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University of Oregon

The Angel in Valéry and Rilke Author(s): Ursula Franklin Source: Comparative Literature, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Summer, 1983), pp. 215-246 Published by: Duke University Press on behalf of the University of Oregon Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1770619 . Accessed: 09/03/2014 11:04
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URSULA FRANKLIN

The

Angel
and

in

Valery

Rilke

N THIS century, when Deus Absconditus has become, gradually and inexorably, Deus A bsens, or even deus mortuus, the concept of the angel-that immortal messenger, soldier, and celebrant of the Hidden God, His manifestation to men-has become largely meaningless to the educated West. Hence it is all the more remarkablethat two of the century's greatest poets, in two different national traditions, have found the Angel not merely an attractive metaphor but a symbolic vehicle which, secularized and transmuted, conveys their intellectual and artistic essence. Angels permeate the entire textual cosmos of both Valery and Rilke in diverse forms and varying modes of poetic expression; these symbolic figures, moreover, reach their most imposing proportions in their creators' culminating works. For Rilke, as he frequently stated, that culmination could never have come about without his encounter with Valery.1 In this study I shall trace some of the significant configurations of the angel image in each of the poets, note how that image conveys for each poet themes essential to his poetic vision, and finally examine and comment on the fundamental differences between the two poets in their understanding and use of the image-on the way their angels reflect their basic, often diametrically opposed, attitudes as poets. Valkry's angels are scattered throughout the voluminous oeuvre, as well as the volumes of Notes that fed it for half a century. The poet's early angels recall the Symbolist atmosphere and the artistic cult that produced, through many transformations, the hieratic angelic figures of the early correspondence with Gide,2 and those of poems like "Le
1 See Ren&e Lang, "Ein fruchtbringendes Mif3verstiindnis:Rilke und Val'ry," Symposium,13 (1959), 51-62; and MoniqueSt. H6lier, A Rilke pour NoHl (Bern, 1927), p. 21. 2 Andrd Gide-Paul Vale'ryCorrespondance 1887-1942 (Paris, 1955), pp. 80, 83. 215

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COMPARATIVE

LITERATURE

Jeune Pretre,"3 "Solitude" (0, I, 1585), the early "Narcisse" (pp. 1551-61), and the liturgical angel of the unfinished "Messe angdlique" (pp. 1589-90), all written in the early 1890s. Soon, however, Valery analyzed this aesthetics and its products, as well as their Schopenhauerian underpinnings, with an objective lucidity that already announces his own emancipation.4This emancipation from the Symbolist aesthetics, which the young poet already understood with the objective clarity of a "regard d'Ange," was brought about, moreover, by an intense sentimental crisis in 1892, which made him abandon the poetic for the analytic mode (O, I, 19-20). Val'ry's predisposition toward the angel archetype is likewise reflected in such rare childhood reminiscenses in the Notebooks5 as the story of "ma petite maison" and the "histoire de ma chute" which later became the prose poem "Enfance aux Cygnes" (O, I, 297). From the outset, then, the angel figure is associated with the notion of the Fall, while numerous Notebook passages sketch out the defensive mechanism of a vulnerable, insular adolescent by means of an inner split in which one half of the Self-the lucidly angelic-observes and analyzes the suffering other-the human half, including both self and other (s) in its objective intellectual analysis (cf. C, XVII, 224; XVIII, 784). This inner strategy culminated then in the resolution of the crisis of 1892, frequently recalled in the Notebooks (cf. C, XXII, 842-43; XXIII, 756-57). At this point, Valery appropriated the Angel-Narcissus Gestalt as his personal imago. Narcissus provided the model for the de'doublement interieur dividing the Self into actor and spectator,"while
3 Paul Valeiry,Oeuvres,ed. Jean Hytier, 2 vols. (Paris, 1957-1960), I, 1578.All quotations from Valery's work will refer to this edition, unless otherwise indicated, and be cited in the text as O, followed by volume and page numbers. 4 See the interesting letter to a friend in which the nineteen-year-oldpoet explains: "Ce siecle qui meurt, a de mille fagons 6tudi6,diss6qu6,exalt6 ou honni cet Eternel Feminin ... Enfin, pronongantle definitif anatheme,vient Schopenhauer qui condamneradicalementla femelle, et de qui procede toute cette jeune ECOLE dont je te parlais ... Pour elle, la femme n'existe plus. Toute la tendresse, tout 1'epanchement qu'elle occasionnaitjadis--on le reporte vers de vagues formes CATHOLIQUES. On ne craint pas de parlerAje ne sais quel Dieu avec l'equivoque parole et l'ardeur d'un amour de chair ... Ce regain de ferveur religieuse, dont les Verlaine, les Huysmans (en quelquespages curieuses) voire les Mallarm6, sont les magnifiquesAp6tres, n'a pas d'autresracines, que le d6daindu Sexe bite. Quelle chose curieuse de voir produireen notre siecle, des oeuvres d'une 6motion mystique aussi intense que 'Parsifal,' que certains pieces d' 'AMOUR' ou de L'ALBUM DE VERS ET DE PROSE. (Mallarme)" (Bibliotheque litteraire Jacques Doucet, Paul Valery catalogue Pr6-Teste, No. 113; in the Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve,Paris) 5 Paul Valery, Cahiers, facsimile ed. (Paris, 1957-61), XVIII, 218-19. All

citedin the will referto this edition, hereafter fromValery'sCahiers quotations
text as C, followed by volumeand page numbers. 6 Valery, sufferingfrom his love affair, for example,writes two series of letters,

whathe suffersandwhichhe doesnot send,whileto Gide love lettersexpressing 216

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or one half of it. its human reality. in part inspired by Poe. "scientific" exploration of the psyche are brilliantly reflected in the prose text "La Revelation anagogique" which makes up the last of the Histoires brisles (0. his lucid "regard." sal Arithmetic." originating from a Notebook version of 1938." the constructionand the ultimate failure of the "Univerwith an "algebredu moi. its "revelation" is that of the "abstract. 1979). "Narcisse" the vulnerable other half of his Moi ange'lique. can be overcome. esp. 160-61). The "Anagogical Revelation" is a Valeryan version of Jacob's Struggle with the Angel. 9-75. Teste.218. 130." stands under the sign (epigraph) of Descartes. and superiority both over the Self.in her magistral work Vale'ryet le Moi des Cahiers t l'oeuvre (Paris. p. and over others. II. that is itself. who fuse into one "Anti-ego" threatening the moi. Thus Teste.24 on Sun. Here Val&ryalready links the myth of Narcissus to himself. Here it is not the Self. II. 122. with its vulnerability. though "dur comme un ange."and his preoccupation 8 Celeyrette-Pietri. II. The most famous fragment of the Teste cycle. 15-25). the evil angels Eros and Nous."7 The poet's early crisis and its resolution through the analytic. 13). the young law student forsook poetry for mathematics and began to write for himself -the Notebooks-rather than for a public. 7 Nicole Celeyrette-Pietri. pp. moreover. racotntel'invention du Systame. ."analytic and scientific method -that of the Angel-by which those other powers. is dated MDCCCXCII in the text. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . His major theme became the exploration of the "Moi ang6lique" that was to assume many masks in a poetic universe to which he returned after the failure of the "Universal Arithmetic. "La Soiree avec Monsieur Teste" (at the theater) (0. 110. has discussed extensively Valery's "Fascination Mathematique. its angelic aspiration for complete lucidity ever threatened by the incomprehensible forces on which it depends. is the he writes letters analyzing what he observes happening to his vulnerable self (Gide-Vale'ry Correspondance. pp. a mythologized and symbolic transformation of the 1892 experience and its consequences.8 This Cartesian dualism remained fundamental in Valery.VALERY AND RILKE the Angel-always linked by Valery to Narcissus-furnished the ideal image for intellectual lucidity." Nous and Eros." could never have subsisted "dans le reel" according to his creator (0. one of Valery's most purely intellectual heroes. which celebrates the hero's most eminently angelic trait.177. but its two warring factions that are figured as "two terrible angels. isolation. 170: "Le 'Conte abstrait' . The "Abstract Tale. which objectifies and symbolizes an inner victory of the Self over it (s) self (ves) ." 217 This content downloaded from 194. entenducommereduction 1l'Absolu. Armed with this new sense of angelic vision and will. . 466-67). against each of which the moi must defend itself equally. commemoratingthe battle and the victory of 1892. always supporting a dichotomized vision of the Self.

my italics). et dans une telle perfection de leur harmonie et promptitude de leurs correspondances. oif toutes les id6es vivaient 6galement distantes entre elles et de lui-meme. Another of Valery's heroes of the intellect-"le personnage principal de cette Com6die Intellectuelle qui n'a jusqu'ici rencontr6 son po'te"is his L6onard de Vinci. his nocturnal sister. finally culminates in the "Homme de verre" (0. But Teste does not need to exercise his latent strength: "Mr.. 18. 1956). 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . a mono-dialogue of a mind-Teste's-beholding itself think during a fragment of a night. to See my "The White Night of Agathe: A Fragment by Paul Val'ry. now preceded by "Note et digression". Agathe (Paris." and "s'il eit tourne contre le monde la puissance reguliere de son esprit. et le systeme." We will not follow Agathe through the mental phases of her nocturnal voyage. but will meet her at its climax.24 on Sun. a celebration of the angelic Moi pur."'o "Agathe" was to become a fragment of the night of the hero in the Teste cycle. independent of any content. II. XI. like Teste. when her introspective mind has become a virtual system. 206. "L'Ange. along with a third essay. imaged in Valery's last poem. 1392.177. de leur necessite simultanee subsister par soi seul dans sa sublime plenitude (0. "Leonard et les philosophes. my italics). all three texts now accompanied by retrospective 9 Paul Valery. a figure reflecting this inconceivable mental lucidity while. a theme later fully orchestrated in "La Jeune Parque. rien ne lui eiit r'sist6" (0. one of the poet's most celebrated texts." in EFL. qu'on eiit dit qu'il eit pu s'evanouir. republished in 1919. 44). forming "un systeme nul ou indifferent a ce qu'il vient de produire ou approfondir." which had first appeared separately in Commerce in 1920. entitled "Introduction ia la Methode de Leonard de Vinci. quand 1'ombre imaginaire doucement cede a toute naissance.218. II. itincelant comme un diademe. both were republished in 1933. and suggested why Valery might have chosen not to "finish" or publish "Agathe.. An angelic figure related to Teste is that of "Agathe" (O. et c'est l'esprit" (0." in the Angel's spiritual diadem. 218 This content downloaded from 194. Here "Agathe" has reached the Absolute of the Angel. 37-58. who first appeared in an article in La Nouvelle Revue in 1895.9 I have discussed this text elsewhere at some length." This "commande" has become. II. "la couronne de la connaissance unitive. who did not see the light of day until after the poet's death. I'incarnation du possible en tant que-nous en usons et disposons? Et ce possible-li. a moi become a pure crystal of lucidity.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE man of the Possible. suggesting its fragility. est-ce pas-ce que l'on entend par intellectuel" (C. 19). he "&taitle maitre de sa pens6e. 768) ? Teste. 12 (1975). 138892). II. I. at the same time.. Teste est-il autre chose que le possible.

