A masterly new translation of one of the first great modernist novels
In the only novel by one of the German language's greatest poets, a young man named Malte Laurids Brigge lives in a cheap room in Paris while his belongings rot in storage. Every person he sees seems to carry their death with them, and with little but a library card to distinguish him from the city's untouchables, he thinks of the deaths, and ghosts, of his aristocratic family, of which he is the sole living descendant. Suffused with passages of lyrical brilliance, Rilke's semi-autobiographical novel is a moving and powerful coming-of-age story.
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About the Author
Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague in 1875 and died in Valmont, Montreux, in 1926. Throughout his life he travelled restlessly around Europe, meeting Tolstoy in Russia (1900), working as ‘secretary’ to Rodin in Paris (1905–6), enjoying some aristocratic hospitality (especially at Castle Duino, near Trieste, as guest of Marie von Thurn und Taxis, between 1910 and 1914), working as a clerk in Austria during the war, but finally settling at the Château de Muzot, Valais, after 1922.
The turning-points in his career are the Neue Gedichte ("New Poems") of 1907–8, together with the journal-novel of the same period, Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge (1910); and Duineser Elegeien and Die Soneete an Orpheus of 1922. His final interest was Paul Valéry whose poems, Charmes, he translated in 1925 and imitated in his own Poèmes français.
Michael Hulse was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1955 and studied at the University of St Andrews. Since 1977 he has taught at the Universities of Erlangen, Eichstätt and Cologne in West Germany, and has spent periods working as a freelance writer. His most recent translations include Prison Journal by Luise Rinser (Penguin 1988) and Paris Diaries by Ernst Jünger. He has also published several collections of poems: Monochrome Blood, Dole Queue, Knowing and Forgetting, and Propaganda and has won numerous awards.