Duino Elegies A Bilingual Edition

Rainer Maria Rilke; Translated from the German by Edward Snow

North Point Press



Trade Paperback

96 Pages



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Begun in a period of spiritual crisis in 1912, and completed in a second such creative burst in 1922, this collection of complex, symbolic, and haunting lyrics is considered Rilke's signature achievement. Snow, widely seen as the finest Rilke translator of his generation, here continues his unprecedented effort to render the great poet's masterworks in English. The ten poems in the Duino Elegies are among the most visionary writings of the twentieth century—and in this new bilingual translation (with the German and English on facing pages) both scholars and general readers will find the language uniformly clear, flexible, and accurate.


Praise for Duino Elegies

"I have been engrossed in English versions of the Duino Elegies for years, and Snow's is by far the most radiant and, as far as I can tell, the most faithful . . . Reading this rendition provided new revelations into Rilke's symbolic landscapes of art, death, love, and time."—Frederic Koeppel, The Memphis Commercial Appeal

"This translation of the Elegies is the finest that I have ever read . . . Snow has gradually been building a reputation as Rilke's best contemporary translator in English. His version of the Elegies should cement that reputation, and elevate it."—Brian Phillips, The New Republic

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Rainer Maria Rilke; Translated from the German by Edward Snow

  • Edward Snow has been translating the poetry of Rilke for over a decade, work for which he has received an Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets (twice), and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Snow is a professor of English at Rice University and is also the author of A Study of Vermeer and Inside Breughel.

    Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague in 1875 and traveled throughout Europe for much of his adult life, returning frequently to Paris. There he came under the influence of the sculptor Auguste Rodin and produced much of his finest verse, most notably the two volumes of New Poems as well as the great modernist novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. Among his other books of poems are The Book of Images and The Book of Hours. He lived the last years of his life in Switzerland, where he completed his two poetic masterworks, the Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus. He died of leukemia in December 1926.