Rainer Maria Rilke The Book of Hours

Robert Saxton


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The High Window Press
28 January 2023
ISBN: 9781913201227

From the publisher

Here for the first time Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Book of Hours is rendered into satisfying poetry in English in a version that follows the rhyme patterns of the original German. An introduction covers the sources of Rilke’s inspiration, as well as the principles Robert Saxton has followed in his approach to the work.

Rilke’s earliest masterpiece is compelling, outspoken, impassioned, strange and wholly alive. It catches the reader off-guard with surprises and frissons of all kinds. Varied and restless, it presents a kaleidoscopic picture of the poet’s complex and shifting relationship with God, which at times feels like a love affair. Key themes include doubt, desire, art, nature, time, nothingness, pilgrimage, the city, poverty and death. All this is set within a vibrant world, peopled by memorable characters, including a young monk resisting the temptations of the flesh, Michelangelo, Botticelli, the Virgin Mary, St Francis, farmers, monks and a sinister nightwatchman.