Rilke, Phenomenology, and the Sensuality of Thought

Rochelle Tobias
2015 Konturen  
This paper takes as its point of departure Husserl's claim that the only world we can speak of is the one given in consciousness or that presents itself to intuition. Husserl's insistence on the world's status as a phenomenon whose being can never be verified, as such a verification would require an act of mind, has led to the accusation that phenomenology is nothing but a form of idealism that discounts the validity of everything apart from consciousness. This paper turns this accusation on
more » ... head. To the extent that phenomenology addresses the role that consciousness plays in constituting the world, it draws attention to consciousness' worldly aspects as not only the ground for all intuition but intuition itself in its sensuality. Consciousness is identical with what it observes, be it a bird in flight, the unfolding petals of a rose bud, or a discarded doll gathering dust in an attic. Rilke's poetry more than any other exposes the sensuality of thought by exploring the inner contours of feeling or what he calls elsewhere the Weltinnenraum. This paper shows the intersection of poetry and phenomenology through a close reading of "Die Rosenschale," which forms the conclusion of the first volume of the collection Neue Gedichte.
doi:10.5399/uo/konturen.8.0.3700 fatcat:poo64gjr3je7lgqsnfhmzc72da