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Document Details :

Title: De schoonheid van het eenmalige
Subtitle: Een analyse van Rilkes eerste elegie van Duino
Author(s): DOORNENBAL, Jesse
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 85    Issue: 2   Date: 2023   
Pages: 217-257
DOI: 10.2143/TVF.85.2.3292643

Abstract :
In this essay, I offer a novel interpretation of Rilke’s first elegy of Duino from the perspective of the homelessness of humanity. Starting with his distinction between angels, animals and humans, we discover that human life is characterized by the boundary situation between life and death, which renders us feeling homeless in the world. Today, God no longer functions as a stable point of reference, as the one who could alleviate this existential homelessness. Even though we are not always aware of our homelessness, our relationship with the world, characterized by an urge to control the variables of life, attests to it. The emptiness we experience must be fully acknowledged and lived through to determine whether an attitude of radical receptivity to life as a whole, encompassing both life and death, can help us find a home in the world. This human fate is challenging to bear, and perhaps finding a home will ultimately prove to be a futile endeavor. This raises the disquieting question: is being human worthwhile? In contrast to the timeless angelic universe, human life feels limited and inferior. Nevertheless, Rilke does not negate our lifeworld, but instead emphasizes the beauty of this singular existence, derived from the incredible fact that in this transitory life, the eternal shines.

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