Neither religion nor philosophy: the language of delicacy in Rilke's poetry.

Castelvedere, Antonella (2010) Neither religion nor philosophy: the language of delicacy in Rilke's poetry. German Life and Letters, 63 (2). pp. 133-145. ISSN 1468-0483

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This article examines the function of the language of delicacy and the use of the term ‘leise’ in Rainer Maria Rilke's Das Stunden-Buch and the Duineser Elegien. In particular, I consider the relevance of delicacy to the reassessment of the violence that haunts the discourses of religion and philosophy through which the poet addresses the crisis of modernity in his poetry. Starting from the analysis of the ambiguous treatment of the abstract entities of God and the Angel, I contend that the attempt to reconcile the sensible with the concept inheres in Rilke's persistent preoccupation with ‘Dasein’ as ideal incorporation of death. I proceed to show that, conversely, the texts convey the complex experience of mortality as a precarious and sophisticated way of making sense at the limits of perception. I argue that an exploratory discursivity articulates the experiences of ‘disbelieving’ and ‘unknowing’ whose creative liminality is at variance with the rigidity of the central narratives of revelation and enlightenment advocated by the poet. I conclude by suggesting that a comprehensive reading of Rilke's poetry requires the recognition of the condition of ‘delicate being’ as a mode of resistance to the latent violence of Rilke's compelling conceptualisations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Religion, Poetry, German
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PT Germanic literature
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Arts & Humanities
Depositing User: Kristina Hearnden
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2015 10:11
Last Modified: 19 May 2020 11:04

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