In part through critical biography, in part through a close reading of The Book of Hours as well as many poems from his Diaries, this book challenges new ideas about what went into the making of Rilke in the early period of his association with Lou Salomé. Many of our stock judgments connected with this period are reversed: namely, that Lou was in an entirely positive way the dominant mover, that she knew Rilke better than he knew himself, that the Book of Hours was primarily her inspiration, and that Rilke was not profoundly divided in his feelings about her, repeatedly denied as he was the equal creative association with Lou that was his due. The Diaries Rilke wrote between 1898 and 1900 are examined in great depth to show that behind the grand story of Rilke’s poetic emergence lies the fundamental reality of his repression by Lou and what this would sow by way of a sublimated achievement as sublimely poignant as it is finally tragic.
A Poet’s Fall from Grace
The Duino Moment
Coming to Completion
from the "Introduction" to Volume One