Talk:Duino Elegies

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Featured article Duino Elegies is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on August 2, 2013.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
February 15, 2013 Good article nominee Listed
May 11, 2013 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

Old comments[edit]

I do have to say, biased as I am being from Duino, that this collection is quite popular among the germans, and I think it would merit it's own article at least in Italian and German. It all ends up kind of calling rilke a liar too, about his unhasty notes, which didn't read very unbiased, confusingly. ale 22:26, 1 December 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shomon (talkcontribs)


"hierarchies" is spelled incorrectly in the second paragraph of the article.

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Duino Elegies/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Khazar2 (talk · contribs) 04:46, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

I'll be glad to take this review. In the next day or two, I'll do a close readthrough, noting any issues here that I can't immediately fix, and then go to the criteria checklist. Thanks in advance for your work on this one! -- Khazar2 (talk) 04:46, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Initial readthrough[edit]

On first pass, this looks pretty solid; well written and well sourced, and it appears to cover basic information about the collection's history and legacy. I have a list of quibbles below, but don't be concerned by the length of the list. Many you'll be able to fix in moments, I think. The issues that seem most important to me for this review are the 2-3 questions about sourcing. I hope you'll find this helpful, and thanks a lot for your efforts on this one--it's great to see this article get improved! -- Khazar2 (talk) 06:04, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

