The Eclipse of the Transcendent and the Poetics of Praise: Arendt's Rilke

Ulrika Björk


Literature has a central place in Hannah Arendt’s writings. In

particular, scholars continually discuss the implications of storytelling to

her theory of action. This paper takes a different approach by drawing

attention to an early literary essay, ”Rilke’s Duino Elegies ”, which Arendt

co-authored with Günther Stern (later Anders) in 1930. The paper locates

the essay in the early twentieth century intellectual response to the ”break

in tradition”, arguing that the construction of a poetics dramatized in the

Duino Elegies is crucial for judging the originality of Arendt’s

philosophical methodology, and the ontological significance of her poetic

conception of praise. In this conception, meaning is to be found in things

as they appear to human beings capable of using the language

designating them poetically. I present my interpretation of the Arendt-

Stern essay by contrasting it with Heidegger’s comment on the eighth

Elegy from 1942-43 and Blanchot’s reading of Rilke from 1955.



Phenomenology; Arendt; Rilke; Heidegger; Existence; Poetry; Tradition

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Metodo. International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy
Published by sdvig press, Genève-Lausanne
ISSN  2281-9177

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