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  #11  
Unread 04-14-2019, 12:19 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Susan, I've spent a lot of time in various venues sifting old and new texts of "this and that" sort. It may seem odd to those who know me, but I could give certain reasons why I haven't yet really absorbed some of the traditional material that must support the wording here and there in Rilke's poem, in particular, its last two lines: "weil sie, hingerissen von enormen /Stürmen, seine Stimme übersteigt." I doubt that Rilke is being his own theologian in this poem simply because I feel that he is relying heavily on what some would call secondary (accreted) sources (possibly true, quite possibly not). So my appreciation of the poem itself is hampered by what I sense are perhaps very grey details. I think I understand most of the reasons why Rilke included these details in order to flesh-out his poem, but I'm left with the sad feeling that if I were Rilke (not likely, alas), I wouldn't have written this otherwise well-made poem, whereas I would have enthusiastically written many of his others. Maybe you and Julie can help me a little more with "enormen /Stürmen" and "Höhle".

Keep it up, Susan. Ditto, Julie.
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  #12  
Unread 04-14-2019, 03:20 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Allen, I have visited La Sainte Baume (the holy cave) in Provence, which displays the relic of Mary Magdalene's skull. She supposedly was on a ship with the other two Marys who had come to the tomb after the resurrection. The ship had no sails or rudder, but drifted to southern France, and Mary Magdalene spent the next thirty years in a cave, seeing no one, and being transported by angels to heaven every day so that she could listen to the heavenly choir, which also gave her all the sustenance she needed. This information comes from French legends. As for the storms, I think we are supposed to read those as being her inner turmoil of repentance, not another way of describing the angels who carry her to heaven. This inward journey carries her away from the need to hear Jesus's physical voice and toward a union with the divine that is entirely spiritual. At least, that is how I read the ending of the poem.

Susan
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  #13  
Unread 04-14-2019, 04:35 PM
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Thanks, Susan. “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” - L. Wittgenstein.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 04-14-2019 at 05:13 PM. Reason: ,
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  #14  
Unread 04-15-2019, 11:08 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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I have experimented with making a number of changes to the first stanza. I'd like to know whether the tighter accuracy of some of the wording compensates for the looser translation in other parts of it. Is this new version an improvement?

Susan
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  #15  
Unread 04-15-2019, 11:47 AM
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I like the new specificity in S1. I must confess that the first version's mention of not saying no was a little too Rodgers and Hammerstein for me.

What would you think of the intransitive "bends / in ardency" rather than the transitive "bends / her ardency"? I know there's no room for "herself," but I can't help thinking that Rilke might be referring to the many artistic depictions of Mary Magdalene as not standing up straight next to Jesus--she's either sitting at his feet, listening contemplatively (in contrast with her busy sister Martha), or stooping to kiss his feet, or bending forward as she reaches toward him in the hundreds of Easter paintings titled "Noli me tangere."

I prefer the fluidity of the new ending to your first version, but I'm still not sure Rilke is talking about Jesus's voice lacking the power to reach her anymore. (But there's a good chance that he really is. Maybe Rilke is denying Jesus's resurrection altogether, and saying that Mary Magdalene is the only one of the pair who "rose again" after an entombment in a cave. If so, this translation is fine.)

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 04-15-2019 at 12:03 PM.
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  #16  
Unread 04-15-2019, 12:17 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Julie, I have taken your suggestion for changing S4L2 to "in ardency." I don't think the last line suggests that Jesus's voice does not have the power to reach her, but that she has shifted her attention to God (and that that was Jesus's intention all along). I suspect that Rilke, who was not religious himself, is asserting the ability of each individual to make contact directly with the ineffable, without the need for an intermediary.

Susan
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  #17  
Unread 04-16-2019, 06:23 AM
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Michael F Michael F is offline
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Susan, I adore this poem, and your translation. So, so Rilkean.

Congrats on your pubs so far!

M
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