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Rilke's "Archaic Torso of Apollo"

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image of Journal of Phenomenological Psychology

What happens when in the midst of the routines of our workaday world we suddenly find ourselves in the presence of someone who regards us with intensity and demands our response? Rilke's poem explores that precise and pregnant moment when an object of scientific investigation, aesthetic contemplation or historical analysis suddenly breaks free from the constraints imposed upon it by a workaday perspective and transforms itself into a subject who beckons us to enter another world. Rilke's "Archaic Torso of Apollo" leads us beyond our mundane and naturalistic concerns, beyond a thinking and doing that seeks to appropriate and masters a natural world.To faithfully follow its meandering thought means to be led to the very source from which springs narration and metaphor. It is from this same source that springs a human world.


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