Rainer Maria Rilke’s spiritual geography, which is testified by his numerous letters as well as by his literary works, may offer a meaningful and original perspective both to understand European intellectuals’ attitude towards certain areas from the late 19th to the early 20th century and to investigate the role of the meeting with foreign cultures in the creative process. In the complex net of personal relationships and cultural mediations Rilke constantly developed, the North played a significant role, despite the chronological limitedness of Rilke’s direct experience of it: he visited Russia in 1899 and 1900, Scandinavia (Denmark and Sweden) in 1904, any project of settling down there eventually proving unfeasible, mostly because of the emerging of further cultural fascinations elsewhere, though at least his interest in Scandinavian literature never disappeared. In countless circumstances, Rilke expressed admiration for those Northern countries; however, in two essentially different ways, which might be seen as one completing the other according to his needs in those few years: if Russia was connoted as a deeply religious country whose people were not yet spoiled by Western cultural involution, Scandinavia seemed to propose a new kind of society, taking a great advantage from its nature of social laboratory for the continent.

An Exotic Journey Homeward. Rilke’s Russian and Scandinavian Northernness, between a Re(dis)covered Past and a Perceived Future

Finco Davide Agostino
2020

Abstract

Rainer Maria Rilke’s spiritual geography, which is testified by his numerous letters as well as by his literary works, may offer a meaningful and original perspective both to understand European intellectuals’ attitude towards certain areas from the late 19th to the early 20th century and to investigate the role of the meeting with foreign cultures in the creative process. In the complex net of personal relationships and cultural mediations Rilke constantly developed, the North played a significant role, despite the chronological limitedness of Rilke’s direct experience of it: he visited Russia in 1899 and 1900, Scandinavia (Denmark and Sweden) in 1904, any project of settling down there eventually proving unfeasible, mostly because of the emerging of further cultural fascinations elsewhere, though at least his interest in Scandinavian literature never disappeared. In countless circumstances, Rilke expressed admiration for those Northern countries; however, in two essentially different ways, which might be seen as one completing the other according to his needs in those few years: if Russia was connoted as a deeply religious country whose people were not yet spoiled by Western cultural involution, Scandinavia seemed to propose a new kind of society, taking a great advantage from its nature of social laboratory for the continent.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1014718
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