Rilke Tour – Education benefits highlighted

Photo by Max Fischer

The benefits to the intellectual growth of children from the works of Rilke combined with the tour have been recognised by the Education and Culture Directorate of Bern Canton.

Dr. Sabine Bättig-Ineichen, Head of School Development Department for Bern Canton, says in the AKVB department’s April 2024 newsletter for educationalists that Rilke’s work and the tour together “offer unique insights to promote intellectual growth, intercultural values and stimulate creative thinking. The Rilke Tour combines sport, education and getting to know Switzerland better”.

The original article is reproduced below.

Das Ziel der Rilke Tour und des Buches «Road Trip with Rilke Round Switzerland» ist es, Rainer Maria Rilke anlässlich seines 150. Geburtstages sowie seine tiefgründige Poesie und einfühlsame Prosa kennenzulernen. Beide bieten einzigartige Einblicke, um intellektuelles Wachstum und interkulturelle Werte zu fördern und kreatives Denken anzuregen. Die Rilke-Tour verbindet Sport, Bildung und das bessere Kennenlernen der Schweiz. Sie findet von Juni bis Oktober 2024 statt. Gewinnen Sie mit Ihrer Schule eine Trophäe!

Rilke Tour and book: “Road Trip with Rilke Round Switzerland” The aim of the Rilke Tour and the book “Road Trip with Rilke Round Switzerland” is to get to know Rainer Maria Rilke on the occasion of his 150th birthday as well as his profound poetry and insightful prose. Both offer unique insights to promote intellectual growth, intercultural values and stimulate creative thinking. The Rilke Tour combines sport, education and getting to know Switzerland better. It takes place from June to October 2024. Win a trophy with your school!

More Coverage of Rilke Tour

Two more publications have featured the Rilke Tour challenge, Gstaad Life, which has a

delightful description of the contest and Journal Du Pays-d’Enhaut, which has a splendid headline for the article announcing the tour, proclaiming that Rilke is alive and in good health. It makes the point that 100 years on from the publication of The Duino Elegies it, the other works of Rilke and his love of life are still very much relevant today.

Road Trip with Rilke Feature

The imminent publication of Farol’s latest book, Road Trip with Rilke round Switzerland, and the intriguing challenge associated with it generated an in-depth article in Global Geneva.

The publication of the book coincides with the centennial of the publication of lyrical poet Rilke’s powerful work Duino Elegies.

The challenge, aimed at tourists, hikers and anyone with an old or newly aquired interest in the Poet and his moving writing is outlined here.

A bilingual edition with the H.J. Leishman and Stephen Spender translation.

Read the full article in

David Beckham

BBC Sport

David Beckham’s commute from Los Angeles to London could have a career-threatening effect on his health, according to experts.

And aviation health expert Farrol Kahn warned: “It puts him in the high risk category for getting deep-vein thrombosis (DVT).

From healthy flying to dramatic fiction

Global Geneva

Rainer Maria Rilke, the Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist spent the latter part of his life in Switzerland. One of the most “lyrically intense” German-language poets, his works, such as the Duino Elegies, have inspired many artists, ranging from author Graham Greene to painter Paul Klee. One British university professor even spent all his holidays following in the footsteps of Rilke from Turkey to Russia. Just after his 51st birthday Rilke died in Montreux overlooking Lake Geneva on 29 December 1926 from a late diagnosed leukemia. But he is remembered most steadfastly in the Raron and Sierre region of the Valais, which he embraced as a version of Provence. Journalist, author and healthy-flying activist Farrol Kahn has launched into his first work of fiction with a biography of Rilke. He explains his long fascination with the poet and his work.

Read full article from Global Geneva here

FT Letters

On November 26/27,2022 (Nostalgia for Vita and Harold’s cosmopolitanism) was a response to my letter in which I pointed out that Robin Lane Fox had strayed into the weeds of literature.

He asserted that Vita Sackville-West was the first to make an English translation of Rilke’s Duineser Elegien. She was, but he omitted to add that it was poor translation. Later it was offered to Hogarth press, who only printed handful of copies – only in deference to Vita’s friend and lover Virginia Wolf.

