The Dark Interval: Letters on Loss, Grief, and Transformation

The Dark Interval: Letters on Loss, Grief, and Transformation

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Overview

From the writer of the classic Letters to a Young Poet, reflections on grief and loss, collected and published here in one volume for the first time.

“A great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins

“A treasure . . . The solace Rilke offers is uncommon, uplifting and necessary.”—The Guardian

Gleaned from Rainer Maria Rilke’s voluminous, never-before-translated letters to bereaved friends and acquaintances, The Dark Interval is a profound vision of the mourning process and a meditation on death’s place in our lives. Following the format of Letters to a Young Poet, this book arranges Rilke’s letters into an uninterrupted sequence, showcasing the full range of the great author’s thoughts on death and dying, as well as his sensitive and moving expressions of consolation and condolence.

Presented with care and authority by master translator Ulrich Baer, The Dark Interval is a literary treasure, an indispensable resource for anyone searching for solace, comfort, and meaning in a time of grief.

Praise for The Dark Interval


“Even though each of these letters of condolence is personalized with intimate detail, together they hammer home Rilke’s remarkable truth about the death of another: that the pain of it can force us into a ‘deeper . . . level of life’ and render us more ‘vibrant.’ Here we have a great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins

“As we live our lives, it is possible to feel not sadness or melancholy but a rush of power as the life of others passes into us. This rhapsodic volume teaches us that death is not a negation but a deepening experience in the onslaught of existence. What a wise and victorious book!”—Henri Cole

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Even though each of these letters of condolence is personalized with intimate detail, together they hammer home Rilke’s remarkable truth about the death of another: that the pain of it can force us into a ‘deeper . . . level of life’ and render us more ‘vibrant.’ Here we have a great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins

“A treasure . . . The solace Rilke offers is uncommon, uplifting and necessary.”––The Guardian

“As we live our lives, it is possible to feel not sadness or melancholy but a rush of power as the life of others passes into us. This rhapsodic volume teaches us that death is not a negation but a deepening experience in the onslaught of existence. What a wise and victorious book!”—Henri Cole

Kirkus Reviews

2018-05-07
A collection of never-before-published letters by the renowned poet."What can you say in the face of loss, when words seem too frail and ordinary to communicate our grief and soothe the pain?" asks translator and editor Baer (German and Comparative Literature/New York Univ.; We Are But a Moment, 2017, etc.). The letters included in this brief but dense collection grapple with this crucial question. Taken from correspondences that Rilke had with friends, relatives, and acquaintances in light of the deaths of various individuals, these letters provide a space for ruminations and a careful study of our relationship to death. In each letter, Rilke addresses the death of the person in question, but he also uses it as a steppingstone to offer his own perspective on the ways in which humans are conditioned to die: "I think that the spirit cannot make itself so small that it concerns nothing but our existence in the here and now: Where it rushes toward us, we are both the living and the death." More interestingly, the letters offer windows into daily life between 1908 and 1925, pointing out the many mundane events that punctuated Rilke's life—e.g., a spa treatment he received—as well as the emotional toll his poetry was taking on his letter-writing abilities. Though these letters are an important contribution to Rilke's archive, they don't offer enough context for general readers to truly latch onto them. For those knowledgeable about Rilke's work, these letters will serve as fresh reading material, new modes of understanding his practice, and demonstrations of his thinking about writing and existence ("we have been tasked with nothing as unconditionally as learning on a daily basis how to die"). But for those just now discovering his work, the letters might serve as a disservice to the colossal beauty of his poetry. A slim, mildly intriguing glimpse into Rilke's daily life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525509844
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/14/2018
Series: Modern Library Classics
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 189,976
Product dimensions: 4.80(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

To Mimi Romanelli
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Dark Interval"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Rainer Maria Rilke.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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