  • Thanks for your thorough review and for the minor copyediting work you were gracious enough to take the time to undertake prior to the review. I will work my way through the list today, and let you know. Most of them seem easy enough that they should be done shortly. I appreciate it. As for the Freedman source (repeating same citation for different pages), there was an old template that I used on Joyce Kilmer last summer that I should have considered here (but just this morning remembered) that allows for such a format, but puts the page number in the body of the text next to the footnote. I'll look into the best way to tackle that. --ColonelHenry (talk) 15:41, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
  • "would render him silent for several years." -- literally silent, or unable to write? Probably best to avoid metaphor here.
  •  Done metaphor removed for "unable to write"
  • "during the fall" -- rewrite per WP:REALTIME (perhaps, "later in the year"?)
  •  Done went with later in the year
  • This isn't necessary for GA, but given the number of times the same works are used in the citations, you should consider using a references/bibliography format that would allow you to just write (Freedman p. 340) for each individual page of an author.
  •  Done I chose to use the {{rp}} template.
  • One of the books in further reading "Gass, William H. Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problems of Translation." also appears in the footnotes; could probably be removed from "further" reading.
  •  Done removed from FR.
  • "claiming that it invoked the legacy" -- rewrite claim per WP:WTA
  •  Done rewritten
  •  Done removed noted.
  • "Rilke's Duino Elegies are likely his most popular works in the English-speaking world." -- as a superlative and a guess, this probably needs a citation.
  •  Done rewritten, i thought i had cited this but must have missed it.
  • This isn't a factor for the GA review, but the article has numerous redlinks--are you confident that all these are articles likely to be created and sure to be notable? If not, you might remove some or all of these. They can be easily restored if someone creates articles on these translators and critics in the future.
  •  Done redlinks removed.
  • " The collection has been translated into English over twenty times since it was first published by London's Hogarth Press in England as Duineser Elegien: Elegies from the Castle of Duino in a translation by Vita Sackville-West and Edward Sackville-West (1931), and in the United States with a translation by J. B. Leishman and Stephen Spender published by New York's W. W. Norton & Company in 1939" -- this gets a little tangled -- Is it correct to say that the collection has been translated over twenty times since first appearing in 1931 and 1939? Or just since 1931? I wonder if it would be easiest just to split this long sentence into two: " The collection has been translated into English over twenty times. It was first published by London's Hogarth Press in England as Duineser Elegien: Elegies from the Castle of Duino in a translation by Vita Sackville-West and Edward Sackville-West (1931), and in the United States with a translation by J. B. Leishman and Stephen Spender published by New York's W. W. Norton & Company in 1939"
  •  Done rewritten
  • "Other notable translations have" -- I'd suggest cutting the word "notable" here as a small bit of uncited editorializing (choosing which translations are most important.)
  •  Done removed notable.
  • "He explores the nature of man's contact with beauty, and its transience, noting that man is forever only getting a brief, momentary glimpse of an inconceivable beauty and that it terrifies him." -- Does Rilke specifically put this in gendered terms? If not, gender-neutral language would be preferable here.
  •  Done rewritten for mankind and humanity.
  • "Where there is incongruity that adds to man's despair and anxiety is that because we "cling" to the visible and the familiar, we find the invisible and unknown higher levels represented by these angels to be "terrifying" -- rewrite to avoid "we", which is mildly unencyclopedic; if "man" is to be used, keep going with he/him.
  •  Done stuck with mankind and humanity
  • "when they began to received," -- is there an error in this quotation?
  •  Done to receive
  • ""the world has fallen into the hands of men. -- where does this quotation close?
  •  Done
  • "In the face of death, life and love, however, is not cheap and meaningless. In fact, it is the destiny of great lovers that is essential for understanding all three—life, love, and death—as part of a unity." -- these two sentences confuse me a bit. What does the "it" in "it is the destiny of great lovers"?
  •  Done hopefully this is more clear.
  • "Rilke would assert " -- would assert or asserted?
  •  Done asserted
  • "love could be understood through death giving it its " -- is "it" love or death here?
  •  Done rewritten
  • "'pure too-little; had passed into 'empty too-much'" -- is there a quotation mark missing after "too-little"?
  •  Done fixed
  • "In league with " -- makes it sound as if Rumi and Rilke plotted this together-- perhaps just say "like the 13th-century Sufi mystic Rumi"?
  •  Done rewritten
  • "Rilke reinterpreted "as a master who can lead us to a more fulfilled and less anxious life.""-- not a complete sentence. Does this mean something like "Rilke has been..."?
  •  Done has been
  • "Because of his work being ascribed as "mystical," " -- I think "described" is meant here rather than "ascribed"
  •  Done described
  • "The Duino Elegies have had an indelible impact on literature and thought" -- citation needed for this judgement
  •  Done rewritten
  • "as well as noted philosophers" -- again the "noted" seems to me to be minor peacocking per WP:PEA; simpler to just call them philosophers without introducing the judgement
  •  Done removed noted
  • "It is claimed as a deep influence by several poets and writers, including Sidney Keyes, Stephen Spender, Robert Bly, W.S. Merwin, John Ashbery, and W.H. Auden, as well as noted philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Hans-Georg Gadamer." --this seems like a sweeping and significant claim to source only to Parnassus, which doesn't appear to be peer-reviewed. And looking at the original source, CTRL+F doesn't turn up Merwin, Ashbery, or Wittgenstein--can you point me to the paragraph that contains this info?
  •  Done had the wrong source. looked into it, obtained better sources. unfortunate problem with literary journals, most of them aren't peer reviewed, unlike the medical, mathematical and scientific disciplines.
  • "In My Belief: Essays on Life and Art, German novelist Hermann Hesse" -- is this legacy? It doesn't seem to be so much influence as just more description of Rilke's process.
  •  Done moved it above to the "reception" section
  • "Rilke's rich symbolism and lyrical rhythms inspired many twentieth century writers" -- redundant with previous paragraph in this section
  •  Done rewritten
  • Auden is mentioned twice in three paragraphs, which seems a little redundant.
  •  Done rewritten
  • "The reference here to stroking "that little tower" is derived from a series of letters written while Rilke was completing the Elegies including a letter he wrote to his current lover Baladine Klossowska,[23] and one to his former lover, Lou Andreas-Salomé. In the letter to Andreas-Salomé, he writes "I went out and stroked the little Muzot, which protected it and me and finally granted it, like a large old animal." -- can a secondary source be cited for this connection? I agree that the connection seems clear, but it would be better to cite a scholar here connecting Auden's line to this reference from a letter.
  •  Done found a secondary reference linking auden to letter.
  • it, like a large old animal.". --double period--one should be deleted, but should the survivor go inside or outside the quotation mark?
  •  Done removed the period outside the q.m.
  • Started going through the list, I'll mark them done as I make progress through the list.--ColonelHenry (talk) 23:30, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Great! All looks good so far. I've moved the two undone items below for both our convenience. -- Khazar2 (talk) 12:55, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
  • "Several of these translations have sold several hundred thousand copies." -- as a statistic, needs a citation.
  •  Done chose to remove this sentence pending the relocation of the citation I based it on. I do recall reading a trade publication saying that Kinnell's translation sold 400,000 copies and Spender's 250,000 copies. But until I relocate this source, it's better to remove it for the time being and reinsert it when the source is found.--ColonelHenry (talk) 20:24, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
  • The lead should include some information about the "Legacy" section. -- Khazar2 (talk) 06:04, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
  •  Done added three sentences summarizing the Legacy section.
  • The article appears to switch grammatically at times between referring to the Elegies in singular (as a work) and in plural (as multiple elegies); see the publication and reception section for examples. This might be made more consistent.
  •  Done I hope I clarified all the references with substitution of collection, poems, and using the full title Duino Elegies for the collection, and lower case e elegies if i meant the plural (one instance). If there are any remaining inconsistencies, let me know and I'll revise them.
  • Forgot to move this one down too, will complete these last three today (14FEB2013)--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:22, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I think I've completed the list. Please do let me know if I've missed anything or if you notice anything further that needs repair or revision. Thank you for your thorough and diligent attention so far.--ColonelHenry (talk) 20:45, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Checklist[edit]

Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. Well written:
1a. the prose is clear and concise, and the spelling and grammar are correct.
1b. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation.
2. Verifiable with no original research:
2a. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline.
2b. all in-line citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines.
2c. it contains no original research.
3. Broad in its coverage:
3a. it addresses the main aspects of the topic.
3b. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).
4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias, giving due weight to each.
5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.
6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
6a. images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content.
6b. images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.
7. Overall assessment. Pass

List of Elegies[edit]

The Elegies should be listed with key details such as original name, English translation of name and year of writing. AshLin (talk) 03:25, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