Pushkin Press the publisher of Vita’s translation fielded Lesley Chamberlin to write the introduction to the new edition. However, she only muddies the water of English Rilke studies. 

She describes Rilke as the greatest poet in German. This is the equivalent of toppling King Goethe and Prince Schiller from their pedestals. Then she takes a swipe at The Cambridge Companion to Rilke (Editors K.Leeder and R.Villain) by characterising him as being a not-quite-a-modernist poet.

This is contrary to their description of Rilke being ‘one of leading poets of European modernism comparable in importance and influence with American-born T.S. Eliot and the French poet Paul Valéry.’

Here’s an example of Rilke’s first line of the Duino Elegies which comes across as a roar of a lion (translated by J.B.Leishman and S.Spender): ‘Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelic orders?‘ Then the croak of a frog by the Sackville-Wests: ‘Who would give ear, among the angelic host, Were I to cry aloud.

Vita Sackville-West and Rilke

The first translation of Duineser Elegien into English was done by Vita Sackville West (Cranach Press, 1931). She had begun the translation with the assistance of Margaret Voigt, an American living in Berlin, with whom she had started a passionate love affair early in the spring of 1928. ‘Being in love always helped Vita to write’, subsequently in a relationship lasting five months the two ‘established their fantasy love-world at Long Barn (in which Margaret played the ‘peasant’ to Vita’s aristocrat, and Vita was “David” to Margaret’.

The translation was completed in collaboration with Edward Sackville-West, fifth Baron Sackville (1901-1965). It was luxury edition printed in red and black with text in English and German, 20 woodcut initials heightened with gold designed and cut by Eric Gill. Later Vita approached approached Hogarth Press which was run by Virginia Wolf and her husband Leonard. However, it was poor translation and only a handful were printed in deference to Virginia, her friend and lover. H.J. Leishman and Stephen Spender delivered a good translation and it was published in 1939. The book ran over several editions until the 1970s.

FT – Green Fingers

Rilke’s love of roses was commented on in a letter in the Financial Times last week (3rd September), linked to an article by Robin Lane Fox.

Rilke was able to realise his wish for a rose garden whilst at Muzot in the Valais, more about his time there is featured in the bookRILKE: A Bio Novel. (See here for stockists)

Gstaad Insider’s Guide
Presentation of the 2nd Edition 

The author Farrol Kahn made a presentation of the new edition of the Gstaad Insider’s guide on Wednesday 27th April at the Grande Salle de Rougemont.

An Article in «Journal du Pays-D’Enhaut », gives an overview of his book, the people and places featured and background on Farrol’s various other works.

Farrol Kahn and Sonia Wolf
Sophie Labarraque with craft stand
Cheese and wine party

On Wednesday evening last week, Marianne Moratti attended the book launch of The Insider’s Guide Gstaad/Pays-d’Enhaut by Farrol Kahn.

It was a cheese and wine party which was held in the Grand Salle Rougemont. A lot of interesting people were there waiting for the presentation, curious and excited. Among the locals were Anne Rosat, Michèle Philipp, Marie-Françoise Rochat, Myriam Degallier, Cindy Morier, Dr Ilias Skaventzos and his wife Sonja Wolf, Mr and Mrs Aamodt, Mr and Mrs Raynaud and Marina Brachet. While from Gstaad there were Caroline Zervudacis, Nitzia Embiricos, Ruedi Hählen, Mr and Mrs Kübli, Tom Galler, Marc Galler, Mr and Mrs Mösching and Sussy Power.

The book which is the 7th of the cultural guides to Switzerland written by Farrol Kahn is well presented with over 100 colour photos. 

Guests had the opportunity to taste the wide range of cheese from the Gstaad Molkerei selected by Rene Ryser and wines from the Cully vineyard of Cave de Moratel presented by Patricia Longet. Sophie Labarraque also had a stand with her art and artisanal objects.

Olivia Plancherel who was the winner of the Photographic competition with a view of the Pays-d’Enhaut from the La Lecherette could not attend. Marianne Moratti received a bouquet as she came second in the photo contest. Her photo of the Ibex female was judged to be exquisite.