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The reputation of Rainer Maria Rilke has grown frequently since his death in 1926; today he’s widely thought to be to be the greatest poet of the twentieth century. This Brand new Library edition presents Stephen Mitchell’s acclaimed translations of Rilke, which have won praise for their re-creation of the poet’s wealthy formal music and depth of thought. “If Rilke had written in English,” Denis Donoghue wrote in The New York Times Book Review, “he would have written in this English.” Ahead of All Parting is an abundant choice of Rilke’s lifework. It incorporates representative poems from his early collections The Book of Hours and The Book of Pictures; many selections from the revolutionary New Poems, which drew inspiration from Rodin and Cezanne; the hitherto little-known “Requiem for a Friend”; and a generous choice of the late uncollected poems, which constitute some of his finest work. Included too are passages from Rilke’s influential novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, and nine of his brilliant uncollected prose pieces. In spite of everything, the book presents the poet’s two greatest masterpieces in their entirety: the Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus. “Rilke’s voice, with its bizarre combination of formality, power, speed and lightness, may also be heard in Mr. Mitchell’s versions more clearly than in any others,” said W. S. Merwin. “His work is masterful.”