Pg. 347 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:
On which David Markson has placed a check next to the following information re: Rilke’s Duino Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus:
“The very next day, quite unexpectedly as at Duino, came the turn. The spirit was suddenly upon him: but, to his own surprise, what he began to write was not the continuation of the Elegies, but a sequence of ‘Sonnets to Orpheus,’ which as they progressed revealed themselves as a memorial to Wera Knoop. In three days he completed a cycle of twenty-five, in a free handling of the classic sonnet form, and on 7 February sent off to Gertrud Knoop a transcript of what had been ‘granted’ him.”
The period of intense inspiration described in the scan above, in which Rainer Maria Rilke wrote two of his masterworks is mentioned in Markson’s Notecard Quartet:
“Rilke wrote most of the Duino Elegies, and the Sonnets to Orpheus, in less than one month.”
- Markson, Reader’s Block, pg. 139.
David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.