177. and his motto is Hostinato rigore. In anotheressay Val&rynotes that "ce que j'avais dit des triangles. Leonardartist-scientist." the "regard d'Ange. and the Thomistic angel-that pure LeonardIntelligence. le pronom universel. appellationde ceci qui n'a pas de rapportavec un visage" (0. I.11 faudrait done en toute rigueur ne jamais dire deux triangles. I.VALRRY AND RILKE marginal notes written from 1929 to 1933." the Teste 11 In 1910 Valery had regularly attended the courses of Father Hurteaux on Saint Thomas Aquinas'Summa (cf. mais un triangle et un triangle." Leonard. 1229)to becomea uniqueand universal Self. before "La Jeune Parque. L'ange-celui qui voit les divers ordres" (C. that of the historical figure. aspires to the angelic vision which reduces the world to its object. In a Notebook entry of the 1920s entitled "Lionardo. any more than do the angels. un ange et un ange" (0.each one a species to himself-has left its markon Val&ry's." Teste's "que peut un homme ?" is Leonard's obsession also. for these ideal projections of the Self have no semblable.218. 1217). des machines. But like Teste. without being itself object for another: "C'est une maniere de lumineux supplice que de sentir que l'on voit tout." Valery notes that Leonard possesses. though all. a hero of the "regard." An entry of the 1930s reads: "Roman Conte Description par l'ange-Lionardo. [I1] est le moi. 1175). but rather "ce qui m'apparaissait alors comme le pouvoir de l'esprit" (O. saint Thomas le professe des Anges. et sans se trouver jamais le poste ni le regard qui ne laissent rien derriere eux" (0. not absolute. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . as Valery had learned from Thomistic angelology. the precise sense of the forms of nature. we realize that his farewell to poetry was. XVI. Val&ry'smarvelous intellect immolates the individual that carries it-"se sent conscience pure: il ne peut pas en exister deux. homo faber par excellence-confronts the phenomenal world and masters it: "I1 est le maitre des visages. II. "II est l'ange de la morphologie" (C. like Teste. I. 841). 199). When we turn to Valery's lyric poetry of the period. Here Valery sketched no historical Leonardo. des anatomies." whose composition spans the years 1913-17. of course. esp&ce. the recueil contains some important poems written later. 1155). lesquels 6tant tout seul de son chacun d'eux est n&cessairement immaterielset des essences separ&es. each of whom is a species to himself. whom he called "l'ange-Lionardo. sans cesser de sentir que l'on est encore visible. Valery's Leonardo rejects the human individual(ity) in himself that would make him a mere man among others. et l'objet concevable d'une attention etrangere. like no other artist. indeed. O. Il sait de quoi se fait un sourire" (0. concluding. 34). ni deux anges. But Leonard surpassed Teste in that he realized his potential in creativity and explored the mysteries of the body as well as those of the mind. Though many of the pieces published in 1920 in Album de vers anciens were written before the 1892 crisis. XI. 955). I. Leonard is.24 on Sun. like Teste. that is the angelic Self wearing the mask of the great Renaissance genius. I. One of the most significant poems of the "periode aigue. 219 This content downloaded from 194.

out of which it creates the meaning it confers on the world-"Une maternit6 muette de pensies" (p."15The poem is a hymn to the eye. which is made up of fragments: one opening sonnet and eleven "sections" of varying length and rhyme schemes. and James Lawler. I. so that poets would produce. Valery: Jeune Poete (Paris. pp.giving a detailedexaminationof the poem's many unpublisheddrafts and variants as well as a thoroughlydocumented and definitive exegesis.. and a Swimming Angel whose every stroke measures the celestial space: Et sur les rochesd'airdu soir qui s'assombrit. We recall that for Valery no poem was ever "finished. p. of course. Its subtitle. Telle divinit6s'accoude.calls "Profusion du soir" Val&ry's"premiergrand poeme de l'intellect". Haute nativite d'6toile6lucid&e. (0. 220 This content downloaded from 194. 15 CharlesWhiting. Je ne souhaitais que le pouvoir de faire. introducing an image which integrates the Angel's purity with that of his vision: after the death of the sun.177. "Poeimeabandonn . 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Il restaurel'espacea chaquetour de rein. . une diversit6 de variantes ou de solutions du meme sujet" (0. 1477). Un diamantagir qui berce la splendeur.218. entirely of the beholder's creation: the transformation of exercice dansle monde" (0. . I.24 on Sun. The creative eye forms divinities out of the clouds of an evening sky. the angel's union with the maternal Ur-element. 7-9. intellect and affect. "L'Ange frais de l'oeil nu. 1501). (p.86) The poetic fragments are musical variations on the reciprocal interaction of world and mind through the eye that is fecundated by the phenomena of nature. 1960). 12 The poet reminisces: "Je regrette le temps ouije jouissais du souverainbien (cette libert6 de 1'esprit). as it is alluded to by the protagonist of Mon Faust in 1940. pp. 1974). reminds us that it was importantfor Valery to the very end of his creative career.." might well allude to its creative history. 74-116. 1450-51). I.14and it pertains to our poem.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE years. 1979).. . car celui qui l'a faite ne s'est jamais accompli" (0. 14 See my The Rhetoric of Valery's Prose Aubades (Toronto."Val&ry explains that "uneoeuvre n'est jamais nicessairementfinie. in a vision that is. et non son 13 In "Calepind'un poete.Un ange nage. I. I."13and that he liked to compare poetic to musical composition. 123. begun around 1899 and reworked many times. the "cool Angel of the naked eye" announces the birth of a thought in the mind and a star in the sky: L'Ange frais de l'ceilnu pressentdans sa pudeur. 89). all of them variations on the abundanceof a sunset reflected in the "regard" of an Angel.12is "Profusion du soir" (0.. 86-89).88) The beautiful anagram marries the male and the female. I have discussed in a previous study how this theory of composition is linked to the "fragmentary"form of much of the poet's work. The Poet as Analyst (Berkeley. "a la mode des musiciens.

and her "crown of thought" recalls the Angel's "spiritual diadem. after the years of patient work on this major poem. Seul supportsouriantque je formaisd'amour A la toute-puissantealtitudeadoree .p. The text continues: d'unpersonnage.17Dawn is preeminently the du poIme est la peintture 16 Valery explains: "Songez que le sujet v&ritable d'une suite de substitutions psychologiques. Valery has told us how. 1613) . 1963). and in a letter he writes: "Le sujet vague de l'oeuvre est la Consciencede soi-meme." But at the end of her nocturnal voyage. 102).16 as it constitutes another transformation of the great subtext-"la Conscience de soi-meme"-now musically orchestrated into lyric fragments. their kinship still recognizable in the fragments' common stanzaic form as well as a certain parallelism of vocabulary.24 on Sun. Je me sens qui me trempe. 31.. as do the "pure acts" and the doree"upward surge of love to the sun-"altitude ador&e"-"altitude whose support is the adoring mind. J'6tais 1'gale et l'epouse du jour." and this self-disdain has rendered the Moi pur. the Ange/Narcisse configuration is an inherent part of its underlying "deep-structure": HarmonieuseMOI. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I. differented'unsonge. 99) This harmonious Moi suggests the Angel. The Young Fate's death would rob the world of its meaning. I. Their opening and closing poems. The poem's persona is an eye-protagonist who has shed the "person. Lawler's examinationof this parallelismin Lecture de Valdry (Paris." so that it poetizes this process (so frequently described in the Notebooks and in prose texts like "Monsieur Teste" and "Note et digression"). si l'on veut" (Lettres a quelques-uns." were originally one. The publication of "La Jeune Parque" in 1917 marked Valery's triumphant return to poetry. a mind that carries the meaning of the universe.. 124). 1952.177. Dites! . 221 This content downloaded from 194. la Consciousnessde Poe. Paris. "Aurore" and "Palme. is its mirror and reflection: "Tout l'univers chancelle et tremble sur ma tige. the "Charmes" burst forth almost spontaneously. the Young Fate rejects the angelic "purete du Non-etre" for life. with a poem whose subject is related to "Agathe" and thus to Teste. et en somme le changement d'une conscience pendantla duroe d'une nuit" (0..218. p... And though the figure of the Angel is not manifest in the poem's "'surface"imagery.. 17 See James R. Moi. / La pensive couronne &chappe a mes esprits" (p.VALERY AND RILKE an evening cloud. qui jette ici-bas 1'ombre Toutefois d6lie dans le plein souverain.et pur qui me dedaigne! The shadow of the "personnage" is not merely "cast" but "thrown off. (O. Femme flexibleet fermeaux silences suivis D'actes purs ! .

I. again about the creative process.24 on Sun. we recall. "Palme" (O. the universal and the personal. it tells about the secret gestation and patient maturation. mystique) et le germe dans la chair de la vierge-C'est une id6e extraordinaire. "Le Cimetiere marin. Un ange met sur ma table Le pain tendre. its roots anchored deep in the maternal earth.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE moment of the Moi pur. are contrapuntally invoked. and who "speaks to his vision": De sa grace redoutable Voilant Apeinel'dclat.reste calme! Connaisle poidsd'unepalme Portant sa profusion! (pp." Valery's most dualistic poem in which the antithetical motifs of "connaitre" and "Itre.Le ThIme de l'arbrechez Vale'ry(Paris. Il me fait de la paupiere Le signe d'unepriere Qui parle Ama vision: -Calme. It is the Angel of the Annunciation who visits the poetic mind to bring gifts of both earthly and spiritual food. Briefe (Wiesbaden. calme.177.218. we recognize the angelic in the persona whose hubris would project him beyond the human. and "Aurore" constitutes its lyric celebration. d'une "po6sie"supremeL'Ange l'annoncebien simplement.le lait plat. XXVI. In the form of a parable. 391." timelessness and cyclical return. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . is one of the poet's richest symbols for the mind. 222 This content downloaded from 194. L'Annonciationest une merveille-Bien L6onardesque-avec l'6moi et le myde la Ficondation--en dessous. 153-56). and its crown reaching toward the sun. Plus riches que les anciens-lesquels ont trop de mythes a monstres. And the poet's is See Pierre Laurette. While it celebrates the poet's matutinal confidence and his virile taking possession of the world. 1967). st&re Le point de tendressecritique situ6 entre l'acte (ici.et il a grandementraison. 153-54) This loveliest Angel of Valery's lyric poetry is recalled in a Notebook entry from his later years commenting on the "Leonardesque beauty" and the "supreme poetry" of the Angel of the Annunciation: Les Ecritures sont pleines de themes extraordinairement beaux. 155).'9 In the best known of the Charmes. 282) We recall here that Rilke especially loved "Palme" and gave it one of his most accomplished Umdichtungen.s8 Both the symbol of the Palm and the form of the parable confer a biblical quality on the poem. The tree. appears indeed like the first poem's feminine "other half. 1950). II. (C. 19 Rainer Maria Rilke. finally the miraculous birth of the poem-the palm tree's "fruit mfir" (p." a poem about maternity. whose religious solemnity is enhanced by the appearance of an Angel "of formidable grace" in the opening stanza.

