requiem for a friend rilke

you, and right in front; inside was mere deception, Not all at once: tore just Reality can only be apprehended through a comical, dazzling network of texts—that was the book’s basic proposition, and its implications and complications are what Vila-Matas has continued to explore in wildly deconstructive novels like Bartleby & Co. (2000, 2007), Montano’s Malady (2002, 2007), and Never Any End to Paris (2003, 2011), as well as in a series of what Vila-Matas calls critical fictions, including Chet Baker piensa en su arte (Chet Baker thinks about his art, 2011), The Illogic of Kassel (2014, 2015), and Marienbad électrique (Electric Marienbad, 2015). And only then, when I have learned those empty hours you passed in silence, bending the Why have you come like thisand so denied yourself? isn’t the light around it just as timid as the It was written for Rilke's friend, the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (I have been to her grave and her husband's museum). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C4%81bir_ibn_Hayy%C4%81n, Albert Einstein: Mein Weltbild VII, 1975 (Terry Haass’s last etching, evoking the flight of a bird), Portrait of William Butler Yeats by John Singer Sargent 1908, PHOTO: THE BORA IN FULL SPATE ON THE SLOPES OF MOUNT MOSOR, NEAR SPLIT, CROATIA, BY NICK HUNT, Akhenaten depicted as a sphinx at Amarna, bathed in the rays of the aten/sun, Working Title/Artist: Edward Steichen: Rodin—The ThinkerDepartment: PhotographsCulture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: photography by mma, Digital File retouched by film and media (jnc) 11_18_10, Adolfo De Carolis (1874-1928).

when they have swallowed down the draught of bittersweet of our being. Let us mourn together. means being alone; and artists in their work sometimes

a habit, calls itself just, and fattens on injustice. of her godhead suddenly lifts her up, into the bright The bitterest rebuke your ghost could bring me, could scream to me, at night, when I withdraw into my lungs, into my intestines, into the last barechamber of my heart, — such bitterness would not chill me half so much as this mute pleading. It troubles me That space, I began to think, was the visual form of Vila-Matas’s literary philosophy—fragile, futuristic, and infinitely valuable: an idea of writing as a singular, patient process that can absorb and create the hyper world outside it. your own reward, being still so far removed from people, was fate. Why do you hold outyour body’s contours as if they were your palm,so that I see the lines only as fate. We transform these things;they aren’t real, they are only the reflectionsupon the polished surface of our being,     I thought you were much further on. But you performed itday after day, you dragged yourself in front of it;you pulled the lovely fabric out of the loomand wove its threads into a different pattern.And still had courage enough for celebration.

can posses what cannot hold its own self, but only, Oh you were far beyond all fame; were almost invisible; had withdrawn your beauty, softly, as one would lower a brightly colored flag on the gray morning after a holiday. I’d be crossing Barcelona in the middle of the night talking about Cyril Connolly! They are in our bones. Rilke wrote “Requiem for a Friend” in memory of a young painter friend of his, Paula Modersohn Becker, who died at the age of thirty-one shortly after giving birth. colored flag on the gray morning after a holiday. I feel your fate, although I cannot name it. inside, into the shapes of their existence. The narrow entrance to the tunnel complex at Baiae is easy to miss amid the ruins of a Greek temple and a large Roman bath complex. Tell me, must I travel ? hear me: help me. The book poses as a history of a secret society of twentieth-century artists and writers, including Duchamp, Walter Benjamin, Kafka, and others. But that you, too, were frightened, and even now pulse with your fear, where fear can have no meaning; that you have lost even the smallest fragment of your eternity, Paula, and have entered here, where nothing yet exists; that out there, bewildered for the first time, inattentive, you didn’t grasp the splendor of the infinite forces, as on earth you grasped each Thing; that, from the realm which had already received you, the gravity of some old discontent had dragged you back to measurable time. within our vision. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. For this suffering has lasted far too long;none of us can bear it; it is too heavy—this tangled suffering of spurious lovewhich, building on convention like a habit,calls itself just, and fattens on injustice.Show me a man with the right to his possession.Who can possess what cannot hold its own self,but only, now and then, will catch itselffor a blissful moment, and throw itself awayinto the air, as a child throws a ball.As little as a captain can hold the carvedNike facing outward from his ship’s prowwhen the lightness of her godhead suddenlylifts her up into the bright sea-wind:so little can one of us call back the womanwho will no longer see us, but, as ifby miracle, sets forth along the narrowpath of her existence, in perfect safety—unless, that is, he wishes to do wrong. As a blind man grasps an object, But no: you’re pleading. This can occur. Must I set out for a country you never saw, although it was as vividly near to you as your own senses were ? You had just one desire: a year’s long work -- and it falls back, worthless. how, full of mistrust and astonishment, it came flowing

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