analysis of Vermeer's paintings are focused on details and conducted in a language of patient observation; at the same time they bring the act of looking to the viewing threshold, where imperatives of distance-keeping mingle with fantasies of crossing over and taking apart. Such close attention to the paintings involves the reader in anexperience of deepening relationship and ongoing visual discovery. A Study of Vermeer has been designed to facilitate this process: over eighty illustrations, fifty-nine in color (including two full-page foldouts), accompany the text so that the details under discussion will be continuously in view. The result is a book to enthrall not only students of Vermeer but anyone who feels the exhilaration of what Cezanne called "thinking in images".
Now substantially revised by Edward Snow, whom Denise Levertov once called "far and away Rilke's best translator," this bilingual edition of The Book of Images contains a number of the great poet's previously untranslated pieces. Also included are several of Rilke's best-loved lyrics, such as "Autumn," "Childhood," "Lament," "Evening," and "Entrance."
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