Two Stories of Prague: "King Bohush" and the "Siblings" (Paperback)
  • Two Stories of Prague: "King Bohush" and the "Siblings" (Paperback)

Two Stories of Prague: "King Bohush" and the "Siblings" (Paperback)

Paperback Published: 01/11/1996
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Two Stories of Prague signifies the maturation of a poet and of a people. Most readers know Rainer Maria Rilke as a mature, cosmopolitan poet prominent among Continental literati of the early 20th century. But the protagonists in "King Bohush" and "The Siblings, " who strongly echo elements of Rilke's own youth, sketch a different picture. Here we can discern a young writer self-consciously exploring his development as a man and his emergence as an artist. The result, Angela Esterhammer writes in her introduction, is that in symbolic, stylistic, and biographical terms these two stories "record the process by which Rilke fashions himself into an independent, empowered individual." But the stories contribute more than insight into Rilke's personal and artistic maturation. "The more explicit subject is the city of Prague itself, " Esterhammer asserts. For woven into these two tales is a keen awareness of the political, social, and cultural currents swirling through Rilke's native city. Seething tensions between Germans and Czechs, the influence of Czech nationalism on art, and the isolation and artificiality of Prague German culture are themes underlying Rilke's exploration of a milieu that had driven him into a self-imposed exile by 1899, when he wrote these stories. Glimpsed through these early works, the story of Rilke's youth is not only a record of one man's artistic evolution but also, Esterhammer concludes, "a story of domestic, social, and political tensions in a city imbued with a consciousness of religion, superstition, and grand but often tragic history."

Publisher: University Press of New England
ISBN: 9780874517897

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