Ahh, to delve into the musings of a poet in Paris. To strike his ingenious heart and ignite within a soulful flame. Brigge is a facet of Rilke, one whom, if you've ever been smitten with his poetry, is not to be ignored. Look through these pages and see how mirrors of the self extend reality in addition to reflecting it.
This book reads like an extended prose poem replete with all of the uncanny observations only a true poet can make. Rilke's Brigge comes across as a holographic ghost, he is there and not there, he haunts the city, his past, and the future of redemption with stark correlations and subtle observations. The notion of diving into the mind of one of the worlds most renown poets is too much to pass up on, and The Notebooks offers just that.
Ranier Maria Rilke (1875-1926), Austrian Poet and Novelist
Here is a longer excerpt from one of my favorite passages of the novel:
[ 'She can't spell it,' he said tetchily, 'and no one else will be able to read it. Will they even see what I am saying?" he went on angrily, keeping his eyes fixed on Abelone. 'Will they see him, this Saint-Germain?' he shouted at her. 'Did we say Saint-Germain? Strike it out. Put the Marquis of Belmare." Abelone crossed it out and wrote, but the Count went on so rapidly that she could not keep up. 'He could not abide children, the excellent Belmare, but he did dandle me on his knee, small as I was, and something got into me and I bit his diamond buttons. That tickled him. He laughed and raised my head so that we were looking into each others eyes. "You have excellent teeth," he said, "teeth that show enterprise..." For my part, I noticed his eyes. In later life I got around, and I have seen all sorts of eyes, believe me, but never again eyes like this. For those eyes, things did not need to exist; they already contained everything within themselves. You have heard of Venice? Very well. I tell you that those eyes could have looked Venice right into this room, so that it would have been here as plain as the table. I once sat in the corner listening as he told my father about Persia, at times, I imagine hands still smell of it. ]
Penguin Classics edition. Translation by Michael Hulse.