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The Rilke Alphabet$
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Ulrich Baer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823256280

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256280.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

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The Rilke Alphabet

Ulrich Baer

, Andrew Hamilton
Fordham University Press

The chapter argues that Rilke’s poem about an exhibition of West Africans in a public park in Paris in 1902 defeats his aesthetic program of developing a theory of poetic vision. It also locates Rilke’s poem, which has been consistently overlooked by critics, in a racist discourse and tradition of European writings including Peter Altenberg, about Africans exhibited in the world fairs, circuses and zoos of Europe between 1870 and 1930.

Keywords:   Exhibition of Africans, Theory of poetic vision, Paris, Humans in sideshows, Peter Altenberg, European racism

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