fussent appeles. except those sculptures vainly decorating the graves.20 The form came first.. and to the "angelic self" whose construction is inspired by an aspiration to a "higher" state. 600. Cette derniere condition exigea bient6t que le poemepossibleffit un monologuede 'moi. sun and sea. Austin. p. chute de dirait un g0om&tre. a) IIy a eu deux grandeset myst'rieuses chutes.24 on Sun. 696) which have a direct bearing on the poem: L'Ange ne differe du Demon que par une certaine reflexion qui ne s'est point encore present6ea lui. again the Moi divided. then a metric and strophic figure that needed to be "filled": "Quantau Cimetieremarin.tramps. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . "Paul Valery composeLe Cimetieremarin"in Mercure de France (janvier-avril 1953). "Tout ceci menait a la mort et touchait la pens&e pure . celebrating the universal archetypal elements of fire and water symbolic of "esprit" and "corps.VALPRY AND RILKE recollection about its creative process is itself the demonstration of dualism.." opposes ." Though the definitive version contains no angel. 21 See Lloyd J. We have noted that the motif of the Fall is intrinsically related to the Valeryan angel from the outset. l'homme: catastropheshomothetiques.mais aussi universel que je pourrais le construire.177. and the themes to fill that form were to be from the poet's affective and from his intellectual life. in fact. being one of the rare commentaries by a modern poet about poetry that dissociates content and form.'dans lequel les thamesles plus simples et les plus constantsde ma vie affective et intellectuelle. cette intention ne fut d'abordqu'une figure d'une rythmiquevide. Entre les strophes. . ." The protagonist is. Among the numerous Notebook passages on the Fall which have found their way into Valery's published work are two fragments from Tel Quel (0.the poet explained both the genesis and the intent of his famous poem in "Au Sujet du Cimetidremarin"-how it first imposed itself on the poetic consciousness as a rhythm.218. and a "great angel" appeared. in a setting recalled by Valery's personal memories. . 138-46). and then needed to be "filled". in fact. I. 223 This content downloaded from 194. the Moi's "orgueil" and the hubris projecting it beyond human mutability are angelic traits par excellence.des contrastes ou des correspondancesdevaient etre institues. Chutedes Anges. Tout ce qu'ILfit devait donc tomber. to culminate in the contrast of "la mort" and "la pens'e pure... 20 In the 1930s.21 Pride and hubris were the fatal traits of the brightest of angels. et assur&e par une diversit6 de compositionfond&e tons et de fonctions a leur assigner. in one of the poem's drafts. the fallen Lucifer and hero of "Ebauche d'un serpent" (0. Je savais que je m'orientaisvers un monologueaussi personnel.. II. Un assez long travail s'ensuivit" (0. I. b) Toute religion fond6e sur l'idee d'une chute initiale se trouve en proie aux douleursde la discontinuit6. Chutes. Il me proposaune certaine strophe de six vers et l'id&e sur le nombrede ces strophes.tels qu'ils s'etaientimposes a mon adolescenceet associes a la mer et a la lumiere d'un certain lieu des bords de la mediterran&e. Valery's poetic version of the third chapter of Genesis.. 1503-04). intellect and affect.

"dur comme un ange.. I.. . What concerns us here is the Serpent'sangelic past that has made him what he is in the Garden: the devil.. whose ways he therefore knows better than any other creature. is the very Creation itself. (O.beant! . II. Tu gardesles cceursde connaitre Que l'universn'est qu'und6faut Dans la puret6du Non-etre! I (O. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and from the "&tre superieur" to the "Highest" it is but a step... who never forgets his former proximity to the divine. l'un du createur. le plus fier de mes complices. for the Fault and Fall of genius is to make himself known." Val&ry points to a parallelism. L'un fonde la foi. the pure. as the Serpent will explain. Je decouvre que j'ai fait-tout autres choses que celles que je pensais avoir faites. the entire universe being the "flaw" in the pure Nothingness: Soleil." i. 138-39) Teste. degradation. A l'origine du monde. Soleil. 15). The fact that Nietzsche's Zarathustraalso privileged the snake among creatures invites interesting reflections. . lies beyond the scope of this discussion. deux actes..sa ruine! Et l'abimeanimal... With "homothetic.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE c) Mais une Creation est une premiere rupture. the angelic. XXVIII. I. avec mon Serpent que l'ytre est un defaut dans la purete du Nonetre (C. 224 This content downloaded from 194. la libert6. Ce qu'ils nomment un 6tre superieur est un &tre qui s'est trompS" (0. in fact.. between not merely the Fall of the Angels and the Fall of Man but between the Fall of Man and the Fall of God! For God's Fall. Teste had preferred himself: "Je me suis pr'f'r'. commence par la faute qui le fait connaitre" (p. Je me dis. 16).the serpent swallowing its tail (sketches of which aboundin the Notebooks). 139) Reflecting toward the end of his life on the work he has created and on that which he left undone Valery muses in 1944: Age. "Chaque esprit qu'on trouve puissant...24 on Sun. et l'autre . c'est que je me trouve par-ci par-la en presencedu seigneur Yo-Mismo-Non de ce 'moi pur. disdained manifesting his essence. l'autre de la creature..218.22 22Valery's fascination with the serpent-he chose a serpent entwined around a key as his personalemblem-and especially the archetypaluroboros.e. son erreur! Temps.'mon eternel agent-Mais d'un personnageMoiAuteur de telles oeuvres. Et de mes pieges le plus haut." we recall. "similar in construction and position. 89) . and "le Tout-puissant" is no exception: Cieux.177. Quelle chute dans l'origine Etincelle au lieu de neant! . soleil ! . Faute 6clatante ! Toi qui masques la mort. Toi..

fut toujours mon anti-vie.. dieser groBleherrliche 'Eupalinos. selon sa nature. 24 See Rilke's letter of 1921 to Gertrud Ouckama Knoop in Briefe. II.. Je revis ma grande maladie mentale d'amourde 91-92--et quelques annees apres. XXIII. Context: Essays in Nineteenth-CenturyFrench Literature (Columbus. As regards Monsieur Teste.177. "Love and Mr Teste--I fait sa theorie et puis-Jamais en paix !" (C. about "L'Ameet la danse.. who translated both. enseignez-moisourdementles exigences de la nature. so the mature one marks its evolution as reflected in the mirror of the many ouvre. ces justes proportionsde vos parties ."Lettres.218. II. And while the youthful crisis of the 1890s had been exorcized by "Monsieur Teste. qui me rappeleza tout moment ce temperamentde mes tendances. La litterature ou plut6t. moderez.. et me communiquezce grand art dont vous etes dou' . and Socrates. the angelic self is threatened by a great human love in the encounter with "Beatrice" (Catherine Pozzi). X.24 on Sun. the artist's prayer to his mortal form: "O mon corps. iil faut "a chacun present qu'ils s'unissent dans une construction bien ordonnee. assurez mes pensees . 374). and Rilke in "Mallarme'sLiving Metaphor: Valery's Athikte and Rilke's 'Spanish Dancer. who in the "immense leisure" of immortality judges and condemns his mortal past and dreams of another life.Ohio. 79-147) culminates in the hero's great apostrophe to his body. Et qui le devinerait?" (C. Lettres. 268: 25 I have discussed the treatment of that motif in Mallarme. Both Dialogues were written "sur commande. cet equilibrede vos organes. pp. . p. mon anesthetique. was about "Eupalinos. . 538. 190-91. 1980). tout ce qui est spirituel. experiences importance Valery points years their effect on the Ego scriptor: Aofit 40 Insomnie .Mais ces sensations cependantfurent un puissant excitant intellectuel-le mal exasperait le remede-Eupalinos en 21. Val&ry. prenez garde a mon ouvrage.."23and we recall how enthusiastic Rilke. La Danse en 1crit en 6tat de ravage.. 531) ! As the early crisis was instrumental in the construction of the angelic self. Text.. VIII.."(0.VALE~RY AND RILKE As Valery's poetic career reaches its zenith with these major poems of Charmes. reformed." Beatrice will "chastize" his creator for his idolatry--"O Lionardo [Beatrice's et appelation for the poet] che tanto pensate! Amour fut la r&compense le chatiment tout inattendus de cette quantite de pens6es" (C.see Valery... renforcez. mais ce fini et cet infini que nous apportons. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ... pp. replies: "L'Anti-Socrate 23 About the "commande" of "Eupalinos"and the form it imposed.' " 225 This content downloaded from 194.Mais ce corps et cet esprit.. 214."24 while the dance motif was to assume a growing significance in his own poetry. 589-90) 22. ".25"Eupalinos ou l'architecte" (0.'" in Pre-Text. 217-27. "Qu'est-ce donc que tu veux peindre sur le neant ?" Phedre asks. 99-100) "Quelle priere sans exemple !" exclaims Socrates. II. Donnez-moide trouver dans votre alliance le sentiment des choses vraies. in of these to the later.

