Rainer Maria Rilke and Paula Modersohn-Becker
Imprint: Northwestern University Press
276 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: April 2000
In 1908, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote "Requiem for a Friend" in memory of Paula Modersohn-Becker, the German painter who had profoundly affected him and who had died a year earlier. Although a great modern painter, Modersohn-Becker is remembered primarily as she is portrayed in Rilke's poem. Dear Friend looks at the relationship of two great artists whose often-strained friendship was extraordinary for both.
"It was not until I read 'Requiem for a Friend' in Eric Torgersen's translation that I understood what a great and tragic poem it is: guilt-ridden, impassioned, intimate, a sublimated howl. Torgersen's version is one of those rare complete successes in the absolutely impossible art of translation." --Galway Kinnell
"A brilliant and valuable study, written with grace and passion, Torgesen's work could scarcely be bettered, both for the delight of reading it provides and for the insights into the lives it exposes." --Choice
"As a guide through the intersecting lives and relevant work of Rilke, Modersohn-Becker, and Westhoff, this study has qualitatively and in its focus no parallel in either English or German."
—Reinhold Heller, University of Chicago