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Beauty is not for us to make
On Rainer Maria Rilke.
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Wo ist zu diesem Innen
—Rainer Maria Rilke, New Poems, II
Disturbed by what he saw, smelled, and heard from the city that was foreign to his ear and to his sensibilities, twenty-six-year-old Rainer Maria Rilke passed his nights in Paris among company well known for mixing wretchedness with exultation: Job and Baudelaire. In a letter to Lou Andreas-
How far away from me [Baudelaire] was in everything, one of the most alien to me; often I can scarcely understand him, and yet sometimes deep in the night when I said his words after him like a child, then he was the person closest to me and lived beside me and stood pale behind the ...
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 30 May 2012, on page 53
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