his physician. 1978). celebrates both body and soul. et s'enfuit sous forme d'oiseau jusqu'd la cime a demi nue dont le roc perce. un peu d'aurore. already before the "Beatrice" crisis become an "anti-Teste. inspire every artist and creator. "L'Ame et la danse" (0.. recalling the famous tomb of Narcissa in the Botanical Garden of Montpellier which had inspiredhis early "Narcisse. je suis jour et nuit . and Phedre. L'ame s'abreuve a la source du temps. . se sent femme endormie. When a une cantatequi a et6 compos&e par cette eiminente Valery gave a lecture "Sur les Narcisse" in 1941. "femme endormie. 879). Valdrypour une podtiquedu Dialogue (Montreal. This content downloaded from 194. inspired by his Beatrice.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE . the creative poet whose conversion is reflected in the Dialogues . 1557). I. 244-56. like the following. 29We recall the early "Narcisse"sonnet of September1890 (0. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . always linked to and eventually merging with that of the Angel. 27 Publishedin Commerce: Cahiers trimestriels.." reveal again the fundamental polarity and insuperable duality within the Self: "Sur le seuil de la premiere heure et de tout ce qui est possible. of course. 142).. discourse on the most bodily of the arts. The "anti-Socrate" reflects the anti-Teste. 176. 403). le constructeur" (p.26 Valeiry had. And. the prose poem "L'Ange.. mirror that change: "Vers ce temps-la les hommes commenceirent a comprendre que la veritable connaissance est creation . II. 148-76).. 4-14.and finally the "Cantatedu Narcisse" written in the late 1930s "sur la demandede Mine GermaineTailleferre pour servir de libretto musicienne"(0.20 (1976).218.24 on Sun.5 (automne 1925).. chair et or." as Valery's Leonardo had taught already. ange fait de lumiere. s'attriste." Finally. we recall.. 28 I have discussed the sequence in "A Valeryan Trilogy: The Prose Poems 'A B C. se recueille. The beautiful contemporary prose poem sequence "A B C"27celebrates the marriage of "esprit" and "corps" in one of Valery's most accomplished prose aubades . Both "esprit" and "corps. at a banquet. que le faire est le seul 'savoir' " (C." The "Fragments du Narcisse. the "Fragmentsdu Narcisse" of the early 1920s which found definitive form in the 1926version of Charmes.29Valery returns to the classic figure of the divided Self." title of the earliest draft of the poet's last work. as its title suggests. I..28 but the images of the "angel of light" and his sleeping beloved. est une sorte d'auto-biographie poetique"(0. as Socrates. je dors et je veille. of three numbered sections: the protagonist's aspiration to embrace and compre26 See Alexandre Lazaridis. que la creation est vie.177.' " CentR. Ce sera donc . consists. le plein azur nocturne. "L'Ange-(au bord) de la fontaine." 226 VIII. p.he remarkedthat "ce theme de Narcisse .. the poet celebrates the body and its arts which enlighten the soul and mind." which contains some of Valery's most accomplished lyrics." namely. I. 1554) which predatesthe poem the young Valkry had submittedto the judgmentof Mallarme. many Notebook entries. with the "Fragments du Narcisse" of 1926. boit un peu de tendbres. and their defeat is that of the Angel.

echoed by the chorus. like this one from the mid-1920s. finally the aspiring Self conquered by night and death. the Self is condemned to a temporal existence-the motif of Time is modulatedthroughout the poem through the melodies of sunset and nightfall over the forest and their reflection in the fountain-of which death is an inherent part. the particularization and individuation that ties the mind to a specific human life with its history and personality. mon Ciel" (p. 147).218. Whiting. as sketched already in the 1921 Notebook: "Une sorte d'ange 6tait assis sur le bord d'une fontaine. bient6t dans toute sa force. are expressed in verbs stressing vertical tension. VIII. Another angelic figure that had preoccupied Valery for many years is Semiramis. "Air de Semiramis" (0. still lacking some of the stanzas that make up the last piece of Album de vers anciens. Finally. the Sun. temporal order that she conquers in her blazing ascension. her prayer is heard: "Une colombe s'envole." the extreme limit from which there is no return. 126). 191). Semiramis reaches and crosses over that "borne. I. mon Altitude. unfinished" poem of 1899 (cf. 196). and condemns it to a Nietz30 Her origins go back to an "abandoned. I. link the figure of Narcissus to death and mutability: 'Narcisse' N'est-ce point pensera la mort que se regarder au miroir ? N'y voit-on pas son perissable ? L'immortely voit son mortel. Il s'y regardait et se voyait homme. Longing for transcendence and immortality. Numerous Notebook passages. Semiramis. like that of the Parque or Mallarme's Herodiade. rebels against the endless repetitions imposed by a body-Schopenhauer redivivus-and its appurtenanceto Nature. p. I. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 227 This content downloaded from 194. She first appeared in 1920. 91-94). In the melodrama's third act. mounting the parapet. I. (C. X. 182-96). under the title "Simiramis (Fragment d'un tres ancien poeme).177. et en proie a une douleur [tristesse] infinie" (C. the queen's aspirations to meet her lover. L'Autel vide brille au soleil" (0. qu'il me reduise en vapeur et en cendres". 848) This will be the theme also of Valery's last poem. sings her soaring aspiration: "Altitude. she rises toward the altar she has built to the Sun and prostrates herself upon it to be taken up-into the ultimate "purete du Nonitre"-and consumed by its fire: "Je prierai le Soleil.3oIn both the poem. 370). the rejection of human love. and "Semiramis: mdlodrameen trois actes et deux interludes" (0. For her angelic orgueil.VALtRY AND RILKE hend his "inepuisable Moi" (0. It is precisely the cyclical returns of the natural. et en larmes.24 on Sun. The angelic ambition projects the Self beyond the space-time limitations of human reality.

33 Part of the text appeared.. 699. and XXVI. Et quandDieu." in 1935. ANGES. I. 199)." Zarathustra had sighed: "Ach. The culminating apostrophe to the Angels then sums up some of the angelic traits we have traced in the oeuvre : ANGE. who had been one of Rilke's close friends and painted one of the well-known portraits of him.299) One year after the me'lodrame"Semiramis. "Jardin des Plantes. "s'oppose l'intelligence par sa forme p'riodique . 82 Ned Bastet has analyzed the opposition of "esprit"to the cyclical operation of nature of which it partakes in connectionwith Valery's late angelic figure. "La vie.et les Anges et les Animaux Et la Lumierequi est Archange Etaient tout ce qui 'tait.. 198) But this purity of paradise is destroyed by man." and " 'L'esprit' (le plus esprit de l'esprit) r6pugne la repetition" (C. 356-57).. where the Angels were as pure as the Beasts-before the advent of Man: Quandil n'y avait encore que 1'Angeet 1'Animaldans ce Jardin.with very slight modifications. Valery wrote a series of free-verse "Paraboles" (O. 1968).218. With the epigraph of the last three lines of "Die Flamingos" from Neue Gedichte. 115-28. Werke in Zwei Biinden (Munich..COMPARATIVE LITERATURE schean "ewige Wiederkunft. Valery discreetly commemorates his friendship with the German poet. (0. while the subtitle of the Rilke poem. XIV.32 A passage from Melange." says Valery in a 1930 entry. s'incarner "Tu vas vivre !" C'6taitmourirpourlui. Merveilles 6ternellesde l'amouret de la lumiere. 291). his Faust in "Faust et le cycle" in Entretienssur Paul Valdry (The Hague and Paris. / Je le connus par une souffrance sans pareille" (p. disait en moi Celui dont je possedaissi bien la presence.177. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . leur disait-il. homo duplex.in Melange under the title "Psaumedevant la bate" (0. Quel effroi! Descendredans le Temps! ( . L'intelligence est du type: une " fois pour toutes.. reads: Un esprit allait voir cesser son 6tat. p. who appears under the sign of sorrow and pain heretofore unknown in the Garden: "I1 n'etait ANGE ni BETE. I. il devait tomber de 1'6ternit6dans le : Temps. 574." at the same time serves to set the stage for "Paraboles": the Garden of Eden. a variation on the Fallen Angel. I.24 on Sun. CE FUT L'ARE DE PURET2. 1967). 197-201)83 to accompany twelve watercolors by Lulu Albert-Lasard. I. der Mensch kehrt wieder ! Der kleine Mensch kehrt ewig wieder !"31And this human fate that Zarathustra accepts-"amor fati"-the Angel re" jects. 228 This content downloaded from 194. i. pp. 31 Friedrich Nietzsche. et les Choses.

276-403).J. parl'amour. a dehumanized absurdity demonstrating Pascal's thought (No. The dramatic fragments of 1941 represent again the attempt to reconcile Eros and Nous by transforming the one into the other in Lust. is yet another mask of the angelic Self. Cahiers X and XI). II. un acces dans F. La Demoiselle de Cristal. Valery published etudes pour "Mon Faust. Partoutce quiest Presence d'absence.. duplushautdegr6 Un peuau-dessus ( . and Le Solitaire ou les maledictions d'univers. 200) From the early 1920s on. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and the figure of Faust. N.VALIRY AND RILKE Actespurs 0 seulement connaissables parle desir Par1'espoir. without compromising either. Whereas Lust. a theme taken projects the Angel's descent-Fall-(in)to up again in the Faust fragments that also remained "unfinished. 358) that "le malheur veut que qui veut faire 1'angefait la bite. and the harmonization of Eros and the Angelic. qui operit la transformation(en scene) " de l'actiond'amour. while in Le Solitaire the conflict between "etre" and "connaitre"attains a dramatic climax. Comment"l'esprit" voit l'acte d'amour ? . 1976). deals with Love."3" A Notebook entry contemporary with the Faust fragments sets forth the problem: FaustIII. 229 This content downloaded from 194. Le Solitaire presents the confrontation of a Cartesian Faust and an antagonist in whom we recognize one of his own extremes. Toutefois Vousm'etes mysteres quibrillez demoi-meme. from the time marked by "Eupalinos." the gravitational force arresting the Angel's "transcendance en purete" is human love. de l'6tat Er6s l'etat Nous avec A) vue transcendante I4 1 wish to express my special gratitude to Mme Florence de Lussy of the BibliothequeNationale for permittingme to examine the dossier "Ange" in connection with the preparationof a more extensive study of Valery's angelology. Il faudrait dans Lust. constitutes the dramatic conflict of much of Valery's mature work. 35 See Kurt Weinberg'sbrilliant analysis of The Figure of Faust in Vale'ryand Goethe: An Exegesis of "Mon Faust" (Princeton. as the name with its Goethean allusion suggests. a dossier which also contains the successive drafts of Valery's last poem.34 "L'Ange et l'amour" human love.. It is the theme of the drafts of the "L'Ange et l'amour" fragments." In 1941. I.24 on Sun. which preoccupied the poet for many years as borne out by Notebook entries as early as the 1920s (cf." containing the fragments of Lust.... parl'orgueil.177. significantly never completed and still among the unpublished documents of Valery's dossier "Ange" ("Cahier Gladiator 1920-1925") at the Bibliotheque Nationale. Feerie dramatique (0.218.

