Chapter

The Epitome of the Epiphany: Stephen and Malte, Joyce and Rilke

Robert K. Weninger

in The German Joyce

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041667
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043678 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813041667.003.0007
The Epitome of the Epiphany: Stephen and Malte, Joyce and Rilke

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This chapter focalizes the coincidental circumstance that Rainer Maria Rilke and James Joyce were living in Paris at the same time in 1902/03. Rilke later uses his Paris experiences as a model for his character Malte Laurids Brigge in the 1910 modernist novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge– a novel that eerily mirrors Joyce’s own beginnings as a writer—but also to develop the poetical innovation of the “Dinggedicht,” his “Thing Poetry,” of the two volumes of Neue Gedichte and Neue Gedichte anderer Teil. It is in Rilke’s novel and poems maybe even more than in Joyce’s own works, I argue, that Joyce’s theory of the epiphany, worked out in his notebooks in 1902/03 and incorporated into Stephen Hero in early 1904, finds its quintessential expression in modern(ist) literature.

Keywords: James Joyce; Rainer Maria Rilke; James Joyce and Rainer Maria Rilke; Epiphany in Literature; Rainer Maria Rilke’s Malte Laurids Brigge; Dinggedicht; James Joyce’s Stephen Hero; James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Islam; West

Chapter.  6675 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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