October 15, 2007

Good Gracious

“Because the beautiful is nothing
other than the beginning of the terrible,
which we can scarcely bear,
and we marvel at it, because it calmly refuses
to destroy us. Every angel is terrible.”

(Rilke, First Duino Elegy, trans. Michael Wood, in an old LRB)

“Rilke doesn’t have too much in common with Brecht, but both of them probably knew so much about grace and courage because they had an intimate and harrowing experience of what it meant to lack them.” (Wood again).

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