avant de restituer Faust au vide et le plus et triomphant de la conscience qui a dejou6 tous les pieges de la vie. theCdtres" 37 Bastet. "restored to the desperate and triumphant void" of his angelic Moi pur who. and 36 "Textes inedits: Quatrieme acte de 'Lust' " in Cahiers Paul Valdry II: "Mes (Paris. too. and the text in fragmentary form.. 21-23) which contains the many entries on "Faust III. and the Pyrrhic victory of the Moi ang'lique. refuses the ultimate temptation. Job 32) again distances and mythologizes the Angel-Eros conflict which here.(C.37 It is a Faust." in the twenty-fourth Notebook (C. C. (peut-etre?) retourEn somme. in fact. 106: "L'acte IV aura eu pour but d"''puiser' la tentative de l'1r6s et d'aller jusqu'au bout de ses malfices. at the end of Le Solitaire. 'le piege epouvantable de la tendresse. It would.218.II. (O.j'en sais trop pourhair. J'en sais trop pouraimer. Elihu defends human love against the flaming Angel's admonitions in one of the poet's most beautiful apologies pro vita and the human against the "esprit pur" imaged as the messenger of a biblical and jealous god. XXIV.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE and the remainder of the notation suggests what the fourth Act of Lust might have been. XXIV. the enticements by the "Fees" to "start all over again" -cyclical return-with life: Moi qui sus 1'ange vaincreet le demontrahir. the downfall of the couple. Ned Bastet's critical presentation of a wealth of "Textes inedits : Quatri&me acte de 'Lust' "36 shows how deeply Valery was absorbed in the dramaticproject of the transformationof "ordinary love" into "le grand amour" that would reconcile the warring halves of the Self. 475). have been the story of the Fall. the "terrible angels" of the "Revelation anagogique." And the drafts confirm the defeat of Eros by Nous.' " 230 This content downloaded from 194. remains unresolved. the failure of the attempted marriage of "esprit" and "corps" in the mythopoetic figures of Faust and Lust. pp. "Elihu" and "la fille de Chanaan. 1977)..402) A great angelic text contemporary with the Faust fragments is the tale of the Angel's visitation of the couple.24 on Sun. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . could it have been written: Puis . XXVII. desesprer perilleux de tous. 51-158. Ni meme faute mais qui brise l'6dificecristallintout harmonique. One of Valery's last angelic figures is "le dernier Atlante." directly linked in the Notebooks to the angelic Self (cf. p. the failure of the transformation of the one into the other. l'enchantement rompu-la scene de Lebwohl-a moins de la placer apres quelquefaute de la Lust. 16) Thus the final act would have been tragic. But in this text. Et je suis exced6 d'etreune creature.177." The biblical quality of the text (in the Bible Elihu is an interlocutor of Job.

177. 1978). 252. the dichotomy of "connaitre" and "etre" now imaged and accentuated in the juxtaposition of the Angel's "couronne de la connaissance unitive" and the face of sorrow that bears it. moreover. 205-06). Mensch und Engel. all of these angel-figures converge in Valry's last poem.218. quela lumiere?" Et il s'interrogeait dans l'univers de sa substance spirituelle merveilleusement pure. the prose poem "L'Ange" (O. il y a donc autre chose O mon &tonnement. et passim. II. angels are relatively rare in Rilke's earliest collections. the tears-"une Tristesse en forme d'Homme"-remain incomprehensible to the Angel: disait-il. that utopia."39And despite their importance in the later poetry. 437-50) in the Histoires brisees. I. 163. under the sign of the Sword. While in Valery the Angel is absorbed by the Moi angelique almost from the outset. 436).38 In the figure who in his reflection in the fountain sees a weeping--human -face. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In Valery's version of the ancient myth of the sunken island. The seven "Engellieder" of Mir zur Feier. stand under a "Gebet" in which the persona releases the guardian angel of 38 forthcoming in Romanic Review. in Rilke we deal with a pluralistic image of a poetic universe in which "keine Ideologie restlos dominieren kann. evokes an Eden to whose inhabitants the wisest of humanity would be "mere children counting on their fingers". they are so infinitely superior to man that. the poet suggests. by the various artistic traditions in which the poet immersed himself to nurture his art. I have given an extensive reading of this poem in "Valkry'sBroken Angel. But the Narcissus-Angel's wholeness is broken. Rilkes Gedichtean die Nacht (Frankfurt.24 on Sun.VALERY AND RILKE appearing in the ceuvre in the posthumously published prose sequence L'lle de Xiphos (0 II. written in the 1890s and thus contemporary with the waning of Valery's Symbolist phase. tude. pp. et le systeme. et dans une telle perfection de leur harmonie et promptitudede leurs correspondances. Mai1945. And while the limpid transparency of the one--"etincelant comme un diademe"-remains infinitely remote from the sad opacity of the other. 231 This content downloaded from 194. we might better call them "anges ou demidieux" (O. Finally. etincelant comme un de leur necessite simultaneesubsister par soi seul dans sa sublime plenidiadi~me. Et pendantune iterniti. T&techarmanteet triste." 39 Anthony Stephens. Valery's Angel and Narcissus blend. completed two months before his death. oi toutes les idees vivaient egalement distantes entre elles et de lui-m~me. the angel's emblem par excellence. qu'on elit dit qu'il eitt pu s'evanouir. where they are influenced and shaped. but whose drafts reach back over more than twenty years.Nacht. il ne cessa de connaltreet de ne pas comprendre.

is celebrated here for the first time. 156.and be cited in the text as SW.C. Other angels of this collection are similar to those of earlier ones. I. whose personification is now no longer god but the Angel. unless otherwise indicated. The WorpsawederTagebuch contains lyric prose passages celebrating Jugendstil angels under the sign of Vogeler. This Angel.pp. Die Siege ladenihn nicht ein. Here the Angel becomes the poet's great "Gegenspieler. has now completely usurped the place of god : Angel and Poet. ed. Sein Wachstumist. moreover. pp. Tagebiicher. which grows into one of the major themes of Rilkean angelology. the Poet extracts his inspiration from that infinitely greater force.an ihn schmiegte. die sich. 269-70."is most significant. directly or obliquely.. 41 Rainer Maria Rilke. 83. der geht gerechtundaufgerichtet und groBaus jener harten Hand. 42 Rilke. as Jacob did his blessing: Wen dieser Engel iiberwand. pp. all of which develop an increasing remoteness between an obscurely-working god and his bright messengers. 40 Rainer Maria Rilke. 286-87). 273-74. marked by the young poet's characteristic verbal virtuosity. Siimtliche Werke. 94. in which the Angel already begins to usurp the place of god. Ernst Zinn (Frankfurt. while those of Das Buch vom m5inchischen Leben (SW. Rainer Maria Rilke and Jugendstil (Chapel Hill.218. And in the confrontation with the Angel in which he is defeated. 232 This content downloaded from 194. 1973). for through the artist the finite reaches toward the Absolute.177. welcher so oft auf Kampfverzichtet. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Tagebiicher aus der Friihzeit (Frankfurt." one of his major roles in the mature poetry. 1978). pp. See also Kurt Eugene Webb. dedicated to that friend.40 The modest cycle. All quotationsfrom Rilke's work will refer to this edition.24 on Sun.460) (STY. to the angel nexus. 22 ff. 1955). The biblical topos.esp. and then reworked for Das Buch der Bilder (1902) under the title "Der Schauende. I. I. are inspired by the Russian venture. The one lyric and several prose angels of the Florenzer Tagebuch41reflect Rilke's Italian experience and the influence of Renaissance art. though worlds apart. 12-120. 18. 263. thus moving toward the eventual assimilation of the former by the latter.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE his childhood so that both may grow. followed by volume and page numbers.4 culminating in verse which will be echoed in the Marien-Leben of 1912. wie formend. der Tief besiegte von immer Grolerem zu sein.28. touch in art. One of those early angels from a poem originally dedicated to Rilke's young wife. 15. thus already suggests the motif of "besitzlose Liebe" which will later assume great significance in this poetry where it will always be linked. N.

120-21. too. I. "Renunciation in Love: The Example of Kierkegaard. pp. esp. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . dich ringenderzu priifen. remindsus that Rilke thought at one time of using these two as title poems for the two parts of Neue Gedichte. The two remaining angel poems both feature annunciatory angels." however. though "Don Juans Auswahl. And this Angel. 1-35. has replaced god. (SW. 481-642) of 1907-08. I. 46 For the influence of Kierkegaard on the poet's love mythology. in Neue GedichteUmschlag und Verwandlung(Munich. which. in a nightmarish vision possibly suggested by Hieronymous Bosch's great triptych of "The Temptation of Saint Anthony.Rainer Maria Rilke: Urbild und Verzicht (Stuttgart.43The collection's first part contains "Der 01baumgarten"in which the Angel fails to come to the forsaken Christ. as his angelic hands assume the re-creative function: Sie [the Angel's hands] kiimendenn bei Nacht zu dir." inspired by the cathedral angel that the poet had admired with the sculptor. Thus also "Der Engel" who. beyond Christ's suffering even--and of that sublime indifference and impassibility that will characterize the Duino angels. now under the sign of Rodin." on the other hand.24 on Sun. Rilke evokes the archangel Gabriel in one of his memorable missions." In "Rosa Hortensie. 45 Judith Ryan. "Die Versuchung. like the traditional biblical figure of the "Tr6stung des Elija" and those of "Das Jiingste Gericht. 1975).218."45 the flower's beautiful fleeting color is received into the invisible by invisible angels. 28.177. Rilkes Neue Gedichte. 509) The collection's "Anderer Teil" contains several angels. 5-17.VALARY AND RILKE With Neue Gedichte (SW. 44 See Rilke's letter to his wife relating that visit.44 Both the Old Testament and the cathedral angels are infinitely beyond human concerns-beyond Time. as his ideal adversary to test him in a nocturnal struggle like. T. is linked to the angel nexus.Chartres." linked to the Kierkegaardian motifs of "besitzlose Liebe" and unrequited lovers. Bridgham. as noted earlier.ihr zyklisches Gefiige (Bern and Munich. once more. Jacob's. M. cf. und gingen wie Erziirntedurchdas Haus und griffen dich als ob sie dich erschiifen und brdichen dich aus deinerForm heraus." 233 This content downloaded from 194. R.1967). pp. Rilke's art and angels enter a new phase. and "L'Ange du M&ridien. and this most splendid of annunciatory angels 43 See Brigitte Bradley. Frederick G." echoing the earlier "Blaue Hortensie. again. should he choose to visit man-his traditional function-would come. p. contains forbidding angels entirely of Rilke's own invention." recalling the poet's earlier treatment of that picturesque theme.46 hardly fits the tradition. 1972).I. in Briefe. a motif of great importance: the sublimation of the most precious of our world to the angelic. In "Mohammets Berufung.

