'Ist das der Eingang eines neuen Lebens?' Rilke’s Thresholds as an Inversion of Passivity

Hutchinson, B. (2005) 'Ist das der Eingang eines neuen Lebens?' Rilke’s Thresholds as an Inversion of Passivity. German Life and Letters, 58 (1). pp. 13-21. ISSN 0016-8777. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

This article examines Rilke's use of images of 'threshold' in 1906/7. Starting from his re-telling of the story of the prodigal son, I show how the manner in which lie inverts established interpretation in order to insist on a narrative of departure, rather than arrival, is characteristic of his broader tendency to translate patterns of closure into moments of opening. In particular, I consider how this is expressed in the recurrent motif of 'Fortgehen', and how Rilke uses this motif to explore and subvert ideas of 'belonging', Culminating in his idiosyncratic poetics of renunciation. This emphasis oil the threshold refines the familiar notion of 'Umschlag' in the Neue Gedichte, in relation to both Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge and Rilke's own life. I contend that his underlying urge at this pivotal time, in both his aesthetics and his ethics, is to transform the passive into the active: both the movements of his syntax and the grander conceptualisations of God and 'intransitive Liebe' call ultimately be seen to derive from this inversion of passivity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PT Germanic literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Ben Hutchinson
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2008 21:43
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2014 09:00
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/6134 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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