Childhood Criticism

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Although "Childhood" is a frequently anthologized Rilke poem because of its accessibility and subject matter, very little criticism has been written on it or The Book of Images. Edward Snow, who has translated the volume in its entirety, claims in his introduction that this is because of the collection's "scattered, hybrid quality, which makes generalizing about it so difficult." The collection itself appeared twice, once in 1902 and again in 1906, in a much-expanded version. Although Snow notes that many of the poems are rough and do not live up to Rilke's later work, he claims, "In the most brilliant of the poems in The Book of Images . . . Rilke is uncannily confident from the first."

Writing on Rilke in European Writers, James Rolleston points out the significance of the collection in Rilke's development as an artist, noting that it "illuminates the continuity of Rilke's maturing process." Critic Frank Wood agrees...

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This section contains 224 words
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Buy the Childhood Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Childhood from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.