Exercícios e transformações do olhar: Rilke e o Einsehen

Translated title of the contribution: Gaze transformations and exercises: Rilke and Einsehen

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This paper aims at reconstructing what we could call a poetic method from different texts of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. It is not that Rilke tried to establish a genealogy of his poems; but on different occasions (mostly in his prose texts and in several letters) he shows that his poetry stems from exercises and transformations of the gaze. The best depiction of this process is given in a letter addressed to Magda von Hattinberg in which the poetic gaze is depicted not as looking through things, using beings to get to what is beyond them, but as a vision that is placed inside those beings, at the center of things themselves, in that place that makes them be what they are. He calls this gaze Einsehen (roughly translated as In-seeing) and according to him it amounts to the place that God could have taken in order to see whether His creation, for instance a dog, was well accomplished. This type of vision, of which we can find the most suitable expression in The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (Rilke, 2003), involves looking quickly, the way of looking that is appropriate to those who want to jump to the intimacy of what happens and uncover its perplexities. In this process what is at stake is not to annul the poetic subject, to transform it into a window, as it were, without any identity, thickness or presence; it is rather an emphasis on the relation of the poet with what is outside, and on the way the poet’s gaze is the foremost poetic operator.
Translated title of the contributionGaze transformations and exercises: Rilke and Einsehen
Original languagePortuguese
Title of host publicationA escrita do eu
Subtitle of host publicationa literatura como laboratório da vida
EditorsMaria Helena Jesus, Paulo Jesus, Gonçalo Marcelo
PublisherImprensa da Universidade de Coimbra
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789892615721
ISBN (Print)9789892615714
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Aesthetics
  • Gaze
  • Materialism
  • Poetic operation
  • Poetry
  • Rilke


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