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In the Image of Orpheus

Taking James Hillman's notion of "soul history" to heart, RILKE: A SOUL HISTORY tells the inner story of Rilke's literary career, tracing, step-by-step, the mythopoetic journey inscribed in the interweaving lines of the poet's life and art. Artfully blending biography with in-depth analyses of Rilke's poetry and prose (from his little-known Visions of Christ through the Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus), the lively and engaging narrative draws upon, not only Hillman's archetypal psychology, but, also, Plato and Petrarch, Apuleius and Augustine, Ibn 'Arabi and Lou Andreas-Salome, as it unfolds the poet-seer's compelling vision of the nature and destiny of the human soul - a vision as timely as it is timeless. "Daniel Polikoff has written a profound book that opens a new horizon in our understanding of Rilke. The splendid style of the writing, the breadth of cultural erudition, the coherence of the biographical narrative all contribute to the achievement, but these reflect something of larger import. By focusing the powerful lens of Jungian depth psychology, particularly Hillman's archetypal psychology, on Rilke's life and work, In the Image of Orpheus carries us deeper into the interior of the poet's imaginative landscape than ever before. It is difficult to conceive of a study that might bring greater psychological subtlety and spiritual insight to the evolution of this complex, deep-souled poet. One ends with new appreciation of both the power of art in forging a soul, and the centrality of the soul in the creation of great art."-Richard Tarnas, Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, California Institute of Integral Studies.
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About the Author

Poet, translator and independent scholar, Daniel Polikoff, received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University and his Diploma in Waldorf Education from Rudolf Steiner College. In addition to work in numerous literary journals and anthologies, he has published two collections of poetry (Dragon Ship and The Hands of Stars) as well as Parzival/Gawain: Two Plays, his edited translation of a dramatic version of the Grail legend. Dr. Polikoff has taught literature in Waldorf schools and shared his passion for Rilke in a wide variety of venues, including the Festival of Archetypal Psychology at Notre Dame (where the idea for Rilke A Soul History was born), the San Francisco Jung Society and seminars in literary circles. He resides with his wife Monika and two children in the San Francisco Bay area.

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