iiberstehn. could the Angel possibly come down to man without denying his angelic essence ? 47 See the famous letter to Hulewicz many years later (1925) about the Angel of the Elegies. 351) The emphasized "k6nnen" will become an important notion in the late poetry and especially in the Elegies. demonstrates. are man's ultimate projection of himself. zu gro3 fiir uns. which we read as an allegory for the poet's consecration for his calling through the Angel. like their broken statues in the cathedral of Notre Dame. inspired in part by "den Engelgestalten des Islam" (Briefe. vaguely reminiscent of Valery's "que peut un homme ?" But whereas in Valery the "pouvoir angelique" -a Teste's-refers almost exclusively to heightened intellectual virtuality. rather than god's..wies und wies ihm. to both the intellectual and emotional limits of human possibility.lautlos das vollenden was wir. the persona despairs of the Angel's. even to the very angels: es k8nnenplStzlich. undgab nicht nach und wollte wieder: Lies. In a fragment of 1909. 484). of accomplishing Dasein." the sudden miraculous change from one state into its opposite-here the confused and frightened merchant's transformation to prophet of the holy Word: Der Engel aber. der gelesen hatte und konnteund gehorchteund vollzog. moreover. Und war schoneiner. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . (SW. und lichelnd. Rilke's concept of the "Umschlag. beginnensehn. How. (SW. he asks god.. bis an die Engel. II. We recall here a cathedral cycle of August 1907.177. 234 This content downloaded from 194. II. the angels become gradually more and more remote from their origin in traditional iconography and Scripture.24 on Sun. II. in Rilke "k6nnen" has a wider and deeper meaning. intervention. was geschriebenstandauf seinem Blatte. The angels. to where the angels begin.I.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE so far recalls the poet's interest in Koranic angelology. 638) In the sketches and posthumously published poetry written from 1906 to 1909.47 The poem. das sind wir" (SW. in whose first poem the poet sings a hymn to the human heart and to the pain out of which the cathedral and its rose window were created. he prays that his own heart may endure what surpasses it. Da las er: so.218. In the cycle's second poem. in der einen von den Blenden alles. diese Stiicke Engel. the poet says: "Fiihlst du nicht wie wir uns unbegrenzter / in dem allen immer wiederholen? / . 351).herrisch. da8 sich der Engel bog. existence itself. including that of leisten.

contrary to Valkry's. J. mit dem sie aufsah. as the persona freely confesses to god his despair of being worthy of the Angel's attention.. I. show vividly how Rilke increasingly diverges from the traditional angelology as he develops his own.. dieses erschreckt. der Engel. the young poet who had ended his life by suicide. 284. taking us from Mary's birth to her death and assumption.24 on Sun. Only once does the poet-persona identify with the angel. so zusammenschlugen als wire drauBen pl6tzlich alles leer und. 235 This content downloaded from 194." in which the entire world seems to disappear. the poet-persona. as it were.218. remain distinctly separate from the lyric Self that projects them. the poet projects his overwhelming sorrow and pain at her untimely death to the angels.177." also contain angels. F. 665-81). in the sketches of poems to Marthe. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Und sie erschraken beide. hears the other's angel articulate the poetry of the departed new and gloriously. we see them. 669-70) The intensity of the angelic glance as it meets that of the Chosen One 48 About the genesis of the Marien-Leben. Of the fifteen poems. These "Entwiirfe. Angelloz. reconciled. II. dal sein Blick und der. 372) The poet has now totally inverted the traditional order of angels as intermediaries between man and an inaccessible god. II. .VAL~ERY AND RILKE Wie diirfte denn ein Engel. As the angels assume a progressively more significant role in Rilke's poetry. Rainer Maria Rilke: Leben und Werk (Zurich. which develop Rilke's notion of "der eigene Tod. I.48 This cycle is dominated by magnificent angels whose radiance outshines that of their divine master. trieben. eines Jiinglings Angesicht so zu ihr neigte. we recall that these poems were written mere days before the onset of the First Elegy with its shattering Auftakt to the Angels. (SW. written one year later (1912) at Duino. trugen hingedrfingt in sie. into the irradiating glance uniting Mary and Gabriel: aber daB er dicht. the most noteworthy is the "Verkiindigung. In commemorating the young painter Paula Becker-Modersohn. 381-83). The two long Requiems (SW. Herr. p." then. cf. 643-64) of 1908. (pp. in dies Vernachtete und Niezerteilte steigen: Im Himmel wiirden alle auf ihn zeigen und ihn verleugnen. But the angels are back in their heaven in the Marien-Leben (SW. 1955). nur sie und er. where he assumes the role of the angel revealing her radiance to that child of misery (SW. while in the poem for Kalckreuth. was Millionen schauten.

et ne pas &treindigne de son aine surnaturel" (0. as they have themselves become the telos of a lyric voice speaking for modern man. Rilke. 1-16. Rilke und Valdry: Aspekte ihrer Poetik (Munich. 236 This content downloaded from 194. Valdry and Yeats: 50o The Domain of the Self (New Brunswick. 1964) .COMPARATIVE LITERATURE annihilates the world about them and even frightens the blessed pair themselves. gracieusement. N. XV. I. 29. if I cried. mais c'est a nous de faqonner le second. even a compassionate one. p. 25 (1973). recalls the genesis of what is probably one of the most famous lines of German poetry.. See the fine study by Priscilla Washburn Shaw. doit venir a l'auteur comme une formule magique dont il ignore encore tout ce qu'elle lui ouvrira. und wir bewundern uns zu zerst6ren.J. But the Duino Angels exceed the biblical messengers. es nihme einer mich pl6tzlichans Herz: ich verginge von seinem Dasein.24 on Sun.Rainer Maria Rilkes Deutung des Daseins (1953. 1981)." where he writes: "Le commencementvrai d'un poime .177. (p.. What wonder. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . entitled "Sesame. "CreativeSubjectivity in Rilke and Valery.218."5Frank Wood sees 49 Marie von Thurn und Taxis Hohenlohe. should take man unto his heart. rpt. wenn ich schriee. a hopeless. Denn das Sch6ne ist nichts stairkeren als des SchrecklichenAnfang.Ein jeder Engel ist schrecklich. shattering cry. 1933). Erinnerungen an Rainer Maria Rilke (Munich. p. Car elle ouvre en effet-une demeure. would hear me from the angels' / orders ?" opens that intimate and unknown labyrinth that it will take the poet ten years to explore and construct. h6rte mich denn aus der Engel / Ordnungen?" Marie von Thurn und Taxis. I. qui doit consonner avec l'autre. Maja Goth. for "Wer. whose poetic technique has so frequently been contrasted with that of Rilke. une cave et un labyrinthe qui lui 6tait intime et inconnu" (C. from the outset." in CL. den wir noch grade ertragen. that if an angel. 482). wenn ich schriee. 683-726).50 describes this miraculous conception better than any other fellow-poet again in a 1931 Notebook entry. 301). 51 See the Catholictheologian RomanoGuardini. Munich.1961).49 This most amazing record of poetic Diktat brings to mind Valery's "Les dieux. Valery.. and the entire structure is. he would be destroyed by that radiant presence ? A suppressed outcry to the great Angels is the broken opening chord of the first of the Duineser Elegien (SW. 41. weil es gelassen verschmiht. then. to whom the Elegies are dedicated.hSirte Ordnungen?undgesetzt selbst. "Who. they are "terrible" like those of the Bible. See also Judith Ryan. as related to her by the poet. 685) The Angels have now become the inaccessible figures of the sacred and noumenal. as the poet says in the First Elegy. nous donnent pour rien tel premier vers. and most recently. dominated by the Angels: mich dennaus der Engel Wer. es so.

whichevokesDionysius' hierarchies.24 on Sun.VALERY AND RILKE in these angels "the ultimate court of appeal from experience. Gfinge. in which Raphael himself became the guardian angel and traveling companion of the youth on his initiation journey: "Wohin sind die Tage Tobiae. the symbolic goal of the artist's striving.Schilde entziickten stiirmisch Gefiihls. we are entirely lost. and they do not notice us as. they return to themselves. would the angels. But all this swirling motion is then suddenly arrested. morgenr6tliche derbliihenden allerErschaffung. the angels are the opposite of man.-Pollen Gottheit. Treppen. 1970). einesSchrittes undherwfirts : hochaufnurnieder unsdaseigeneHerz. 237 This content downloaded from 194. asks the persona." Then the lyric voice nostalgically evokes an earlier age. In emanating their own-not god's-radiance only to reabsorb it into their own essence. in a whirl. But those days are past.218. Throne." But. p. who breathes himself out and away.dergeffihrliche. 151. as they retrieve "their own ?" If we could only become mingled with their features by the merest hint! But no. his strength diminishing with each breath: "Ach wir / atmen uns aus und dahin.ihr VerwShntender Sch6pfung. heavenly and the soaringbaroque angelsof a Tintoretto: Friihe Gegliickte. for now the Angel's approachwould kill us: hinter denSternen derErzengel Traite jetzt. von Holzglut zu Holzglut / geben wir schwitchern Geruch.177. / da der Strahlendsten einer stand an der einfachen Haustiir ?" (p. is The Second Elegy opens with an echo from the great angel opening of the First: "jeder Engel ist schrecklich". . Tumulte RiiuneausWesen. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The Second Elegy stresses the impossibility of the Angels' slightest concern with the human. when a heavenly Father would send his messengers down to earth.Werseidihr? schlagend erschliig (p. perhaps-"as if by mistake"--salvage some of our being scattered out into the cosmos. as the Angels become mirrors drawing the beauty flowing from them back into themselves. but now the poet's suppressed cry has become praise of those "almost deadly birds of the soul. with a reminiscence of the biblical episode of Tobias. as they are caught up in their 52Rainer Maria Rilke and the Ring of Forms (New York. Grate Hohenziige. ausWonne." whose "frigid exclusiveness conditioned by the absolute existential vulnerability of man."52 . Gelenke desLichtes. 689) is then answeredin the secondverse paraThis terrifiedinterrogation in to the Angelsin all of Rilkean most the magnificent apostrophe graph -all of modern-poetry. 689).

stiller. in Briefe. getrieben von den Verhdltnissen Toledos begann ein Himmelsinneres einzufiihren.177. but to be illuminated merely by his great radiance: Starker. der durch beide Reiche geht. Unable to continue the Elegies. destined already then to become the final one. oben wird die Nacht genau.. 79-80. his mission accomplished.54Here the aloof angels are finally conquered into consent. an dem Ausgang der grimmigen Einsicht. inspiration returned. Duino gave Rilke the beginning of his culminating work-but then the Angels disappeared. if not a cycle. 721). das ist der Engel in dem gr6sseren Umkreis des Geistes.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE whirling self-preoccupation and self-realization. the angels now play a major role in the Night poems. verm6chte in solchem Grade zur Darstellung des Ubersinnlichen auszubilden . auch nicht das ornamentale Geheimniszeichen des byzantischen Gottesstaates. 310-11.. an den Rand gestellter Leuchter. singing praise to "consenting Angels": "Dass ich dereinst. 54 See Rilke's letter to Lou Andreas-Salome. pp. of poems. the visible and the invisible -which is not El Greco's but Rilke's own: Nichts wie Toledo. the poet. 55 Fiilleborn and Engel.." As the theme of the Night had been linked to the Angels in the First and Tenth Elegies. addressed "An den Engel. 238 This content downloaded from 194. Bach. was das Wasser auf Erden und in der Atmosphare ist.53From the Duino winter of 1912 also stems the opening section. written ten years later. Greco. gleichsam oben himmlische Spiegelbilder dieser Welt zu entdecken . 56-58. again not to be heard. Wir ver-geben uns in unerhellter Z6gerung an deinem Unterbau. wenn man sich seinem Einflu3 iiberliel3e.. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . ja. Fontine des seelischen Daseins. II. The most significant Ronda poem." contrasts the angelic and the human and culminates in a desperate cry to the Angel. Unser ist den Ausgang nicht zu wissen aus dem drinnen irrlichen Bezirk. 1980). I. Trainke. Sein Wesen ist fliel3ender. and a Notebook passage reveals not merely the profound effect of Toledo and El Greco but the formation of an Angel figure-that stream that flows through both realms and the element that permeates the spiritual atmosphere which includes both the living and the dead. er [the angel] ist der Flul3.24 on Sun. not to complete the Elegies but to write "Die Spanische Trilogie" and a group. 53 See Ulrich Fiilleborn's and Manfred Engel's recent publication of drafts of the beginning of the Second Elegy in Materialien zu Rainer Maria Rilkes "Duineser Elegien" (Frankfurt. / Jubel und Ruhm aufsinge zustimmenden Engeln" (p..218. Rilke went to Spain. Niederschlag und Aufstieg.. the angel passage of the Tenth Elegy. "Die Gedichte an die Nacht. at Ronda.55 Finally. Der Engel ist bei ihm nicht mehr anthropomorph wie das Tier in der Fabel. Thau.

