London: Lindsay Drummond, 1948. 1st UK Edition. Small octavo, publisher's ecru buckram, spine and upper board stamped in green and gilt, top edge stained yellow, original illustrated dust jacket.
"Since the movement is in us, the expression is nothing but the expression of obedience. Under this compelling force I wrote the CORNET in a single night." First edition in English of Rainer Maria Rilke’s early-career prose poem, a work that marked a turning point in the development of his poetic philosophy. Written after Rilke discovered a document in his uncle’s papers related to a man named Christopher Rilke, whom the family had believed to be an ancestor, the poem tells the story of his adventures as a cornet, or cavalry officer. Rilke was an Austrian poet and novelist whose mystical, lyrical writings changed the face of literature and helped usher in the early 20th-century modernist movement. Originally written by Rilke in 1899, revised in 1906, and published in 1912, the Lay was tremendously successful at the time of its publication, although Rilke himself considered it a subpar work. Bilingual text in the original German and English. Title-page and dust jacket illustrated by French illustrator and aesthete Philippe Jullian. Bookseller's ticket to rear pastedown. Minor embrowning to endpapers; unclipped dust jacket with minor creasing at spine and one small closed tear near head of spine. Near fine. Item #3373