Marielle Sutherland presents ‘Sound and Silence in Rilke’s “Sonnets to Orpheus�’

On Thursday October 19th Marielle Sutherland, Lecturer in German Studies, gave a paper as part of the Cultures of Modernism Research seminar series, at the Institute for Historical and Cultural Research at Oxford Brookes University. Marielle's paper was entitled 'Sound and Silence in Rilke's "Sonnets to Orpheus"'.  She examined death as an unrepresentable condition in the "Sonnets" and explored the overlapping of the music of Orpheus and the silence of death.  She focused on the interaction between the musicality of the sonnets, the images of sound and music, and the idea of the inner ear as an ear reading silently to itself, an ear that understands the music imparted by poetry as both real and unreal, sound AND silence.

The seminar was chaired by Alex Goody, Senior Lecturer in 20th Century Literature in the Department of English, Oxford Brookes, and was attended by staff in Modern Languages, who responded enthusiastically to the paper and engaged in a discussion about the place of Rainer Maria Rilke within modernism and within the European sonnet tradition.

Marielle's monograph, "Images of Absence: Death and the Language of Concealment in the Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke" (Berlin: Weidler Verlag, 2006), explores how Rilke buries, conceals and distances death in layers of metaphor and images that appear to draw attention to their own inaccessibility.

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