YOU ALONE ARE REAL TO ME: Remembering Rainer Maria Rilke

Lou Andreas-Salome, Author, Angela von der Lippe, Translator , trans. from the German and with an intro. and afterword by Angela von der Lipp BOA $22 (96p) ISBN 978-1-929918-32-4

A year after Rilke's death in 1926, Salomé—his former lover, novelist, memoirist and muse extraordinaire—wrote this memoir of sorts documenting the poet's rich inner life. Salomé served not only as Rilke's primary muse, but also as his lifelong correspondent and his most trusted literary confidante. Her memoir, now translated into English for the first time, bears witness to Rilke's self-doubts and insecurities as well as his greatest triumphs, culminating in the composition of his famous Duino Elegies. Although Salomé has the potential to offer an unusually personal perspective on her one-time lover, she maintains a cool distance from him at all times. Her interest lies strictly with the development of Rilke as an artist, which makes this book a good resource for literary scholars but of little interest to the casual reader. Salomé pays little attention to Rilke's famous friends and his family life; indeed, she makes no mention of their own three-year love affair. Instead, the memoir follows a stream-of-consciousness style, filled with excerpts from Rilke's notebooks and letters, delicately mapping out the maturation of his poetry over the course of several decades. Salomé does not place Rilke's art within the context of his life; on the contrary, she selects tiny fragments from the poet's life and uses them only as a backdrop for discussions of his art. The memoir, and the introduction by Norton senior editor von der Lippe, takes for granted an extensive knowledge of the poet's life and his art; this volume will be of interest primarily to those who study Rilke. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/10/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
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Paperback - 144 pages - 978-1-85754-742-9
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