Jenseits des Sichtbaren
Rilkes Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge
In Rilke’s novel Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge, the Parisian scene is conceived as a stage; the main character has been considered as the author’s alter ego or Doppelgänger, who is going to face the most alienating and fearful aspects of the modern metropole. Rilke’s project involves a new use of sight and perception in which the boundary between the inner and outer world is continuously crossed so that Malte – and the reader at the same time – starts to doubt the traditional categories of acknowledgement. Despite all negative aspects of this split scene of modernity, characterised by forgetfulness and alienation, Malte is very likely to eventually die, completely forgotten by his ghostly family – this loss of individuality and possession is also able to enhance a kind of negative capability, representing the condition to make a new start, e.g. a lyrical program expressing the paradox of Life, where life seems to be no longer possible. The formal fragmentation of Rilke’s novel and its lack of traditional unity reflect the split scene of the subject, thus foreshadowing the clash between sign and meaning, between angel and puppet, which will be put on stage in the crucial passage of the Fourth Elegy, where the I is depicted as a spectator in front of the curtain of his own heart.