  • You might want to read the article. It's already discussed there. As for the specific elegies, they're called "First Elegy", "Second Elegy"...etc. (Erste Elegie, Zwitte Elegie...), not really worth wasting space with a list of that sort.--ColonelHenry (talk) 04:41, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Structure[edit]

One could usefuly discuss their structure. The 5th is described as a pivot point, clearly inspired by Picasso's "The acrobats, family of saltimbanques," which hung in one of the mansions in which Rilke was holed up. See "Duino Elegies (Study in Germanic Language & Literature)" Elaine Boney, 1975. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.204.142.171 (talk) 14:37, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
  • And what would you like to discuss in particular about their structure? As for Saltimbanques, read the article and tell me what you think is lacking.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:12, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
As I've mentioned pretty clearly above (so why are you asking?,) it's often pointed out that fifth is pivot point in mood and underlying topic. This is fairly obvious aspect. Structure is important aspect of the cycle. A generalized summary of published commentary on structure from nearly any source is missing, and would add much value to the article in its present form.

Really the only way for the average person to grasp the poem is to read a line-by-line commentary from a scholar, but of course that would not be viable here and I am not suggesting it.

A discussion of structure would be helpful along those lines and much more feasible, given limitations of Wikipedia. 108.204.142.171 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 21:51, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Just repeating that the Fifth Elegy (the last written) is an obvious "pivot point" representing a change of mood and topic tells me (and anyone else who happens by here) absolutely nothing. Considering I've read just about everything worthwhile on Rilke's work and Duino Elegies, I'd like you first to explain (a) what you mean precisely and specifically by it being a "pivot point" and the relevant transition or modulation of moods/topics in the elegies including any motifs (including changes in interpretation, fragmentation, or other techniques that establish the pivot), and (b) point me to any scholar or reliable source who points this out. Given my familiarity with the scholarship on the Rilke's work and the Elegies, I cannot recall encountering any respected academic argument or analysis along those lines in any of my research over the years, and having read it innumerable times over 10 years, I'd like to know what you're talking about to perhaps understand other deeper meanings of the text myself. Right now your claim is meaningless without any further explanation or referring me to reliable sources.--ColonelHenry (talk) 22:22, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

I too, can make similar assertions about having read a great deal about the work (but only in English) since my first encounter with it 32 years ago.

Hell, I've even personally discussed the poem with its first English (co-) translator, the late Stephen Spender!

So we can both fall into the silly logical fallacy of arguing from authority.

I mention plainly at very top of this section Boney's 1975 commentary and translation, widely available in University libraries, and a very valuable introduction with which you are doubtless familiar, covering the point I am trying to make.

So I can dig out my copy and try to edit this article. But I sense an obvious "OWNERSHIP" problem that would develop. 108.204.142.171 (talk) 21:35, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, insulting my intelligence, and trading insults won't get us elsewhere, so I'm going to ignore you after this post, anonymous IP editor. And Stephen Spender...please, be who you want to be while you hide behind the anonymous IP. FYI: I would have considered Boney's work when writing the article except her translation is considered among the worst of the English versions of the Elegies (the title's "Duinesian" should have been the first clue). Ingo Seidler lambasted it right after it came out in an appraisal of the other translations of the elegies. Further, her arguments in her 1982 essay on structural patterns within the Elegies was thoroughly unconvincing--a point further evinced by how it has been ignored by her fellow scholars in all subsequent serious studies of Rilke's work. In fact, Boney is only mentioned by anyone regarding the Elegies just to point out her ideas were unconvincing. I don't need to argue from any personal sense of authority, I cited 58 already well-established in the article--ones held in higher esteem than Ms. Boney. --ColonelHenry (talk) 03:30, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Stephen Spender, as you obviously know, visited countless American universities to hold discussions with small groups of students and the public. I encountered him in early 1980s, twenty years before you first read this poem, and about ten years before his death.
Also sorry you feel I am "trading insults" with you, presumably because I sense an obvious "ownership" problem with this article.
Please award yourself an honorary Ph.D. in German from the Wacky World of Wikipedia, and I'll just move on.
I am glad you are obsessed with Rilke (about whom Han Holthusen, as you doubtless know, once called "a baneful (baleful?) influence on muddled minds").
It's a wonderful reading list you've got there, I suppose, but perhaps you could "lighten up."

108.204.142.171 (talk) 16:12, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Current editor is a jerk[edit]

Like thousands of people, author read a mess about poem. He confused simple understanding with unique insight and "ownership" of Wikipedia article.
I agree that this article is "good." Doubt that his comments are reasonable. Seem like pointless ego is involved..So improvement would be deeply problematic.

Typical "wikipedia" difficulty. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.204.142.171 (talk) 02:03, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Bring a reliable source and a decent idea about what you'd like to add to the article, and we'll talk and see how to improve the article with the addition. Calling me a jerk (which is a kindness, actually, I've been called worse and smiled) while repeating your claims above without bringing a reliable source is a useless waste of time.--ColonelHenry (talk) 02:12, 15 August 2013 (UTC)