. und bin zu deinem Blute so geneigt. And as angelic luminosity here magnifies human negativity.24 on Sun. as the Angel is already "irresistibly approaching behind 56 This figure. in which we find a shift away from separation and remoteness toward reciprocity between Angel and Self.. for inspiration. klag ich ? Doch wie wdire denn die Klage mein? Ach. ich schreie.. 57 For a most lucid exegesis of "Die Gedichte an die Nacht. where the persona turns from the Beloved to the Angels." as well as their "Entstehungsgeschichte. 70-71). in a poetological economy that transforms the energy of Eros into Art. 71) This imagery of flowing recalls the "FluB-Gott des Bluts. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . much closer to those of the first Elegies than to those of some of the other Night poems.57 This changed orientation becomes apparent in "Bestiirz mich. man's ideal opposite. 239 This content downloaded from 194. v6llig iiberflute. Musik" (SW. In the following poem of the group.VAL~ERY AND RILKE du erscheinst auf unsern Hindernissen und begliihst sie wie ein Hochgebirg. moreover. wie dein Schaun trocken war. Ruprecht-Karls-Universitait 1949. der aus meinen Ziigen langsam trinkt . daB ich die Augenbraun dir. the persona again sends the Beloved away. mit zwei Hblzern schlag ich und ich meine nicht." of his heightened state of being. In "So. for the lament is no longer even that of a human voice.177. Engel.." the Eros of the Third Elegy which was conceived at the same time as these Night poems. (SW. has indeed become a metaphor for the inexpressible. geh6rt zu sein." Diss. II. nun wird es doch der Engel sein. but that desperate beating "with two pieces of wood" that "does not intend to be heard" anyhow. 48) We hear something infinitely anguished in these lines. wer hat dich hergewinkt ? . Diirstender." see Stephens. again. replacing woman in a mystic consummation with a strong erotic undercurrent: So. and in the poems of the Night group completed in Paris from 1913 to 1914. this Angel is. calling them to reap the harvest. like "Atmete ich nicht aus Mitternaichten" (pp. Here the angels are barely disguised figures for the Muse.. II. a phenomenon we frequently encounter in Valery." the Angel drinks his sustenance from the poet's features.218. a notion developed in Karl Greifenstein's "Der Engel und die Dimension des Unsiglichen bei Rainer Maria Rilke. Und ich fiihle flieBend. nun wird es doch der Engel sein. (p. die reinen. "dieses blaue Leinfeld. 60-61).56This Angel is.. like the Duino Angels. klag ich.

the angels reappear. returns to the theme of "die Sterbenden. the Heideggerian "authentic"existence: wenn mir zumutist.218. created in the second war year.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE the stars in the East. and who. um mein Schauen da23. 21725) of 1914."in Briefe. in the life of the poet who. Dann entsteht aus unsernJahreszeitenerst der Umkreis des ganzen Wandelns. 499-504. so v6llig hinzuschaun. II. had to reject her for the Angel. Dann kommtzusammen. again reminiscent of Valery-almost coincided with the appearance of the Unknown Beloved. 240 This content downloaded from 194.59 The persona. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .to Lou Andreas-Salomefor the effects and the lesson of the "BenvenutaErlebnis. ein Engel hinmuB. controlled by incomprehensible forces. 1960). (SW.indemwir da sind. Peters' summaryof some of the highly divergent interpretations of the poem in his Rainer Maria Rilke: Masks and the Man (New York. the principal theme is again man's existential situation in a world in which he is not at home. would force an Angel down to play by the sheer power of his persistence and at the cost of utter solitude. I. In this most complex and most despairing of the Duineser Elegien. II. like his persona. For only if the Angel played these puppets would there be real action. zu wartenvor der Puppenbiihne.tVberuns hinfiber spielt dannder Engel.58 The "inconceivablepolarity of life and extreme work" is again reflected in the sequence of "Gedichte fiir Lulu Albert-Lasard" (SW. Only the Angel could bring about that "Umschlag" from the unauthentic to the authentic: Engel und Puppe: dann ist endlich Schauspiel.24 on Sun. nein. Magda von Hattingberg. 1914. imaged here with the false dancer and then the marionette performing on the puppet stage." the dying who are closer to that unity that escapes us. pp. in their having crossed over from this to the other side. 136 ff." We recall that this poetic theme of the unknown Beloved and her rejection in favor of the Angel-the conflict between Eros and Art. With the Fourth Elegy.177. written in Munich in two November days of 1915. alone in the cold.was wir immerfort entzwein.dort als Spieler der die Bfilgehochreil3t. am Ende aufzuwiegen. a solitary spectator. F. forsaken theater before the stage of his heart. understand how "unreal"our existence is: "Alles 58 See Rilke's letter of June 8. in the same line. 698-99) The Angel must (hinmufi) come-but will he? Will the Umschlag to salvation come about? Then the Fourth Elegy suddenly. 59 See H.

the "fugitive ones" symbolizing modern man. the other." But that was merely brief. "when behind the figures there was more / than merely past and before us not the future. One sees the homeless acrobats and their fleeting and mechanicalperformanceas an image of modern man. on February 14. existence is "unauthentic. Only their children are not yet completely reduced to their roles in'life. who thinks "dag die Fahrenden nicht die Kiinstler vertreten.. 136-38)."the Existentialists would say. "the interval between world and toy" of pure becoming. too.VALEIRY AND RILKE ist nicht es selbst". in a great surge of inspiration within an incredibly short time in February of 1922-when the poet also "received" the fifty-five Sonette an Orpheus.. 241 This content downloaded from 194. replacing a former Fifth. The themes of death and childhood then fuse in the closing section with the "Kindertod / aus grauem Brot. Engel ! o nimms. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . exist more authentically in their world. In the Fifth. Schicksal und Auftrag des Menschen: Philosophische Interpretationzu Rainer Maria Rilkes Duineser Elegien (Munich. .pfliicks. rather. 103). "Gegen-strophen" (SW. expression of the heart: dasLiacheln. and at times conflicting. weil an ihnen gewisse allgemeine Zilge des Menschen besonders deutlich hervortreten"(Rilkes Duineser Elegien. sondern da13sie fiir die Menschen fiberhauptstehen und deswegen als Symbole des Menschen gesetzt sind. but most precious. "den ganzen Tod. Two principalorientations emerge. but become mechanical and meaningless. II.. the central "Saltimbanque"Elegy. and it will be a long while before the Angels come. ambiguity and complexities that have resulted in many different. with Jakob Steiner.24 on Sun. Rilke had to wait for his for many years.218. 1969. Rilke's Europe is plunged into senseless death and destruction. as we see from the young boy acrobat's tears and smile. Muzot. I agree. to gather up that most ephemeral. By now. nay understand. interpretations. in 1921. Bern and Munich. Brecht discusses some fifteen in his examination of the text.of which Franz J. for children.177. And from the dying. The Fifth Elegy was composed last.das kleinbliitigeHeilkraut. The following year the Duineser Elegien were at last completed. under the sign of Paris and Picasso. we pass to the other extreme of life-childhood. / ist unbeschreiblich.p."For once in these Elegies death finds no acceptance but leaves the poet stunned. We can accept. And here the lyric voice calls on the Angel. and Rilke then placed it centrally into the already completed cycle. murder and murderers. 13739. After the war. the elegiac lament over the human condition takes us from the puppet stage to the street acrobats. and the poetry of Valery. noch vor dem Leben so / sanft zu enthalten und nicht b6s zu sein. but the death of a child. pp.. Rilke found his last abode. one of whose most significant representativesis Eudo C. Mason." recalling that "gray gust of wind" from the empty stage above. takes the Saltimbanquesfor a symbol of the poet."0These acrobats perform a life routine requiring consummate skill. the Fifth offers a wealth of suggestiveness. 60 Like the preceding elegy. 1949).

and we do not knowit. I. 234). this idealand of "k6nnen" of expandedsphere being is only invokedthroughthe Angel.24 on Sun." winds named Madame and twists-as Lamort. The Sixth Elegy.withthe invocation sectionthe personaaddresses of Platz.Then. here.unzihligen (p. 705) This hypothetical subjunctivelyevoked showplacecontrastswith the of "real"showplace the big city.in an ideal place."They wouldachievethat Dasein we havediscussed(see p. milliner. nur aneinander woBoden lingst. One feels that the Angel will indeedcometo perform the serviceof salvation. as reflectedin Malte. like the gloriousevanescentcolor of the "Rosa Hortensie" (p.177.a "small-blossomed healingherb"for whichthe Angel mustform a specialvessel.whoseguidingfigureis the mythopoeticAngel. "showplace. and twisted-her rufflesand ribbons. / theirtowers of desire. in the poem'sfinal ing. lautlosen vordenZuschauern rings. perpetuate where the to another Parisian we continue existence.significantly the acrobatswere wrung. den wir nicht wissen. bent. den wir nichtwissen"whichcontrastswith that "Schauplatz" Lamortwhichwe knowonlytoo well: Madame Engel ? : Es wire ein Platz. unddorten. or the painovera friend'searlydeath(the Requiems). Yet.bebend. kiihnen biszum K6nnen ihre ihre ausLust.The imagerysuggeststhe redemptive smile. whichfigure"therestlessways of the earth. ihre niebringen. verwahrs! Stells unterjene. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .218. the acrobats'worn carpetwould be replacedby an "indescribthemselves able"one. 633). auf unsiglichem Teppich. I. our aimlessstrivdeath. 703) Like the heavenlyvoices of the holy womenof "Beguignage" (SW. Tfirme niewar. 535)."that is. but a human one: the hero. Fromthe sceneof the Saltimbanques' routineon theirworn-outcarto theirparents'meaningless their children condemned pet. lehnendenLeitern." (SW. to end eventuallyin a meaningless of "ein[en] the Angel.the child's fleetingsmile is projectedto the angelswith whom it may subsist and valueof the surviveour passing.zeigten die Liebendendie's hier hohenFiguren des Herzschwungs.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE Schaff eine Vase. it is a mythicrealm.-und k6nntens. uns noch nicht offenen Freuden. and the mechanical. Toten. in lieblicherUrne riihms mit blumigerschwungigerAufschrift: "SubrisioSaltat. spirituallydead performers "theirdaringhigh figuresof the wouldnow becomelovers performing heart'smomentum. begun in 1912 at Duino and completed in February 1922. 242 This content downloaded from 194. is devoted to another mythic figure.

