After nearly a lifetime of reading Rilke in English translation, William H. Gass undertook the task of translating Rilke's writing himself, in order to see if he could, in that way, get closer to the work he so deeply admired. Gass examines the genesis of the ideas that inform the Elegies and discusses previous translations, while writing, in his inimitable style, about Rilke the man: his character, his relationships, his life. Finally, Gass's own extraordinary translation of the Dui Elegies offers us the experience of reading Rilke with a new and fuller understanding.
William H. Gass is the author of four novels--Omensetter's Luck, Willie Masters' Lonesome Wife, The Tunnel, and Middle C--as well as two volumes of short stories and eight collections of essays. Gass was a professor of philosophy at Washington University from 1966-2000, and Director of the International Writers Center from 1990 until 2000. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the Pen-Nabokov Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, and National Book Critics Circle Awards for Criticism in 1985, 1996, and 2003, among others.