The risibly random ramblings of an apanthropic hemegomisian hadeharian polymathetischian technophilic tonopoeic transhumanist logolept.

Fame vs Anonymity

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Da saß ich an deinen Büchern, Eigensinniger, und versuchte sie zu meinen wie die andern, die dich nicht beisammen lassen und sich ihren Anteil genommen haben, befriedigt. Denn da begriff ich noch nicht den Ruhm, diesen öffentlichen Abbruch eines Werdenden, in dessen Bauplatz die Menge einbricht, ihm die Steine verschiebend.

Junger Mensch irgendwo, in dem etwas aufsteigt, was ihn erschauern macht, nütz es, daß dich keiner kennt. Und wenn sie dir widersprechen, die dich für nichts nehmen, und wenn sie dich ganz aufgeben, die, mit denen du umgehst, und wenn sie dich ausrotten wollen, um deiner lieben Gedanken willen, was ist diese deutliche Gefahr, die dich zusammenhält in dir, gegen die listige Feindschaft später des Ruhms, die dich unschädlich macht, indem sie dich ausstreut.

Bitte keinen, daß er von dir spräche, nicht einmal verächtlich. Und wenn die Zeit geht und du merkst, wie dein Name herumkommt unter den Leuten, nimm ihn nicht ernster als alles, was du in ihrem Munde findest. Denk: er ist schlecht geworden, und tu ihn ab. Nimm einen andern an, irgendeinen, damit Gott dich rufen kann in der Nacht. Und verbirg ihn vor allen.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge, "Ein Briefentwurf".

There I sat at your books, obstinate man, and tried to understand them as the others do, who don't leave you whole but are satisfied to take only this portion or that. It was because I didn't yet understand fame, that public deconstruction of a building not yet finished, onto whose construction site the mob intrudes, disrupting its progress.

Young person, anywhere, in whom something thrilling wells, be thankful no one knows you. And if they contradict you, those you disregard; and if they give you up completely, your acquaintances; and if they want to destroy you because of the thoughts you hold dear---what danger is there in this, which concentrates you in yourself, compared to the cunning enmity of fame, later, which makes you innocuous by scattering you all around?

Don't ask anyone to speak about you, not even disparagingly. And if the time should come that you notice your name is circulating among the people, don't take it any more seriously than anything else you might find in their mouths. Think: it has become tainted, and dismiss it. Then take another, any other, by which God can call you in the night. And hide it from everyone.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, "A draft letter".


Cat said...

Hey, I remember us talking about that! Well said, Mr. Rilke. Thanks for the helpful advice ;)

Cat said...

Hey, me again. Thanks sooo much for the Option 30 tracks, you made my day lol. Other than Der Kommissar and Ice House, I hadn't really heard their music. Haha, funny stuff. This week is going to be a bitch as well so I won't be around for a while (I think...), but really, thank you! I was listening to a few P tracks yesterday but I totally fell asleep lol (not out of boredom, I was tired), but I'll get around them tonight, hopefully. Good luck with everything!

Daniel said...

Yeah, it's a great passage, I think. My trans. in the email was probably better/freer; rereading here, this one is a bit more literal in phrasing than I like.

Thanks for the comment!

Cat said...

Tell me about it, I am never satisfied with my translations, and it's after I submit them that I realize the obvious mistakes I've made, or how different in style I could have made them. Grrrr!


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