218. und wiirb ich dich auch! Du kommstnicht. das strebendeStemmen. wider so starke Str6mungkannstdu nicht schreiten. (pp. the poet conveys his bequest to posterity: the transformation of the fleeting visible into the lasting invisible inner world.weitauf. In the Seventh Elegy. The Eighth Elegy. And the Angel must not merely save. he calls on the Angel as ultimate authority and final court of appeal.Wie ein gestreckter Arm ist mein Rufen. wir.24 on Sun. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 712-13) This gesture of the outstretched arm. or the heart's pain. The Angel is to bear witness to human greatness and preserve its most precious works from the destruction of time-as he had "saved" a fleeting smile. dir noch zeig ich es. wie AbwehrundWarnung. nunendlichaufrecht.Und seine zum Greifen obenoffene Hand bleibtvor dir offen. 243 This content downloaded from 194. The lines invoke the image of a biblical prophet calling out to his terrible. creates an extraordinary tension between the Poet and that invisible power whose presence sustains and yet would destroy him. but admire and praise their greatness: 0 staune.Engel.mein Atem reicht fiir die Riihmungnicht aus. in the end. der Sphinx. o du Gro8er.177. Denn mein Anruf ist immervoll Hinweg. Yet. daI in deinemAnschaun steh es gerettet zuletzt. Engel. UnfaBlicher. Siulen. exemplified in the biblical Samson.daS ich werbe." Evoking the monuments with which civilizations have covered the earth. the "Weltinnenraum. as the poet had said in the First. dennwir sinds. Thus here the Poet's and the Angel's functions almost fuse: to preserve the fleeting in praise is the Poet's mission par excellence. the poet-persona recalls that the deadly Angel cannot come.erzihls. Pylone. whose hand remains open and does not grasp the incomprehensible (unfa/3lich) Angel. his invocation-imaged in the open hand and outstretched arm-becoming both a calling and a warding off: Glaubnicht. invisible god.VALI~RY AND RILKE It is perhaps for this reason that the poet does not invoke the Angels in this poem which sings the praises of the exemplary human existence. a high song of praise-"Hiersein ist herrlich" -completed in one day on February 7. or beauty before: Engel. dal wir solches vermochten. grau aus vergehenderStadt oder aus fremderdes Doms. which once more intones a lament over man's tragic existence in a world where.

9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I have already discussed the great opening angel passage of the Tenth Elegy. / Briicke.24 on Sun. Tor" (p. who through our "sagen" and naming give it permanence and meaning. nicht die unsfigliche. ihm das Einfache. the great message also of the Seventh Elegy." contains no angels. Brunnen. the distinction between a "here" and a "beyond" is merely a limited and false perspective: "Die wahre Lebensgestalt reicht durch beide Gebiete.177."we pass. Holzwege (Frankfurt.bistdueinNeuling. and that greater realm including both the visible and the invisible.218. 719) The poem closes with the poet's affirmation of the mission conferred upon him by the earth. "uns abgekehrte Seite des Lebens"." according to Heideggerabove all others ?61Thus we encounter here one of the great unresolved questions in poetry since Mallarm6: can the "explication Orphique de la terre" really save Man. was du willst: unsichtbar / in uns erstehn ?" This transformation is man's-the poet's-reason for being. 718). (p. The Elegies affirmboth life and death. to preserve the fleeting visible world in the inner. in fact. als ein Unsriges lebt. kannstdu nicht gro8tun mit herrlichErfiihltem. the "double realm. and it is here that the Angel is invoked again. for the poet must praise the things of this world to him. 287-95.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE "we are not very reliably at home." is that of the Angel. from the more generally human to the distinctly poetic mission. im Weltall Drumzeig wo er fiihlender fiihlt. 1972). der den Elegien die richtige Erklirung geben darf? Sie reichen unendlich iiber mich hinaus. conceived and composed with the first poems of the cycle. Rilke hesitates to "explain" the Duineser Elegien. an elegiac cycle in which lament grows into affirmation and the terrible. the living and the dead. Sag ihm die Dinge. inaccessible Angel is at last brought to earth-an admiring sanction and validation of the Poet's endeavor: the Orphic transformation and preservation of the world. 244 This content downloaded from 194. as death is but the other. "und bin ich es. The Ninth Elegy once more questions the meaning of human existence. "Sind wir vielleicht hier. um zu sagen: Haus. 61 Martin Heidegger." But then he does give some suggestions for reading the difficult texts. and finds it in the world's need of us. pp. written in 1925. nebender Hand und im Blick. Er wird staunenderstehn. who must sanction the poetic transformation. In the famous letter to his Polish translator Witold Hulewicz. von Geschlechtzu Geschlechtern gestaltet. But is not the Poet the "Sagende"-and "der Wagende. ist es nicht dies.das. invisible one: "Erde. or only the Poet? With "sagen" then heightened to "rfihmen. his transcendental witness: ihm Preise dem Engel die Welt.

Orpheus. Yet we are struck by the divergence of these angels. could not have come about without the Valeryan encounter. an idealmythopoetic-unity in the "Weltinnenraum" and the "double realm. as they began. like the Angel." zu Hause sind. these dominant symbolic figures reach their most imposing proportions in their creators' culminating work-a culmination that for Rilke. declined to force the lyric Self and the Angel into an impossible union. The Rilkean universe attains. finally evolving into the no longer imageable but nevertheless whole and "terrible"Angels of the Duineser Elegien. In Valery." who. permeate the entire poetic cosmos of both Valery and Rilke. sondern die groBe Einheit in der die uns fibertreffenden Wesen. When in Rilke Angel and Poet do blend. according to the poet. the many biblical angels and those inspired by art. the angels are very different. In Rilke the Angels remain. as the 62 Rilke. ontological stances shaped their Angels and the textual cosmoses from which they emerge -into angelic fragments projected unto various personas in Valkry. and aside from such rare biblical messengers as those of "Palme" or the tale of "Elihu et la fille de Chanaan. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." like the Angel of Jacob.VALARY AND RILKE das Blut des grol3ten Kreislaufs treibt durch beide: es gibt weder ein Diesseits noch Jenseits. is at home among both the living and the dead. essentially dualistic to the end. as figured in his last poem's broken Angel. 480-81. die "Engel. into the inaccessible figures of the noumenal in Rilke. who tried to assimilate the angelic into his human psyche. 245 This content downloaded from 194." the Angel's and the Poet's. The poets' diametrically opposed existential. both are assimilated into a new mythopoetic figure: Orpheus. iconic-the early Jugendstil figures. vitally essential and yet profoundly threatening to the persona of the poet of closed cycles--even to that of the Elegies at last." subsists as ideal intellectual aspiration. poet of a textual universe largely made up of fragments. where death is but "the other side of life" and the underlying configuration is the sphere. the Angel. nevertheless. And in Rilke's French poems.177. mythic poet and god of the "double realm. Valery.paradoxically but also logically. after the early Symbolist incarnations. thus preserving the integrity of each. Whereas in Valery the Angel becomes progressively internalized and absorbed into the "Moi angelique. Rilke."62 The great Duino Angels never returned in Rilke's remaining work and are absent from the Sonette an Orpheus. where the Angel is absorbed in the sonnets' guiding presence. Angels.24 on Sun. II. Briefe. on the other hand. then.218. remained." in Rilke the figure remains distinct from the lyric Self in order to serve as its ideal Opposite and "Gegenspieler. inspired by a different-foreign-language. in both poets.

an association which reveals one of the Angel's most important roles: that of the Muse who. on the contrary. of course. moreover. even secularized. again. immolating himself for it and calling on the Angel to witness that sacrifice and bless it in fruition. Thus. And whether the Angel comes from deep withina mere matter of perspective. shaped Rilke's entire existence. Grand Valley State Colleges 246 This content downloaded from 194." existence. is the lasting poetry of Man's agon with the Angels.24 on Sun. The tension between life." or the related "tete r6fringente" of the Notebooks' ego scriptor. and it is most poignantly objectified in the "Gedichte an die Nacht" whose Angels defeat the Beloved. associated with the Angel nexus. for what remains. a Teste's conceptual configuration of the "homme de verre. for these texts' posterity of readers. a mere matter of personal and temporal perspective. for survival. for the sake of the Moi that had also absorbed the Angel." influenced by Thomistic angelology. Rilke. these modern Angels are both messengers of "the divine calling" and guardians of "the religious life." or the "couronne de la connaissance unitive" of the last poem. love. surrendered himself wholly to his work. after all. the Angel is threatened only by human love. But in both poets we find the conflict of Eros and Art. where the Angel was almost from the beginning (1892) the symbolic image of the intellectual Self-whether analytic or poetic -victorious over the affective and the sensual and the person (al). love-lifeand artistic creativity. The theme of deceived love and defeated lovers haunts the Valeryan Narcissus fragments and Rilke's Elegies. paradoxically protective and cruel.218. And whether the culminating Rilkean and Valeryan Angels signal their creators' victory or defeat-tears of rapture (Tenth Elegy). and finally Narcissus' "diademe spirituel. which celebrate the victory of the Angels not merely thematically but by their very existence. tears of sorrow ("L'Ange")-is. "unfinished" quality. and art. Valery-or from above-Rilke-is In Valery.177. their creators' basic-and frequently diametrically opposed-attitudes as poets: Valery utilized his work as a means. Its fragmentary." ever threatened by the demands and the temptations of the other. assures the realization of the poet's vocation. suggests that the conflict remained unresolved.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE unique all-seeing unseen "regard. Thus. and the impossible harmonizing of Eros and Angel dominates most of the late work. his poetic mission. "ordinary. 9 Mar 2014 11:04:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The Angels also reflect.