Elisa Gabbert and Michael Joseph Walsh on Rilke’s The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
In Conversation with Catherine Nichols on the Lit Century Podcast
Welcome to Lit Century: 100 Years, 100 Books. Combining literary analysis with an in-depth look at historical context, host Catherine Nichols chooses one book for each year of the 20th century, and—along with special guests—takes a deep dive into a hundred years of literature.
Elisa Gabbert and Michael Joseph Walsh join Catherine Nichols to discuss Rainer Maria Rilke’s 1910 novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. They talk about the ways the book echoes the life and mind of its author–and how it doesn’t, as well as the details of the text: the eeriness of hands and masks, the differences between childhood and adult consciousness, and the appeal of encountering horrors on purpose. Since the book has been translated from the German many times, they compare several translations.
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Elisa Gabbert is the author of six collections of poetry, essays, and criticism. She writes the On Poetry column for the New York Times. Her next collection of nonfiction, Any Person Is the Only Self, will be out in 2024 from FSG.
Michael Joseph Walsh is a Korean American poet and translator. He is the author of Innocence (CSU Poetry Center, 2022) and co-editor of APARTMENT Poetry. His poems, reviews, and translations have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Guernica, FOLDER, Fence, jubilat, and elsewhere. He lives in Denver.
Catherine Nichols is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in many places, including Jezebel, Aeon, and Electric Literature. She lives in Brooklyn.