Recent scholarly projects

What a busy year it has been! Still, I've completed two tasks I had set myself and am now at work on two more.

First, I completed an essay on Rilke's Elegies and Sonnets, to appear in a volume on Literature and Culture in 1922, edited by Jean-Michel Rabatë. It's not always easy to write on a topic that has been written on so much--including by me! I did have some exciting new ideas, however, notably about Rilke's relation to Goethe's poetry and how it informs the Duino Elegies.

Second, I finished the essay on Grünbein and classical antiquity. This essay is in German...

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Rilke conference

Who could have known that the Rilke conference would be so inspiring? The workshops, in which we dicussed individual poems and their contexts were splendid. The only problem was that there were always three workshops running parallel, so we had to make a choice. But once I was in the workshop I had selected, everything else paled in comparison with the intelligent and thoughtful discussion. I think we all learned a huge amount from these workshops. We also profited from the keynote speeches. My own favorite was Anthony Phelan's lecture on drafts of poems, a very sophisticated and subtle...

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Rilke exhibition

Helping select and arrange materials for the Rilke exhibit at Houghton Library (opening on Sept, 22) has been a real learning experience. One thing I'd been curious about was the typeface used in the first edition of Das Buch der Bilder. Rilke chose it himself and was very pleased with it. Then Hofmannsthal wrote to congratulate him on his poetic achievement, but added that he found the capital letters very irritating. Capital letters? What was strange about them in Das Buch der Bilder? Even more fascinating is what happened to the typeface in the second edition. For a...

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