The Best of Rilke

72 Form-True Verse Translations with Facing Originals, Commentary, and Compact Biography

Rilke, Rainer Maria. Walter Arndt, trans.; Cyrus Hamlin, fwd.

Rainer Maria Rilke’s best poems are finally available in translations so faithful yet free flowing that a reader forgets they were not originally written in English. Applying the same principle of “form-true” rendering that earned him the Bollingen Prize for his translation of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, poet-translator Walter Arndt boldly claims to reproduce in English for the first time the prosodic identity of Rilke’s finest rhymed poems.

Cover Image of The Best of Rilke: 72 Form-True Verse Translations with Facing Originals
Paper: $22.95 | E-book: $9.99
ISBN-13: 9780874514612
Pages: 213 | Size: 5.5 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: February 1, 1991


  • I was never a devotee of Rilke’s, but reading Walter Arndt’s translation has made a convert of me. His renderings are an ideal introduction to Rilke for a literate and lyrically receptive general readership. Frost used to say that poetry is what is lost in translation, but Arndt has made me question that simplistic statement.

    Wallace Stegner

About the Author

RAINER MARIA RILKE was born in Prague in 1875. After a motley education at military and business schools and at Prague’s Charles University, he traveled in Europe, Russia, Egypt, and Tunsinia. In addition to Sonnets to Orpheus, Rilke’s works include the Duino Elegies, The Book of Pictures, Poems from the Book of Hours, New Poems, and The Notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge. Rilke died in 1926.

WALTER ARNDT is Sherman Fairchild Professor of Humanities and Professor of Russian Language and Literature, Emeritus, at Dartmouth College. His verse translations include Goethe’s Faust (1976) and Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (1963).

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