Interpreting Pain: Gadamer on Rilke


The paper discusses Gadamer’s interpretation of Rilke, distinguished by its respectful depth and hermeneutical mastery. Through the principle of mythopoietic reversal, his philosophical approach does not force the poetical utterances, but highlights a meditative project, whose centre is an epic poem on human limits, as admirably represented in the world of the Duino Elegies. In this context, the hermeneutical issue focuses on a few key human experiences, which identify and define man’s being in the world. One of the most relevant experiences is pain, conceived no longer as simply one feeling among others, but as an essential horizon of comprehension. The value of this interpretation is demonstrated by the interpretation of the iconic figure of the angel:  in opposition to both traditional angelology and even the Heideggerian reading, this figure is interpreted innovatively as a sign not of transcendence but of immanence.

Keywords: Gadamer, Rilke, Thinking and Poetizing, Interpretation, Hermeneutics, Pain

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