William H. Gass examines the ideas that informed Rainer Maria Rilke’s Elegies and discusses previous translations of the work while writing about Rilke the man: his character, his relationships, and his life.
“A fitting tribute to one of the 20th century’s greatest poets and everything literary criticism should be.” —Library Journal
After nearly a lifetime of reading Rilke in English translation, William H. Gass undertook the task of translating Rilke’s writing himself, in order to see if he could, in that way, get closer to the work he so deeply admired. Gass examines the genesis of the ideas that inform the Elegies and discusses previous translations, while writing, in his inimitable style, about Rilke the man: his character, his relationships, his life. Finally, Gass’s own extraordinary translation of the Duino Elegies offers us the experience of reading Rilke with a new and fuller understanding.